Sunday, June 7, 2009


Caccinia crassifolia O. Kuntze.

Synonym C. glauca Savi.

Family Boraginaceae.

Habitat Native to Baluchistan.

Available in Indian market as


Unani Gaozabaan. (According

to National Formulary of

Unani Medicine, Borago officinalis

Linn. and other species of Boraginaceae

are used as Gaozabaan.)

Action Leaf—diuretic, antiinflammatory,

demulcent; used for

strangury, asthma and cough.

The stems and leaves gave sapogenins—

caccigenin, caccigenin lactone

and -deoxycaccigenin; rutin and

a saponin derived from caccigenin.

The leaves also gave a glucoside, caccinin.

Caccinin and its aglucone caccinetin

(which is the dimethylallyl ester

of caffeic acid) is diuretic; saponins

exhibit anti-inflammatory activity.

Flowers contain pyrrolizidine alkaloid,

the diester of retronecine. Benzoic

acid has also been isolated from

the flowers.

Cadaba fruticosa (L.) Druce.

Synonym C. farinosa Forsk.

C. indica Lam.

Family Capparidaceae.

Habitat Common in Punjab,

Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya

Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Siddha/Tamil Kattagatti, Vilivi,


Folk Kodhab.

Action Root and leaves—

deobstruent, emmenagogue; used

for uterine obstructions.

The leaves and stem bark gave alkaloids,

L-stachydrine and L--hydroxystachydrine.

Presence of quercetin,

isoorientin, hydroxybenzoic acid, syringic

acid, vanillic acid and -hydroxy-

-methoxy benzoic acid has also

been reported. The stembark contains

an alkaloid cadabicine, and dry pods

contain cadabalone.

Caesalpinia bonduc

(L.) Roxb. Dandy & Exell.

Synonym C. bonducella Flem.

C. crista Linn.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Throughout the hotter

parts of India. Common in West

Bengal and South India. Often

grown as hedge plant.

English Fever Nut, Bonduc Nut,

Nikkar Nut.

Ayurvedic Puutikaranja, Lataakaranja,

Kantaki Karanja, Karanjin,

Kuberaakshi (seed).


108 Caesalpinia coriaria (Jacq.)Willd.

Unani Karanjwaa.

Siddha/Tamil Kazharchikkaai.

Action Seed—antiperiodic,

antirheumatic. Roasted and used

as an antidiabetic preparation.

Leaf, bark and seed—febrifuge.

Leaf and bark—emmenagogue,

anthelmintic. Root—diuretic,


The seeds contain an alkaloid caesalpinine;

bitter principles such as bonducin;

saponins; fixed oil.

The seed powder, dissolved in water,

showed hypoglycaemic activity in

alloxanized hyperglycaemic rabbits.

Aqueous extract of the seeds produced

similar effects in rats. The powder

forms a household remedy for treatment

of diabetes in Nicobar Islands.

In Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, roots

are used in intermittent fevers and diabetes.

In homoeopathy, the plant is considered

an excellent remedy for chronic


(Three plant species—Pongamia

pinnata Pierre, Holoptelea integrifolia

(Roxb.) Planch. and Caesalpinia

bonduc (L.) Roxb. are being used as

varieties of Karanja (because flowers

impart colour to water). P. pinnata

is a tree and is equated with Karanja,

Naktamaala and Udakirya; H. integrifolia,

also a tree, with Chirabilva, Putika

(bad smell) and Prakiryaa; and C.

bonduc, a shrub, with Kantaki Karanja

or Lataa Karanja.)

Dosage Seed kernel—– g powder.


Caesalpinia coriaria


Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Grows abundantly in

South India, also cultivated in

North-western India and West


English American Sumac, Divi-divi


Siddha/Tamil Kodivelam.

Folk Libi-dibi; Divi-divi.

Action Bark—febrifuge, antiperiodic.

Pod—astringent (in piles).

Fruit—semen coagulant.

All parts of the plant contain tannin,

the maximum amount occurring

in the pods (.%). The tannins from

pods comprise pyrogallol type of hydrolysable

tannins and consists of gallotannin

and ellagitannin. Divi-divi

closely resembles myrobalans both in

nature and contents of tannins. Seeds

contain little or no tannin.

The plant is used for treating freckles.

Leaves contain ellagic and gallic

acids, catechol and tannins.

Ethanolic extract of the leaves

showed antifungal activity.

Caesalpinia digyny Rottl.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Bengal, Assam and

Andamans up to , m.

English Teri Pods.

Ayurvedic Vaakeri.

Siddha/Tamil Nunigatcha.


Caesalpinia sappan Linn. 109

Action Root—astringent and

antipyretic, used in phthisis and

scrofulous affections.

The roots gave a phenolic compound

vakerin, identical with bergenin. The

ethanol-water extract of roots inhibits

the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The pods contain % tannin (without

seeds, more than %). The bark

contains % tannin (without seeds,

more than %). The tannin is pure

gallo-tannin and gallic acid.

Dosage Root—– g powder.


Caesalpinia pulcherrima Sw.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in gardens

throughout India.

English Barbados Pride, Peacock


Ayurvedic Padangam, Ratnagandhi,


Siddha/Tamil Mayirkonrai, Nalal.

Folk Guleturaa, Sankeshwara.

Action Leaves—laxative, antipyretic.

Used in Eastern India

as a substitute for senna. Dried

and powdered leaves are used in

erysipelas. Flowers—anthelmintic.

Also used for cough and catarrh.

Root—a decoction is prescribed

in intermittent fevers. Bark—

emmenagogue, abortifacient.

The plant contains a flavonoid, myricitroside.

The leaves, flowers and

fruits contain tannins, gums, resin,

benzoic acid. Presence of cyanidin-

,-diglucoside is also reported from

the flowers, hydrocyanic acid from the

leaves.The root contains caesalpin type

diterpenoids along with sitosterol.

Theleaves have displayed anticancer

activity in laboratory animals. A diterpenoid,

isolated from the root, also

showed anticancer activity.

In Pakistan, the leaf and flower extract

exhibited activity against Grampositive


Caesalpinia sappan Linn.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Native to India and

Malaysia. Cultivated in Bengal and

South India, also grown as a hedge


English Sappan.

Ayurvedic Pattanga, Patanga,

Pattraanga, Raktasaara, Ranjana,

Pataranjaka, Suranga, Kuchandana.

Unani Bakam.

Siddha/Tamil Patangam, Anaikuntrumani.

Folk Patang.

Action Wood decoction—

emmenagogue, antidiarrhoeal; used

in skin diseases.

The heartwood gave an anti-inflammatory

principle brazilin; amyrin glucoside,

amino acids and carbohydrates.

EtOH (%) extract of stem exhibited

semen coagulant activity.

Aqueous and chloroform extracts of

the wood exhibited inhibitory action


110 Cajanus cajan (Linn.) Millsp.

on cyclicAMP phosphodiesterase. The

methanolic extract of the sappan lignan

showed sleep-time-elongation effect

in mice. Significant anti-hypercholesterolaemic

activity is attributed to benzilic


The oil exhibited antibacterial and

antifungal activity.

Plant pigments find use in facials

which are resistant to light, heat and

water and are non-irritating.

Dosage Heartwood—– g (API

Vol. IV.)

Cajanus cajan (Linn.)Millsp.

Synonym C. indicus Spreng.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Cultivated as pulse crop,

chiefly in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar,

Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra,

Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.

English Pigeon Pea, Red Gram.

Ayurvedic Aadhaki, Tuvari, Tuvara,


Unani Arhar.

Siddha/Tamil Thuvarai.

Action Green leaves are considered

hypocholesterolaemic. Pulse shows

cholesterol and phospholipid

lowering effect (reported to cause

flatulence). A paste of leaves with

salt and water, is taken on an empty

stomach for jaundice. Leaves are

used in diseases of the mouth, and

topically for treating measles and

other eruptions.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

indicated the use of the seed in

lipid disorders and obesity; externally

for promoting breast development,

and attributed blood purifying properties

to the root.

Amino acid analysis of the seed extract

showed that phenylalanine

(.% of the total amino acids) is

responsible for about % of the antisickling

potency of the seed extract.

Seeds also contain riboflavin and

pyridoxine. Root bark contains isoflavones,

sterols, triterpenoids, flavones,

anthraquinone derivatives. Plant also

contains an isoflavone, cajanol.

The aqueous extract of leaves

showed vasodilatory effect in experimental


Unroasted nuts had hypoglycaemic

effect in mice; roasted seeds, in contrast,

had a hyperglycaemic effect.

(Sharon M. Herr.)

Dosage Root—– g powder. (API

Vol. III.)

Calamus rotang Linn.

Synonym C. roxburghii Griff.

Family Palmae; Arecaceae.

Habitat Central and South India.

English Rotang, Rattan, Chair

Bottom Cane.

Ayurvedic Vetra, Abhrapushpa.

Siddha/Tamil Pirambu.

Action Astringent, antidiarrhoeal,

anti-inflammatory (used in chronic

fevers, piles, abdominal tumours,

strangury), antibilious, spasmolytic.



Calendula officinalis Linn. 111

The plant is used in convulsions and

cramps. The presence of a saponin in

the stem, an alkaloid in the leaves and

a flavonoid in the root is reported.

Calamus tenuis Roxb.

Synonym C. amarus Lour.

Family Palmae; Arecaceae.

Habitat The sub-Himalayan tract

from Dehra Dun to Assam.

English Bareilly Cane.

Ayurvedic Vetra (var.) (Vetasa,

Salix caprea Linn., is a different


Action See C. rotang.

Calamus travancoricus

Bedd. ex Hook. f.

Family Palmae; Arecaceae.

Habitat Deccan peninsula, from

Malabar to Travancore.

English Cane.

Ayurvedic Vetra.

Siddha/Tamil Pirambu.

Action Tender leaves are used in

dyspepsia, biliousness and as an

anthelmintic. See C. rotang.

Calendula officinalis Linn.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Throughout India; wild in


English Pot-Marigold, Marigold;


Unani Zergul.

Siddha/Tamil Thulvkka Saamanthi.

Action Flowers—anti-inflammatory,

antiseptic, stimulant,

antispasmodic, emmenagogue,

antihaemorrhagic, styptic. Used

in gastric and duodenal ulcers

and dysmenorrhoea; externally

for cuts, bruises, burns, scalds.

Plant—antiprotozoal. Flower—

antimicrobial. Essential oil—


Key application In inflammation of

the oral and pharyngeal mucosa, internally

and externally. Externally,

on poorly healing wounds, ulcuscruris.

(German Commission E,

WHO, ESCOP.) Anti-inflammatory,

vulnerary. (The British Herbal


The flowers contain triterpenes,

sterols, flavonoids, carotenes, bitter

glycosides, resins, volatile oil, mucilage

(do not contain tannins). Polysaccharides

from flowers exhibited immunostimulating

and antitumour activity in

several in vitro test systems.

An alcoholic extract has been shown

to have antitrichomonal activity.

Wound healing and anti-inflammatory

properties are attributed toMn

and carotene. An aqueous alcoholic extract

of florets showed CNS inhibitory

effect with marked sedative activity in

experimental animals.

The extract of flower-heads exhibited

estrogenic activity (reduces period

pains and regulates menstrual bleeding).

Calephlone, the extract containing

the total polyphenols of the infloresC

112 Callicarpa macrophylla Vahl.

cence, has a marked cholagogic effect

in rats and has been found helpful in

the treatment of CCl-induced hepatitis.

A hypocholesterolaemic saponin

has been extracted from the plant.

Callicarpa macrophylla Vahl.

Synonym C. incana Roxb.

Family Verbenaceae.

Habitat Sub-Himalayan tracts,

from Hazara eastwards to Assam,

up to , m.

English Perfumed Cherry.

Ayurvedic Priyangu, Priyangukaa,

Priyaka, Gandhphali,

Gandhpriyangu, Phalini, Vanitaa,

Kaantaa, Kaantaahvaa, Shyamaa,


Unani Habb-ul-Mihlb (Prunus

mahaleb Linn., Rosaceae).

Siddha/Tamil Gnazhal, Chokkala.

(Fruits of Aglaia roxburghiana Miq.

are used as Priyangu.)

Action Leaves—applied hot in

rheumatic pains. Smoked to relieve

headache. Seed—paste used in

stomatitis. Wood—paste used in

mouth and tongue sores. Seeds

and roots—employed as stomachic.

Bark—used in rheumatism and

diseases of genitourinary tract.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of

India indicated the use of the fruit

in emesis and giddiness.

The seeds and leaves contain calliterpenone

and its monoacetate; the

former also contain fatty acids, betasitosterol

and its beta-D-glucoside.

Dosage Dried inflorescences

powder—– g (API Vol. II); fruit

powder—– g. (API Vol. IV.)

Calophyllum apetalum Willd.

Synonym C. wightianumT. Anders.

Family Guttiferae; Clusiaceae.

Habitat The evergreen forests of

Western Ghats up to  m.

Siddha/Tamil Shirupinnai.

Action Resin—antiphlogistic,

anodyne. Seed oil—antileprotic.

The leaves, stem, bark and root contain

friedelin. Leaves also contain

canophyllol and a triterpene lactone;

stem, beta-amyrin; bark, apetalic acid.

Heartwood contains a clathrate named

wightianone palmitic acid. Wood contains


Calophyllum inophyllum Linn.

Family Guttiferae; Clusiaceae.

Habitat Coastal regions, particularly

Orissa, Karnataka, Maharashtra

and the Andamans. Also cultivated

as an ornamental tree.

English Indian Laurel, Alexandrian


Ayurvedic Punnaaga, Tunga,

Sultaan champaa, Naagchampaa,


Siddha/Tamil Punnai, Punnagam.

Action Oil of seeds—specific for

scabies and other skin diseases,

and for rheumatism. Used in the


Calotropis procera (Ait.) R.Br. 113

treatment of genitourinary and

venereal diseases. Bark—juice is

taken as purgative; pounded with

water is applied in orchitis, and

for dressing ulcers. Root bark—

antibacterial, used for indolent

ulcers. Leaf—used in vertigo and

migraine, also for chicken pox, skin

inflammations, scabies, sunburn.

Flowers and stamens—used as

a substitute for Naagakesara (Mesua

ferrea Linn.)

The root bark and heartwood contain

xanthones. The xanthones exhibited

anti-inflammatory activity in rats

against carrageenan-induce oedema;

also CNS depressant activity. Jacareubin

and -deoxy derivatives exhibited

antiulcer activity in rats.

Calophyllolide, a complex -Phcoumarin

isolated from nuts, showed

antiarrhythmic (as effective as quinidine),

bradycardiac coronary dilator,

and anticoagulant, also anti-inflammatory

and antiarthritic activity.

Dosage Leaf, flower, bark—– g

powder; – ml decoction.


Calotropis gigantea

(Linn.) R.Br. ex.Ait.

Family Asclepiadaceae.

Habitat Throughout India.

English Madar (white-flowered),

Giant Milk-weed.

Ayurvedic Alarka, Raajaarka,

Shvetaarka, Vasuka, Mandaar,

Bhaasvanmuula, Dinesh, Prabhaakara,

Ravi, Bhaanu, Tapana.

Unani Madaar, Aak.

Siddha/Tamil Erukku.

Action Flowers—stomachic,

bechic, antiasthmatic. Milky juice—

purgative (gastrointestinal irritant).

Roots—used in lupus, tuberculous

leprosy, syphilitic ulceration.

Leaves—juice poisonous. Used in

external swellings. All parts—used

against bronchitis and asthma.

The leaf extract showed antitussive

activity due to the presence of alkaloids

and glycosides. The root contains glycosides

.–.% on dry basis. The

latex contains akudarin. Flowers contain

beta-amyrin and stigmasterol.

Dosage Milky juice— mg; leaf,

flower, root bark—– g powder.


Calotropis procera (Ait.) R.Br.

Family Asclepiadaceae.

Habitat An evergreen shrub

distributed in West and Central


English Swallow-Wart, Milk Weed,

(purple-flowered), King's Crown.

Ayurvedic Alarka, Surya, Suuryaahvya,

Vikirna, Vasuka,

Tapana, Tuulaphala, Kshirparna,

Arkaparna, Aasphota.

Unani Aakh, Madaar, Ashar.

Siddha/Tamil Vellerukku, Erukku.

Action The plant is used against

bronchial asthma (especially flowers

with black pepper). Leaves—used

for treating chronic cases of


114 Caltha palustris Linn.

dyspepsia, flatulence, constipation

and mucus in stool. Seed oil—

geriatric and tonic. Leaves, flowers

and root-bark oil—antimicrobial

(maximum activity in leaves).

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of

India indicated the use of the root

and leaf in asthma and dyspnoea;

stem bark in diseases of the spleen.

Root bark contains benzoyllineolone

and benzolisolineolone. Root,

stem and leaves, also latex contain

beta-amyrin. Flowers contain evanidin

-rhamnoglucoside. The plant contains

a cardenolide, proceragenin, an

antibacterial principle.

Thelatex is given for treating epilepsy,

also in painful, joints and swellings.

The latex exhibited anti-inflammatory

activity in carrageenan-and formalininduced

rat paw oedema model.

The herb can alter menstrual cycle

andtemporarily inhibit ovulation. Cardiac

glycosides may be additive when

combined with Digoxin. (Sharon M.


Dosage Leaf—–mg powder;

root—– g for decoction (API Vol.

I); stem bark—.– g powder (API

Vol. III).Milky juice— mg to  g


Caltha palustris Linn.

Family Ranunculaceae.

Habitat Western temperate

Himalayas from , to , m.

English American cowslip, Marsh

Marigold, Water Buttercup.

Folk Mamiri (Punjab).

Action Anti-inflammatory. Root—

hypocholesterolaemic. Poisonous

to human beings in mature stages.

The flowers contain flavonoids, -

rhamnosides, -glucosides and -gluco-

-rhamnosides of kaempferol and

quercetin. Roots gave triterpenoid

glycosides, which decreased serum

cholesterol and total protein and increased

blood sugar equivalent to butadione

in rats.

EtOH (%) extract of the plant exhibitsCNS

depressant and hypotensive

activity in rat.

Calycopteris floribunda Lam.

Family Combretaceae.

Habitat Madhya Pradesh, Peninsular

India and Assam.

Ayurvedic Sushavi, Paaniyavalli.

Siddha/Tamil Minnargodi.

Action Leaf—antidysenteric; used

externally for ulcers. Fruit—used in


Leaves containflavanol calycopterin;

flowers calycopterin and quercetin.

Camellia sinensis

(Linn.) O. Kuntze.

Family Theaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in Assam,

Darjeeling, Travancore, the Nilgiris,

Malabar, Bengal, Dehra Dun and


English Tea.


Canarium strictum Roxb. 115

Unani Chaai, Shaahi, Shaayi.

Siddha/Tamil Thaeyilai.

Action Stimulant, diuretic,

astringent. In China, used for

diarrhoea and dysentery (causes

gastrointestinal upsets and nervous

irritability when consumed in

excess). Green tea: anticancer

effects have been observed in

Chinese green tea, Camellia thea,

extract; the extract of Japanese green

tea showed antihepatotoxic effects.

Important constituents of leaf buds

and very young leaves are: caffeine,

with a much smaller amount of other

xanthines (theophylline and theobromine);

tannins (the main tannin

in green tea is ()-epigallocatechin);

flavonoids, quercetin, kaempferol. The

stimulant and diuretic are due to caffeine

content, the astringency due to

the tannins.

Drinking tea lowers thiamine and

thiamine diphosphate losses in urine

and blood serum respectively but increases

niacin losses. Hot water extract

of black tea facilitates Ca absorption in

the body experimentally. Tea may decrease

zinc bioavailability.

The tea, if added to the meal, significantly

lower the availability of iron.

Milk is as effective as ascorbic acid in

countering the depressing effect of tea

on iron availability (in vitro).

Thegreen tea catechin inhibited carcinogenesis

in small intestines when

given during or after carcinogen treatment

to experimental rats. ()-epigallocatechin

gallate and theaflavin digallate

from green tea inhibited the infectivity

of both influenzaAandBvirus

(in vitro).

Green tea, when added to a lardcholesterol

diet, decreased the cholesterol

and triglyceride levels in fowls.

Tea polyphenols exhibit hypocholesterolaemic


Tea polyphenols—()-epicatechin

gallate, ()-epigallocatechine galate,

theaflavin monogallate A or B, and

or theaflavin digallate—are used for

treating hyperglycaemia.

Saponins from tea are used as antiulcer


Concurrent use of tea and betaadrenergic

agonists may increase the

risk of cardiac arrhythmias. Caffeine,

a component of tea, may increase insulin

resistance. (Sharon M. Herr.)

Canarium commune Linn.

Synonym C. vulgare Leench.

Family Burseraceae.

Habitat A tree indigenous to

Malaysia. Now grown in South

India, particularly in Kerala and

Tamil Nadu.

English Java Almond, Kenari Nut.

Folk Jangali Baadaam.

Action Fruit—laxative. Resin—

anti-inflammatory. Tuber—styptic,

bechic, diaphoretic.

Theessential oil fromoleoresin contain

% anethole and a small quantity

of terpenes.

Canarium strictum Roxb.

Synonym C. sikkimense King


116 Cannabis sativa Linn.

Family Burseraceae

Habitat A large, deciduous tree

distributed in West Ghats, Assam

and Sikkim.

English Black Dammar.

Ayurvedic Raal Dhuup, Mand


Siddha/Tamil Karunkungiliyam


Action Resin—used for chronic

cutaneous diseases, such as psoriasis,

pityriasis; as a linament in

rheumatic affections. Dammer

Oil—used for rheumatism, asthma,

venereal diseases.

Black dammer resin contains (+)-

junenol, canarone and epikhusinal.

The plant contains a sesquiterpene


Canarium sikkimense King is known

as Gogul Dhuup in Nepal.

Cannabis sativa Linn.

Synonym C. indica Linn.

Family Cannabinaceae.

Habitat Cultivated all over the

country. Commonly occurs in

waste grounds, along road side,

often becoming gregarious along

the irrigation channels of gardens.

English Hemp, Indian Hemp.

Ayurvedic Vijayaa, Bhangaa,

Maadani, Maatulaani, Indraasana,

Trailokya-vijayaa, Tribhuvanavijayaa,

Shukranaashana, Ganjaa,

Bhangaa. (Bhangaa is consumed

orally; Ganjaa and charas are usually


Unani Bhang, Charas, Qinnab.

Siddha/Tamil Ganja.

Folk Bhaanga.

Action Hallucinogenic, hypnotic,

sedative, analgesic, antiinflammatory,

Hemp derivatives

are suggested for treating glaucoma

and as an antiemetic in cancer

chemotherapy. All variants produce

initial excitement followed by


Cannabis yields  chemicals of

various classes—annabinoids, cannabispirans

and alkaloids. More than

 cannabinoids have been isolated,

the most important one is delta--

tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Toxic constituents are readily absorbed,

excreted in urine and feces,

stored in lipid tissues, especially CNS,

crosses placenta. High doses in animals

have damaged developing embryos

and resulted in birth defects.

(Francis Brinker.)

Dosage Dried leaves, after

removing turbity—– mg

powder. (API Vol. I.)

Canscora decussata Schult.

Family Gentianaceae.

Habitat Throughout India,

ascending to , m.

Ayurvedic Daakuni (used as

a substitute for Shankhapushpi in

West Bengal)

Unani Sankhaahuli.

Folk Daankuni.


Capparis aphylla Roth. 117

Action Anticonvulsant, CNS

depressant, anti-inflammatory,


The plant contains calcium .;

magnesium .; potassium . and

iron . g/ g; copper ., zinc

.; manganese ., cobalt . and

chromium . mcg/g.

Roots contain beta-amyrin, friedelin,

genianine and  xanthones including

mangiferin. Mangiferin is protective

activity against induced liver injury

in albino rats. Xanthones also showed

activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Dried crude powder of the whole

plant exhibited anticonvulsant activity

in albino rats.

Canscora diffusa (Vahl) R. Br. ex

Roem. & Schultes (synonym C. lawii

Wt.), found throughout India at

, m, is used as a substitute for

C. decussata.

Canthium parviflorum Lam.

Synonym Plectronia parviflora

(Lam.) Bedd.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Throughout the Deccan

Peninsula, from Gujarat and

Maharashtra southwards, and in

Bihar and Orissa.

English Wild Jasmine.

Folk Kaari.

Siddha/Tamil Karai, Kadan Karai,

Nalla Karai, Kudiram.

Action Leaves and fruits—

astringent, antispasmodic; used

against cough. A decoction of

the root and leaves is given in flu.


The plant contains mannitol (.%)

and alkaloids. Canthium umbellatum

Wight is also known as Kaari.

Capparis aphylla Roth.

Synonym C. decidua Edgew.

Family Capparidaceae.

Habitat Rajasthan, Punjab and

Sindh; southward to Karnataka and

Tamil Nadu.

English Caper Berry.

Ayurvedic Karira, Krakar, Apatra,

Granthila, Marubhoo-ruuha,

Niguudhapatra, Karila.

Unani Kabar, Kabar-ul-Hind,

Kabar-e-Hindi; Tenti.

Siddha/Tamil Chhengan.

Folk Tenti.

Action Anti-inflammatory (used for

enlarged cervical glands, sciatica,

rheumatoid arthritis; externally

on swellings, skin eruptions,

ringworm). Fruits and seeds—used

for urinary purulent discharges and

dysentery. Flowers and seeds—

antimicrobial. The fruit is used as

a pickle.

The root bark contains spermidine

alkaloids, used for inflammations,

asthma and gout.

Activity of the seed volatiles against

vibro cholerae has been recorded.

Aqueous extract of the plant exhibits

anthelmintic activity; seeds contain antibacterial



118 Capparis moonii Wight.

isothiocynate aglycone of glucocapparin.

The blanched fruits, when fed to

rats at % dietary fibre level, showed

a significant hypocholesterolaemic effect,

which is attributed to its hemicellose


Pickled fruits are use for destroying

intestinal worms.

Dosage Leaf, root—– mg


Capparis moonii Wight.

Family Capparidaceae.

Habitat Indigenous to New

Zealand. Now distributed in

Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Ayurvedic Rudanti.

Action Fruit—used in puerperal

sepsis and septic wounds, also for

debility and cough.

EtOH (%) extract of aerial parts

is CNS depressant.

Fruits contain l-stachydrine, rutin

and beta-sitosterol.

Capparis sepiaria Linn.

Family Capparidaceae.

Habitat Dry regions of the country,

also planted as a hedge plant.

English Indian Caper.

Ayurvedic Himsraa, Gridhnakhi,

Duh-pragharshaa, Kaakdaani,

Kabara, Kanthaari.

Siddha/Tamil Karunjurai.

Folk Hains, Kanthaar.

Action Antiseptic, antipyretic.

Used for eczema and scabies.

Leaves contain taraxasterol, alphaand

beta-amyrin and beta-sitosterol,

erythrodiol and betulin.

Dosage Root—– g powder.


Capparis spinosa Linn.

Family Cappariadaceae.

Habitat Native to the Mediterranean

region. Distributed in

North-west India, Rajasthan, and

Peninsular India.

English Caper Bush.

Ayurvedic Himsraa, Kaakdaani,


Unani Kabar.

Action Anti-inflammatory, deobstruent

to liver and spleen, diuretic,

anthelmintic, vasoconstrictive.

Bark—given in splenic, renal and

hepatic complaints. Juice of leaves

and fruits—anticystic, bactericidal

and fungicidal. Dried flower buds—

used in scurvy.

Plant gave glucosinolates—glucoiberin,

glucocapparin, sinigrin, glucocleomin

and glucocapangatin. Rutin

has also been reported from plant.

The root bark, cortex and leaves gave

stachydrine. Stachydrine, when given

to dogs, rabbits and rats, quickened the

coagulation of blood and reduced loss

of blood.


Capsicum annuum Linn. 119

Capparis zeylanica Linn.

Synonym C. horrida Linn.f.

Family Cappariadaceae.

Habitat Common in plains as

a hedge plant.

English Ceylon Caper.

Ayurvedic Ahimsra (Himsraa

and Ahimsra are synonyms).


Siddha/Tamil Aathondai.

Folk Kareruaa.

Action Root bark—sedative,

stomachic, anticholerin, diuretic

febrifuge. Leaves—applied as

poultice to piles, swellings, boils.

The plant contains a saponin and phydroxybenzoic,

syringic, vanillic, ferulic

and p-coumaric acids. The leaves

contain beta-carotene. The leaves and

seeds contain glucocapparin, alphaamyrin,

n-triacontane and a fixed oil.

Aerial parts exhibited spasmolytic


Capsella bursa-pastoris


Family Cruciferae; Brassicaceae.

Habitat Throughout India as

a weed in cultivated areas and waste

places, particularly in the temperate

regions up to an altitude of ,m.

English Shepherd's Purse, St.

James's Wort.

Folk Mumiri.

Action The herb or its juice extracts

are employed to check menorrhagia

and haemorrhages from renal and

genitourinary tract. Also used in

diarrhoea and dysentery and as

a diuretic.

Key application In symptom-based

treatment of mild menorrhagia

and metrorrhagia. (German Commission

E.) The British Herbal

Pharmacopoeia reported antihaemorrhagic


Aerial parts contain flavonoids,

polypeptides, choline, acetylcholine,

histamine and tyramine.

The extract of dried or green plant

causes strong contraction of the small

intestines and uterus of guinea pigs.

A quarternary ammonium salt has

been isolated from the herb which

is reported to be responsible for its

pharmacological activity.

Young leaves contain vitamin A

(, IU/ g) and ascorbic acid

( mg/ g); among other constituents

are hesperidin and rutin, which

reduced permeability of blood vessel

walls in white mice. A neoplasm inhibitory

substance has been identified

as fumaric acid. An inhibitory effect

of the extracts of the herb on Ehrlich

solid tumour in mice was found to be

due to the fumaric acid.

Major constituent of the essential oil

is camphor.

Capsicum annuum Linn.

Family Solanaceae.

Habitat Native to the West

Indies and tropical America; now

cultivated throughout tropical

regions of India.


120 Capsicum frutescens Linn.

English Chilli, Red Pepper.

Ayurvedic Raktamaricha, Lankaa,


Unani Mirch, Filfil-e-Ahmar,

Filfl-e-Surkh, Surkh Mirch.

Siddha/Tamil Milagay.

Action Stimulant, accelerates

oxygenation of cells, encourages

adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids,

increases gastrointestinal

secretion. Carminative, antispasmodic,

antiseptic. Used externally

for rheumatism, backache, lumbago,

neuralgia, painful muscle


Red chilli contains capsaicin (.–.%), carotenoids, flavonoids, volatile

oil; steroidal saponins (capsicidins, only

in seeds).

Capsaicin stimulates the circulation

and alters temperature regulation; topically

desensitizes nerve endings and

acts as a local analgesic.

Capsaicin produces a protective effect

in rat lung and liver by strengthening

the pulmonary antioxidant enzyme

defence system. Acute capsaicin

treatment causes release of substance

desensitization of the respiratory tract

mucosa to a variety of lung irritants.

Red pepper or an equivalent amount

of capsaicin, when fed along with

cholesterol-containing diets to female

albino rats, prevented significantly the

rise of liver cholesterol levels.

Vitamin Phas been isolated fromthe

chillies. Vitamin C gradually increases

during maturation and reaches maximumat

the semi-ripe or pink coloured

stage and decreases thereafter.

Capsaicin exhibited a hypoglycaemic

effect in dogs; insulin release was

increased. (Phytother Res, , Aug

(), –.)

Dosage Fruit—– mg powder.


Capsicum frutescens Linn.

Family Solanaceae.

Habitat Cultivated as a condiment


English Bird Chilli.

Ayurvedic Katuviraa.

Unani Surkh Mirch.

Siddha/Tamil Musi Milagay.

Action See Capsicum annuum.

Key application Externally, in

painful muscle spasms in areas

of shoulder, arm and spine; for

treating arthritis, rheumatism,

neuralgia, lumbago and chilbains.

(German Commission E.) The

British Pharmacopoeia reported

rubefacient and vasostimulant


The plant contains hydroxybenzoic

acid, hydroxycinnamic acid and ascorbic

acid. Fruits contain up to % of


Carallia brachiata (Lour.) Merr.

Synonym C. integerrima DC.

C. lucida Roxb. ex Kurz.

Habitat Throughout India, up to

an altitude of , m, and in the



Careya arborea Roxb. 121

Folk Karalli, Kierpa. Varanga


Action Leaves—used in the

treatment of sapraemia. Bark—used

for treating oral ulcers, stomatitis,

inflammation of the throat.

The leaves contain alkaloids (.%

dry basis), the major being (+)-hygroline.

Cardiospermum halicacabum


Family Sapindaceae.

Habitat Throughout the plains of

India, as a wild climber.

English Ballon Vine, Winter

Cherry, Heartseed.

Ayurvedic Kaakatiktaa,

Kaakaadani, Karnsphotaa,


Unani Habb-e-Qilqil.

Siddha/Tamil Mudukottan,


Folk Kanphotaa, Kanphuti,

Lataaphatakari. Used as Jyotishmati

in Bengal.

Action Used in rheumatism,

lumbago, skeletal fractures, nervous

diseases, amenorrhoea, haemorrhoids,

erysipelas. The herb is used

in hairoils for treating dandruff,

alopecia and for darkening hair.

The plant extract showed significant

analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity

and sedative effect on CNS. The

drug also showed (transient) vasodepressant


The leaves contain beta-sitosterol

and its D-glucoside, an alkaloid, oxalic

acid and amino acids. The presence of

a saponin and quebrachitol is reported

in the plant.

The leaves and stem are used in

preparations used against common

cold. Alcoholic extract of the plant

exhibits antisickling and antiarthritic

activity. Seeds have positive anabolic

activity and increase body weight by

inducing a positive nitrogen balance.

The alkaloid fraction from the seeds

showed hypotensive activities and cardiac

inhibition in anaesthetized dogs;

blocked spasmogenic effects of acetylcholine,

histamine and -HTon guinea

pig ileum, biphasic effort on frog rectus

abdominis muscle. The seeds also

showed antibacterial activity.

Dosage Whole plant—– ml

decoction. (CCRAS.)

Careya arborea Roxb.

Family Barringtoniaceae.

Habitat Sub-Himalayan tract, from

Jammu eastwards to West Bengal,

Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

English Kumbi, Slow-Match tree.

Ayurvedic Katabhi, Kumbhika,

Kumbhi, Kumbi, Kaitrya,


Siddha/Tamil Kumbi, Ayma.

Action Bark—demulcent (in

coughs and colds), antipyretic and

antipruritic (in eruptive fevers),

anthelmintic, antidiarrhoeal. An

infusion of flowers is given after

child birth.


122 Carica papaya Linn.

Seeds contain triterpenoid sapogenols,

sterols; leaves contain a triterpene

ester, beta-amyrin, hexacosanol,

taraxerol, beta-sitosterol, quercetin

and taraxeryl acetate.

Careya herbacea Roxb., a related

species, is known as Kumbhaadu-lataa

in Bengal.

Dosage Bark—– ml decoction.


Carica papaya Linn.

Family Caricaceae.

Habitat Native to West Indies and

Central America; now cultivated in

Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan,

Gujarat, Maharashtra and South


English Papaya, Papaw.

Ayurvedic Erand-karkati, Papitaa.

Unani Papitaa Desi.

Siddha/Tamil Pappaali, Pappayi.

Action Ripe fruit—stomachic,

digestive, carminative, diuretic,

galactagogue. Useful in bleeding

piles, haemoptysis, dysentery

and chronic diarrhoea. Seeds—

emmengagogue, abortifacient,

vermifuge. Juice of seeds is

administered in enlarged liver

and spleen, and in bleeding


Key application Papain, the

enzyme mixture extracted from raw

papain (latex of Carica papaya), has

been included among unapproved

herbs by German Commission E.

Experiment-based as well as clinical

research indicate that papain may

be effective (in the treatment of

inflammations) in high doses (daily

dose  mg corresponding to

 FIP units).

Unripe fruit—mmengagogue and

abortifacient. Latex—pplied topically

on eczema, ringworm, psoriasis, corns,

warts, sloughing wounds, carbuncles

and eschar of burns.

Green parts of the plant and seed

contain an alkaloid carpaine. Seeds

also contain carpasemine.

Latex contain enzymes—apain and

chymopapain and alkaloids carpaine

and pseudocarpaine. A proteinaceous

material from latex showed anticoagulant

activity; in higher doses it is

heart depressant and as a spasmogen

on smoothmuscle of guinea pig ileum.

An alkaloid solution showed depressant

action on heart, blood pressure

and intestine.

The anthelmintic action of seeds

against Ascaris lumbricoides is due to


Papain, an enzyme mixture prepared

from the fruit, seeds and leaf,

hydrolyses polypeptides, amides and

esters, particularly when used in an

alkaline environment, and is used in

digestive disorders.

Papain inhibits platelet aggregation,

which may further increase the risk of

bleeding in patients also taking anticoagulants.

Concurrent administration

of cyclophosphamide with papain

caused sever damage to lung tissues in

rats. (Sharon M. Herr.)

Chymopapin C is an immunosuppressive

enzyme from plant extract.

Carpaine, extracted from the plant,


Carthamus tinctorius Linn. 123

exhibited anti-tubercular activity, also

antitumour in vitro, and hypotensive.

Dosage Leaf—– ml infusion;

latex—– g (CCRAS.)

Carissa carandas Linn. var.

congesta (Wt.) Bedd.

Family Apocynaceae.

Habitat Throughout India.

English Christ's Thorn, Bengal


Ayurvedic Karinkaara, Karamarda,

Krishnapaakphal, Kshirphena,

Sushena, (Karamardakaa is equated

with C. spinarum Linn.)

Unani Karondaa.

Siddha/Tamil Kalakke.

Action Used for acidity, flatulence,

poor digestion, as a slimming diet.

Juice of the fresh plant is used for

infected wounds that refuse to heal.

Root—paste used for diabetic ulcer.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

indicated the stem bark in obstinate

skin diseases, and the root in urinary


Alcoholic extract of roots exhibit

hypotensive activity. Roots yield cardioactive

compounds; cardiotonic activity

is due to glucoside of odoroside


Fresh fruits are rich in ascorbic acid

( g/ g fruit juice). The seeds are

rich in potassium ( mg/ g fresh


Dosage Stem bark— g for

decoction. (API Vol. II); root—

– g (API Vol. III).

Carissa opaca Stapf. Ex Haines.

Synonym C. spinarum auct. non L.

Family Apocynaceae.

Habitat Throughout the country

in dry regions, especially in Punjab

and Kashmir.

Ayurvedic Karamardikaa.

Siddha/Tamil Chirukila Chiru.

Folk Jangali Karondaa. Garnaa


Action Plant—cardiotonic. Root—


The root contains caffeic acid, cardiac

glycosides—odorosides B, C, G

and H, and evomonoside.

Carissa paucinervia A. DC. is also

equatedwith the wild var. ofKarondaa.

Carthamus tinctorius Linn.

Family Asteraceae.

Habitat Cultivated mainly as an

oil-seed crop in Madhya Pradesh,


English Safflower.

Ayurvedic Kusumbha, Vahinshikhaa,

Vastraranjaka, Kusum.

Unani Qurtum.

Siddha/Tamil Chendurakam.

Action Oil—aids prevention of

arteriosclerosis, coronary heart

disease and kidney disorders as

a polyunsaturated fat. Flowers—

stimulant, sedative, diuretic,

emmenagogue; used in fevers and

eruptive skin conditions, measles.


124 Carum bulbocastanum W. Koch.

Charred safflower oil is used in

rheumatism and for healing sores.

Key application Dried flowers—

in cardiovascular diseases, amenorrhoea,

dysmenorrhoea and

retention of lochia; also in wounds

and sores with pain and swelling.

(Pharmocopoeia of the People's

Republic of China, .)

Safflower contains carthamone, lignans

and a polysaccharide. The polysaccharide,

composed of xylose, fructose,

galactose, glucose, arabinose,

rhamnose and uronic acid residues,

stimulates immune function in mice.

It induced antibody formation in mice

following peritoneal injection. Extracts

of flowers have also been tested

in China on blood coagulation, where

a prolongation of clothing timewas observed

and platelet aggregation inhibited.

Chinese research indicates that

Safflower flowers can reduce coronary

artery disease, and lower cholesterol

levels. Flowers and seeds exhibit lipase

activity. The flower extract also exhibited

anti-inflammatory, sedative and

analgesic effect and inhibitory effect

on spontaneous motor activity.

The plant contains a propanetriol

derivative, which can be used for the

treatment of circulatory disorders.

Recent research suggests that improving

the lipid profile might not

be as important to reducing the risk

of cardiovascular disease as suggested.

(Natural Medicines Comprehensive

Database, .)

Safflower is contraindicated in pregnancy,

gastric disorders, excessive

menstruation, haemorrhagic diseases.

Wild and thorny Safflower, growing

in the arid tract of Haryana and

Punjab (locally known as Kantiaari,

Poli, Poiyan) is equated with C. oxycantha

Bieb. The plant is diuretic.

Seed oil is applied topically to ulcers.

Theplant contains a sesquiterpene glycoside.

Aerial parts contain hinesolbeta-

D-fucopyranoside. The plant also

contains luteolin--glucoside.

Dosage Leaf—– g powder.


Carum bulbocastanum W. Koch.

Synonym Bunium persicum (Boiss.)


Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae

Habitat Cultivated in the hills and

plains of North India and in the

hills of South India.

English Black Caraway.

Ayurvedic Krishna jiraka, Kaashmira


Unani Jiraa Siyaah, Kamoonarmani.

Siddha/Tamil Shemai-shiragam,


Action See C. carvi.

Carum carvi Linn.

Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat Native to Europe and

West Asia. Now cultivated in Bihar,

Orissa, Punjab, Bengal, Andhra

Pradesh, and in the hills of Kumaon,

Garhwal, Kashmir and Chamba.


Casearia tomentosa Roxb. 125

Also found wild in the North

Himalayan regions.

English Caraway.

Ayurvedic Krishna jiraka, Jiraa,

Kaaravi, Asita Jiraka, Kaashmirajiraka,

Prithvikaa, Upakunchikaa,

Sugandha Udgaar, Shodhana.

Unani Zeeraa Siyaah, Kamoon,


Siddha/Tamil Shimai-shembu,

Semai Seearagam, Karamjiragam.

Action Carminative, antispasmodic,

antimicrobial, expectorant,

galactagogue, emmenagogue.

Key application Seed oil—in

dyspeptic problems, such as mild,

sapstic conditions of the gastrointestinal

tract, bloating and fullness.

(German Commission E, ESCOP,

The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of

India recommended the seed in

chronic fevers.

The fruit contains a volatile oil consisting

of carvone (–%) and limoline

withother constituents; flavonoids,

mainly quercetin derivatives, polysaccharides

and a fixed oil; also calcium


The antispasmodic and carminative

effects have been confirmed experimentally.

The caraway has shown to

reduce gastrointestinal foam.

Both the seeds and the essential oil

are classed as carminative in I.P.

The essential oil shows moderate

antibacterial and antifungal activity

against several bacteria and fungi.

Mixed with alcohol and castor oil, it is

used for scabies.

Dosage Seed—– g powder.


Casearia esculenta Roxb.

Synonym C. ovata (Lamk)Willd.C.

zeylanica (Gaertn.) Thw.

Family Samydaceae; Flacourtiaceae

Habitat Peninsular India, up to

, m.

Ayurvedic Saptachakraa.

Siddha/Tamil Kakkaipilai, Kilar,


Folk Saptrangi (root and root


Action Root—antidiabetic (used

in milder chronic diabetic cases),

astringent, liver tonic. Frequently

adulterated with the roots of Salacia

chinensis Linn. and S. macrosperma


The crude aqueous extract of the

roots has shown hypoglycaemic activity.

The root gave leucopelargonidin,

beta-sitosterol, dulcitol, a flavonoid

and arabinose.

Casearia tomentosa Roxb.

Synonym C. ellipticaWilld.

Family Samydaceae; Flacourtiaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Kashmir to Nepal, ascending to

, m; throughout tropical India.

Ayurvedic Chilhaka.

Siddha/Tamil Kadichai.


126 Cassia absus Linn.

Folk Chillaa, Saptrangi.

Action Root—hypoglycaemic.

Root bark is used as a tonic in

anaemic conditions.

Fruit pulp—diuretic, purgative,

Leaves—anti-inflammatory. Fruit pulp


Ethanolic (%) extract of the leaves

showed significant anti-inflammatory

activity in rats. Oil extracted from the

seeds in rubbed on sprains. Various

plant parts are used in neuralgia.

Cassia absus Linn.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Throughout India.

Ayurvedic Chakshushyaa, Aranyakulathhikaa,


Unani Chaaksu.

Siddha/Tamil Muulaipalyirai,


Folk Ban Kulathi.

Action Seed—bitter, blood-purifier,

astringent, stimulant, diuretic. Used

topically for leucoderma, ringworm,

venereal ulcers and other skin

diseases. Roots—purgative.

Seeds gave sitosterol-beta-D-glucoside

and alkaloids—chaksine and isochaksine.

Chaksine is found to be

antibacterial against Micrococcus pyogenes

var. aureus and Streptococcus

haemolyticus. It stimulates contraction

of different tissues of plain muscles,

like uterus, intestine, bladder,

and muscles in blood vessels. It depresses

the parasympathetic nerveendings

of certain organs like intestine

and bladder. Chaksine has ganglionblocking

property. Chaksine and isochaksine

possess a local anaesthetic

effect intradermally. It produces

a sustained fall in blood pressure of

anaesthetized animals and produces

a weak anti-acetylcholine effect. Roots

also contains anthraquinones and aloeemodin.

Dosage Seed—– g powder.


Cassia alata Linn.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Native to the West Indies.

Found wild almost throughout


English Ringworm Cassia.

Ayurvedic Dadrughna, Dadrumardana.

Siddha Malanthakerai, Seemai

agathi (Tamil).

Folk Daadmaari.

Action Leaf—used in skin diseases

like herpes, blotch, eczema, mycosis

(washerman's itch). Dried leaves—

in leprosy. A strong decoction is

used for ringworm, eczema and

herpes. Leaves are also used as

a purgative.

Young pods contain rhein, emodin

and aloe-emodin. The antibacterial

activity of the leaves is reported to be

due to rhein. The roots contain anthraquinone.

Emodin, aloe-emodin

and anthraquinone contribute to the

purgative activity of the leaves and

roots. Crushed leaves or roots are


Cassia auriculata Linn. 127

rubbed on to the skin to cure ringworm

and to control Tinea imbricata,

a skin fungus.

Cassia angustifolia Vahl.

Synonym C. senna Linn. var. senna.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Native to Sudan and

Arabia. Now cultivated mainly in

Tirunelveli and Ramnathpuram

districts and to a lesser extent in

Madurai, Salem and Tiruchirapalli

districts of Tamil Nadu. Also grown

on a small scale in Cuddapah

district of Andhra Pradesh and

certain parts of Karnataka.

English Indian Senna, Tinnevelly


Ayurvedic Svarna-pattri,

Maarkandikaa, Maarkandi.

Unani Sannaa, Sanaa-makki,

Senaai, Sonaamukhi, Sanaa-Hindi.

Siddha/Tamil Nilaavaarai.

Folk Sanaai.

Action Purgative (free from

astringent action of rhubark

type herbs, but causes gripe),

used in compounds for treating

biliousness, distention of stomach,

vomiting and hiccups. Also used as

a febrifuge, in splenic enlargements,

jaundice, amoebic dysentery.

Contraindicated in inflammatory

colon diseases.

Key application Leaf and dried

fruit—in occasional constipation.

(German Commission E.) As

a stimulant laxative. (The British

Herbal Pharmacopoeia.) ,-

dihydoxy-anthracene derivatives

have a laxative effect. This effect is

due to the sennosides, specifically,

due to their active metabolite in

the colon, rheinanthrone. The

effect is primarily caused by the

influence on the motility of the

colon by inhibiting stationary and

stimulating propulsive contractions.

(German Commission E, ESCOP,

WHO.) Seena has been included in

I.P. as a purgative.

Most of the Senna sp. contain rhein,

aloe-emodin, kaempferol, isormamnetin,

both free and as glucosides,

together with mycricyl alcohol. The

purgative principles are largely attributed

to anthraquinone derivatives and

their glucosides.

Senna is an Arabian name. The drug

was brought into use by Arabian physicians

for removing capillary congestion

(pods were preferred to leaves).

The active purgative principle of

senna was discovered in .

Cassia acutifolia Delile is also equated

with Maarkandikaa, Svarna-pattri,


Dosage Leaves— mg to  g

(API Vol. I.)

Cassia auriculata Linn.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Wild in dry regions of

Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and

Rajasthan. Cultivated in other parts

of India.

English Tanner's Cassia.


128 Cassia fistula Linn.

Ayurvedic Aaavartaki, Aaadaari.

Unani Tarwar.

Siddha/Tamil Aavaarai.

Folk Tarwar.

Action Roots—used in skin

diseases and asthma. Flowers

enter into compounds for diabetes,

urinary disorders and nocturnal


Pod husk contains nonacosane and

nonacosan--one, chrysophanol,

emodin and rubiadin.

Dosage Whole plant—– ml


Cassia fistula Linn.

Synonym C. rhombifolia Roxb.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Cultivated as anornamental

throughout India.

English Indian Laburnum, Purging

Cassia, Golden Shower.

Ayurvedic Aaragvadha, Chaturaangula,

Kritamaala, Kritmaalaka,

Karnikaara, Shampaaka, Praagraha,

Raajvrksha, Nripapaadapa,

Raajadruma, Vyaadhighaataka,


Unani Amaltaas, Khyaarshambar.

Siddha/Tamil Sarakkonrai.

Folk Amaltaasa.

Action Flowers and pods—

purgative, febrifugal, astringent,

antibilious. Seed powder—used in


The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of

India indicated the fruit pulp for constipation,

colic, chlorosis and urinary


Pulp of the pod contains anthraquinone

glycosides, sennosides A and

B, rhein and its glucoside, barbaloin,

aloin, formic acid, butyric acid, their

ethyl esters and oxalic acid. Presence

of pectin and tannin is also reported.

Seeds gave galactomannan free sugars

and free amino acids; extract laxative,

carminative, cooling and antipyretic


Flowers gave ceryl alcohol, kaempferol,

rhein and a bianthraquinone

glycoside, fistulin.

Leaves gave free rhein, its glycosides—

sennosides A and B.

Cassia javanica L., a related species

found in West Bengal, Maharashtra

and Tamil Nadu, is used as a substitute

for Cassia fistula.

Dosage Fruit pulp—– g powder.

(API Vol. I.)

Cassia obovata (L.) Collad.

Synonym C. obtusa Roxb.

Family Calsalpiniaceae.

Habitat Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan,

Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra,

Karnataka, Kerala and

Tamil Nadu.

English Spanish, Sudan Senna.

Ayurvedic Maarkandikaa, Svarnapattri.

(related species)

Folk Sonaamukhi, Sanaai.


Cassia sophera Linn. 129

Action An adulterant of the true

senna. Leaves and seeds—purgative

and anthelmintic.

Cassia obtusifolia Linn.

Family Calsalpiniaceae.

Habitat FromJammu and Himachal

Pradesh to West Bengal, also in

central and western India, up to an

altitude of , m.

Ayurvedic Chakramarda, Prapunnaada.

Folk Chakondaa, Chakwar,


Action Pods—Antidysenteric,

antibacterial, antifungal. Seeds—

used for ringwormand skin diseases

also for cough, cold, asthma, and as

a mild purgative in liver complaints.

Cassia occidentalis Linn.

Family Calsalpiniaceae.

Habitat Throughout India, up to

an altitude of , m.

English Coffee Senna, Foetid

Cassia, Negro Coffee.

Ayurvedic Kaasamarda, Kaasaari.

Unani Kasondi.

Siddha/Tamil Paeyaavarai, Thagarai.

Folk Kasondi (bigger var.).

Action Purgative, diuretic,

febrifugal, expectorant, stomachic.

Leaves—used internally and

externally in scabies, ringworm and

other skin diseases. A hot decoction

is given as an antiperiodic. Seeds—

used for cough, whooping cough

and convulsions. Roasted seeds

(roasting destroys the purgative

property) are mixed with coffee for


The pods contain sennosides and

anthraquinones; seeds polysaccharides,

galactomannan; leaves dianthronic

hetroside; pericarp apigenin; roots

emodol; plant xanthone—cassiolin;

seeds phytosterolin; flowers physcion

and its glucosides, emodin and betasitosterol.

The volatile oil obtained from the

leaves, roots and seeds showed antibacterial

and antifungal activity.

The seeds, when fed to animals, resulted

in weight loss and also were

found to be toxic to experimental animals.

Leaves are preferred to quinine as

a tonic, seeds are considered as a haemateinic

toxic and root is used as a hepatic


Dosage Seed—– g powder;

leaf—– ml juice; root bark—– ml decoction. (CCRAS.)

Cassia sophera Linn.

Family Calsalpiniaceae.

Habitat In gardens as hedge

throughout India.

English Sophera Senna.

Ayurvedic Kaasamarda.

Unani Kasondi.

Siddha/Tamil Ponnaavaarai.

Action Leaves, seeds, bark—

cathartic; considered specific for


130 Cassia tora Linn.

ringworm and other skin diseases

(bark may cause dermatitis); used

for bronchitis and asthma.

A paste of leaves is used for treating

piles. An infusion of fresh leaves,

with sugar, is given in jaundice. Plant

is spasmolytic. Alcoholic extract of

leaves is intestinal and bronchial muscle


The leaves contain a flavone glycoside

and sennoside. Root bark contains

anthraquinones, chrysophanol,

physcion and beta-sitosterol. Heartwood

gave isomeric derivatives, ,,


along with sopheranin, beta-sitosterol,

chrysophanol, physcion, emodin, -

octadecanol and quercetin.

Cassia tora Linn.

Family Calsalpiniaceae.

Habitat Throughout India as

a weed.

English Sickle Senna, Ringworm


Ayurvedic Chakramarda, Chakri,

Prapunnaada, Dadrughna, Meshalochana,

Padmaata, Edagaja.

Unani Penwaad Taarutaa.

Siddha/Tamil Ushittgarai.

Folk Chakavad, Daadamaari.

Action Leaves—taken internally

to prevent skin diseases; applied

against eczema and ringworm;

pounded and applied on cuts, act

like tincture of iodine. Seeds,

soaked in water, are taken for

spermatorrhoea. A paste made of

equal parts of leaves and seeds is

given for jaundice. Pods are used in


Along with other therapeutic applications,

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia

of India indicated the use of the seed in

paralysis and hemiplegia as a supporting


The leaves contain chrysophanol,

aloe-emodin, rhein and emodin. Mature

leaves possess purgative properties

and are sometimes utilized to adulterate

the true senna; also used as an

antiperiodic and anthelmintic.

The leaf extract exhibited antifungal

activity against the ringworm fungus

Microsporon nanum.

Seeds contain anthraquinone glycosides,

naptho-pyrone glycosides, cassiaside

and rubrofusarin--beta-gentiobioside.

These constituents showed

significant hepatoprotective activity.

Thrachrysone, isolated from seeds,

showed stronger antioxidant activity

than tocopherol and BHA.

Chrysophanic acid--anthrone, extracted

from the seed, was found to be

active against ringworm fungi.

Dosage Seed—– g powder. (API

Vol. III.)

Cassytha filiformis Linn.

Family Lauraceae

Habitat Throughout the greater

parts of India.

English Doddar-Laurel, Love-Vine.

Ayurvedic Amarvalli, Aakaashbel.

(Cuscuta reflexa is also known as



Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don. 131

Siddha/Tamil Erumaikkottan.

Action Astringent, diuretic (given

in dropsy and anasarca, also in

biliousness, chronic dysentery,

haemoptysis and for supressing

lactation after still-birth); piscicidal

and insecticidal (used as a hair-wash

for killing vermin).

The plant contains aporphine alkaloids.

Castanea sativa Mill.

Synonym C. vulgaris Lam.

Family Fagaceae.

Habitat Darjeeling, Khasi Hills,

Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

English Spanish Chestnut, Sweet


Folk Singhaaraa (not to be confused

with water-chestnut, Tripa natans


Action Leaves—astringent,

antitussive and febrifuge (used

for fevers and diseases of the

respiratory tract). An infusion is

used as a gargle in pharyngitis,

proxysmal coughs, catarrh and

whooping cough. Nuts—extract, as

platelet inhibitor in thrombosis and


The leaves contain tannins (–%)

flavone glycosides, triterpenoids, ursolic

acid, lupeol and betulin. Heartwood

contains .%tannins and .%nontannins.

Thewood and bark contain – and –% tannins respectively.

Nuts are eaten raw, roasted or boiled

like potatoes. Nuts contain protein,

calcium, phosphorus, thiamine, riboflavin

and niacin; also tocopherols.

Nuts, crushed with vinegar and barley

flour, are used against indurations of

breast.The extract of nuts exhibits possibility

of its use as a platelet inhibitor in

thrombosis and atherosclerosis. Leaves

are inhibitors of pectinolytic enzymes.

American chestnut and European

chestnut are equated with Castanea

dentata andC. sativa,respectively. Both

are used for respiratory ailments.

Casuarina equisetifolia Linn.

Family Casuarinaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in coastal

regions of Peninsular India.

English Casuarina, She-Oak,

Australian or Whistling Pine,


Ayurvedic Jhaau, Vilaayati Jhaau.

Siddha/Tamil Savukku.

Action Bark—astringent, antidiarrhoeal.


used in colic. Aerial parts—


The plant contains kaempferol glycoside,

quercetin glycoside, cupressuflavone,

tannins, shikimic acid, quinic

acid, amino acids, sugars.

Catharanthus roseus

(L.) G. Don.

Synonym Vinca rosea L.

Lochnera rosea (L.) Reichub.

Family Apocynaceae.


132 Cayratia carnosa (Wall.) Gagnep.

Habitat Commonly grown in

Indian gardens.

English Madagascar Periwinkle

(Vinca major L. Pich. and Vinca

minor Linn. are known as Greater

Periwinkle and Lesser Periwinkle


Folk Sadaabahaar, Nayantaaraa,


Action The cytotoxic dimeric

alkaloids, present in Madagascar

Periwinkle, Catharanthus roseus L.

Don, Vincea rosea L., and used for

the treatment of certain type of

cancer, have not been found in V.


Catharanthus roseus (Madagascar

Periwinkle) : cytostatic, anti-neoplastic,

slows down growth of cells by supressing

immune response. Vinblastine

and Vincristine are said to prolong

remission of leukaemia to more than

five years. These chemotherapeutic

agents are toxic to the nervous system.

Vinblastine is also used for breast

cancer and Hodgkin's disease.

Vinca major L. Pich. (Greater Periwinkle):

astringent, anti-haemorrhagic;

used for menorrhagia and leucorrhoea.

Contains indole alkaloids

including reserpinine and serpentine;


Vinca minor Linn. (Lesser Periwinkle):

astringent; circulatory stimulant.

Leaves—stomachic and bitter. Root—

hypotensive. Used for gastric catarrh,

chronic dyspepsia, flatulence; also for

headache, dizziness, behaviours disorders.

A homoeopathic tincture is given

for internal haemorrhages.

Cayratia carnosa (Wall.) Gagnep.

Synonym C. trifolia (L.) Domin.

Vitis carnosa Wall.

V.trifolia Linn.

Family Vitaceae.

Habitat Throughout the warmer

parts of India, from Jammu and

Rajasthan to Assam and up to

 m.

Ayurvedic Gandira.

Siddha/Tamil Tumans.

Action Leaves, seeds, roots—astringent, applied to ulcers

and boils. Leaves—iaphoretic

(recommended in high fever). Rootgiven

in anaemic conditions. Aerial

parts—NS active, hypothermic.

The stems, leaves and roots

contain hydrocyanic acid. Presence

of delphinidin and cyanidin is

reported in the leaves.

Cayratia pedata (Wall.) Gagnep.

Synonym Vitis pedata Vahl exWall.

Family Vitaceae.

Habitat Bihar, West Bengal and

Assam, up to  m.

Ayurvedic Godhaapadi.

Siddha/Tamil Kattuppirandai.

Action Leaves—stringent and refrigerant

(used for ulcers, diarrhoea,

uterine and other fluxes).

Aerial parts—iuretic, spasmolytic.

Cedrela toona Roxb.

Synonym Toona ciliata M. Roem.


Cedrus deodara (Roxb.) Loud. 133

Family Meliaceae.

Habitat Sub-Himalayan tract,

Assam and throughout hilly regions

of Central and South India.

English Red Cedar, Toon, Indian

Mahogany tree.

Ayurvedic Tuunikaa, NandiVrksha.

Siddha/Tamil Tunumaram,

Santhana Vembu.

Folk Toonaa.

Action Bark—stringent, antidysenteric,

antiperiodic. Flowers—emmenagogue. Leaf—spasmolytic, hypoglycaemic, antiprotozoal.

Bark and heartwood yielded tetranortriterpenoids,

including toonacilin.

Heartwood also gave a coumarin, geranylgernalol

and its fatty esters. Toonacilin

and its -hydroxy derivatives are


Cedrus deodara (Roxb.) Loud.

Synonym C. libani Barrel. var.

deodara Hook. f.

Family Pinaceae.

Habitat North-western Himalayas

from Kashmir to Garhwal, from

, to , m.

English Himalayan Cedar, Deodar.

Ayurvedic Devadaaru, Suradruma,

Suradaaru, Devakaashtha,

Devadruma, Saptapatrika, Daaru,

Bhadradaaru, Amarataru, Amaradaaru,

Daaruka, Devaahvaa,

Surataru, Surabhuruha.

Unani Deodaar.

Siddha/Tamil Thevathaaram.

Action Bark—ecoction is

used internally as astringent,

antidiarrhoeal and febrifuge.

Essential oil—ntiseptic (used in

skin diseases).

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of

India indicated the use of the heartwood

in puerperal diseases.

The wood contains sesquiterpenoids;

exhibits sapasmolytic activity. Alcoholic

extract of the wood showed

marked anti-inflammatory activity in

mice; alcoholic extract showed antibacterial


The wood possesses diaphoretic, diuretic

and carminative properties, and

is used in fevers and in pulmonary and

urinary disorders.

Himalayan Cedarwood Oil contains

two major sesquiterpenoids—lphaand

beta-himchalenes. Presence of butyric

and caproic acids is also reported.

The oil shows in vitro antibacterial and

antifungal activity. It increases vascular

permeability. Needles, on steam

distillation, yield a volatile oil, rich in

borneol and its esters. An alcoholic extract

of the needles shows significant

antibacterial activity against diptheria

bacteria. The juice shows antiviral activity

against tobacco mosaic virus and

potato virus.

The bark contains -C methyltaxifoline,

dihydroquercetin, -C methylquercetin,

quercetin, sitosterol, and

tannins .%, non-tannins .%

(varies with the age of the tree). An

alcoholic extract of the bark shows

significant activity against diptheria

bacteria; aqueous extract of the dried

bark showed anti-inflammatory activC

134 Ceiba pentandra (Linn.) Gaertn.

ity against acute and chronic inflammations.

Aqueous extract of the bark

is found effective in reducing sugar

content of diabetic patient' urine and

blood to normal levels.

Dosage Heartwood—– g

powder. (API Vol. IV.)

Ceiba pentandra (Linn.) Gaertn.

Synonym Eriodendron anafractuosum


Family Bombacaceae.

Habitat West and South India.

Often found planted around villages

and temples.

English Kapok, White Silk Cotton.

Ayurvedic Kuuta-Shaalmali, Shveta


Siddha/Tamil Ielavum (Tamil).

Action Gum—axative, astringent,

demulcent (given in painful micturition).

Unripe fruit—stringent.

Root—iuretic, antidiabetic, antispasmodic

(used in dysentery).

Flowers—axative; used in lochiorrhoea.

Unripe pods—sed in

vertigo and migraine. Seed oil—used in rheumatism.

The plant contains linarin (acacetin

-rutinoside). Seeds contain fatty acids,

diglycerides andphospholipids. Leaves

are considered a good source of iron

and calcium. Stem-bark extract—ntimicrobial.

Celastrus paniculatus Willd.

Family Celastraceae.

Habitat Sub-Himalayan tract up to

, m and South Indian hills.

English Staff tree, Intellect tree.

Ayurvedic Jyotishmati, Paaraavatpadi.

Kangunikaa, Kanguni, Vegaa,

Maalkaanguni, Svarnalatikaa,

Kaakaandaki, Katuveekaa.

Unani Maalkangani.

Siddha/Tamil Vaaluluvai.

Action Seeds—ervine and

brain tonic, diaphoretic, febrifugal,

emetic. Seed-oil—sed for treating

mental depression, hysteria and for

improving memory; also used for

scabies, eczema, wounds, rheumatic

pains, paralysis. A decoction of

seeds is given in gout, rheumatism,

paralysis and for treating leprosy

and other skin diseases. Leaves—antidysenteric, emmenagogue.

Root— paste of root-bark is

applied to swollen veins and

pneumonic affections.

Key application As a tranquilizer

(Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia)

and brain tonic (The Ayurvedic

Pharmacopoeia of India). The

Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

indicated the use of ripe seed in

leucoderma and vitiligo.

Theseeds are reported to contain the

alkaloids, celastrine and paniculatine,

which are the active principles of the


In experimental animals, the drug

showed lowering of leptazol toxicity,

motor activity and amphetamine toxicity,

and raising the capacity for learning

process. It showed significant CNS

depressant effect and a clear synergism


Centaurea behen Linn. 135

with pentobarbital. The seed extract

showed hypolipidaemic effect and prevented

atherogenesis in rabbits.

The seed oil showed tranquillizing

effect and hastened the process

of learning in experimental animals.

It produced fall in blood pressure in

anaesthetized dog, depressed the heart

of frog, and was found to be toxic to


In addition to the seed, % alcoholic

extract of the plant showed sedative,

anti-inflammatory and antipyretic,

anti-ulcerogenic effect in experimental


Methanolic extract of flowers

showed both analgesic and antiinflammatory

activities experimentally.

Dosage Ripe seed, devoid of

capsule wall—– g; oil—–

drops. (API Vol. II.)

Celosia argentea Linn.

Family Amaranthaceae.

Habitat A common weed,

occurring throughout India.

English Wild Cock' Comb.

Ayurvedic Shitivaaraka, Vitunna.

Siddha/Tamil Pannaikeerai.

Folk Shveta-murga, Sarvari,

Sarvali, Surali.

Action Flowers—sed in menorrhagia,

blood-dysentery. Seeds—antidiarrhoeal, also used in stomatitis.

Whole plant—ntibacterial,

antiscorbutic and cooling.

Tender leaves are rich in potassium

and in B and B. An alcoholic extract

of the leaves and its flavonoids showed

antibacterial activity, which was comparable

to ampicillin and streptomycin.

The seeds contain .–% of protein

and .–.% of a fatty oil. The

seeds and roots yield triterpenoid saponins.

An alcoholic extract of the seeds

possess significant diuretic activity.

Celosia cristata Linn.

Family Amaranthaceae.

Habitat Indian gardens, as


English Cock' Comb.

Ayurvedic Jataadhaari.

Folk Laal Murgaa.

Action Seeds—emulcent; used

for painful micturition, dysentery.

Flowers—sed in menorrhagia and


The plant contains betanin, and several

sterols. The inflorescence contain

amarantin, isoamarantin, celosianin

and isocelosianin. The seeds contain

.–.% of protein and yield .–.% of a fatty oil.

Choline esters of hyaluronic acid

from the plant, when fed to rats,

showed antiulcer and gastro-protective


Centaurea behen Linn.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Indigenous to Iran.

Imported into India.


136 Centella asiatica (Linn.) Urban.

English White Rhapontic.

Unani Behman Safed, Behmanabyaz.

Action Root—ervine and anabolic

tonic, strengthens central nervous

system; also used in jaundice and

affections of the kidney.

The roots contain taraxasterol, its acetate

and myristate.

Centella asiatica (Linn.) Urban.

Synonym Hydrocotyle asiatica


Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat In marshy places throughout

India up to  m.

English Asiatic Pennywort, Indian


Ayurvedic Manduukaparni,

Manduukaparnikaa, Maanduuki,

Saraswati, Brahma-manduuki.

Siddha/Tamil Vallaarai.

Action Adaptogen, central

nervous system relaxant, peripheral

vasodilator, sedative, antibiotic,

detoxifier, blood-purifier, laxative,

diuretic, emmenagogue. Used

as a brain tonic for improving

memory and for overcoming

mental confusion, stress, fatigue,

also used for obstinate skin diseases

and leprosy.

Key application Extracts orally

to treat stress-induced stomach

and duodenal ulcers; topically to

accelerate healing, particularly

in cases of chronic postsurgical

and post trauma wounds; also

to treat second and third degree

burns. Patients suffering from

venous insufficiency were treated

with a titrated extract of the drug.


Used in Indian medicine as a brain

tonic and sedative. (Indian Herbal


Major constituents of the plant are:

triterpenoid saponins—rahmoside,

asiaticoside, thankuniside; alkaloids

(hydrocotyline); bitter principles (vellarin).

Brahmoside, present in the plant, is

reported to exhibit tranquilizing and

anabolic activity. Raw leaves are eaten

or plant decoction is drunk to treat


Asiaticoside, extracted from leaves,

gave encouraging results in leprosy. It

dissolves the waxy covering of Bacillus

leprae. Centelloside has also been

found useful in leprosy. Asiaticoside

reduced the number tubercular lesions

in the liver, lungs, nerve ganglia and

spleen in experimental animals. Another

derivative of asiaticoside, oxyasiaticoside,

inhibits growth of Tubercle

bacillus at a concentration of .ml/ml

Asiaticosides are also hyperglycaemic.

The asiatic acid acts against resistant

bacteria, particularly Mycobacterium

tuberculosis and M. leprae as well as

Gram-positive cocci.

Asiaticosides elevate blood glucose,

triglycerides and cholesterol levels.

They seem to decrease blood urea

nitrogen and acid phosphatase levels.

(Pharmacological findings. NaturalMedicines




Centratherum anthelminticum Kuntze. 137

Boiled leaves are eaten for urinary

tract infections, and unfiltered juice for

scrofula and syphilis.

Extract of the fresh plant significantly

inhibits gastric ulceration by cold restraint

stress in rats.

In research, using rats, the herb

exhibited protective effect against alcohol-

induced and aspirin-induced ulcers.

(J Exp Biol, , Feb, (), –.)

Dosage Whole plant—– g (API

Vol. IV.)

Centipeda orbicularis Lour.

Synonym C. minima (Linn.) A.Br.

& Asch.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat In damp places throughout

the plains and low hills in India.

English Sneezewort.

Ayurvedic Kshavaka, Chhikkini,


Folk Nak-chhikani.

Action Used for the treatment of

rhinitis, sinusitis, nasopharyngeal

tumors and obstructions, asthma

and cold; also used in hemicrania.

The plant extract showed a good antitussive

and expectorant activity on

mice. The flavonoids, sesquiterpenes

and amide exhibited significant antiallergy

activity in passive cutaneous anaphylaxis

(PCA) test.

Dosage Seed—– g powder.


Centratherum anthelminticum


Synonym Vernonia anthelmintica


Family Asteraceae.

Habitat Throughout India up to

,min theHimalayas and Khasi


English Purple Flea-bane, Achenes.

Ayurvedic Aranya-Jiraka, Vanajiraka,

Kaalijiri, Karjiri. Somaraaji (also

equated with Psoralea corylifolia

Linn., Papilionaceae).

Unani Kamoon barri.

Siddha/Tamil Kaattu seerakam.

Action Anthelmintic (against

earthworms and tapeworms),

stomachic, diuretic; used in skin


Delta--avenasterol is the main active

principle of seeds. Seed oil contains

vernasterol. Seeds bitter principle

is a demanolide lactone. Centratherin

and germacranolide from the leaves

and stem have been isolated. Leaves

contain abscisic acid. EtOH extract of

achenes exhibited good results in giardiasis.

Various plant parts are used in

syphilis. Clinical studies on vircarcika

eczema validated the use of the drug in

skin diseases.

The drug exhibited smooth musclerelaxant

and hypotensive activity in animals.

Dosage Seed—– g powder.



138 Cephaelis ipecacuanha (Brot.) A. Rich.

Cephaelis ipecacuanha

(Brot.) A. Rich.

Synonym Psychotria ipecacuanha


Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Native to tropical America.

Now cultivated in Darjeeling,

Assam, in the Nilgiris, and in


English Ipecac, Ipecacuanha.

Action Root—ntiprotozal,

expectorant (in low doses), diaphoretic,

emetic (in high doses); used in

amoebic dysentery, stubborn cough,

whopping cough (for liquefying

bronchial phlegm).

Key application As expectorant,

emetic. (The British Herbal


The root contains isoquinoline alkaloids

(consisting mainly of emetine

and cephaeline); tannins (ipecacuanha

and ipecacuanhic acid; glycosides

including a monoterpene isoquinoline

derivative); saponins; a mixture of glycoproteins;

starch; choline; resins.

The alkaloids are clinically useful in

the treatment of amoebiasis.

Emetine and cephaeline are emetic

due to their irritating effect on stomach;

cephaeline is more toxic. Emetine

is a standard antiamoebic principle. In

smaller doses, both are expectorant.

The fluid extract is  times stronger

than the syrup of the crude drug. The

powder is toxic at – g.

Emetine accumulates in liver, lungs,

kidneys and spleen; traces are detectable

after – days. (Francis


Ceratonia siliqua Linn.

Family Caesalpinaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in Punjab.

English Locust Bean; St. John'

Bread, Carob tree.

Unani Kharnub Shaami.

Action Pod and husk from seed—antidiarrhoeal (stools in gastroenteritis

and colitis are known to

solidify within  h).

The pods contain tannin from .

to .%.

Pulp of the pod contains –%

sugars, fats, starch, protein, amino

acids, gallic acid; leucoanthocyanins

and related phenolics. Leaves contain


Ceratophyllum demersum Linn.

Family Ceratophyllaceae.

Habitat All over India from

temperate to tropics, in ponds and


English Coontail, Hornwort.

Ayurvedic Shaivaala (also equated

with Vallisneria spiralis Linn.,

Hydrocharitaceae), Jalnili, Jalaja.

Unani Tuhlub, Pashm Vazg.

Siddha/Tamil Velampasi.

Folk Sevaar.

Action Purgative, antibilious,


The herb is rich in protein, calcium

and magnesium; contains ferredoxin

and plastocyanin. EtOH (%)



Ceropegia bulbosa Roxb. 139

Dosage Whole plant—– ml juice; – ml decoction.


Cereus grandiflorus Mill.

Family Cactaceae.

Habitat Indian gardens.

English Cereus, Night Blooming

Cereus, Sweet Scented Cactus.

Folk Nivadung Paanchkoni


Action Fresh, young shoots—ardiac

stimulant, anti-inflammatory.

Theplant contains glucose, fructose,

starch, amino acids and citric, fumaric,

maleic, malonic and oxalic acids.

Tyramine, a cardiotonic amine, can

strengthen heart muscle action.

Theflower, stemand young shoots of

cereus can stimulate heart and dilate

peripheral vessels, as well as stimulate

spinal cord motor neurons. The

reputed digitalis effect of cereus is

claimed to be non-cumulative. (NaturalMedicines



Ceriops candolleana Arn.

Synonym C. tagal (Perr.)

C.B. Robins.

Family Rhizophoraceae.

Habitat Muddy shores and tidal

creeks of India.

English Compound Cymed


Folk Kirrari (Sindh, Maharashtra).

Chauri (Maharashtra). Goran

(Bengal, Sundarbans).

Siddha/Tamil Pandikutti, Pavrikutti,

Pavrikutti, Kandal, Chira.

Action Plant—stringent. Stem

bark—ypoglycaemic. Bark—haemostatic. A decoction is used

to stop haemorrhage and is applied

to malignant ulcers; also given after

child birth.

Shoots—sed as a substitute for quinine.

The leaves (dry basis) gave .%

tannin, .% non-tannin; twig bark

.%, tannin, .% non-tannin; bole

bark .% tannin, .% non-tannin.

Presence of sitosterol, cholesterol,

campesterol, stigmasterol, -isofucosterol

and a hydrocarbon, squalene,

is reported in the leaves.

Ceropegia bulbosa Roxb.

Family Asclepiadacae.

Habitat Punjab and South India.

Folk Khappar-kaddu, Bhuu-tumbi,

Paataal-tumbi. Gilothi. Galot

(Punjab). Gilodya.

Action Tuberous root—sed for

diarrhoea and dysentery.

The fresh tubers are eaten after

removing the bitterness by boiling.

The bitter principle is an alkaloid,

ceropegine. The tuber contains .%

starch and possesses refrigerant property.


140 Ceropegia juncea Roxb.

The aqueous extract of edible Ceropegia

sp. contains steriods, polyphenols,

sugars and potassium. It potentiated

pentobarbitone hypnosis and exhibited

analgesic and diuretic activities.

It also antagonized histamine-induced

asphyxia in guinea pigs.

C. candelabrum L. var. biflora (L.)

M. Y. Ansari, synonym C. biflora L.,

C. tuberosa Roxb., C. intermedia auct.

non-Wt., are also equated with Bhuutumbi,


Ceropegia juncea Roxb.

Family Asclepiadaceae.

Habitat Peninsular India.

Folk Kanvel (Maharashtra). Bellagada

(Telugu, Andhra Pradesh).

(Soma is a disputed synonym)

Action The plant extract exhibits

tranquilizing, hypotensive, hepatoprotective,

antiulcer, antipyretic,

topically anaesthetic activities in

experimental animals.

A pyridine alkaloid, cerpegin, together

with a triterpene, lupeol has

been isolated from the plant from

Tiruneveli, Tamil Nadu.

Cetraria islandica (Linn.) Ach.

Family Parmeliaceae.

Habitat Lichen found in the hills

from Tehri Garhwal to East Nepal.

English Cetraria, Iceland Lichen,

Iceland Moss.

Ayurvedic Shaileya (black var.)

Folk Charela (black var.)

Action A food and tonic in

convalescence and exhausting

diseases. Used for chronic catarrh

and bronchitis.

Key application In irritation of

the oral and pharyngeal mucous

membrane and accompanying

dry cough. (German Commission

E, ESCOP.) As demulcent. (The

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.) As

a bitter remedy for lack of appetite.


Themoss contains lichen acids (depsidones);

mainly cetraric, protocetraric,

fumarprotocetraric, lichesteric

and usnic acids; polysaccharides about

%—ichenin % and isolichenin

%; also furan derivatives, fatty acid

lactones and terpenes. Lichenin is

a moss-starch. Demulcent, expectorant

and antiemetic properties are due

mainly to the polysaccharides.

The usnic acid and protolichesterinic

acid in the lichen and its crude,

aqueous extract showed antibacterial

activity against several pathogenic bacteria.

Contraindicated in gastric or duodenal

ulcers due to its mucosa irritating

properties. (Sharon M. Herr.)

Lozenges containing  mg of an

aqueous extract of Iceland moss, were

determined to be positive in % cases

with good gastric tolerance. (ESCOP


Cheiranthus cheiri Linn.

Family Cruciferae; Brassicaceae.


Chenopodium ambrosioides Linn. 141

Habitat Native to South Europe,

grown as an ornamental.

English Wall-flower, Gilli Flower.

Unani Tudri (Surkh, Safed, Zard)

Action Flowers—ardioactive,

tonic, antispasmodic, purgative,

emmenagogue, deobstruent (used

in liver diseases and sexual debility).

Seeds—stomachic, diuretic,

expectorant (in bronchitis and

asthma); also goitrogenic. Juice of

leaves and seeds—ntibacterial.

Flowers contain flavonoids (quercetin

and rhamnetin derivatives); seeds

contain high levels of cardiac aglycones

( cardiac glycosides have been isolated);

oil contains cherinine, a glucoside

of the digitalis group.

In Unani medicine, the drug is used

as a tonic to themale reproductive system,

but recent findings do not validate

its therapeutic use. The flavonoid,

kaempferol, isolated from the young

plant, inhibits spermatogenesis and alters

leydig cell number and diameter,

affecting the fertility.

Chenopodium album Linn.

Family Chenopodiaceae.

Habitat A common herb. Its

leaves and tender twigs are used as

vegetable and fodder.

English Fat Hen, Lamb' Quarter,

White Goosefoot, Wild Spinach,


Ayurvedic Vaastuuka.

Unani Bathuaa, Baathu.

Siddha/Tamil Paruppukeerai.

Folk Bathuaa, Chilli, Chilli-shaak.

Action Laxative, anthelmintic

against round-and hookworms,

blood-purifier, antiscorbutic.

An infusion is used for hepatic

disorders, spleen enlargement,

biliousness, intestinal ulcers. Used

for treating burns.

The leaves yield ascaridole, used for

treating round-and hookworms. The

oil also contain traces of ascaridole.

Plant contains % saponins. Cryptomeridiol,

isolated from the seeds,

showed significant growth promoting


Chenopodium ambrosioides


Family Chenopodiaceae.

Habitat Native to West Indies and

South America. Now distributed

in South India, Bengal, Kashmir

and Maharashtra in wet places with

cultivated lands.

English Indian Wormseed, Sweet

Pigweed, Mexican Tea.

Ayurvedic Sugandh-vaastuuka,


Siddha/Tamil Kattasambadam.

Folk Khatuaa.

Action Antispasmodic, pectoral,

haemostatic, emmenagogue.

Employed in treating nervous

affections, particularly chorea.

Dried herb—nthelmintic against

round and hookworms.


142 Chenopodium botrys Linn.

Ascaridole, an active constituent of

the oil, is highly active against roundworms,

hookworms and small, but not

large, tapeworms. It is highly toxic and

can cause serious side effects.

The oil has been found useful in

amoebic dysentery and intestinal infections

(should be usedwith caution).

Leaves contain kaempferol--rhamnoside

and ambroside.

Adecoction of the herb is given as an

internal haemostatic and the infusion

as an enema for intestinal ulceration.

The infusion is sudorific and diuretic.

The oil exhibits antimicrobial and

strong antifungal activity against human

pathogenic fungi.

Chenopodium botrys Linn.

Family Chenopodiaceae.

Habitat The Himalaya, from

Kashmir to Sikkim.

English Feather Geramium,


Folk Jangaddi (Tibbet). Sahanik,

Vaastuuka (Ladakh).

Action Stimulant, diuretic,

carminative, antispasmodic, emmenagogue,

pectoral. Used in asthma,

catarrh; diseases of the stomach and

liver. Seeds are considered toxic.

The herb contains flavonoids (including

chrysoeriol and quercetin), also

several sesquiterpenoids. Betaine is

found in all parts of the plant.

Fresh herb yields an essential oil; Indian

oil is reported to be devoid of ascaridole,

the anthelmintic principle.

Chloris gayana Kunth.

Family Poaceae, Gramineae.

Habitat Annual grass introduced

into India from South Africa;

cultivated in tropical and subtropical

low-lying areas where rainfall is less

than  cm.

English Giant Rhodes, Rhodes-


Folk Rhoolsoohullu (Karnataka).

Action A proteinaceous factor,

phytotrophin, isolated from the

grass, was found to have antigenic

properties similar to those of animal

sex hormones and human chorionic


A related species, Chloris incompleta

Roth., known as Bamnaa in Rajasthan

and Mathania in Uttar Pradesh, has

been equated with Ayurvedic classical

herbsManthaanak andTrnaaddhip.

Another species, C. virgata Benth. &

Hook. f., known as Gharaniyaa-ghass

in Rajasthan, is used for the treatment

of colds and rheumatism.

Chlorophytum arundinaceum


Family Liliaceae.

Habitat The Himalaya from Nepal

to Bhutan, Assam and Bihar.

Ayurvedic Shveta-Musali. (Considered

different from Asparagus

adscendens Roxb.)

Unani Musali Safed, Biskandri.

Siddha/Tamil Vallaimusali.

Folk Nising, Tibbati Ginseng.


Chondodendron tomentosum Ruiz et Par. 143

Action Tuber—ervine and

general tonic. The plant is used as

a substitute for onion. Fried powder

of the root is chewed in aphthae of

mouth and throat. A decoction of

the root with turmeric is given in


The roots contain a bibenzyl xyloside,

the steroidal sapogenins, besides

stigmasterol and its glucoside, nonacosane

and tetracosanoic, and triacontanoic


The root extract exhibited good

adaptogenic properties. The fruits

yield a polysaccharide, galactoglucan.

Chlorophytum tuberosum


Family Liliaceae.

Habitat Central and Peninsular

India up to , m.

Ayurvedic Musali, Mushali.

Unani Musali.

Siddha Vallaimusali.

Action Dried tubers are used as


The commercial drug, SafedMusali,

contains the tubers ofC. arundinaceum

Baker, C. tuberosum Baker and C. indicum

(Willd.) Dress, synonym C. attenuatum


C. indicum is found on the hills in

Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and on

the hills near Udaipur in Rajasthan.

Dosage Dried tuber—– g

powder. (CCRAS.)

Chloroxylon swietenia DC.

Family Rutaceae.

Habitat Dry, deciduous forests,

throughout Peninsular India.

English Indian Satinwood tree.

Ayurvedic Provisionally equated

with Bhillotaka.

Siddha/Tamil Karumboraju,

Kudavuboraju, Poraju.

Folk Bhirraa, Bharahula, Raktarohidi.

Action Leaves—nti-inflammatory,

antiseptic. A paste is applied

to wounds; also in rheumatism.

Bark—stringent. A decoction is

used in contusions and for painful

joints. (The wood, its dust, moist

dust of freshly cut wood, cause skin

irritation and dermatitis.)

The bark contains the alkaloids—skimmianine, swietenidins A and B,

chloroxylin and chloroxylonine.

Chloroxylonine is a powerful irritant.

The bark also contains the coumarins

and lignans.

The leaves yield an essential oil

which shows antibacterial and antifungal


Chondodendron tomentosum

Ruiz et Par.

Family Menispermaceae.

Habitat A native of Peru and Brazil.

English False Pareira Brava.

Ayurvedic Paatha, Ambashthaa

(true Pareira is equated with

Cissampelos pareira root).


144 Chonemorpha macrophylla (Roxb.) G. Don.

Action Diuretic (used for chronic

inflammation of urinary passages,

calculus affections, jaundice,

dropsy); also for leucorrhoea,


Roots and stem contain alkaloids,

including delta-tubocurarine and lcurarine.

Tubocurarine is a potent

muscle relaxant. The plant contains

toxic derivatives and must be used in

medicinal doses with caution.

Tubocurarine alkaloid is used as

tubocurarine chloride to paralyse

body' muscles during operations.

Chonemorpha macrophylla

(Roxb.) G. Don.

Synonym C. fragrans (Moon)


Family Apocynaceae.

Habitat Dense moist forests

throughout India up to , m


English Wood Vine.

Ayurvedic Used in the Southern

states as Muurvaa.

Action Powdered root and stems—laxative, antibilious.

Alignan derivative has been isolated

from the stem. It accelerated uptake of

low density lipoprotein by Hep G cell

by .%.

The root bark contains .% of

total alkaloids consisting mainly of

chonemorphine. Chonemorphine dihydrochloride

is an anti-amoebic principle.

It showed in vitro activity against

Entamoeba histolytica and trichomonas

vaginalis. It proved efficacious

against hepatic amoebiasis in golden

hamsters and intestinal amoebiasis in

Wister rats.

Chrozophora plicata Hook. f.

Synonym C. rottleri Klotzsh.

Family Euphorbiaceae.

Habitat Throughout India except

Jammu & Kashmir and northeastern

India as a weed.

Ayurvedic Suuryaavart.

Folk Nilakanthi.

Action Ash of root—echic. Leaf—depurative. Seed—athartic.

Roots contain xanthone glycosides

and a chromone glycoside. Seeds gave

oil rich in linoleate. The plant contains

.% tannin.

Chrysanthemum indicum Linn.

Synonym Pyrethrum indicum L.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Native to China and Japan.

Cultivated as an ornamental.

English Chrysanthemum.

Ayurvedic Shatapatri.

Unani Guldaaudi.

Siddha/Tamil Samanthipoo,


Action Flowers—tomachic, aperient,

anti-inflammatory. Leaves—prescribed in migraine (as circulatory

stimulant). Uses same as those

of chamomile.


Cicer arietinum Linn. 145

The flowers contain daucosterol,

cumambrin-A, glyceryl-l-monobehenate

and palmitic acid. Theflowers also

contain chrysanthemol which showed

strong anti-inflammatory activity in

mice. The flavones, apigenin and luteolin,

are reported to exhibit marked

antitumour activity.

Flowers yield an essential oil containing

camphor (.%), trans-carane-

trans--ol (.%), bornyl acetate

(.%) and sabinene (%).

A related species C. parthenium

(Linn.) Berhh., Feverfew, synonym

Tanacetum parthenium, used for the

management of migraine in Western

herbal, is found in Jammu and Kashmir.

The plant extracts have a powerful

and prostaglandin-independent inhibitory

effect on the secretion of granule

content by leucocytes and platelets.

The inhibition of the agonist-induced

serotonins release by platelets could be

accounted for the benefit in migraine.

The compound responsible for the

anti-secretory activity has been identified

as sesquiterpene alpha-methylenegamma-

lactone derivatives; parthenolide

being the main constituent of the

lactones. (Two fresh or frozen leaves

a day are chewed or capsules or pills

containing  mg of the leaf material

is taken for migraine. Fresh leaves may

cause mouth sores.)

Chukrassia tabularis A. Juss.

Family Meliaceae.

Habitat Hills of Sikkim, Maharashtra,

Tamil Nadu and the


English Bastard Cedar, White

Cedar, Indian Red Wood.

Siddha/Tamil Aglay, Melei Veppu.

Folk Chikrassy.

Action Bark—stringent, febrifuge,

antidiarrhoeic, spasmolytic, diuretic.

The plant is used in skeltal


The bark contains sitosterol, melianone,

scopoletin and ,-di-MeOcoumarin.

The leaves gave quercetin

galactoside, galloyl glucocide and

tannic acid. The bark and young leaves

contain  and % tannin respectively.

Seeds contain tetranortriterpenoids.

EtOH (%) extract of the stem

bark exhibited spasmolytic, hypotensive

and diuretic activity. The saline

extract of seeds showed haemagglutinating


Cicer arietinum Linn.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in most parts of


English Bengal Gram, Chick pea.

Ayurvedic Chanaka, Chanakaa,

Harimantha, Vajimantha, Jivan,


Unani Nakhud.

Siddha/Tamil Kadalai, Mookkukkadalai.

Action Antibilious, hypocholesteremic,


antistress. Acid exudate from

the plant—sed in indigestion,

diarrhoea, dysentery. Seed coat


146 Cichorium endivia Linn.

extract—iuretic, antifungal (externally).

Dry leaf—efrigerant.

Supplementation of gram in wheat

based diet helps in lysine absorption

which is otherwise a limiting amino

acid in cereal based diets. Germination

improves mineral bioavailability.

In germinated gram flour, there is significant

increase in nutritional quality

of protein and very significant increase

in ascorbic acid.

The seeds contain pangamic acid,

the stemina building, antistress and

antihyperlipidemic principle of gram.

Gram is given as preventive diet to

atherosclerosis patients because of its

rich phosphorus content.

Isoflavones, biochanin A and formonetin

exhibited hypolipidermic activity

in rats. Total flavonoids reduced

serum and liver cholesterol in rats.

Seeds reduced postprandial plasma

glucose in human.

Cichorium endivia Linn.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Native to the Mediterranean

region, cultivated mainly in

Northern India.

English Succory, Endive.

Unani Kaasani, Bustaani (Baaghi).

Action Plant—ntibilious. Root—demulcent, febrifuge, diuretic; used

in dyspepsia; as a tonic for liver

and digestive system. Milder than

C. intybus.

Roots contain sesquiterpene lactones.

See C. intybus.

Cichorium intybus Linn.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Native to Europe;

commonly occurs in North West

India, Tamil Nadu and parts of

Andhra Pradesh.

English Chicory, Indian Endive.

Ayurvedic Kaasani.

Unani Kaasani Dashti (Barri).

Siddha/Tamil Kasinikkeerai.

Action Diuretic, laxative, cholagogue,

mild hepatic. Excites

peristalsis without affecting the

functions of the stomach. Used

in liver congestion, jaundice,

rheumatic and gouty joints.

Key application (herb and root) In

loss of appetite, dyspepsia. (German

Commission E.)

The herb contains inulin (up to %

in the root); sesquiterpene lactones

(including lactucin and lactucopicrin);

coumarins (chicoriin, esculetin, esculin,

umbelliferone and scopoletin);

the root includes a series of glucofructosans.

Raw chicory root contains

only citric and tartaric acids; roasted

chicory contains acetic, lactic, pyruvic,

pyromucic, palmitic and tartaric

acids. The carcinogenic hydrocarbons

and floranthene are also reported in

the chicory (a potent carcinogen ,-

benzpyrene has been detected).

Added to coffee, chicory root counteracts

caffeine and helps in digestion.

An alcoholic extract of the plant was

found effective against chlorpromazine-

induced hepatic damage in adult


Cinchona officinalis Linn. 147

albino rats. The cholagogue activity is

attributed to polyphenols.

The sedative effect of chicory is attributed

to lactucopicrin. The sedative

effect antagonizes the stimulant effect

of tea and coffee. (Natural Medicines

Comprehensive Database, .)

The extracts of roots were found to

be active against several bacteria.

Dosage Seed—– g powder;

leaf—– ml juice; root—– ml. (CCRAS.)

Cimicifuga racemosa

(Linn.) Nutt.

Family Ranunculaceae.

Habitat Temperate Himalayas

from Kashmir to Bhutan up to at

,–, m.

English Black Cohosh Root, Black

Snake Root.

Folk Cohosh, Jiuenti (Punjab).

Action Sedative, anti-inflammatory,

antitussive, diuretic, emmenagogue.

Used in homoeopathy for rheumatic

diseases of nervous, hysterical

women, suffering from uterine

affections; also for locomotor


Key application In climacteric

(menopausal), neurovegetative

ailments, premenstrual discomfort

and dysmenorrhoea. (German

Commission E, ESCOP.)

Therhizome contains triterpene glycosides

(including actein, cimigoside,

cimifugine and racemoside; isoflaones

(including formononetin; isoferulic

acid; volatile oil, tannin.

Pharmacological studies have

shown that the menthol extract binds

to oestrogen receptors in vitro and in

rat uteri; this activity is thought to be

due to the presence of formononetin.

Racemoside exhibited antiulcer activity

in mice. Isoferulic acid lowered

body temperature in rats.

The rhizome is hypotensive in animals;

a central nervous system depressant

and antispasmodic in mice; causes

peripheral vasodilation in human.

Also exhibits anti-inflammatory (The

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia) and hypoglycaemic


Actein has been studied for use

in treating peripheral arterial disease.

(ExpandedCommission EMonographs.)

Clinically, the rhizome and root

constituents of Black Cohosh does

not seem to affect hormonal levels,

such as estradiol, LH, FSH and prolactin.

(Natural Medicines Comprehensive

Database, .)

Cimicifuga foetida L. root is used

in bronchial and rheumatic diseases.

Aqueous EtOH extract is used in cosmetic

preparations for protecting skin;

also used for preventing oral diseases

and bad breath.

White Cohosh, used for urinogenital

disorders, is equated with Actea

pachypoda, synonymA. alba, A. rubra.

Blue Cohosh has been identified as

Caulophyllum thalictroides. It is toxic

and abortifacient.

Cinchona officinalis Linn.

Synonym C. robusta How.


148 Cinnamomum camphora (Linn.) Nees & Eberm.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in West Bengal

and Tamil Nadu.

English Crown or Loxa Bark.

Ayurvedic Quinine.

Unani Al-keenaa, Kanakanaa.

Action Antimalarial, febrifuge, astringent,

orexigenic, sapasmolytic.

Also prescribed in amoebic dysentery,

jaundice, atonic dyspepsia,

night cramps. Sometimes causes

gastric and intestinal irritation.

Key application In peptic discomforts

such as bloating and

fullness, loss of appetite. (German

Commission E.)

The bark contains alkaloids quinine

(.–.%); quinidine (.–.%);

cinchonine (.–.%); cinchonidine

(.–.%) and other alkaloids,

quinamine, javanine (.–.%).

The leaves contain quercetin, kaempferol

and avicularin.

Quinine is antimalarial; quinidine is

antiarrhythmic and cardiac tonic, also

used in psychic treatments.

The bark shows potent inhibitory activity

against polymorphonuclear leucocytes;

the activity is attributed to the

alkaloids of the bark. Cinchona may

potentiate coumarin derivatives. In

large doses, it is sedative to CNS and

cardiac plexus.

Quinine is toxic at over  g, quinidine

at  g.

Related Cinchona sp.: C. calisaya

Wedd. (Nilgiris and Sikkim); C. calisaya

Wedd. var. ledgeriana How.

(West Bengal, Khasi Hills and Tamil

Nadu); and C. succirubra Pav. ex Klotz.

(Nilgiris and Annamalis in Tamil

Nadu, Sikkim and West Bengal).

The bark of all the species contain

quinine, quinidine, cinchonine and

cinchonidine and exhibit antimalarial

activity. The alcoholic extract of

C. ledgeriana Moens ex Trimen bark

exhibits antibacterial activity against

Gram-positive bacteria comparable to

sodium penicillin. The extract, however,

exhibits lesser activity than dihydrostreptomycin

sulphate against

Gram-negative bacteria.

Cinnamomum camphora

(Linn.) Nees & Eberm.

Family Lauraceae.

Habitat A tree native to China and

Japan and often grown as a hedge


English Camphor tree.

Ayurvedic Karpura, Ghanasaara,

Chandra, Chandra Prabhaa,

Sitaabhra, Hima-valukaa, Himopala,

Himakara, Shashi, Indu,

Tushaara, Gandhadravya, Shitalraja.

Unani Kaafoor.

Siddha/Tamil Indu, Karupporam.

Action Camphor taken internally in

small doses (toxic in large doses) acts

as a carminative, reflex expectorant

and reflex stimulant of heart and

circulation as well as respiration.

Also used as a sedative and nervous

depressant in convulsions, hysteria,

epilepsy, chorea. Topically used as

a rubefacient and mild analgesic.


Cinnamomum cassia Blume. 149

Key application Externally in

catarrhal diseases of the respiratory

tract and muscular rheumatism;

internally in hypotonic circulatory

regulation disorders, Catarrhal

diseases of the respiratory tract.

(German Commission E.)

The plant contains a volatile oil

comprising camphor, safrole, linalool,

eugenol and terpeneol. It also contains

lignans (including secoisosolariciresinol

dimethyl ether and kusunokiol).

Safrole is thought to be carcinogenic.

Th e leaf oil is a natural source of

linalool (.%); also contained citronellal


Camphor in concentration of 

mcg/ml completely inhibits the growth

of vibro parahaemolyticus, one of the

causative agents of diarrhoea and dysentery.

Ethanolic extract (%) of

fruits show antibacterial activity

against several Gram-positive and

Gram-negative bacteria. The essential

oil from the plant possesses antifungal

activity against many fungi.

Camphor is toxic at – g.

Dosage Concentrate—– mg


Cinnamomum cassia Blume.

Synonym C. aromaticum Nees.

Family Lauraceae.

Habitat Native to China, Indonesia

and Vietnam.

English Chinese Cinnamon, Cassia


Ayurvedic Tvak, Daalchini (bark).

Siddha/Tamil Lavangappattai.

Action Antispasmodic, carminative,

antiputrescent, antidiarrhoeal,

antiemetic, antimicrobial, mild

analgesic. Used for flatulent

dyspepsia, colic, irritable bowel,

diverticulosis; also for influenza

and colds.

Key application In loss of appetite,

dyspeptic complaints such as mild

spasma of gastrointestinal tract,

bloating, flatulence. (German

Commission E, The British Herbal

Pharmacopoeia, ESCOP.)

The bark yields an essential oil containing

cinnamaldehyde (.%) and

eugenol (.%) as major constituents.

Cinnamaldehyde is a weak CNS

stimulant at low doses and a depressant

at high doses and has spasmolytic

activity. It is hypotensive, hypoglycaemic

and increases peripheral blood

flow; it reduces platelet aggregability

by inhibiting both cyclooxygenase and

lipoxygenase pathways of arachidonic

acid metabolism.

Aqueous extract of the bark shows

significant antiallergic activity in

guinea pig. Diterpenes (Cinncassiols)

are thought to be responsible for

atleast some of the antiallergic effects.

The herb inhibited ulcers induced

by ethanol, also ulcers induced by

phenylbutazone; failed to prevent ulcers

induced by indomethacin. (Planta

Med , (), –.)

The extract, when administered

orally to rats with nephritis, prevents

the increase of protein level in urine.

The bark markedly reduces blood

pressure in experimental rats; exhibits

tranquilizing effect and is used as


150 Cinnamomum tamala.

an antiepileptic and sedative agent in

drugs of TCM.

Cinnamomum tamala.

Family Lauraceae.

Habitat Thesubtropical Himalayas,

Khasi and Jaintia Hills.

English Indian Cassia, Lignea.

Ayurvedic Tejapatra, Patra,

Patraka, Utkat, Tamaalpatra,

Naalukaa, Naalikaa.

Unani Saleekhaa, Saazaj Hindi (Also

equated with Zarnab/Telispattar

by National Formulary of Unani

Medicine, Part I.)

Siddha/Tamil Talishpattiri (now

equated with the leaf of Abies

webbiana); Lavangappattiri.

Folk Tejpaata.

Action Leaf—arminative,

antidiarrhoeal, spasmolytic, antirheumatic,


Essential oil—ungicidal.

The oil from bark contains cinnamaldehyde

(–%) as major constituent.

(See.C.cassia.) Leaves from

Nepal yield a volatile oil, containing

mainly linalool .%; cinnamaldehyde

.%, alpha-and beta-pinene, pcymene

and limonene.

Cinnamomum wighti Meissn. is also

equated with Tejapatra. The bud,

known as Sirunaagappoo in Siddha/

Tamil, is used as Naagakeshara (black

var.). (Naagakeshara is obtained from

Mesua ferra and Dillenia pentagyne.)

C. impressinervium Meissn. (Sikkim)

and C. obtusifolium (Roxb.) Nees

(theCentral and EasternHimalayas up

to , m, Assam and Andaman Islands)

are related species of Cinnamomum.

The leaves and bark contain cinnamaldehyde.

Dosage Dried leaves—– g

powder. (API Vol. I.)

Cinnamomum zeylanicum.

Synonym C. verum Persl.

Family Lauraceae.

Habitat Western Ghats at low

levels. Plantations of cinnamon are

confined to Kerala State.

English Cinnamon, Ceylon


Ayurvedic Tvak, Daaruchini,

Chochaa, Choncha, Varaanga,

Utkata, Daarusitaa (bark).

Unani Daarchini (bark).

Siddha/Tamil Elavangappattai.

Folk Daalchini.

Action Bark—arminative, astringent,

antispasmodic, expectorant,

haemostatic, antiseptic. Leaf—antidiabetic. Ground cinnamon is

used in diarrhoea and dysentery;

for cramps of the stomach, gastric

irritation; for checking nausea

and vomiting; used externally in

toothache, neuralgia and rheumatism.

The bark is included in

medicinal preparations for indigestion,

flatulence, flu, mothwashes,

gargles, herbal teas.


Cissampelos pareira Linn. 151

Key application As antibacterial

and fungistatic. Internally, for loss of

appetite, dyspeptic complaints such

as mild spastic conditions of the

gastrointestinal tract, bloating and

flatulence. (German Commission

E, ESCOP.) Contraindicated in

stomach and duodenal ulcers.


The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

indicated the use of dried mature

leaves of Cinnamomum tamala and

dried inner bark of C. zeylanicum in


Cinnamaldehyde is the major constituent

(%) of the essential oil from


Major constituent of the leaf oil is

eugenol (–%) and that of rootbark

oil camphor (%).

Cinnamaldehyde is hypotensive,

spasmolytic and increases peripheral

blood flow; and it inhibits cyclooxygenase

and lipoxygenase enzymes of

arachidonic acid metabolism.

Cinnamaldehyde exhibitsCNSstimulant

effects at high doses. (NaturalMedicines



The bark oil and extracts exhibit antibacterial,

antifungal and antiviral activities,

and enhance trypsin activity.

Eugenol content of the leaf oil is antiseptic

and anaesthetic. It is not interchangable

with the bark oil.

Root bark oil acts as a stimulant in

amenorrhoea. The bark contains tannins

(.%) consisting of tetrahydroxyflavandiols;

diterpenes, cinnzeylanin

and cinnzeylanol.

C. malabatrum (Burm. f.) Blume is

equated with Jangali Daarchini.

Dosage Dried inner bark—– g

powder. (API Vol. I.)

Cissampelos pareira Linn.

Family Menispermaceae.

Habitat The tropical and subtropical

parts of India.

English Velvet-Leaf Pareira, Pareira


Ayurvedic Paathaa, Ambashthaa,

Varatiktaaa, Vriki, Aviddhakarni,

Piluphalaa, Shreyashi.Bigger var.,

Raaja Paathaa, is equated with

Stephania hernandifolia Walp.)

Unani Paathaa.

Siddha/Tamil Paadakkizhangu,


Action Root astringent, antispasmodic

(used for cramps,

painful menstruation), analgesic,

antipyretic, diuretic, antilithic and

emmenagogue. Prescribed for

diarrhoea, dysentery, piles, urogenital

affections (cystitis, nephritis,

menorrhagia) Root paste is applied

topically on scabies and eruptions

on the body. Also used for

preventing miscarriage.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

attributed blood purifying properties

to the root and indicated it in lactal


Hayatine (dl-beberine) is the principal

alkaloid of the root. Its derivatives,

methiodide and methochloride

are reported to be potent neuromuscular-

blocking agents.


152 Cissus quadrangula Linn.

Not to be confused with Abuta grandiflora,

a South American medicinal


Dosage Root—– g powder. (API

Vol. I.)

Cissus quadrangula Linn.

Synonym Vitis quadrangula Wall.

Family Vitaceae.

Habitat Throughout the warmer

parts of India, also cultivated in


English Square Stalked Vine,

Adamant Creeper.

Ayurvedic Asthisamhaara,

Asthisamhrita. Asthi-samyojaka,

Vajravalli, Chaturdhaaraa.

Unani Hadjod.

Siddha/Tamil Perandai.

Action The anabolic and steroidal

principles of the aerial part showed

a marked influence in the rate of

fracture-healing. The drug exerts

influence both on the organic and

mineral phase of fracture-healing.

Stem—lterative in scurvy (the

plant is rich in vitamin C) and

irregular menstruation.

The plant contains phytogenic steroid,

ketosteroids, sitosterol, alphaamyrin,

alpha-ampyrone and tetracyclic

triterpenoids. Phytogenic steriods

showed bone healing properties.

Coloside-A possesses smooth muscle

relaxant effect. The total alcoholic extract

of the plant neutralizes the antianabolic

effect of the cortisone in healing

of fractures.The aqueous extract of

the plant hastens fracture-healing by

reducing the total convalescent period

by % in experimental rats and dogs;

it aids in recovery of the strength of

the bones up to % in  weeks.

Dosage Stem—– ml juice.

(API Vol. III.)

Citrullus colocynthis Schrad.

Family Cucurbitaceae.

Habitat Throughout India.

English Colocynth Bitter Apple.

Ayurvedic Indravaaruni, Indravalli,

Indravaarunikaa, Gavaakshi,

Chitraa, Chitraphalaa, Indraasuri,

Mrigaani, Mrigairvaaru, Vishaalaa,

Vishaalyka, Indraayana. Aindri

(also equated with Bacopa


Unani Hanzal.

Siddha/Tamil Kumatti.

Action Dried pulp of ripe fruit—cathartic, drastic purgative, irritant

and toxic. The pulp is used for

varicose veins and piles. A paste

of root is applied to various

inflammations and swellings. The

cataplasm of leaves is applied in

migraine and neuralgia.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of

India indicated the use of the fruit in

jaundice; the root in diseases of the liver

and spleen and the leaf in cutaneous

affections and alopecia.

Colocynth contains up to % cucurbitacin.

The drug and its preparations

cause drastic irritation of the gastrointestinal

mucosa and haemorrhages.


Citrus aurantifolia (Christm.) Swingle. 153

Cucurbitacins include cucurbitacin

E-, J-, L-glucosides. In addition, the

pulp contains caffeic acid derivatives

(chlorogenic acid).

Roots contain aliphatic compounds.

Ethanolic extract (%) shows significant

anti-inflammatory activity in albino


Leaves and flowers contain quercetin

and kaempferol. The ethanolic extract

of leaves and flowers exhibits antibacterial

activity against a number

of Gram-positive and Gram-negative


The powder is toxic at .–. g. The

fruit exhibited carcinogenic activity in

animal studies.

Dosage Dried fruit—– mg

powder. (API Vol. III.) Root—– g. powder. (CCRAS.) Dried leaf—for external use. (API Vol. II.)

Citrullus vulgaris Schrad.

Synonym C. lanatus (Thunb.)

Matsumura & Nakai.

Family Cucurbitaceae.

Habitat Cultivated throughout

India on sandy river beds, up to an

altitude of , m.

English Watermelon.

Ayurvedic Kalinga.

Unani Tarbuz.

Siddha Poiychaviral, Tharbuzapalam


Action Pulp—ooling and

refreshing, a rich source of pectin,

carotenoids, surcose (as major

sugar). Fruit juice is prescribed in

strangury and urinary complaints,

also in hepatic congestion and

intestinal catarrh. Seeds—ooling,

purgative, diuretic, demulcent (used

in urinary infections). Leaves—febrifuge. The pericarp is given in


Watermelon juice contains citrullin

(.%) and arginine, which are

thought to increase urea production

in the liver, thus increasing the flow of


Theseeds possess a high lipase activity

comparable to that ofwheat germ, in

addition to high lipoxygenase, urease

and trypsin-inhibitor activities. Aqueous

extract of the seeds also exhibit

amylase inhibitor activity. The seed oil

is used as a substitute for almond oil.

The roots of mature plant contain

a triterpene, bryonolic acid. Bryonolic

acid possesses a stronger antiallergic

activity with lesser side effects than that

of glycyrrhetinic acid, the aglycone of

glycyrrhizin, used clinically in Japan

for the treatment of allergy and hepatitis.

Citrus aurantifolia

(Christm.) Swingle.

Synonym C. medica L. var. acida

(Roxb.) Hook. f.

Family Rutaceae.

Habitat Wild in the warm valleys

of the outer Himalayas. Cultivated

in the plains.

English Acid or Sour Lime,

Country Lime.

Ayurvedic Nimbuka.


154 Citrus aurantium Linn.

Unani Limu Kaghzi.

Siddha/Tamil Elummichhai,


Folk Kaagazi Nimbu.

Action Antiscorbutic, stomachic,

appetizer, refrigerant. Used in

bilious vomiting. Leaves—n

infusion is given for fever in

jaundice, for sore throat, thrush.

Root—n infusion is given for colic

and dysentery, also as febrifuge.

Limes are rich in vitamins, minerals

and alkaline salts, but not in fruit sugars.

Lime peel contains ergosterol. An

enzyme, ,-beta-glucan hydrolase has

been reported from the bark and leaf

extract. See C. limon.

Citrus aurantium Linn.

Family Rutaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in Khasi

hills and Cachar. Also in Guntur

(Andhra Pradesh). Found in semiwild

state in the Naga and Khasi


English Citrus dulcis, Sour Orange,

Sweet Orange.

Folk Khattaa.

Siddha/Tamil Mallikanarangi.

Action Peel—axative, feeble stomachic,

emmenagogue. Leaves—prescribed in the treatment of

arthritis and bronchitis. Flowers—aqueous extract is employed in

scurvy, fever, inflammation, nervous

and hysterical cases. Fruit—a decoction is used to recover

from cachexia left by intermittent

fever and in cases of enlarged

spleen. Dried rind—sed in atonic


Key application Cut peel—n loss

of appetite and dyspeptic ailments.

(German Commission E.). As a bitter

tonic. (British Pharmacopoeia.)

Themain constituents of the peel include

the alkaloid synephrine and Nmethyltyramine.

Synephrine, an alpha

-adrenergic agonist, stimulates a rise

in blood pressure through vasoconstriction.

N-methyltyramine also raises

blood pressure.

The root gave xanthyletin.

The essential oil exhibits antifungal

activity, it was found effective in

treatment-resistant fungal skin diseases.

(Expanded Commission EMonographs.)

Commercially available Citrus vulgaris

(bitter orange) extracts are often

promoted for weight loss due to purported

thermogenic effects. In animal

models, synephrine causes weight loss,

but also increases cardiovascular toxicity.

(Natural Medicines Comprehensive

Database, .)

Citrus limon (Linn.) Burm.f.

Family Rutaceae.

Habitat Cultivated all over India.

English Lemon.

Ayurvedic Jambira, Jambh, Jambhir,

Jaamphal, Nimbu, Nimbuka,

Naaranga, Limpaka, Dantashatha,

Airaavata, Neebu (bigger var.).

Unani Utraj.


Citrus maxima (Burm.) Merrill. 155

Siddha/Tamil Periya elumuchhai.

Action Fruit—ntiscorbutic, carminative,

stomachic, antihistaminic,

antibacterial. Used during coughs,

colds, influenza and onset of fever

(juice of roasted lemon), hiccoughs,

biliousness. Fruit juice—sed externally

for ringworm (mixed with

salt), erysipelas, also in the treatment

of leprosy and white spots.

Leaves and stems—ntibacterial.

All parts of the plants of citrus

sp. contain coumarins and psoralins.

The fruits contain flavonoids and limonoids.

The flavonoids comprise

three main groups—lavanones, flavones

and -hydroxyflavylium (anthocyanins);

flavanones being predominantly

followed by flavones and anthocyanins.

Bitter flavonoids do not occur

in lemon and lime.

Lemon juice is a richer source of

antiscorbutic vitamin (contains – mg/ g of vitamin C) than lime,

and a fair source of carotene and vitamin

B. Volatile oil (about .% of the

peel) consists of about % limonene,

alpha-and beta-pinenes, alpha-terpinene

and citral. The fruit juice also

contains coumarins and bioflavonoids.

Theacid content of the fruit, once digested,

provides an alkaline effect within

the body and is found useful in conditions

where acidity is a contributory

factor (as in case of rheumatic conditions).

The bioflavonoids strengthen

the inner lining of blood vessels, especially

veins and capillaries, and help

counter varicose veins, arteriosclerosis,

circulatory disorders and infections of

liver, stomach and intestines.

Major flavonoid glycosides, isolated

from citrus peels and juices, include

hesperidin (with properties of vitamin

P).Rutin and other flavanones, isolated

from citrus fruits, form the principal

components of vitamin P. Flavanone

glycosides contained in lemon and lime

juices are eriocitrin  and ; hesperidin

 and  mg/l, respectively.

The composition of cold pressed

lime oil is quite similar to lemon oil,

but citral content of lime oil is higher.

Monoterpene alcohols and their esters,

aldehydes—eraniol, geranial and

neral, contribute to the characteristic

aroma of lemon and lime.

Dosage Fruit—– g (Juice—– ml). (API Vol. IV.)

Citrus maxima (Burm.) Merrill.

Synonym C. decumana Watt.

C. grandis (L.) Osbeck.

Family Rutaceae.

Habitat North-eastern region up

to , m in Assam and Tripura.

English Pummelo, Shaddock.

Ayurvedic Madhukarkatikaa.

Unani Chakotra.

Siddha/Tamil Pambalimasu.

Folk Mahaa-nibu, Sadaaphal.

Action Fruit—ardiotonic. Leaves,

flowers and rind—sed as a sedative

in nervous affections. Leaves—used in convulsive cough, chorea,

epilepsy, also in the treatment of

haemorrhagic diseases. A lotion of

boiled leaves used hot in painful

swellings. The essential oil from


156 Citrus medica Linn.

fresh leaves exhibits dermatophytic,

and fungistatic activity.

The root-bark contains beta-sitosterol

and acridone alkaloids. It also

contains several coumarins. The alkaloids

and coumarins show antimicrobial


The essential oil from the leaves

and unripe fruits contain %limonin,

% nerolol, % nerolyl acetate and

% geraniol.

Citrus medica Linn.

Family Rutaceae.

Habitat Khasi Hills, submountainous

Himalayan ranges in Garhwal,

Kumaon in U.P., Maland areas

of South, Pachmarhi (Madhya

Pradesh), Sikkim and Western


English Citron.

Ayurvedic Maatulunga, Lunga,

Maatulaka, Mahaalunga, Bijpuura,


Unani Turanj.

Siddha/Tamil Kadaranrathai,

Naarthankai, Thurinjippazham.

Folk Bijoraa.

Action Fruit—ntiscorbutic,

refrigerant, astringent, carminative,

stomachic, antibacterial. Used

for dyspepsia, bilious vomiting,

cold, fever, hiccough. Root—anthelmintic. Flowers and buds—astringent.

The peel contains coumarins, limettin,

scoparone, scopoletin and umbelliferon;

besides nobiletin, limonin,

diosmin, beta-sitosterol and beta-Dglucoside.

The roots contain campesterol,

stigmasterol, sitosterol and cholesterol.

Aqueous extract of the peel showed

hypotensive action in dogs.

The fruits and seeds are a cardiotonic;

found useful in palpitation.

Dosage Fruit—–ml juice. (API

Vol. III.) Leaf, flower, fruit, root—– ml decoction. (CCRAS.)

Citrus paradisi Macf.

Family Rutaceae.

Habitat Native to the West Indies.

Commercialized in the USA.

Cultivated mainly in Punjab.

English Grapefruit, 'arsh'Grapefruit.

Folk Chakotraa. Chima Bombilimaas

(Tamil Nadu).

Action Young leaves—ecoction

is used to relieve cold or headache.

Fruit—sed for developing resistance

against colds and influenza.

Grapefruit is rich in vitamins, minerals,

potassiumand pectin, which balance

the acid reaction in the stomach

and stimulate appetite. Half grapefruit

contains vitamin A  IU, vitamin

C . mg, niacin . mg, potassium

 mg. The fruit contains betacarotene

and cartenoid lycopene. Lycopene

is especially noted for reducing

the risk of prostate cancer. The

fruit juice contains furanocoumarins,

including bergamottin, also naringin,

naringenin, limonin, quercetin, kaempferol

and obacunone.


Claviceps purpurea (Fr.) Tul. 157

For drug interactions with grapefruit

juice, see NaturalMedicines Comprehensive

Database, .

Grapefruit is not to be confusedwith

grape (Vitis vinifera).

Clausena pentaphylla

(Roxb.) DC.

Family Rutaceae.

Habitat The sub-Himalayan tract

from Garhwal to Sikkim; also in

Chakrata range.

Folk Ratanjot (var.), Rowana.

Surasi is a doubtful synonym.

Action Bark—nti-inflammatory,

spasmolytic; used in veterinary

medicine for wounds and sprains.

Aerial parts contain coumarins—clausmarins A and B. Coumarins exhibit

spasmolytic activity. The root also

contains coumarins. Root and stem

bark of Clausena excavata Burm. f.

Eastern sub-Himalayan tract, Orissa

and Bihar) also contain coumarins—clausenin and clausenidin. The root

bark exhibits antibacterial activity

against both Gram-positive and Gramnegative


A related species, C. anisata (Willd.)

Oliver, is reported from Uttar Pradesh.

Ethanolic extract of the aerial parts

exhibited spasmolytic activity. The furanocoumarins,

anisolactone, xanthotoxol,

indicolactone, imperatorin and

, -epoxy-anisolactone have been

isolated from the extract.

In West African traditional medicine,

the decoction of the root is given

to control convulsions in children. The

anticonvulsant agent has been found

to be heliettin, extracted fromthe stem

bark and roots.

Claviceps purpurea (Fr.) Tul.

Family Hypocreaceae.

Habitat A fungous parasite on

a number of grasses particularly in

rye, cultivated in the Nilgiris and at

Chakrohi farm in Jammu.

English Ergot of Rye. Fungus of


Ayurvedic Annamaya, Sraavikaa.

Unani Argot.

Siddha/Tamil Ergot.

Action Uterine stimulant. Oxytocic,

abortifacient, parturient,

vasoconstrictor, haemostatic. Used

in obstetrics (difficult childbirth,

for exciting uterine contractions in

the final stages of parturition). Also

used after abortion for removal of

the placenta. It is no more employed

in internal haemorrhages, as it has

been found to raise blood pressure

in pulmonary and cerebral haemorrhage.

Included among unapproved

herbs by German Commission E.

The fungus gave indole alkaloids.

The ergometrine or ergonovine group

includes ergometrine and ergometrinine.

The ergotamine group includes

ergotamine and ergotaminine. The ergotoxine

group includes ergocristine,

ergocristinine, ergocryptine, ergocryptinine,

ergocornine and ergocorninine.

The fungus also contains

histamine, tyramine and other amines,

sterols and acetylcholine.


158 Clematis gouriana Roxb.

The alkaloids of ergot are being

used independently (not as a herbal

medicine). Ergotamine is used to relieve

migrainous headaches as it is

a vasoconstrictor and has antiserotonin

activity. Ergometrine is used

after childbirth in the third stage of

labour and for post-partum haemorrhage,

as it is a powerful uterine

stimulant, particularly of the puerperal

uterus. (Both the constituents are

used under medical supervision). Ergocornine

significantly inhibited the

development of induced mammary tumours

in rats. The derivatives of ergot

alkaloids are known to have suppressing

effect on human breast cancer in

initial stages. This activity is linked to

prolactin inhibitory action.

The extract is toxic at .–. g,

ergot alkaloids at  g in adults,  mg

in infants. (Francis Brinker).

Dosage Whole plant—– ml

infusion. (CCRAS.)

Clematis gouriana Roxb.

Family Ranunculaceae.

Habitat Throughout India in


English Commercially known as


Folk Belkangu (used as substitute

for Muurvaa in Maharashtra).

Action Leaf and stem—esicant,


Aerial parts and roots contain a quaternary

aporphine alkaloid, magnofluorine.

Theleaves yield protoanemonin,

a fungitoxic compound.

A related species, C. napaulensis

DC. is used in leprosy. C. recta (Upright

Virgin' Bower) is used in homoeopathic

medicine for cancerous

and foul ulcers; orally for rheumatic

pains, varicose veins, gout and as

a diuretic.

Cleome brachycarpa Vahl ex DC.

Synonym C. vahliana Farsen.

Family Capparidaceae.

Habitat Northwestern Rajasthan,

Punjab plains and Delhi.

Unani Panwaar.

Folk Madhio (Rajasthan).

Action Anti-inflammatory,

antirheumatic, antidermatosis (used

in scabies, also in leucoderma).

The plant contains trinortriterpenoids

and cabralealactone, besides ursolic


Cleome icosandra Linn.

Synonym C. viscosa Linn.

Family Capparidaceae.

Habitat Throughout India; Tripura,

West Bengal and Gangetic valley, as

a weed.

English Wild Mustard.

Ayurvedic Tilaparni, Hurhur

(yellow var.), Aadityabhakta.

Unani Panwaar, Hulhul.

Siddha/Tamil Nayikkadugu,



Clerodendrum inerme (L.) Gaertn. 159

Action Seed—arminative,

antiseptic, anthelmintic (for round

worms). Leaf—udorific. Bark—externally rubefacient, vesicant.


The aerial parts contain a macrocyclic

diterpene, cleomaldeic acid, and

a bicyclic diterpene, cleomeolide. The

seeds contain coumarino-lignans,

cleomiscosin A,B,C and D. The leaf

extract exhibited fungitoxicity against

ringworm causing fungi with reported

mycelian inhibitions.

The aqueous extract of seeds exhibited

significant analgesic and local

anaesthetic activities in mice and

guinea pigs, respectively. It failed to

protect rats against convulsions induced

by picrotoxin, though it potentiated

the barbiturate sleeping time.

The purple var. of Hurhur is equated

with Cleome monophylla L. (Bihar,

Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil


Clerodendrum indicum

(Linn.) Kuntze.

Synonym Clerodendron siphonanthus

(R. Br.) C. B. Clarke.

Family Verbenaceae.

Habitat Cultivated as anornamental

throughout India, especially in

South and Eastern India.

English Turk' Turban, Tube-


Ayurvedic Vaamana-haati (a

substitute for Bhaarangi).

Siddha/Tamil Kavalai, Narivalai.

Action Root—sed for asthma,

cough, scrofulous affections. Leaf—vermifuge. Resin—ntirheumatic.

The plant is also used in fever,

atrophy, emaciation of cachexia and


The leaves contain flavonoids—cutellarein

(.%), hispidulin (.%) and

their -O-glucuronides; also sterols.

Flowers contain beta-sitosterol and triterpenoids.

The bark yields hexitol and


The flavone, pectolinarin and a diterpene,

oncinotine, exhibit antifeedant


Clerodendrum inerme

(L.) Gaertn.

Family Verbenaceae.

Habitat Throughout India in tidal

forests, wild all over coastal areas;

planted in gardens in Tamil Nadu.

English Smooth Volkameria.

Ayurvedic Putigandhaa, Kundali,


Siddha/Tamil Peenaari, Sangankuppi.

Folk Lanjai.

Action Leaf—ebrifuge, alterative.

Used as a substitute for Swertia

chirayita and quinine in remittent

and intermittent fevers. The leaf

juice is taken orally to relieve

muscular pains and stiffness of legs

(in tetanus).

The leaves and stem contain a number

of triterpenes, neolignans, diterpenoids,

sterols and flavones.


160 Clerodendrum infortunatum auct. non Linn. C.B.Clarke.

The roots are prescribed in venereal

diseases. The methanolic extract of

the roots contains verbascoside which

exhibits analgesic and antimicrobial


Clerodendrum infortunatum

auct. non Linn. C.B.Clarke.

Family Verbenaceae.

Habitat Throughout India.

Ayurvedic Bhaandira, Bhaandi,

Kaari. Also known as Bhaarangi

(C. serratum).

Siddha/Tamil Karukanni, Perugilai.

Action Leaves—sed as a substitute

for Chiretta. Leaves and roots—employed externally for skin

diseases and alopecia. Leaves are

prescribed in headache. Roots are

given in cramps and rheumatism.

In homoeopathy, the fresh leaves are

employed for colic due to worms, diarrhoea

associated with nausea, chronic

fever with loss of appetite and in enlargement

of liver and spleen with indigestion

and constipation.

The alcoholic extract of the whole

plant showed antiprotozoal activity

against Entamoeba histolytica. It also

exhibited hypoglycaemic activity in

albino rats. The leaves exhibit antifungal


Dosage Leaf—– ml juice.


Clerodendrum phlomidis


Synonym C.multiflorum(Burm. f.)

O. Kuntze.

Family Verbenaceae.

Habitat Throughout India, in the

drier parts.

Ayurvedic Agnimantha, Tarkaari,

Vikraantaa, Jayanti, Jai, Jayaa,

Ganikaarikaa, Vaijayanti, Bigger

var. is equated with Premna integrifolia

Linn., Shriparni, Naadeyi.

Siddha/Tamil Tazhuthaazhai.

Folk Laghu Arni.

Action Plant parts used in

dyspepsia, stomachache, colic,

cholera, dysentery, postnatal fever,

during convalscence from measles.

Root and bark—itter tonic, used

in debility and nervous disorders.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

indicated the use of root in dysuria

and retention of urine.

Flavonoids, scutellarein and pectolinarin,

have been isolated from the

leaves. Stems gave d-mannitol, betasitosterol,

its glucosides and ceryl alcohol.

The roots contain ceryl alcohol,

clerodin, clerosterol and clerodendrin


The ethanolic extract of leaves exhibited

hepatoprotective activity. The

aqueous extract of leaves exhibited in

vitro anthelmintic activity. The plant

also exhibited antidiabetic activity.

Dosage Root—– g for

decoction. (API Vol. III.)

Clerodendrum serratum


Family Verbenaceae.


Clitoria ternatea Linn. 161

Habitat A shrub distributed

throughout the country, especially

common in Assam and Bengal.

English Blue-flowered Glory tree,

Beetle Killer.

Ayurvedic Bhaargi, Bhaarangi,

Angaarvalli, Phanji, Braahmanyashtikaa,

Kharshaak, Padma,

Bhragubhavaa, Brahmayashtikaa.

Siddha/Tamil Kandoorbarangi

(root), cherutekku.

Action Root—ntiasthmatic,

antihistaminic, antispasmodic,

antitussive carminative, febrifuge.


The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of

India indicated the use of the dried

roots in cough, bronchitis, dyspnoea,

chest diseases and sinusitis.

The bark contains triterpenoids—serratagenic, oleanolic and queretaric

acids; leaves contain alpha-spinasterol

and flavonoids, including luteolin, apigenin,

baicalein, scutellarein, phenolic

acids—affeic and ferulic acids.

EtOH (%) extract of the plant exhibited

hypotensive and spasmolytic

activity. Polyhydric property on isolated

guinea pig ileum. Antiasthmatic

effect was also observed pharmacologically.

Dosage Root—– g powder; – g for decoction. (API Vol. III.)

Clitoria ternatea Linn.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Throughout India in

tropical areas; also cultivated in


English Butterfly Pea, Wingedleaved

Clitoria, Mezereon.

Ayurvedic Girikarnikaa, Aparaajitaa,

Aasphota, Girimallikaa,

Girikanyaa, Kokilaa,Yonipushpaa,

Vishnukraantaa. (Evolvulus alsinoides

Linn. is also known as

Vishnukraantaa, Vishnukranti).

Used as Shankhapushpi in the


Unani Mezereon Hindi.

Siddha/Tamil Kakkanam.

Folk Koyal (Punjab).

Action Root—athartic like

jalap. Roots cause gripe and

tenesmus, hence not recommended

as purgative. Used in ascites. Root

bark—iuretic (infusion used in

irritation of bladder and urethra).

Root juice—iven in cold milk

to liquefy phlegm in chronic

bronchitis. The root, bark, seeds

and leaves—sed for gastric acidity.

The root is administered with honey

as a general tonic to children for

improving mental faculty.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of

India recommends the dried leaf in

migraine, psychoneurosis and mania.

An alcoholic extract of the plant

showed sedative and hypothermic effect

in rodents.

Rats, fed with ethanol extract of

flowers, showed a significantly lowered

serumsugar level in experimentally induced


The seeds contain a nucleoprotein

with its amino acid sequence similar

to insulin, but for the absence of histidine,

threonine, proline and crystine.


162 Coccinia indica W. & A.

Seeds gave cinnamic acid, flavonol glycoside.

Leaves contain glycosides of


In South India, the seeds and roots

constitute the drug Shankhapushpi,

used as a nervine tonic. In other regions,

Canscora decussata, Convolvulus

pluricaulis, Evolvulus alsinoides and

Lavendula bipinnata are used as Shankhapushpi.

Dosage Root—– g powder (API

Vol. II); dried leaf—– g; seed—– g. (API Vol. IV.)

Coccinia indica W. & A.

Synonym C. cordifolia Cogn.

Cephalandra indica Naud.

Family Cucurbitaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in Assam, West

Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra,

Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu; wild

in many parts of India.

English Ivy-Gourd.

Ayurvedic Bimbi, Tundi, Tundikaa,

Tundikeri, Kunduru, Raktaphala,

Piluparni, Dantchhadaa.

Unani Kanduri.

Siddha/Tamil Kovvai.

Action Carminative, antipyretic,

galactagogue. Powder of root is

taken with water to stop vomiting.

Juice of leaves—ntispasmodic and

expectorant. Applied externally

in eruptions of the skin. Root—antiprotozoal. Fruit, leaf and root—antidiabetic. Various plant parts are

used in slow pulse and convulsions,

also against infective hepatitis.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

recommends the whole plant for

oedema, anaemia, disorders due to vitiated

blood, cough and dyspnoea.

Thefruit yielded beta-amyrin and its

acetate, lupeol and cucurbitacin B.

Dosage Whole plant—– g

powder; – ml juice. (API Vol.


Cocculus hirsutus (Linn.) Diels.

Synonym C. villosus (Lam.) DC.

Family Menispermaceae.

Habitat Throughout tropical and

sub-tropical tracts of India.

English Broom-Creeper, Ink-Berry.

Ayurvedic Chhilihinta, Paataalagaruda,

Mahaamuulaa, Dirghavalli,


Siddha/Tamil Kattukodi.

Action Root—axative, sudorific,

alterative, antirheumatic. Leaf—used externally for eczema, prurigo

and inpetigo. A decoction of leaves

is taken in eczema, leucorrhoea and


Aqueous extract of stem and root—sedative, anticonvulsant, hypotensive,

bradycardiac, cardiotonic and sapasmolytic.

Roots are used as a substitute

for Sarsaparilla in chronic rheumatism

gout, and syphilitic cachexia.

The stem contains cyclopeptide alkaloids.

The plant contains coclaurine,

magnoflorine, beta-sitosterol, ginnol

and a monomethyl ether of inositol.

C. pendulus (Forsk.) Diels, synonym

C. leaeba (Del.) DC. (Punjab, Gujarat


Cocos nucifera Linn. 163

and South India) is known as Parwati

(Gujarat, Sindh) andUllar-billar (Punjab).

Ethanolic extract of the leaves and

stem showed anticancer and hypotensive

activities associated with the alkaloidal

fraction which contains bisbenzylisoquinoline

alkaloids (including

pendulin and cocsulin). Presence

of quercitol is reported from nonalkaloidal


Dosage Root—– ml decoction.


Cochlearia armoracia Linn.

Synonym Armoracia rusticana


Family Cruciferae, Brassicaceae.

Habitat Eastern Europe; cultivated

in Britain and the USA. Grown to

a small extent in North India and

hill stations of South India.

English Horseradish.

Action Root—sed for catarrhs of

the respiratory tract. Antimicrobial

and hyperemic.

The root contains glucosinolates,

mainly sinigrin, which releases allylisothiocyanate

on contact with the enzyme

myrosin during crushing and

-phenylethylglucosinolate. Crushed

horseradish has an inhibitory effect on

the growth of micro-organisms.

Fresh root contains vitamin C on an

average  mg% of ascorbic acid.

A related species, C. cochlearioides

(Roth) Sant & Mahesh, synonym C.

flava Buch.-Ham. ex Roxb. (upper

and lower Gangetic valleys), is used

for fevers.

Cochlospermum gossypium


Synonym C. religiosum (Linn.)


Family Cochlospermaceae.

Habitat Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka,

Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh

and Bihar; cultivated at Agartala in


English Golden Silk tree, White

Silk Cotton tree.

Unani Samagh, Kateeraa (substitute

for gum tragacanth).

Siddha/Tamil Kongilam (flower

juice), Tanaku.

Action Gum—ooling, sedative,

bechic, useful in coughs, hoarse

throat, diarrhoea, dysentery,

scalding urine. Dried leaves and


Theleaves contain terpenoids, saponins

and tannins. Flowers contain

naringenin and beta-sitosteryl-glucoside

(.%). The gum, after hydrolysis,

furnished a mixture of acidic oligosaccharides.

Cocos nucifera Linn.

Family Palmae; Arecaceae.

Habitat Cultivated chiefly in

Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

English Coconut Palm.


164 Coffea arabica Linn.

Ayurvedic Naarikela, Naalikera,

Laangali, Tunga, Skandhaphala,

Sadaaphala, Trnaraaja, Kuurchshirshaka.

Unani Naarjeel, Naariyal.

Siddha/Tamil Thenkai. Kopparai

(kernel of ripe coconut).

Action Water from tender fruit—cooling, used in thirst, fever, urinary

disorders, gastroenteritis, and as

a source of K for cholera patients.

Fruit—tomachic, laxative, diuretic,

styptic, sedative; useful in dyspepsia

and burning sensation. Oil from

endosperm—ntiseptic; used in

alopecia. Root—stringent; used in

urinary and uterine and disorders.

Tender coconut water is rich in

potassiumand otherminerals and vitamins.

It contains reducing sugars .–.%, total sugars .–.%; brix .–.%. It is used as a substitute for normal

saline in cases of dehydration.

Alcoholic extract of coconut shell

(% in petroleum jelly, externally) was

found very effective in dermatophytosis.

Lighter fractions of the tar oil are

used as antiseptics.

Flowers, mixed with oil, are applied

to swellings, leaves to treat abscesses,

shoots and ashes of dry meat to deep

cuts, grated meat to burns, roots to

wounds and gonorrhoea.

Shell and fibre—ntimicrobial.

Dosage Dried endosperm—– g powder. (API Vol. III.)

Coffea arabica Linn.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Grown in Tamil Nadu,

Karnataka and Kerala.

English Arabian coffee.

Unani Kahvaa.

Siddha/Tamil Kaapi, Bannu.

Action Diuretic, antinarcotic,

psychotropic agent, direct heart

stimulant (raises blood pressure).

Neutralizes therapeutic effects of

many herbs; potentiates the action

of aspirin and paracetamol; depletes

the body of B-vitamins. Charcoal

of the outer seed parts—stringent,


Key application Powdered coffee

charcoal—n nonspecific, acute

diarrhoea; local therapy of mild

inflammation of oral andpharyngeal

mucosa (average daily dose  g).

(German Commission E.)

According to WHO, coffee drinking

is not responsible for breast cancer and

may protect against cancer of colon and

rectum. Caffeic and chlorogenic acids

in coffee act as anticarcinogens.

Bronchial asthma is less frequent

among coffee drinkers due to caffeine

and theophylline.

The aroma components include several

furfurylmethylmercaptan derivatives.

Coffee extracts yielded organic

acids. Atractyloside, several sterols and

acids, as well as alkaloids, have been

reported. Caffeine is the major alkaloid

of coffee. One cup of coffee contains

approx. –mg caffeine; other

active constituents include chlorogenic

acid, caffeol and diterpenes.

Chlorogenic acid in coffee might

inhibit glucose--phosphatase, which


Colchicum luteum Baker. 165

might lower hepatic glucose production

caffeine seems to stimulate pancreatic

beta cells to secrete insulin. (NaturalMedicines



Coix lacryma-jobi Linn.

Synonym C. lachryma Linn.

Family Gramineae; Poaceae.

Habitat Warm and damp areas up

to about , m, both wild and

cultivated as an annual grass.

English Job' Tears.

Ayurvedic Gavedhukaa.

Siddha/Tamil Kaatu Kunthumani.

Folk Garaheduaa, Gargari.

Action Fruits— decoction is

used for catarrhal affections of

the air passage and inflammation

of the urinary tract. Seed—diuretic. Root—sed in menstrual

disorders. Leaves—sed as a drink

for inducing fertility in women.

The seeds contain trans-ferulyl stigmastanol

and trans-ferulyl campestanol,

which formpart of an ovulationinducing

drug. Seed extract—mmuno-

enhancer, used for the prevention

of cancer and infections. Seeds exhibit

anti-tumour and anticomplimentary

activities. Seeds contain coixenolides,

a mixed ester of palmitoleic and

vaccenic acids, which is an anticancer


The bigger var. of the grass is equated

with Coix gigantea Koenig ex Roxb.,

also known as Gavedhukaa and Gargari.

Colchicum luteum Baker.

Family Liliaceae.

Habitat The temperate Himalayas

from Kashmir to Chamba. Major

supplies of the drug are received

from Kashmir.

English Hermodactyls, Colchicum,

Meadow Saffron, Golden Collyrium

(Indian substitute). (C. luteum is

a good substitute for C. autumnale

L. which is official in the B.P.)

Ayurvedic Hiranyatuttha.

Unani Suranjaan Talkh.

Action Non-steroidal antiinflammatory,

anti-gout (relieves

inflammation and pain of acute gout

but does not increase expulsion

of uric acid, is used with an

alkaline diuretic), emetic, cathartic.

Anti-chemotactic, antiphlogistic,

inhibitor of mitosis. Highly toxic.

Used for external application to

lessen inflammation and pain.

Key application In acute gout

attack. (German Commission E.)

The fresh corms and aerial parts of

a sample from Jammu yielded .%

and % of total alkaloids, the major

being colchicine .% and .%

respectively. Colchicine analogs—decteyl thiocolchicine (DTC), decetylmethylcolchicine

(DMC) and trimethylcolchicinic

acid (TMCA) were

effective in the treatment of gout; DTC

may elicit agranulocytosis.

Colchicine binds to tubulin, the protein

subunit of microtubules. Its most

important biological effect is the inhibition

of processes that depend upon

microtubule function by blocking


166 Coleus amboinicus Lour.

polymerization. In preventing microtubule

formation, colchicine has been

shown to inhibit catecholamine secretion

from adrenal medulla, iodine

secretion from thyroid gland and prolactin

secretion from pituitary tumour

cells. It inhibits stimulated insulin

secretion from isolated perfused pancreas

and islets in vitro.

The use of Colchicum for long periods

is not recommended owing to its

toxicity in larger doses (even  mg of

colchicine has caused death) and its depressant

action upon central nervous


Prolonged use of Colchicum autumnale

may cause agranulocytosis, aplastic

anaemia and peripheral nerve inflammation.

(Sharon M. Herr.)

Coleus amboinicus Lour.

Synonym C. aromaticus Benth.

Family Lamiaceae.

Habitat Native to Indonesia.

English Indian Borage.

Ayurvedic Parna-yavaani.

Siddha/Tamil Karpoorvalli.

Folk Pattaa Ajawaayin.

Pattharachuur (Bengal).

Action Leaf—sed in urinary

diseases, vaginal discharge, colic

and dyspepsia. Stimulates the

function of liver. Also given in

epilepsy and other convulsive

affections, asthma, bronchitis, cold

and chronic cough. Bruised leaves

are applied to burns; leaf juice to

chapped lips.

The leaf extract has shown regulatory

influence on calcium oxalate stone

formation in experimental rats. In folk

medicine, leaves are used internally for

expelling kidney stone (the herb is also

known as Paashaanbhedi).

Homoeopathic medicine, prepared

from fresh leaves, is used in the affections

of urinary organs, especially in

difficult urination or in burning pains

during and after urination.

The aerial parts from Pakistan yield

an essential oil (.%) which contains

thymol (.%); whereas in Fijian

sample of leaves carvacrol and camphor

are major constituents. Leaves

contain a large amount of oxalacetic

acid, flavonoid, cirsimaritin and betasitosterol.

Dosage Leaf—– ml juice.


Coleus barbatus Benth.

Synonym C. forskohlii Briq.

Plectranthus barbatus Andr.

Family Lamiaceae.

Habitat Thesub-tropical Himalayas

of Kumaon and Nepal; cultivated in

Andhra Pradesh.

Ayurvedic Gandira (Achyranthes

aquatica Br. is also equated with

Gandira). (Doubtful synonym.)

Folk Garmar (Gujarat), Gurmal.

Action Root and leaf—pasmolytic,

antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory,


In experimental amoebiasis of rats,

the root powder and ethanolic extract


Colocasia esculenta (Linn.) Schott. 167

showed amoebicidal activity against

Entamoeba histolytica.

An alcoholic extract of the roots and

essential oil from it, were found to inhibit

passive cutaneous anaphylaxis in

the mouse and rat.

The plant produces the labdane

diterpenoid, forskolin in its tuberous


Forskolin was discovered during

a screening of medicinal plants by

Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow,

India, in . (Planta Medica,

, , –.) The screening

revealed the presence of a hypotensive

and spasmolytic principle, named

coleonol (later the name was changed

to forskolin). The basic mechanism

of forskolin is the activation of an

enzyme, adenylate cyclase, which increases

the amount of cyclic adenosine

monophosphate (cAMP) in cells.

Raised intracellular cAMP level exhibits

following physiological effects

: inhibition of platelet activation and

degranulation; inhibition of mast cell

degranualation and histamine release;

relaxation of the arteries and other

smooth muscles; increased insulin secretion;

increased thyroid function;

increased lipolysis.

Forskolin, in clinical studies, reduced

intraocular pressure when it

was applied to the eyes for treating

glaucoma. It has been shown to be

a direct cerebral vasodilator. It has

also been studied as a possible bronchodilator

(in the treatment of asthma)

and has been shown to effectively reverse

methacholine-induced broncho

constriction in extrinsic asthmatics.

Standardized Coleus extracts containing

forskolin (% in  mg) find

application in weight-loss programmes.

(Michael T. Murray.)

Studies on forskolin and some 

derivatives of the compound indicate

that the natural product is more active

than the analogs prepared from it.

The wild var. is known as Kaffir


Coleus vettiveroides K. C. Jacob.

Family Lamiaceae.

Habitat Native to Sri Lanka. Now

under cultivation in Kerala and

Tamil Nadu.

Ayurvedic Hrivera, Hiruberaka,

Ambu, Ambhas, Udaka, Udichya,

Jala, Vaari, Toya, Vaalaka, Baalaa,

Baalaka, Baala. (Also equated with

Pavonia odorata Willd.)

Siddha/Tamil Kuruver.

Folk Iruveli (Kerala).

Action Leaves—ooling and

carminative, used for indigestion,

dyspepsia, dysentery, also for ulcers,

bleeding disorders, dermatitis.

C. zeylanicus (Benth.) Cramer (synonym

Plectranthus zeylanicus Benth.)

has been identified as a source of Ayurvedic

drug Hrivera. The juice of stem

and leaves, mixed with honey, is prescribed

for diarrhoea.

The plant afforded abietane type

diterpenoides and a stereoisomer.

Colocasia esculenta

(Linn.) Schott.

Synonym C. antiquorum Schott.


168 Commelina benghalensis Linn.

Family Araceae.

Habitat Cultivated throughout


English Taro, EdibleYam.

Ayurvedic Pindaaluka, Aaluki.

Siddha/Tamil Chaembu, Shaeppamkizhangu.

Folk Arvi, Ghuiyaa.

Action Juice from petiole—typtic,

rubefacient. Juice of corn—sed in


The leaves contain flavones, apigenin

and luteolin, also anthocyanins.

Leaves cause severe irritation inmouth.

Cooked leaves are a source of dietary

fibre for diabetics helping in lowering

post-prandial blood glucose level.

A significant increase in total lipids,

total cholesterol and triglyceride levels

was observed in hypercholesterolaemic

rats when fed with dried leaf powder.

The pressed juice of the petioles is

used as an astringent and styptic. All

parts of the plant show an acridity.The

acridity is removed by boiling and by

addition of baking soda.

From the tubers two dihydroxysterols,

besides beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol,

have been isolated. Five novel

aliphatic compounds have been reported.

Trypsin inhibitors are isolated

from the tubers.

The total amino acids recorded in

the tubers range from to mg/

 g.The lysine concentrationwas relatively

low. Besides starch, the tubers

contain natural polysaccharides with

% neutral sugars and % anionic

components. Steamed corms contain

% starch and % sugar.

Commelina benghalensis Linn.

Family Commelinaceae.

Habitat Throughout India in moist


Ayurvedic Kanchata, Karnamorata,


Siddha/Tamil Kanavazhai, Kananagakarai.

Folk Kenaa (vegetable) (Maharashtra).

Action Emollient, demulcent,

laxative, diuretic, antileprotic.

The rhizomes are starchy and mucilaginous.

Theplant contains n-octacosanol, ntriacontanol,

n-dotriacontanol. stigmasterol,

beta-sitosterol and campesterol.

Commelina nudiflora Linn.

Family Commelinaceae.

Habitat Throughout India.

Ayurvedic Kanchata (var.).

Folk Kenaa (vegetable) (Maharashtra).

Action Antidermatosis. The plant

is used as a blood purifier.

Commelina diffusa Burm f; C. paludosa

Blume synonym C. obliqua Buch.-

Ham. and C. salicifolia Roxb. are related

species of Kanchata and are known

as Kenaa vegetable.

Commiphora sp. (Burseraceae).

Refer to Balsamodendron sp.


Convolvulus pluricaulis Choisy. 169

Conium maculatum Linn.

Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat North temperate regions.

English Spotted Hemlock, Poison


Unani Khardmaanaa, Shuk.

Action Sedative, anodyne,

antispasmodic. Used for relief in

whooping cough, asthma; paralysis;

epilepsy. Antidote to strichnine

poisoning and other poisons of the

same class. Highly toxic. Mother

tincture of Hemlock is used in

homoeopathy for prevention of

immature cataract.

All parts of the plant contain alkaloids—highest in aerial parts (.%)

and lowest in stems. Gamma-coniceine

is the principal alkaloid in the

leaves, whereas N-methylconiine is the


alkaloid in mature fruits. Beside

the alkaloids, a flavone glycoside, diosmin

and chlorogenic acid have been reported

in the leaves and inflorescence.

Ripe seeds yield coumarins, bergapten

and xanthotoxin. Experimentally, the

plant exhibited teratogenic properties.

(Rarely used today.)

Berries are toxic at  g, leaves at

 g and coniine at  mg. (Francis


Convolvulus arvensis Linn.

Family Convolvulaceae.

Habitat Throughout India, up to

, m in the Himalayas.

English Deer' Foot.

Ayurvedic Bhadrabalaa, Hiranpadi.

Unani Lablaab.

Folk Hirankhuri, Haranpagaa.

Action Plant—ooling, anticonvulsant.


Plant extract—ypotensive in cats;

raises coronary rate. Alkaloids—ypotensive,

without vasodilation. EtOH

extract—nticonvulsant in rats. Aqueous

extract—xhibited muscarinic and

micotinic activity.

The dried rhizome contains .%

resin. The cathartic action of the

resinous substance is about one third

of that of jalap (Ipomoea purga Hayne)


All parts of the plant contain beta-

Me-esculetin; aerial parts n-alkanes,

n-alkanols, alpha-amyrin and sterols;

roots gave cuscohygrine.

Convolvulus pluricaulis Choisy.

Synonym C. microphyllus Sieb.

C. prostratus Forsk.

Family Convolvulaceae.

Habitat Throughout India,

ascending to , m in the


Ayurvedic Shankhapushpi,

Shankhaahvaa, Kshirapushpi,

Maangalya Kusuma (whiteflowered).

Blue-flowered var.,

Vishnukraanti, Vishnukraantaa,

Vishnugandhi is equated with

Evolvulus alsinoides Linn.

Unani Sankhaahuli (blue-flowered)


170 Convolvulus scammonia Linn.

Siddha/Tamil Sivakraandi (whiteflowered),

Vishnukraandi (blueflowered).

Action Plant—rain tonic, tranquilizer

used in nervine disorders,

mental aberration, anxiety neurosis,

internal haemorrhages,

spermatorrhoea. Also astringent,

antidysenteric, antispasmodic,

antiphlogistic, febrifuge, alterative.

Flowers—typtic, used for uterine

bleeding. Leaf—ntiasthmatic,

used in chronic bronchitis. Root—used in gastric and duodenal ulcers,

uterine affections and for promoting


The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of

India recommends the plant for epilepsy.

The plant contains sankhpushpine


The alcoholic (%) extract of the

plant, when administered to rats

(through gastric intubation at different

intervals), has shown enhanced

neuropeptide synthesis of the brain.

It induces an increase in brain protein

content and increases acquisition


Evolvulus alsinoides contains pentatriacontane,

triacontane and betasitosterol.

Shankhapushpi Syrup (a compound

containing C. pluricaulis, Centella asiatica,

Nardostachys jatamansi, Nepeta

hindostana, Nepeta elliptica and Onosma

bracteatum), when administered

with phenytoin, a modern antiepileptic

drug, reduced not only antiepileptic

activity of phenytoin but also lowered

plasma phenytoin levels.

Dosage Whole plant—– g

powder. (API Vol. III.)

Convolvulus scammonia Linn.

Family Convolvulaceae.

Habitat A native to the Mediterranean


English Scammony.

Unani Saqmunia.

Action Resin from rhizomes—ydragogue,

Cathartic, administered

in dropsy and anascara.

Most of the resin available in India

is imported fromSyria and Asia Minor

and is grossly adulterated.

The roots contain on an average %

resin together with dihydroxy cinnamic

acid, beta-methyl-esculetin, ipuranol,

surcose, a reducing sugar and

starch. The resin consists of the glycosides

and methylpentosides of jalapinolic

acid and its methyl ester.

Large doses cause acute gastro-intestinal

irritation, and, if absorbed,

produce cystitis and nephritis.

Coptis teeta Wall.

Family Ranunculaceae.

Habitat Mishmi Hills in Arunachal

Pradesh. Cultivated commercially

in China.

Ayurvedic Mamira, Maamiraa,

Tiktamuulaa. (Pita-muulikaa

and Hem-tantu are provisional


Unani Maamisaa, Maamiraa.

Folk Titaa (Bengal and Assam).

Action Stomachic, antiperiodic,

antibacterial, antifungal. Prescribed


Corchorus aestuans Linn. 171

in debility, convalescence, intermittent

fevers, dyspepsia, dysentery

and intestinal catarrh. Used as

a local application in thrush.

The rhizomes contains berberine

(%) as the major alkaloid; other alkaloids

present are: coptin (.%), coptisin

.%) and jatrorrhizine (.%).

Samples from China contained .–.% berberine, .–.% coptisin

and .–.% jatrorrhizine. In China,

the herb is used as an antidiabetic;

the ethanolic (%) extract exhibited

hypoglycaemic and hypotensive activity.

The drug due to berberine and its

related alkaloids promoted reticuloendotheliumto

increased phagocytosis of

leucocytes in dog blood in vitro and in


Coptis chinensis (Huang Lian) inhibited

erythrocyte haemolysis, decreased

lipid peroxidation in brain and kidney,

decreased generation of superoxide

peroxidation and decreased hydroxyl

radicals in rats. (Life Sci, ,

(), –.)

Dosage Root—– g powder.


Corallocarpus epigaeus

Benth. ex Hook. f.

Family Cucurbitaceae.

Habitat Punjab, Uttar Pradesh,

Bihar, West Bengal, Gujarat,

Madhya Pradesh and Peninsular


Ayurvedic Shukanaasaa, Nahikaa,

Katunaahi, Paataala-garudaa.

(Cocculus hirsutus is used as


Siddha/Tamil Kollankovai,


Action Laxative. Root used during

later stages of dysentery and chronic

mucous enteritis; also in syphilitic

rheumatism. The herb shows no

apparent effect on acute dysentery.

The root contains a bitter principle

allied to bryonin.

Corchorus aestuans Linn.

Synonym C. acutangulus Lam.

Family Tiliaceae.

Habitat Throughout the warmer

parts of India, as a weed.

English White Jute. (Tossa Jute is

equated with C. olitorius Linn.).

Ayurvedic Chunchu, Chanchu,

Chinchaa. (bigger var. is equated

with C. olitorius; smallar var. with

C. capsularis.)

Folk Chench shaaka, Titapat


Action Seeds and aerial parts—stomachic, anti-inflammatory. Used

in pneumonia.

The seeds contain cardenolides,

beta-sitosterol, ceryl alcohol, oligosaccharides.

The aerial parts contain

triterpenoidal glycosides—orchorusins.

Corchorusins have similar structural

similarity with saikosaponins

(isolated so far from Bupleurum sp. of

Japan, China and Korea) and some

of them exhibit antiviral, anti-inflamC

172 Corchorus capsularis Linn.

matory and plasma-cholesterol lowering


The alcoholic extract of the entire

plant was found to have anticancer activity

against epidermal carcinoma of

nasopharynx in tissue culture. Alcoholic

extract and glycosides of seeds

exhibit cardiotonic activity. Digitoxose

containing glycosides are reported

to be present in Corchorus sp.

C. olitorius Linn. is known as Jew'

Mallow (Pattaa Shaaka or Patuaa Shaaka).

Corchorosid A, reported from the

plant, improved cardiac competence


The leaf extracts may be used as

moisturizers in skin cosmetics. The

extracts consist of uronic acid containing

muco-polysaccharide, Ca, K and

P, among others, which act as effective


Corchorus capsularis Linn.

Family Tiliaceae.

Habitat Throughout warmer parts

of India; extensively cultivated in

West Bengal.

English White Jute.

Ayurvedic Kaala shaaka.

Siddha/Tamil Pirattai-keerai.

Folk Naadi shaaka, Narichaa.

Titapat (Bengal).

Action Leaves—tomachic,

carminative, diuretic, antidysenteric

(dried leaves). Seeds—urgative.

Seeds contain cardiac glycosides.

These include two monosides, helveticoside

and corchoroside A and two polar

glycosides, erysimoside and olitoriside.

Leaves contain beta-sitosterolglucoside.

Corchoroside A exhibited

cardiotonic properties.

The aqueous/alcoholic extracts,

containing polysaccharides, may be

used in preparations of skin cosmetics

or hair preparations for their moisturizing


Corchorus fascicularis Lam.

Family Tiliaceae.

Habitat Throughout warmer parts

of India.

Ayurvedic Chanchuka, Chanchu.

Folk Chanchu shaaka, Baaphali.

Action Astringent, spasmolytic,

restorative, mucilaginous.

Theplant contains betulinic acid and

beta-sitosterol. Seeds yield cardenolides

including trilocularin. The glycosides

of the plant were found to be devoid

of any effect of its own on smooth

muscle of guinea pig ileum, but produced

spasmolytic effect against acetylcholine,

histamine and bradykinin. Direct

action of the drug was observed

on rabbit intestines. Slight cardiac depressant

effect was found on isolated

amphibian heart preparation.

Corchorus depressus (L.) Christensen,

found in drier parts of North India,

is known as Bhauphali (Delhi).

The Plant is used as a cooling medicine

in fevers; itsmucilage is prescribed

in gonorrhoea, also for increasing the

viscosity of seminal fluid. An extract


Cordia wallichii G. Don. 173

of the plant is applied as a paste to


The plant contains alpha-amyrin

derivatives, together with apigenin,

luteolin, sitosterol and its glucoside.

Presence of quercetin and kaempferol

has been reported in leaves and flowers.

The plant exhibits antimicrobial and

antipyretic activities.

Cordia myxa Roxb. non Linn.

Synonym C. dichotoma Forst. f.

C. obliqua Willd.

Family Boraginaceae.

Habitat Throughout India, wild

and often planted.

English Sabestan Plum.

Ayurvedic Shleshmaataka, Shelu,

Bahuvaara, Bahuvaaraka, Bhutvrkshak,

Uddaalaka Shita, Picchila,


Unani Sapistaan, Lasodaa.

Siddha/Tamil Naruvili.

Action Fruit—stringent, demulcent,

expectorant, diuretic,

anthelmintic, mucilaginous. Used

in the diseases of the chest and

urinary passage. Bark—sed in

dyspepsia and fevers. Kernels—externally applied to ringworm.

Leaf—ecoction used in cough and


The fruits containCa , P,Zn,

Fe , Mn , Cr . and Cu . mg/ g

(Chromium is of therapeutic value in


Antinutritional factors are—hytic

acid , phytate phosphorus  and

oxalic acid  mg/ g.

Theseeds contain alpha-amyrin and

taxifolin-, -dirhamnoside, which

showed significant anti-inflammatory

activity. EtOH (%) of leaves and

stems—ntimicrobial; aerial parts—diuretic and hypothermic.

Cordia rothii Roem. & Schult.

Family Boraginaceae.

Habitat Rajasthan, Gujarat, Deccan

and Karnataka.

English Sebestan (smaller var.)

Ayurvedic Laghu-shleshmaataka,


Siddha/Tamil Naruvili.

Folk Gondi.

Action See C. myxa.

Bark—stringent; decoction is used

as a gargle.

Cordia wallichii G. Don.

Synonym C. oblique Willd.

var. wallichii.

Family Boraginaceae.

Habitat Gujarat, North Kanara and


English Sebestan (bigger var.).

Ayurvedic Shleshmaataka

(bigger var.), Uddaalaka, Bahuvaaraka.

Siddha/Tamil Perunaruvili.

Folk Gondi.

Action Fruit—stringent, demulcent,


See C. myxa.


174 Coriandrum sativum Linn.

Coriandrum sativum Linn.

Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat Cultivated chiefly in

Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,

Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil

Nadu, Karnataka and Bihar.

English Coriander.

Ayurvedic Dhaanyaka, Kustumburu,

Dhaanyeyaka, Dhanika,

Dhanikaa, Dhaanaa, Dhaanya,

Dhaniyaa, Kunati, Chhatraa,


Unani Kishneez.

Siddha/Tamil Kotthamalli.

Action Stimulant, stomachic,

carminative, antispasmodic, diuretic;

also hypoglycaemic and

anti-inflammatory. Oil—actericidal

and larvicidal. Used in China

as a remedy for measles, diabetes,

aerophagy and gastroenteritis.

Key application In dyspeptic

complaints, loss of appetite.

(German Commission E, British

Herbal Pharmacopoeia, Indian

Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

Coriander contains .–% volatile

oil, consisting mainly of delta-linalool

(–%), alpha-pinene and terpinine.

It also contains flavonoids, coumarins,

phthalides and phenolic acids (including

caffeic and chlorogenic).

Aqueous extract of the roasted seeds

contains large amounts of acetylcholine

and its precursor choline. (Choline

is found useful in preventing and curing

certain liver disorders.) Theextract

shows cholinomimetic effects experimentally.

Coriandrin, an antiviral agent, has

been synthesized from the aerial parts.

Theplant forms an ingredient of a Pakistani

herbal drug (Intellan) which is

considered to be a neuro-energizer.

In Unani medicine, an infusion of

fruits is also used in bleeding piles,

neuralgia, cephalalgia and spermatorrhoea.

Dosage Fruit—– g powder. (API

Vol. I.)

Corydalis govaniana Wall.

Family Papaveraceae.

Habitat TheWest Himalayas, from

Kashmir to Kumaon.

Ayurvedic Bhootakeshi (a doubtful

substitute for Bhootajataa,

Nardostachys jatamansi DC.)

Species of Selinum are also used as


Action Sedative, spasmolytic,

hypotensive, nervine, antiseptic.

Used in cutaneous and scrofulous

affections, chronic fever and liver


The roots contain phthalide isoquinoline

alkaloids. In addition, stems

and leaves contain tetrahydroprotoberberines.

A related species, C. solida, indigenous

to Siberia, northern China and

Japan, contains alkaloids including

corydalmine, tetrahydropalmatine,

protoberberine-type alkaloid lenticin.

Thealkaloids are analgesic and sedative

and have been shown to work, at least

in part, by blocking the dopamine receptors

in the central nervous system.


Coscinium fenestratum Colebr. 175

The powdered rhizome of Corydalis

possesses one-hundredth of the analgesic

potency of morphine.

Corylus avellana Linn.

Family Betulaceae.

Habitat Native to Europe and

Western Asia; common in gardens

on hill-station in India.

English European Hazel, Filbert.

Unani Funduq, Bunduq.

Action Kernel—utritive, astringent;

used as an anabolic tonic

and in sexual debility in Unani

medicine. The oil is used to reduce

cholesterol and as an antioxidant.

The kernel of the European Hazel

Nut contains protein .%, carbohydrate

.%, fat .% and phosphorus

.%. The fatty acid components of

the kernel oil are : oleic .%, linoleic

.%, palmitic .%, stearic .% and

myristic .%.

Thestembark contains abiologically

active cyanidanol glycoside.

The Turkish Hazel Nuts are rich in

mono and polysaturated fatty acids—oleic % and linoleic %; also gave


The Turkish Hazel Nuts are imported

into India during the winter season.

Corylus colurna Linn.

Family Betulaceae.

Habitat Western temperate

Himalayas from Kashmir to

Kumaon; common in Kashmir


English Turkish Hazel.

Folk Virin (Kashmir). Thangi,

Urni (Punjab). Kapaasi, Bhotiaa

Badaam (Kumaon).

Action A mixture of flavonoids,

isolated from the leaves, has shown

potent antiperoxidative and oxygen

radical scavenging properties. It

exhibits very low toxicity and can

be used as an alternative to the toxic

synthetic antioxidants used for the

treatment of free radical-mediated

injuries. See also C. avellana.

Himalayan Hazel, occurring in central

and eastern Himalayas, locally

known as Curri and Langura, is equated

with Corylus ferox Wall.

Coscinium fenestratum Colebr.

Family Menispermaceae.

Habitat South India, particularly

in Western Ghats.

English False Calumba.

Ayurvedic Pitachandana, Pitasaara,

Harichandana, Kaaliyaka, Kalambaka.

Siddha/Tamil Maramanjal, Manjalkodi.

Folk Jharihaldi.

Action Root—tomachic, diuretic,

hypotensive, antidysenteric, antibacterial,

antifungal, bitter tonic

in dyspepsia and debility.

The stems and roots of Kalambaka

contain alkaloids including berberine


176 Costus speciosus (Koenig) Sm.

.–%and jatorrhizine. Stems contain

ceryl palmitic acid and oleic acid.

The plant is also used against fractures;

for dressing wounds and ulcers

and in cutaneous leishmaniasis.

The stems are used in South India as

a substitute for Berberis (Daaruharidraa);

also as an Indian substitute

for True Calumba (Jateorhiza palmata


Dosage Root—– g powder;

decoction—– ml. (CCRAS.)

Costus speciosus (Koenig) Sm.

Family Zingiberaceae.

Habitat Assam, North Bengal,

Khasi and Jaintia Hills, sub

Himalayan tracts of Uttar Pradesh

and Himachal Pradesh andWestern


English Canereed, Wild Ginger.

Ayurvedic Kebuka, Kembuka.

Siddha/Tamil Krrauvam, Malai

Vasambu, Ven Kottam.

Folk Kebu.

Action Astringent, purgative,

depurative, anti-inflammatory

(used in gout, rheumatism; bronchitis,

asthma, catarrhal fevers,

dysuria), anthelmintic, antivermin,

maggoticide, antifungal.

The rhizomes contain saponins—dioscin, gracillin and beta-sitosterolbeta-

D-glucoside. The alkaloids show

papaverine-like smooth-muscle-relaxant

activity, cardiotonic activity like

that of digitalis and antispasmodic,

CNS-depressant, diuretic and hydrocholeretic

activities. Saponins show

significant anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic


The seeds also contain saponins and

exhibit potent and sustained hypotensive

and bradycardiac activities in dogs

with low toxicity and without any

haemolytic activity; also weak spasmolytic

activity on isolated guinea-pig


All parts of the plant yield steroidal

sapogenin, diogenin (quantity varies

from . to %).

(Not to be confused with Kushtha of

Indian medicine, Saussurea lappa.)

Crataegus crenulata Roxb.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Sutluj to Bhutan at altitudes of –, m.

Folk Ghingaaru.

Action See Cratageus oxyacantha.

Crataegeus oxyacantha Linn.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat British and European

hedge plant, met with in the

temperate Himalayas of Kashmir

andHimachal Pradesh at an altitude

of ,–, m. (The plant does

not thrive in the plains of India.)

English English Hawthorn.

Folk Ring, Ringo, Pingyat, Phindak,

Ban Sanjli (Punjab hills).


Cressa cretica Linn. 177

Action Coronary vasodilator

(strengthens heart muscle without

increasing the beat in coronary

arteries), antispasmodic, antihypertensive,

sedative to nervous system,


Key application In cases of

cardiac insufficiency Stage II as

defined by NYHA (New York Heart

Association). An improvement of

subjective findings as well as an

increase in cardiac work tolerance,

a decrease in pressure/heart rate

product, an increase in the ejection

fraction and a rise in the anaerobic

threshold have been established in

human pharmacological studies.

(German Commission E, WHO.)

The active principles include oligomeric

procyanidins and flavonoids.

The drug is official in Homoeopathic

Pharmacopoeia of India.

Contraindicated in low blood pressure,

chest pain, bleeding disorders.

The herb may interfere with therapeutic

effect of cardiac drugs. (Sharon M.

Herr.) Preparations based on hydroalcoholic

extracts of Crataegus monogyna

or C. laevigata are used asHawthorn

in theWestern herbal.

Crataeva nurvala Buch.-Ham.

Synonym C. magna (Lour.) DC.

Family Capparidaceae.

Habitat Wild as well as cultivated

in gardens all over India.

Ayurvedic Varuna, Varana, Barnaa,

Setu, Ashmarighna, Kumaarak,


Unani Baranaa.

Siddha/Tamil Maavilingam.

Action Bark—iuretic (finds

application in urinary disorders,

including urolithiasis, prostatic

hypertrophy, neurogenic bladder

and urinary infections; uterine and

gastro-intestinal problems). Juice

of the bark is given to women after

childbirth. Extract of root bark,

mixed with honey, is applied to

scrofulous enlargements of glands.

Whole plant powder—holinergic

in smooth muscles including

urinary bladder.

Key application As antiurolithiatic.

(Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

The antiurolithic activity of the

stem-bark is attributed to the presence

of lupeol. Lupeol not only prevented

the formation of vesical calculi, but

also reduced the size of the preformed

stones in the kidneys of calculogenic

rats. It also reversed the biochemical

parameters in urine, blood and serum

towards normal.

The stem bark also exhibit antiinflammatory

activity, and is reported

tostimulate bile secretion, appetite and

bowel movement.

Dosage Stem bark—– g for

decoction. (API Vol. I.)

Cressa cretica Linn.

Family Convolvulaceae.

Habitat Costal regions of India.

Ayurvedic Rudanti, Rudantikaa,



178 Crinum asiaticum Linn.

Siddha/Tamil Uppu Sanaga.

Folk Khardi.

Action Expectorant, stomachic,

antibilious, alterative.

Air-dried, powdered whole plant

gave n-octacosanol, scopoletin, umbelliferone,

isopimpinellin, beta-sitosterol

and its –(+)-glucoside and quercetin.

Crinum asiaticum Linn.

Family Amaryllidaceae.

Habitat Wild as well as cultivated

as an ornamental.

English St. John' Lily, Poison Bulb.

Ayurvedic Naagadamani, Naagapatra,

Sudarshana (var.). C.

defixum Ker.-Gawl, is equated with


Siddha/Tamil Vishamoongil.

Action Bulb—axative (a substitute

for ipecacuanha), expectorant. Used

in biliousness, and in strangury

and other urinary affections. Also

used for the treatment of burns,

whitlow and carbuncle. Fresh

root—iaphoretic, emetic. Leaves—expectorant; externally, antiinflammatory

(used in skin diseases

and for reducing inflammations).

Seed—mmenagogue, diuretic.

The bark gave sterols and triterpenoids.

Seeds contain alkaloids—lycorine, crinamine and crinasiatine.

Crinum latifolium Linn.

Family Amaryllidaceae.

Habitat Wild as well as cultivated

as an ornamental.

English Wide-leaved Crinum.

Ayurvedic Sudarshana, Sukhadarshana,

Chakraangi, Somvalli,


Siddha/Tamil Vishamoongil.

Action Bulb—ubefacient, antirheumatic.

Also used for piles and

tubercular fistula.

The alkaloids, crinafoline and crinafolidine,

have been isolated from the

plant. These along with crinafoline

methochloride exhibited significant

tumour-inhibiting activity