Sunday, June 7, 2009


Dactyloctenium aegyptium


Synonym Eleusine aegyptiaca Desf.

Family Gramineae, Poaceae.

Habitat Common throughout

the plains of India (a very variable


Ayurvedic Takraa, Takraahvaa,

Panchaanguli, Nrityakaundaka.

(Classical synonyms.) (Takra is the

classical name of buttermilk.)

Folk Makaraa, Makari (Bihar,

Orissa), Timidaa (Tamil Nadu)

Action Astringent, bitter tonic,

anthelmintic. Used for polyurea;

externally for wounds and ulcers.

The grass growing is New South

Wales is reported to contain cyanogenetic


In Indian medicine, the grass is used

for imparting medicinial properties of

Takra (buttermilk) in intestinal, biliary

and urinary diseases.

Daemonorops draco Blume.

Synonym Calamus draco Willd.

Family Palmae; Aracaceae.

Habitat Indo-Malayan region. The

resin is imported into India mostly

from Sumatra and Borneo.

English East Indian Dragon's


Ayurvedic Raktaniryaas, Khoonkharaabaa,


Unani Damm-ul-Akhwain.

Action Astringent. Used for

diarrhoea, dysentery. Also used

against malignant tumours.

Theresin contains red tanninderivatives—

drocoresinotannols, dracoresen

and flavone quinones.

Dosage Resin—– g. (CCRAS.)

Daemonorops jenkinsianus


Synonym Calamus jenkinsianus


Family Palmae; Aracaceae.

Habitat Assam, Khasi Hills and


Ayurvedic Vetra (related species of

Calamus tenuis Roxb.)

Action Used as a vegetable

for oedema, also in intrinsic


Dalbergia lanceolaria Linn.f.

Synonym D. frondosa Roxb.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat The sub-Himalayan

tract, ascending up to  m, and

throughout India.

Siddha/Tamil Erigai, Navelangu.


200 Dalbergia latifolia Roxb.

Folk Gorakh, Takoli, Bithuaa.

Action A decoction of bark—

used in dyspepsia. Oil—applied to

rheumatic affections, and cutaneous

diseases. Leaf—in leprosy and allied

obstinate skin diseases.

Baptigenin from leaves and flowers

possesses properties to treat arthritic

affections and inflammations. An

isoflavone glycoside of biochanin

(lanceolarin) has been obtained from

the root bark. Ether, EtOH and aqueous

extract of leaves exhibited antiarthritic

activity in rats.

The heartwood of Dalbergia sp. contains

quinones. Bark and pods contain


Root bark gave isoflavone glycosides

and lanceolarin.

Dosage Whole plant—– ml

decoction. (CCRAS.)

Dalbergia latifolia Roxb.

Synonym D. emerginata Roxb.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Bengal, Bihar, Madhya

Pradesh andWestern Peninsula.

English East Indian Rosewood,

Bombay Blackwood.

Ayurvedic Shimshapaa (related sp.)

Unani Sheesham.

Siddha/Tamil Itti, Eravadi, Karundoroiral.

Folk Sisu.

Action Stimulant, appetiser,

anthelmintic, spasmogenic. Used

in dyspepsia, diarrhoea; also in

obesity, cutaneous affections and


The bark contains hentriacontane,

latifolin, beta-sitosterol and tannins.

EtOH (%) extract of the bark exhibits

spasmogenic, and anthelmintic

activity against Ascaridia galli.

Dalbergia sissoides Grah.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Throughout India,

especially in the South.

English Malabar Blackwood.

Ayurvedic Kushimshapaa.

(Shimshapaa related species).

Siddha/Tamil Vel-itti.

Folk Sisam.

Action Anti-inflammatory.

The root contains isoflavones. The

alcoholic extract of the root exhibited

anti-inflammatory activity in carrageenan-

induced hind paw oedema of

male albino rats.

A quinone, sissoidenone and dalbergion,

latifolin and dalbergin have

been isolated from the heartwood; also

oleanolic acid, liquiritigenin and

isoliquiritigenin. The sapwood and

young leaves gave sissotrin. Biochanin

A, isolated from young leaves, inhibited

both serum and epidermal growth

factor (EGF)—stimulated growth of

human prostate cancer cell lines.

Dalbergia sissoo Roxb ex DC.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.


Daphne oleoides Schreb. 201

Habitat The sub-Himalayan tract,

up to , m from Indus to Assam

and in plains throughout India.

English Sissoo, South Indian

Redwood, Sissoo.

Ayurvedic Shimshapaa, Krishnashimshapaa,


Unani Seesham.

Siddha/Tamil Irupoolai.

Action Leaves—bitter, and

stimulant. Leaf mucilage, mixed

with sweet oil, is applied to

excoriations. Wood—anthelmintic,

alterative, emetic, stomachic,

antileprotic; used in diseases due to

vitiated blood. Bark—anticholerin.


Along with other therapeutic applications,

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia

of India indicated the use of the heartwood

in turbity of the urine, calculus

and lipuria.

The leaves gave isoflavone sissotrin;

flowers ,-di-Me-tectorigenin. Seed

oil (.%) contained fatty acids composed

of palmitic (.), stearic (.%),

oleic (.), linolenic (.) and linoleic

(.) acids and lipids comprising

neutral lipids (.), glycolipids (.)

and phospholipids (.%). Pods contain

% tannins.

Dosage Heartwood—.– g

powder; – g for decoction.

(API Vol. III.)

Dalbergia sympathetica

Nimmo ex Grah.

Synonym D. multiflora Heyne ex


Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Common in Maharashtra

and Karnataka.

Folk Tibali (Goa), Pentagul


Action Bark—used as a paste for

pimples. Leaf—alterative. Aerial

part—spasmolytic, CNS active,


Dalbergia volubilis Roxb.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Central and Eastern

Himalayas, Uttar Pradesh and


Ayurvedic Gorakhi.

Siddha/Tamil Punali.

Folk Bankharaa, Bhatiaa.

Action Leaves—used in aphthae.

Root—genitourinary tract disinfectant;

used in scalding of urine, also

in foetid discharges.

The stem bark afforded isoflavonoids,

dalbergio, tectorigenin. The

leaves gave flavonoid glycosides. The

wood gave friedelin.

Daphne oleoides Schreb.

Family Thymelaeaceae.

Habitat The Western Himalayas

and Kashmir at ,–, m.

English Mezereon.

Folk Kutilal, Kanthan (Punjab).


202 Datisca cannabina Linn.

Action Active principles are

attracting scientific interest. The

orthoesters are co-carcinogenic

and mezerein antileukaemic in

experimental studies. Bark—

used as an ointment for inducing

discharge from indolent ulcers.

Bark, root and root bark—used

mainly for obstinate cutaneous

diseases, especially for eczema

with severe itching and copious

exudation (weeping eczema).

As the plant is poisonous, it is used

in homoeopathic dilutions internally

and topically.

The bark gave diterpenes including

mezerein, daphnetoxin (.%). Mezerein

is anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic.

Daphnetoxin is poisonous.

Seeds contain daphnane ester (.%)

and daphnetoxin (.%).

EtOHextract showed significant activity

against P- lymphocytic leukemia

and L- leukemia in mice,

due to mezerein.

Datisca cannabina Linn.

Family Datiscaceae.

Habitat Temperate and subtropical

Himalaya from Kashmir to Nepal at

–, m.

English False Hemp.

Folk Akal-ber. Bhang-jala (Punjab).

Action Diuretic, purgative,

expectorant. Used in fevers, and

gastric and scrofulous ailments.

The plant contains flavonoids, datiscin

and datiscanin. EtOH (%) extract

of seeds and flowers exhibited

marked sedative, highly anti-inflammatory,

mild analgesic, antipyretic and

diuretic activity in rats.

Datura alba Nees.

Family Solanaceae.

Habitat Throughout India in

plains; wastelands, roadsides and


Ayurvedic Dhattuura (white var.).

(Dhattura consists of dried seeds of

Datura sp.)

Unani Dhaturaa.

Action See D. Metel Linn.

Datura innoxia Mill.

Synonym D. metel auct. non Linn.

Family Solanaceae.

Habitat Western Himalayas and

hilly regions of the western parts

of Peninsular India, abundantly in


English Thornapple.

Ayurvedic Dhattuura.

Unani Dhaturaa, Joz Maasil.

Action The plant is the source

of alkaloid scopolamine which is

used as a pre-anaesthetic in surgery

and childbirth, in ophthalmology

and for the prevention of motion


Hyoscyamine and hyoscine andmeteloidinewere

foundin the leaves, flowers,

pericarp and seeds of the plant. The


Datura stramonium Linn. 203

root gave tropane, tropine and pseudotropine.

Datura metel Linn.

Synonym D. fastuosa Linn.

Family Solanaceae.

Habitat Throughout India,

particularly in waste place.

English Thornapple, Downy


Ayurvedic Dhattuura, Dhuurta,

Dhastura, Unmatta, Shivapriya,

Harapriya, Hema, Haatta, Dhustuura,

Dhustuuraka, Kanaka, Maatula.

Also equated with Raaj-dhatuura.

(white var.)

Unani Dhaturaa.

Siddha/Tamil Oomatthai, Karuvoomatthai.

Action Various plant parts are used

in headache, hemiplegia, epilepsy,

delirium, convulsions, cramps, rigid

thigh muscles, rheumatism. Leaf—

antitumour, antirheumatic. Leaf

and corolla—anti-inflammatory.

Flower—antiasthmatic. Seed, leaf

and root—anticatarrhal, febrifuge,

antidiarrhoeal, antidermatosis; also

used in cerebral complications.

Seeds—used in asthma. Limited use

in kinetosis (excessive salivation,

nausea and vomiting).

Along with other therapeutic applications,

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia

of India indicated the use of the whole

plant in dysuria and alopecia.

The plant accumulates more hyoscine

than hyoscyamine. Hyoscine

content of dried leaves and flowering

tops—between .–.%. Alkaloid

content of leaves—.%; stem—.%;

seeds—.%; pericarps—.%; root

at flowering of the plant—.%.

Hyoscine in large doses causes delirium

and coma.

Dosage Seed—– mg. (API

Vol. III.)

Datura stramonium Linn.

Synonym D. tatula Linn.

Family Solanaceae.

Habitat The Himalaya from

Kashmir to Sikkim up to , m,

hilly districts of Central and South


English Thornapple, Jimsonweed,


Ayurvedic Krishnadhattuura,

Dhuurta (black seed var.), Unmatta,

Kitav, Tuuri, Maatul, Madan.

Unani Dhaturaa.

Action Spasmolytic, antiasthmatic,

anticholinergic, cerebral depressant,

nerve-sedative. Controls spasms of

bronchioles in asthma. Anticholinergic.

Effects of overdose are similar

to those of atropine. Temporary

relief from Parkinsonian tremor

recorded. (Contraindicated with

depressant drugs.) Applied locally,

stramonium palliates the pain of

muscular rheumatism, neuralgia,

also pain due to haemorrhoids,

fistula, abscesses and similar inflammations.

Prevents motion



204 Daucus carota Linn. var. sativa DC.

Key application In diseases of

the autonomic nervous system.

(Included among unapproved

herbs by German Commission E.)

The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

reported antispasmodic action of the

leaf; Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia

accepted it as expectorant and


Whole plant contains .% alkaloids

(seeds .% and stem .%);

also flavonoids, withanolides, coumarins

and tannins; the major alkaloid

is hyoscyamine (–%), hyoscine

(.–.%) and atropine (.–.%).

The tropane alkaloids are similar to

those found in Atropa belladonna.

Hyoscine is five times as active as

atropine in producing mydriasis, but

its main use is as antimotion sickness

drug; and in combination as a sedative.

Toxic constituents include anticholinergic


Dosage Leaf—– mg powder;

seed—– mg powder (CCRAS.)

Daucus carota Linn. var.

sativa DC.

Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat Native to Europe and the

Mediterranean region; extensively

cultivated in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar

Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for

its fleshy tap roots which are eaten

raw or cooked. Wild Carrot: Native

to Europe, Africa and Asia. Grows

at ,–, m in the Himalayas.

English Carrot, Cultivated Carrot.

Wild carrot (D. carota Linn.wild

var.: the root, small and white),

Queen Anne's Lace, Bird's Nest.

Bees' Nest Plant.

Ayurvedic Gaajara, Garjara,


Unani Gaajar.

Action Roasted roots—prescribed

in palpitation, burning micturation,

cough and bronchitis. Carrot

increases the quantity of urine

and helps the elimination of uric

acid; also lowers blood sugar.

Juice—a rich source of carotene.

Seeds—diuretic, emmenagogue,

spasmolytic (prescribed in anuria

and sexual debility). Wild carrot—

diuretic and antilithic (used for

kidney stones, cystitis and in gout).

Seeds—emmenagogue. Also used

for hot flushes of the menopause.

In cooked (orange) carrots betacarotene

content (mcg) was found

much higher than in raw carrots-

( mcg/ g). Heat processing of

carrots affected alpha- and beta-carotene

contents; their value decreased

(.; .) in water blanching, whereas

increased (.; .) in steam blanching

compared to that in fresh carrots (.;

. mg/ g) respectively.

An interferon inducer has been isolated

from carrot. It stimulates cells

to produce the protein that increases

human resistance to virus infections.

Aqueous extract of carrots showed

hepatoprotective activity againstCCl-

induced hepatic damage in mice liver.

The ethanolic extract exhibits direct

relaxant action on cardiac and smooth

muscle preparation and this action

may be responsible for its hypotensive


Delonix regia Rafin. 205

action. (Gently heated peeled roots,

mixed with sugar candy, are given as

a hypotensive drug.)

Theethanolic extract of seeds exhibited

diuretic effect in dogs.

The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

recommends Daucus carota Linn.

(wild carrot) for its diuretic activity.

Wild carrot contains flavones including

apigenin, chypsin, luteolin;

flavonols including kaempferol, quercetin

and various glycosides. The furanocoumarins,

-methoxypsoralen and

-methoxypsoralen are found in the

plant. The seed oil contains terpinen-

-ol, a renal irritant. It is believed to

cause diuretic activity.

Decalepis hamiltonii

Wight & Arn.

Family Asclepiadaceae.

Habitat Deccan Peninsula;

common in the forest areas of

Western Ghats.

Unani Desi Ushbaa.

Siddha/Tamil Mahali kizhangu.

Action Root—appetizer, blood

purifier, bacteriostatic. Used as

a substitute for Shveta Saarivaa

(Hemidesmus indicus). Sold as

Saarivaa in Kerala, Tamil Nadu

and Karnataka. The root powder is

given to diabetics.

The root contains quercetin, kaempferol,

coumarin and rutin. It has

a sweet sarsaparilla-like taste; contains

% fleshy matter and % woody core.

The root can be stored for longer

periods and remains unaffected by microorganisms

and insects, apparently

due to the presence of the volatile

principle which possesses bacteriostatic

and toxic properties.

The root, on steam distillation, gave

-O-methyl-resorcylaldehyde in a concentration

of .%. (The growth of E.

coli was arrested by the aldehyde in

.% concentration; fish died within

 min in .% solution.) The sterols

consists mainly of stagma and brassica

sterols. Alpha-amyrin and lupeol, both

free and as esters are also present in the


The plant contains lupeol, betaamyrin

-hydroxy, -methoxy benzaldehyde,

and ferulic acid.

Delima scandens Burkill.

Synonym Tetracera scandens


Family Dilleniaceae.

Habitat Forests of Bengal, Assam

and the Andamans.

Ayurvedic Paaniya Valli.

Action A decoction of the plant

is given in dysentery and coughs.

Leaves—used for the treatment of

boils. Root—astringent, used as

external application for burns.

Delonix regia Rafin.

Synonym Poinciana regai Bojer ex


Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Native to Madagascar;

grown in gardens and avenues for

ornamental purposes and for shade.


206 Delphinium brunonianum Royle.

English Flamboyant Flame tree,

Gold Mohur.

Ayurvedic Gulmohar (var.) White

GoldMohur is equated with Delonix

elata Gamble, synonym Poinciana

elata Linn.

Siddha Vadanarayana, Perungondrai,

Mayarum. White

Gulmohar. (Tamil)

Action Bark—antiperiodic,

febrifuge. Plant—antirheumatic,

spasmogenic. Flowers (aqueous and

alcoholic extract)—active against


White Gulmohar trunk-bark yielded

asparagine and aspartic acid. Flowers

gave iso-quercetin.

Delonix regia bark gave leucocyanidin;

bark and leaves contain tannin, lupeol

and beta-sitosterol, and free OHproline

as major amino acid. Flower

anthers are a rich source of zeaxanthin.

Delphinium brunonianum


Family Ranunculaceae.

Habitat Native toChina; distributed

in West Himalayas.

English Musk Larkspur.

Ayurvedic Sprikkaa. (Melilotus

officinalis, known as Aspurka or

Naakhunaa, is also equated with

Sprikkaa.) Used as a substitute for

Tagara (valerian).

Action Himalayan species act as

cardiac and respiratory depressant.

All the species of Delphinium are

poisonous; find use in indigenous

medicine for destroying maggots

in wounds, particularly in sheep.

The flowers are considered acrid,

bitter and astringent; seeds are

cathartic, anthelmintic, emetic and


Delphinium cashmirianum


Family Ranunculaceae.

Habitat Kashmir (Himalayan


English Kashmir Larkspur.

Ayurvedic Used as a substitute for

Tagara (valerian).

Action See D. brunonianum.

Delphinium consolida Linn.

Synonym D. ajacis Linn.

Family Ranunculaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in gardens.

English Forking Larkspur, Larkspur,

Lark's Claw, Knight's Spur.

Action Parasiticide. A tincture is

used to destroy lice in hair.

The toxicity of the seeds is due to

diterpene alkaloids (delcosine, delsoline,

consolidine). Delsonine and anthranoyllycoctonine

areamorphous alkaloids.

The alkaloids lead to bradycardia,

lowering of blood pressure, and cardiac

arrest. Also, they have a central

paralyzing and curare-like effect on the

respiratory system. (German Commission



Delphinium vestitium Wall. ex Royle. 207

Entire plant, including roots and

seeds, is used topically. Not to be used

on abraded skin.

Seeds contain .–.% alkaloids

and .% of a fixed oil. A diglycoside

pigment, delphonin and kaempferol

have been isolated fromthe flowers.

Delphinium denudatum Wall.

Synonym D. pauciflorum Royle.

Family Ranunculaceae.

Habitat The temperate Himalayas

from Kashmir to Kumaon at

altitudes of ,–, m.

English Larkspur.

Ayurvedic Nirvishaa, Nirvishi.

(Kyllinga triceps Rottb. is used as

a substitute for Nirvishaa.)

Unani Jadwaar Khataai,


Folk Root—astringent, vulnerary,

deobstruent, alterative. Used for

painful piles, muscular atrophy,

gout and as a nervine tonic. Also

used as an adulterant for aconite.

Oral administration of the aqueous

extract of the plant to rats with CCl-

induced hepatotoxicity revealed hepatoprotective

property of the plant.

The roots contain campesterol, stigmasterol,

sitosterol, cholesterol, deltaavenasterol

and alkaloids including denudatine,

denudatidine, condelphine,

talatizidine and iso-talatizidine.

Delphinium staphisagria Linn.

Family Ranunculaceae.

Habitat Native to Mediterranean


English Stavesacre.

Unani Muvizaj.

Action Parasiticide. Used for

destroying lice. Contains poisonous

alkaloids. Seeds are violently

emetic and cathartic; used as an

external application in obstinate

skin diseases and eruptions under

medical supervision.

Seeds contain diterpene alkaloids;

delphidine, delphinine, delphirine, delphisine

and neoline.

Stavesacre has a similar effect to aconitine.

Extract from the seeds is used

in homoeopathic dilutions.

Delphinium vestitium

Wall. ex Royle.

Synonym Delphinium elatum auct.

non Linn.

D. speciosum Janka ex Nym.

Family Ranunculaceae.

Habitat The temperate Himalaya

from Kashmir to Nepal to ,–

, m.

English Candle Larkspur, Bee


Ayurvedic Nirvisha.

Action Whole plant—cardiac

and respiratory depressant, emetic,

diuretic, anthelmintic. Seed—

insecticidal. Used in skin eruptions.

Powdered flowers, mixed with

mustard oil, are used for destroying



208 Delphinium zalil Aitch. & Hemsl.

The plant contains beta-sitosterol

and alkaloid delpheline; aerial parts

contain an alkaloid, elatine.

Seeds are very poisonous; contain

several aconitine-like alkaloids. Delphinidine,

isolated from seeds, causes

drastic gastro-enteric irritation.

Delphinium zalil Aitch. & Hemsl.

Synonym D. semibarbatum Blenert

ex Boiss.

Family Ranunculaceae.

Habitat Persia and Afghanistan.

English Zalil Larkspur.

Ayurvedic Sprikkaa. (Melilotus

officinalis, known as Aspurka or

Naakhunaa, is also equated with


Unani Zarir, Zalil, Asbarg,

Gul-Zalil (flower).

Action Diuretic, anodyne, antiinflammatory,

detergent. Used in

jaundice, dropsy and diseases of the

spleen. Ash—used externally on

wounds and skin diseases.

The seeds contain norditerpenoid

alkaloid, zaliline, besides anhweidelphinine,

browniine, desacetylnudicauline,

lycoctonine, methyllycaconitine

and nudicauline. The medicinal

properties of the plant are attributed to

desacetylnudicauline, methyllycaconitine

and nudicauline.

Dendrobium ovatum

(Willd.) Kranzl.

Family Orchidaceae.

Habitat The Western Ghats.

Ayurvedic Jivanti (substitute.)

Folk Nagli (Maharashtra)

Action Juice of fresh plant—stomachic,

carminative, antispasmodic,

laxative, liver tonic. (excites the

bile). A related species, Dendrobium

crumenatum Sw., occurs in Andaman

Islands. Pounded leaves are

used in Malaya for poulticing boils

and pimples. Traces of alkaloids

have been reported to be present in

the pseudobulbs and leaves.

D. macraei Lindl. and D. normale

Face. are also known as Jivanti.

Dendrophthoe falcata

(Linn. f.) Etting.

Family Loranthaceae.

Habitat Throughout India.

Ayurvedic Bandaaka, Vrkshaadani,


Siddha Pulluri, Plavithil (Tamil).

Folk Baandaa.

Action Bark—astringent and

narcotic; used in menstrual

disorders, consumption, asthma,

also for treating wounds.

The plant contains several flavonoids.

Being parasitic, different flavonoids

have been recorded in plants

growing on different host plants. Quercitrin

has been found to be the major

common constituent. The plant also

contains gallic, ellagic and chebulinic



Descurainia sophia (Linn.)Webb ex Prantl. 209

Aqueous and alcoholic extracts of

the plant were tested in rats for their

diuretic and anti-lithiatic activities. Alcoholic

extract was found to be more

effective than aqueous extract.

Dosage Leaf, flower—– ml

juice. (CCRAS.)

Derris indica (Lamk.) Bennet.

Synonym Pongamia pinnata Pierre.

Family Fabaceae.

Habitat Native to the Western

Ghats. Found all over India on the

banks of rivers and streams.

English Indian Beech. Pongamia

oil tree.

Ayurvedic Naktmaal, Guchpushpak,

Ghritpuur, Udkirya, Karanja.

Siddha/Tamil Pungu.

Action Used for skin diseases—

eczema, scabies, leprosy, and for

ulcers, tumours, piles, enlargement

of spleen, vaginal and urinary

discharges. Juice of root—used

for closing fistulous sores and

cleaning foul ulcers. Flowers—

used in diabetes. Powder of seeds—

used for whooping and irritating

coughs of children. Seed oil—used

in cutaneous affections, herpes and


The tree is rich in flavonoids and related

compounds. These include simple

flavones, furanoflavonoids, chromenoflavones,


coumarones, flavone glucosides, sterols,

triterpenes and a modified phenylalanine


Essential oil from leaves—antibacterial,


Dosage Bark—– ml decoction;

leaf—– ml juice.


Derris uliginosa Benth.

Synonym D. trifoliate Lour.

Family Fabaceae.

Habitat Costal forests of India and

the Andamans.

Folk Paan-lataa (Bengal), Kitani


Action Stimulant, antispasmodic,

counter-irritant. Bark—alterative in

rheumatism. An oil prepared from

the plant is used externally as an


The roots contain dehydrorotenone,

lupeol and a ketone. Bark contains

.% tannic acid. Stems contain tannic

acid, hexoic, arachidic and stearic

acids, ceryl alcohol, isomerides of

cholesterol, potassium nitrate, gums

and resins.

Descurainia sophia

(Linn.)Webb ex Prantl.

Synonym Sisymbrium sophia L.

Family Brassicaceae.

Habitat Temperate Himalaya from

Kashmir to Kumaon at ,–,,

also in eastern Himalaya.

English Flix Weed, Flax Weed.

Folk Khaakasi, Khuubkalaan.


210 Desmodium gangeticum DC.

Action Leaf and flower—astringent,

antiscorbutic. Seed—expectorant,

anti-inflammatory, febrifuge,

antidysenteric. Aerial parts—

antiviral, hypoglycaemic.

The plants has been used externally

for ulcers, seeds are used as substitute

or adulterant of the seeds of

Sisymbrium iro Linn. (The source of

Khaakasi, Khubb, Tukhm-e-Shahuh,

Khuubkalaan of Unani medicine,

known as Hedge Mustard or London


Desmodium gangeticum DC.

Synonym Hedysarum gangeticum


Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Ascending to , m on

the Himalaya; common on lower

hills and plains throughout India.

Ayurvedic Shaaliparni, Shaalaparni,

Sthiraa, Somyaa, Guhaa, Triparni,

Vidaarigandha, Anshumati. Also

used as Prshniparni. (Uraria picta

Desv., Prshniparni, is used as

a substitute for Shaalaparni.)

Siddha/Tamil Pulladi, Sirupulladi

Moovilai (root).

Folk Sarivan.

Action Root—antipyretic, diuretic,

astringent (used in irritable

bowel syndrome, diarrhoea and

dysentery), anticatarrhal (used

in post-natal care, chronic fever,

cough, biliousness, vomiting),

diuretic, anthelmintic, laxative and

nervine tonic. Desmodium spp.:

Roots—carminative, mildly purgative,

stomachic, emmenagogue,

diuretic. Leaves—galactagogue;

a poultice of leaves is used for

lumbago. Bark—used in diarrhoea

and haemorrhages.

Roots afforded pterocarpanoids—

gangetin, gangetinin, desmodin and

several alkaloids. The aerial portion

gave indole--alkylamines and their


Gangetin showed significant antiinflammatory

activity in  and

 mg/kg p.o. in rats.

Dosage Root—– g powder; –

 g for decoction. (API Vol. III.)

Desmodium triflorum

(Linn.) DC.

Synonym Hedysarum triflorum


Family Fabaceae.

Habitat Throughout India, in

the plains ascending to , m in

Kumaon and , m in Kashmir.

Ayurvedic Tripaadi, Hamsapaadi


Siddha/Tamil Seruppadi.

Folk Jangali Methi, Ran-methi.

Action Fresh leaves—used

internally as galactagogue and for

diarrhoea; applied externally to

wounds and abscesses. Root—

diuretic. Also used for cough,


The leaf contains alkaloids (.–

.%), major being beta-phenylethylD

Dicentra canadensis Walp. 211

amine; also contains tyramine and hypaphorine.

Hypaphorine is present

in roots as well. Root contains .–

.% alkaloids.

Desmostachya bipinnata Stapf.

Synonym Eragrostis cynosuroides


Family Gramineae; Poaceae.

Habitat Throughout the plains of

India in dry and hot areas and in

sandy deserts.

English Sacrificial Grass (smaller


Ayurvedic Kusha, Suuchyagra,

Yagyabhuushana, Kshurapatra.

Siddha/Tamil Tharubai.

Action Root—cooling, diuretic,

galactagogue, astringent. Used for

urinary calculi, and other diseases

of the bladder. Clums—used in

menorrhagia, dysentery, diarrhoea

and in skin diseases.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of

India recommended the use of

the rootstock in dysuria, vaginal

discharges and erysipelas.

Dosage Rootstock—– g for

decoction. (API Vol. III.)

Dianthus carophyllus Linn.

Family Caryophyllaceae.

Habitat Kashmir; commonly

grown in gardens, especially on the


English Carnation, Clove Pink.

Action Flowers—diaphoretic,

alexiteric, cardiac tonic. whole

plant—vermifuge. Juice of plant—


Leaves contain glucoproteins.

A related species, Dicentra anatolicus

Boiss, found in the Western Himalayas,

is used as an antiperiodic in

intermittent fevers.

Dicentra canadensis Walp.

Family Papaveraceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Kumaon to Khasia Hills. Cultivated

in Indian gardens.

English Squirrel Corn. (A related

species, Corydalis cucullaria, known

as Turkey Pea, occurs in Canada

and the USA.)

Action Diuretic, alterative, antiscrofula.

Used for torpid and

sluggish conditions, menstrual

disorders and diseases due to

vitiated blood. Also employed as

a sedative for the relief of paralysis

agitans and othermuscular tremors.

A large number of physiologically

active isoquinoline alkaloids have

been isolated from the tubers of many

species of Dicentra, but the use of

Corydalis is not linked with the alkaloids

they contain, only bulbocapnine,

present in the tubers, exhibits therapeutic

activity. It produces catalepsy

in mammals and possesses sympathetic

as well as parasympathetic central



212 Dichroa febrifuga Lour.

It has been employed for the relief

of paralysis agitans and other muscular

tremors, vesticular nystagmus and

similar conditions.

The root contains protopine, corydeline,

bulbocapnine, cancentrine, dehydrocancentrines

A and B. Bicuculline

(an isoquinoline alkaloid) isolated

from the tuber of Dicentra cucullaria,

is a centrally-acting, spasmogenic antagonist

of GABA.

Dichroa febrifuga Lour.

Family Saxifragaceae.

Habitat The temperate Himalayas

from Nepal to Bhutan and Khasi


Folk Basak.

Action Febrifuge, antipyretic,

antiparasitic (used for malarial

fever). Dried roots, known as

Chang Shan, dried leafy tops,

known as Shu Chi, in Chinese

medicine, are used for malarial

fever. Dried roots (Chang Shan)

contain the alkaloid dichroine

A and B, dichrin A and B.

The active principle febrifugine

compared to quinine was estimated

to be  to  times more efficacious

against Plasmodium gallinaceum

in chicks, about  times against Plasmodium

lophurae in ducks also against

Plasmodium relictum in canaries. The

aqueous extract of the plant inhibited

the infecting rate of the parasite Plasmodium

berghei up to  days and increased

themean survival time to twice

that of untreated control at . g/kg


Clinical trials with febrifugine indicated

that the drug given in four oral

doses totalling –mg/day reduces the

parasite count.

Dichrostachys cinerea W. & A.

Synonym Cailliea cinerea Macb.

Family Mimosaceae.

Habitat Northwestern and Central

India, Maharashtra, from North

Karnataka southwards.

Ayurvedic Virataru, Vellantaru,


Siddha/Tamil Vidathalai.

Folk Varatuli, Khairi.

Action Root—astringent and

diuretic; used in renal affections,

urinary calculi, also in rheumatism.

Tender shoots—applied externally

for ophthalmia.

The plant foliage contain tannin—

., . and . mg/ g during

February, June and November respectively.

Roots afforded n-octacosanol,

beta-amyrin, friedelan--one, friedelan-

-beta-ol andbeta-sitosterol. Flowers

contain cyanidin and quercetin.

Dosage Root, bark—– ml

decoction. (CCRAS.)

Dicoma tomentosa Cass.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Native to Africa and

Asia, found in north-western and

southern India.


Digitalis lanata Ehrh. 213

Folk Navananji (Maharashtra),

Vajradanti (Punjab).

Action Febrifuge (used in febrile

attacks after childbirth. Applied

locally to putrescent wounds.

In Indian medicine, Vajradanti,

equated with Potentilla arbuscula D.

Don and its related species (Rosaceae),

is used topically for strengthening

gums and teeth.

Dictamnus albus Linn.

Family Rutaceae.

Habitat Western Himalayas from

Kashmir to Kunawar, common in


English Gas Plant, Dittany, Burning


Action Root bark—used in nervous

diseases, hysteria, intermittent

fevers, urinogenital disorders, and

amenorrhoea; a decoction for

scabies and other skin affections.


Dittany stimulates the muscles of

the uterus, while its effect on the

gastro-intestinal tract is antispasmodic,

it relaxes the gut. (The plant is

used in Greek folk medicine as antispasmodic.)

The herb contains furoquinoline

alkaloids (including dictamnine),

furococumarins, limonoids, and

flavonoids (including rutin).

Volatile oil contains estragol, anethole,

and a toxic alkaloid dictamnine.

Flowers yield .% essential oil containing

methylchavicol and anethole.

Leaves yield .% essential oil.

Didymocarpus pedicellata R.Br.

Synonym D. macrophylla auct.

non-Wall. ex D. Don.

Family Gesneriaceae.

Habitat Sub-tropical Himalaya

from Himachal Pradesh to Arunachal

Pradesh at –, m.

Ayurvedic Kshudra-Paashaanabheda,

Shilaa-valkaa, Shilaapushpa.

Action Leaf—antilithic. Used for

stones in kidney and bladder.

Theleaves contain a number of chalcones,

quinochalcones and flavanones.

Pediflavone has also been isolated from

young leaves.

Digera muricata (Linn.) Mart.

Synonym D. arvensis Forsk.

Desmochaeta muricata (L.) DC.

Family Amaranthaceae.

Habitat Throughout the plains of

India, as a weed in cultivated fields.

Ayurvedic Katthinjara, Kunanjara.

Siddha/Tamil Thoyya-keerai.

Folk Lat-mahuriaa, Lahsuvaa.

Action Astringent, antibilious.

Laxative in large doses. Flowers and

seeds—diuretic; given for urinary


The plant contains alpha-and betaspinasterol.

Digitalis lanata Ehrh.

Family Scrophulariaceae.


214 Digitalis purpurea Linn.

Habitat Native to Europe. Now

cultivated mainly in Kashmir

(Yarikhah), also occurs wild.

English Grecian Foxglove.

Ayurvedic Hritpatri, Tilapushpi

(non-classical). (Yellow var.)

Action See D. purpurea.

Earlier, the herb was used to treat

ulcers, boils, abscesses, headaches and

paralysis. William Withering, an th

century English country doctor, explored

the plant's hidden properties.

His work led to the production of

digoxin, a life-saving medicine.

Safety of the herb cannot be established

due to variable amounts of cardiac

glycosides. The powder is toxic at

 mg.

Digitalis purpurea Linn.

Family Scrophulariaceae.

Habitat Native to West Europe.

Cultivated in Tangmarg and

Kishtawar in Kashmir, Darjeeling

and the Nilgiris.

English Digitalis, Foxglove.

Ayurvedic Hritpatri, Tilapushpi

(non-classical). (Purple var.)

Action Main source of digoxin

for the pharmaceutical industry.

Digitalis glycosides increase the

force of contraction of heart without

increasing the oxygen consumption

and slow the heart rate when

auricular fibrillation is present. To

be used only under strict medical


Not used as a herbal drug.

Dillenia indica Linn.

Synonym Dillenia speciosa Thunb.

Family Dilleniaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from Nepal

to Bhutan; north Bengal, Bihar,

Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.

English Elephant Apple.

Ayurvedic Bhavya.

Folk Uva, Chaaltaa.

Action Fruit—laxative, carminative,

bechic, febrifuge, antispasmodic

(used for abdominal pains). Bark

and leaves—astringent.

The sepals contain (on dry weight

basis): tannin ., glucose . and

malic acid .%. The bark and leaves

contain about % and % tannin (on

dry weight basis) respectively.

The fruit yielded a polysaccharide,


The leaves yielded cycloartenone,

n-hentriacontanol, betulin, betulinic

acid and beta-sitosterol. The bark gave

iso-rhamnetin, naringenin, quercetin

derivatives and kaempferol.

Dillenia pentagyna Roxb.

Family Dilleniaceae.

Habitat The Himalayan terai from

Punjab to Assam, and South India

and the Andamans.

Folk Dillenia. Agai (Bihar), Agachi


Action See D. indica.

The bark contains % tannin.


Dioscorea bulbifera Linn. 215

Dioscorea alata Linn.

Synonym D. atropurpurea Roxb.

D. globosa Roxb.

D. purpurea Roxb.

Family Dioscoreaceae.

Habitat Native to East Asia;

cultivated in Assam, Vadodara,

Tamil Nadu, Bengal and Madhya


English Wild Yam, Greater Yam,

Asiatic Yam.

Ayurvedic Kaashthaaluka. Aaluka

(var.). Aalukas (yams) of Ayurvedic

texts, belong to Dioscorea spp.

Siddha/Tamil Perumvalli kizhangu.

Folk Kathaalu.

Action Even the best among the

cultivated yams causes irritation

in the throat or a feeling of

discomfort when eaten raw. Wild

yams—cholagogue, antispasmodic,

anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic,

diuretic. Also used for painful

periods, cramps and muscle


Key application Dioscorea villosa

L., Wild Yam—as spasmolytic,

anti-inflammatory. (The British

Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

The edible tubers of Dioscorea alata

are purple-coloured and contain anthocyanins,

cyanidin and peonidin-

-gentiobioside acylated with sinapic

acid. The tubers contain surcose, while

leaves contain large quantities of Dfructose,

D-glucose and the polyols,

-deoxyribitol, -deoxysorbitol and


Mouldy yams are reported to contain

a compound ipomeanol which is

being tested against human lung cancer.

(J. Am Med Assoc, , , .)

Diosgenin obtained from Dioscorea

species was used in the first commercial

production of oral contraceptives,

topical hormones, systemic corticosteroids,

androgens, estrogens, progestogens

and other sex hormones.

The chemical transformation of diosgenin

to estrogen, progesterone or

any other steroidal compound does not

occur in human body. Topically applied

Wild Yam does not appear to

cause changes in serum FSH, estradiol

or progesterone. (Natural Medicines

Comprehensive Database, .)

Diosgenin, combined with the drug

clofibrate, caused a greater decrease in

LDL than either substance alone in rats.

(Sharon M. Herr.)

Dioscorea anguina Roxb.

Synonym D. puber Blume.

Family Dioscoreaceae.

Habitat Wet regions of the

Himalayas from Central Nepal,

eastwards to northern Bengal,

Assam and Chittagong.

Ayurvedic Kaasaalu, Kasaalu.

Folk Koshakanda (Bengal).

Action See D. alata.

Dioscorea bulbifera Linn.

Synonym D. sativa Thumb auct.

non L.

D. versicolor Buch.-Ham ex Wall.


216 Dioscorea daemona Roxb.

Family Dioscoreaceae.

Habitat Throughout tropical India,

at ,–, m.

English Patoto Yam, Bulb-bearing

Yam, Air Potato, Dog Yam.

Ayurvedic Vaaraahi, Vaaraahikanda,

Grshti, Banaaalu, Suraalu,

Raktaalu. Substitute for Vriddhi.

Unani Baraahikand.

Siddha/Tamil Kodi-kilangu,


Action Dried and pounded tubers

are used as an application for

swellings, boils and ulcers; roasted

tubers are used in dysentery, piles,

venereal sores. Leaf—febrifuge.

The raw tubers are bitter due to

the presence of furanoid norditerpenes

(they lose their bitterness on roasting

and are then eaten). The wild tubers

contain nearly % starch and possess

hunger-suppressing property. They

contain certain poisonous alkaloids.

The rhizomes afforded D-sorbitol,

furanoid norditerpenes—diosbulbins

A-D, ,,,-tetrahydroxy-,-dihydrophenanthrene

and ,,,,-tetrahydroxyphenanthrene,

diosgenin, lucein,

neoxanthine, violaxanthin, zeaxanthin,

auroxanthin and cyrptoxanthin.

Dioscorea daemona Roxb.

Synonym D. hispada Dennst.

D. hirsuta Dennst.

Family Dioscoreaceae.

Habitat Sikkim, the Himalayas,

Khasi Hills.

Ayurvedic Hastyaaluka.

Siddha/Tamil Peiperendai.

Folk Karukandu, Kolo (Bihar).

Action Tubers—used for ulcer, to

kill worms in wounds. Plant parts—

used in whitlow, sores, boils.

The tubers contain .–.%

carbohydrates, .–.% albuminoids.

The toxic principle is dioscorine

which is distributed throughout the


Dioscorea deltoidea

Wall ex Griseb.

Synonym D. nepalensis Sweet ex


Family Dioscoreaceae.

Habitat The Himalaya from

Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh and

in Assam at –, m.

Ayurvedic Vaaraahikanda (var.),


Folk Gun, Kris (Punjab).

Action Tuber—antipthiriac. Leaf—

febrifuge. The rhizomes are a rich

source of diogenin and its glycoside.

Steroidal saponins have also been

isolated. Diogenin is used in the

preparation of various steroidal


Dioscorea esculenta Burkill.

Synonym D. aculeata Linn.

D. faciculata Roxb.

D. spinosa Roxb ex Wall.


Dioscorea prazeri Prain & Burkill. 217

Family Dioscoreaceae.

Habitat Madhya Pradesh, Uttar

Pradesh, Orissa, Bengal, Assam and

the Andamans.

English Lesser Yam, Karen Potato.

Ayurvedic Madhvaaluka.

Siddha/Tamil Musilam, Valli

kilangu, Siruvalli Kilangu.

Folk Suthani.

Action Tubers are starchy and free

from dioscorine, contain .%

carbohydrates, .% albuminoids.

Dioscorea glabra Roxb.

Family Dioscoreaceae.

Habitat Assam, Bengal, Bihar,

Orissa and Andaman and Nicobar


Ayurvedic Shankhaaluka.

Action Tubers contain .–

.% carbohydrates, .–.%


Dioscorea hamiltonii Hook. f.

Family Dioscoreaceae.

Habitat The Western Ghats,

Sikkim, Assam, Orissa and Bengal.

Ayurvedic Vaaraahi (var.).

Folk Naagar-kanda (Bihar).

Action Tubers contain .%

carbohydrates, .% albuminoids.

Dioscorea oppositifolia Linn.

Family Dioscoreaceae.

Habitat South India; throughout

the hills of Deccan.

Ayurvedic Amlikaakanda (controversial


Siddha Kavala-kodi, Venilai Valli.

Folk Aambaalio Kanda (Gujarat).

Action Used externally for reducing


Dioscorea pentaphylla Linn.

Synonym D. triphylla var. doemona

Prain & Burkill.

Family Dioscoreaceae.

Habitat Native to tropical Asia;

distributed throughout India.

Ayurvedic Vaaraahikanda (var., dry

pieces are sold as Vidaarikanda).

Folk Kaantaalu.

Action Tubers contain .–

.% carbohydrates, .–.%

albuminoids. Tubers are used to

disperse swellings.

Dioscorea prazeri

Prain & Burkill.

Synonym D. Clarkei Prain &Burkill

D. deltoidea Wall. var. sikkimensis


Family Dioscoreaceae.

Habitat The Himalaya from Nepal

to Bhutan, up to , m, also in

Naga Hills.

Ayurvedic Neelaalu.

Action Tuber—antiphthiriac.


218 Diospyros ebenum Koenig.

The rhizomes are used as a hair

wash for killing lice. They contain

diogenin (on dry basis) .%. Also obtained

are steroidal sapogenins, sitosterol

glucoside, prazerigenin-Aglucoside,

prazerigenin-A bioside and ,-


Diospyros ebenum Koenig.

Synonym D. hebecarpa A. Cunn ex


Family Ebenaceae.

Habitat Orissa and South India.

English Ebony Persimmon,

Malabar Ebony, Ceylon Ebony.

Ayurvedic Tinduka.

Unani Aaabnuus.

Siddha/Tamil Acha-Thumbi.

Action Plant—astringent, attenuant,


The heartwood contains  betanaphthalhydes,

 naphthoic acid derivatives;

ceryl alcohol, betulin, alphaamyrin,

ursolic acid, baurenol and

stigmasterol. The leaves contain ursolic

acid, alpha-amyrin, betulin and


Diospyros embryopteris Pers.

Synonym D. peregrina (Gaertn.)


D. malabarica (Desr.) Kostel.

Family Ebenaceae.

Habitat Throughout India in shady

wet places and near streams.

English Gaub Persimmon, Riber


Ayurvedic Tinduka, Tinduki, Sphuurjaka,

Kaalaskandha, Asitkaaraka.


Unani Tendu.

Siddha/Tamil Tumbika, Kattatti.

Action Fruit and stem bark—

astringent. Infusion of fruits—used

as gargle in aphthae and sore throat.

Fruit juice—used as application for

wounds and ulcers. Oil of seeds—

given in diarrhoea and dysentery.

Ether extract of fruit—antibacterial.

Bark—astringent and styptic,

used in menorrhagia, diarrhoea,

dysentery and intermittent fevers.

A paste is applied to boils and tumours.

The ethyl acetate extract

showed antistress and anti-ulcerogenic

activity. It also prevented hepatotoxicity

and leucocytosis in experimental


The bark contains betulinic acid,

myricyl alcohol, triterpenoids and saponin.

The leaves gave beta-sitosterol,

betulin and oleanolic acid. Fruit pulp

and seeds contain lupeol, betulin, gallic

acid, betulinic acid, hexacosane, hexacosanol,

sitosterol, beta-D-glucoside

of sitosterol and a triterpene ketone.

Stem bark—antiprotozoal, antiviral,

hypoglycaemic, semen-coagulant.

Stems yielded nonadecan--ol-one.

Dosage Bark—– ml decoction.


Diospyros kaki Linn. f.

Family Ebenaceae.


Diospyros montana Roxb. var. cordifolia Hiem. 219

Habitat Native to China; now

grown in Himachal Pradesh,

Kumaon, the Nilgiris and West

Bengal for edible fruits.

English Japanese Persimmon.

Ayurvedic Tinduka (var.).

Action Hypotensive, hepatoprotective,

antidote to poisons and

bacterial toxins. Calyx and peduncle

of fruit—used in the treatment

of cough and dyspnoea. Roasted

seeds—used as a substitute for


The fruit, in addition to sugars, glucose,

fructose, ascorbic acid, citric acid,

contains (% of fresh weight) .–.

tannins, .–. total pectins, .

pentosans and .–. polyphenols.

The fruit also contains . mg/ g

carotenoids; carotene expressed as vitamin

A – IU. The carotenoids

identified in the pulp include

cryptoxanthine, zeaxanthin, antheraxanthin,

lycopene and beta-carotene.

(Many carotenoids originally present

in the fruit decompose during ripening.

The fruit pulp is an antidote to bacterial

toxins and is used in the preparation

of a vaccine for pertussis.

Condensed tannins from the fruits

effectively inhibited -nitrofluorene


The immature leaves contain a steroidal

saponin, lignin and phenolic

compounds. Eugenol and dihydroactinidiolide

are reported from fresh


The leaves are reported to exhibit

hepatoprotective activity. Leaves also

contain hypotensive principles. Astragalin

and isoquercitrin have been isolated

from leaves.

Diospyros melanoxylon Roxb.

Synonym D. dubia Wall. ex A. DC.

Family Ebenaceae.

Habitat Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,

Orissa, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh

and West Peninsula.

English Coromandel Ebony,


Ayurvedic Tinduka (var.), Dirghapatrakaa.

Siddha/Tamil Karum Dumbi,

Thumbi, Beedi-elai.

Action Leaves—carminative,

laxative, diuretic, styptic. Bark—

astringent. Used in dyspepsia

and diarrhoea. Unripe fruit—

carminative and astringent. Ripe

fruit—antibilious. Dried flowers—

used in anaemia, inflammation of

spleen, also in leucorrhoea. Leaf

and dried flower—used in dyspepsia

and diarrhoea, topically in scabies.

Aerial parts—hypotensive.

Half-ripe fruit contains , ripe fruit

 and bark % tannin.

Thebark and sapwood extracts yield

beta-sitosterol, lupeol, betulin and betulinic

acid. Leaves contain hentriacontane,

hentriacontanol, alpha-amyrin,

baurenol, ursolic, oleanolic and betulinic


Diospyros montana Roxb. var.

cordifolia Hiem.

Family Ebenaceae.


220 Diospyros tomentosa Roxb.

Habitat Throughout the greater

part of India.

English Mountain persimmon.

Ayurvedic Visha-tinduka, Kaakatinduka.

Siddha/Tamil Vakkanai,


Folk Timru.

Action Various plant parts are

used in fever, puerperal fever,

neuralgia, pleurisy, pneumonia,

menorrhagia, dysurea. Fruits are

applied externally to boils.

Bark extract—anti-inflammatory,

antipyretic and analgesic. Leaves and


Diospyrin occurs in the bark and

wood. Leaves contain hentriacontane,

hentriacontanol, beta-sitosterol,

alpha-and beta-amyrin, lupeol, taraxerol

and ursolic acid.

Alcoholic extract of theplant showed

CNS depressant and spasmolytic activity

and also produced bradycardia and


Diospyros tomentosa Roxb.

Synonym D. exsculpta Buch.-Ham.

Family Ebenaceae.

Habitat Sub-Himalayan tract from

Ravi to Nepal, also in Rajasthan,

Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Orrisa.

English Nepal Ebony Persimmon.

Ayurvedic Viralaa, Tinduka (var.).

Siddha/Tamil Tumbi.

Folk Ebony.

Action Astringent, antiinflammatory,

styptic. Various

plant parts are used for dry cough,

bronchitis, pleurisy, pneumonia,

dysuria, fistula, tumours, bleeding

gums, haemorrhagic conditions.

The leaves and stems gave betasitosterol,

lupeol, betulin, betulinic and

oleanolic acids.

Unsaponifiable matter of seeds

showed CNS depressant activity.

Dipterocarpus alatus Roxb.

Synonym D. incanus Roxb.

Family Dipterocarpaceae.

Habitat The Andamans.

English Gurjun.

Ayurvedic Ashwakarna, Garjan,

Shveta-Garjan, Jarandruma.

Action Decoction of the bark is

prescribed in rheumatism. Oil—

applied to ulcerated wounds.

Balsam—applied externally in


Dipterocarpus resin gave sesquiterpenoids.

The essential oil contains 

sesquiterpenoids of eudesmane series.

Dipterocarpus turbinatus

Gaertn. f.

Synonym D. indicus Bedd.

Family Dipterocarpaceae.

Habitat The Andamans and Assam.

English Common Gurjun tree,

Wood Oil tree.


Dolichandrone falcate Seem. 221

Ayurvedic Ajakarna, Chhaagakarna,


Siddha/Tamil Enney, Saara.

Folk Gurjan.

Action Oleo-resin (known as

Gurjan Oil or Gurjan Balsam)—

stimulant to genitourinary system,

diuretic, spasmolytic; used

externally on ulcers, ringworm

and other cutaneous affections.

Bark—a decoction is prescribed


Essential oil from oleo-resin contained

humulene, beta-caryophyllene,

a bicyclic sesquiterpene hydrocarbon

and a sesquiterpene alcohol.

The twig bark contains % tannin

and .% soluble non-tans.

Dosage Oil—– ml. (CCRAS.)

Dodonaea viscosa Linn. Jacq.

Family Sapindaceae.

Habitat North-western Himalaya

up to , m, in Punjab, South

India, ascending to , m on

Nilgiris. Also planted as a hedge

plant in Northern India.

English Jamacia Switch Sorrel.

Ayurvedic Raasnaa (substitute,

used in Andhra Pradesh). (Raasnaa

is equated with Pluchea lanceolata

C. B. Clarke.)

Siddha/Tamil Virali, Velari.

Action Leaves—anti-inflammatory

and antibacterial (used in the

treatment of swellings, burns,

wounds), febrifuge, embrocation of

leaves is applied to sprains. Bark—

astringent and anti-inflammatory.

Aerial parts—hypoglycaemic.

Theplant contains bioflavonoids (vitamin

P) which are biologically active

in improving blood circulation and

strengthening capillaries. Aqueous

and alcoholic extracts of the plant exhibited

cardioinhibitory and coronory

constricting, also spasmolytic, sedative

and hypotensive activity.

The leaves and pods gave iso-rhamnetin-

-O-rutinoside, quercetin--Ogalactoside

and quercetin--O-rutinoside.

Resin gave a diterpene carboxylic

acid (hautriwaic acid). Flowers gave


Dolichandrone falcate Seem.

Family Bignoniaceae.

Habitat Moist forests of central

and southern India.

Ayurvedic Mesha-shringi (also

equated with Gymnena sylvestre R.

Br.), Vishaanikaa.

Siddha/Tamil Kattu Varsana,

Kaddalatti, Kaliyacca.

Action Fruits—bitter, carminative,

used in diabetes, urinary disorders,

bronchitis and skin diseases.

Leaves—applied externally to

swollen glands. Abortifacient.

Theleaves yield luteolin, chrysin and

its -rutinoside and glucoside.

Fruits are also known as Rshabhaka

in the South.


222 Dolichos biflorus Linn.

Dolichos biflorus Linn.

Synonym Vigna unquiculata (L.)


Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat A pulse crop, particularly

in Madras, Mysore, Mumbai and


English Horsegram.

Ayurvedic Kulattha, Kulittha,

Khalva, Vardhipatraka.

Unani Kulthi.

Siddha/Tamil Kollu, Kaanam.

Action Plant—used in measles,

smallpox, adenitis, burns, sores.

Seeds—astringent, antipyretic,

diuretic. Decoction or soup is used

in affections of the liver and spleen,

intestinal colic, in leucorrhoea

and menstrual dissorders, urinary

discharges. A valuable protein


The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of

India recommends the decoction

of dry seeds in calculus and


The seeds contain crude protein

., pentosan . and water-soluble

gum .%. The presence of antinutritional

components such as haemagglutinin

and a protease inhibitor has

been reported. The inhibitor activity

decreased during germination.

The mean protein value of the seeds

is .% which ismore or less equivalent

to soybean,winged bean and gram.

Nutritionally, the horsegram seeds are

richer in lysine content when compared

to Cajanus cajan (Arhar) pulse

and gram pulse.

Presence of vitamin A in the green

pods makes them a valuable diet for

children; green leaves may be used in

vitamin C deficiency syndrome, due to

the presence of ascorbic acid and calcium.

The seeds contain several common


Strepogenin—several times higher

than in casein.

A decoction of seeds (soaked or

boiled in water) is prescribed as diuretic

and antilithiatic and has been

clinically established.

Diuretic activity of a dipeptide (pyroglutamylglutamine)

has been found

to be – times that of acetazolamide

in albino rats.

Globulin fraction of the seeds

showed hypolipidaemic effects in rats.

A lectin-like glycoprotein from

stems and leaves possesses carbohydrate-

binding activity.

Dosage Seed— g powder;

decoction – ml. (CCRAS.)

Dolichos falcatus Seem Klein.

Family Papilionaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Kumaon to Khasi Hills and in

Western Peninsula.

Ayurvedic Kulatthikaa.

Action Root—prescribed for

constipation and skin diseases.

A decoction of seeds is used for


Dolichos lablab Linn. var.

typicus Prain.

Synonym Lablab purpureus Linn.


Doronicum hookeri Hook. f. 223

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Cultivated throughout


English Indian Butter Bean, Lablab

Bean, Horsebean.

Ayurvedic Nishpaav, Sem.

Unani Lab Laab, Semphali.

Siddha/Tamil Avarin.

Action Seeds—febrifuge, stomachic,

antispasmodic, antifungal.

Key application As expectorant.

(The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

Lablab pods contain protein ., carbohydrates

., calcium .%; vitamin

C (. to .mg/g in cooked

samples; .–. mg/ g in uncooked

samples) increases on cooking.

Enzyme liberation of essential amino

acids from protein is slower than from

casein and wheat.

Callus tissue of Dolichos lablab Linn.

(Horsebean) showed presence of betasitosterol,

stigmasterol, lanosterol and

cholesterol. The isolated flavonoids

show antifungal activity (the maximum

amount of flavonoids was found

in the flowers). The plant contains the

alkaloid, trigonelline, which exhibits

hypoglycaemic activity. The maximum

alkaloid was found in the seeds

(. mg/g dry weight). In tissue cultures

raised from seedlings, the maximum

amount was present in the tissue

at the age of  weeks (. mg/g dry


Dorema ammoniacum D. Don.

Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat Persia, South-West Asia,

Southern Siberia.

English Ammoniacum, Gum


Ayurvedic Uushaka, Ushaka.

Unani Ushaq, Ushah, Kandal.

Action Gum-resin—antispasmodic,

expectorant, diaphoretic,

emmenagogue, used in cough,

asthma, bronchitis and catarrh,

especially when the secretion is

tough and viscid. Also used in

enlargement of liver and spleen.

Gum-resin from the flowering and

fruiting stems contain resin (–%),

consisting mainly of amino-resinol;

gum; volatile oil, about .%, containing

ferulene as major component; free

salicylic acid; coumarins (umbelliferone

is absent).

Ammoniacum is similar to asafoetida

in medicinal properties.

Doronicum hookeri Hook. f.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat The Himalayas at Lachen

and Tungu, and Sikkim.

English Leopard's Bane. (Arnica

montana Linn. is also known as

Leopard's Bane.)

Unani Daarunaj Aqrabi.

Action Root—used as a constituent

of cardiac and nervine tonics. Used

as exhilarant. Acts as a stomachic

and dissolves trapped gases.


224 Doronicum pardalianches Linn.

Doronicum pardalianches Linn.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Native to Europe.

Unani Daarunaj Aqrabi.

Action Used in nervous depression,

melancholia and as a constituent of

cardiac tonic preparations.

Theplant contains photoactive thiophenes,

in amounts reported to be

toxic. Roots and aerial parts yield

sesquiterpene alcohol, paralianchol

and its aetophenone derivatives.

Doronicum roylei DC.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat The Western Himalayas

from Kashmir to Garhwal.

Unani Daarunaj Aqrabi Hindi.

Action The root is reported to

prevent giddiness caused during

high attitude ascents.

Dracaena cinnabari Balf. f.

Family Liliaceae.

Habitat Native to East Africa and

Saudi Arabia.

English Dragon's Blood.

Ayurvedic Khoonkharaabaa,


Unani Dammul-Akhwain.

Action See Daemonorops draco.

The root yields a gum-resin, used

in gargle water as stimulant, astringent

and in toothpaste. Root—used

in rheumatism. Leaves—carminative.

Dracocephalum moldavica Linn.

Family Lamiaceae.

Habitat The temperate Western

Himalaya in Kashmir from ,–

, m.

Ayurvedic Raam Tulasi.

Unani Feranjmushk.

Action Seeds—Febrifuge, carminative,

astringent, demulcent,

vulnerary. Used is cephalalgia,

neurological disorders, as a cardiac

tonic, brain tonic and deobstruent

in Unani medicine.

Citral and geranyl acetate are major

constituents of the essential oil. Others

include alpha-pinene, nerol, citronellol,

linalool, geraniol, limonene

and caproic acid. Flavonoids, including

moldavoside, have been isolated

from the plant.

Dracontium polyphyllum Linn.

Family Araceae.

Habitat Maharashtra and Karnataka;

cultivated in the South.

Siddha/Tamil Kattu Karunayikkilangu.

Folk Jangali Suuran.

Action Root—antidiarrhoeal,

anti-inflammatory (prescribed for

haemorrhoids), antispasmodic


Drosera peltata Sm. 225

(used in asthma), emmenagogue,


Dregea volubilis

(Linn. f.) Benth. ex Hook. f.

Synonym Wattakaka volubilis

(Linn. f.) Stapf.

Family Asclepiadaceae.

Habitat Konkan and Maharashtra,

also in Bengal and Assam.

Ayurvedic Suparnikaa, Madhumaalati.

Muurvaa (substitute).


Siddha/Tamil Kodippalai.

Action Root and tender stalks—

emetic and expectorant, cause

sneezing, used in colds, sinusitis,

and biliousness. Leaves—used as an

application to boils and abscesses.

The stems and leaves contain a pigment

taraxerol, a triterpenoid, kaempferol,

a glucoside of kaempferol and

saponins. Seeds contain a number of

pregnane glycosides which do not exhibit

digitalis-like action. Root contains

a glucosidewhich lowered carotid

blood pressure in mice and dogs when

administered intravenously.

Drosera peltata Sm.

Synonym D. lunata Buch.-Ham.

Family Droseraceae.

Habitat Throughout India, up to

, m.

English Sundew.

Ayurvedic Brahma-suvarchalaa

(doubtful synonym).

Folk Mukhjali. (Drosera burmannii

Vahl is also known as Mukhjali.)

Action Resin from plant—used

in bronchitis and whooping cough.

Plant—antisyphyilitic. Bruised

leaves, mixed with salt are applied

for treating blisters.

Key application Drosera rotundifolia—

in dry cough and coughing fits,

as bronchoantispasmodic. (German

Commission E.).

The leaves contain napthaquinones,

plumbagin (.%), droserone (-hydroxyplumbagin)

and hydroxydroserone

(.%), and the flavonoids,

quercetin, gossypetin, gossypin and

isogossypitrin. The antispasmodic action

of the herb has been attributed

to naphthoquinones. Plumbagin

is antimicrobial in vitro against some

Gram-positive andGram-negative bacteria,

influenza virus, pathogenic fungi

and parasitic protozoa, and is active

against some species of Leishmania. In

large doses plumbagin is cytotoxic, but

in small doses exhibits immunostimulating

activity in vitro.

A related species, Drosera indica

Linn., is found in Deccan peninsula,

particularly in the West coast. Plumbagone,

isolated from the plant, depresses

the isolated intestine of the

guinea-pig and suppresses the effect of

acetylcholine. In Indo-China, a maceration

of the plant is applied topically

to corns.

In Western herbal, Sundew is obtained

from the aerial parts of Drosera


226 Drynaria quercifolia (Linn.) J. Smith.

rotundifolia which grows throughout


Drynaria quercifolia

(Linn.) J. Smith.

Synonym Polypodium quercifolium


Family Polypodiaceae.

Habitat Throughout India, in

plains and low mountains.

Ayurvedic Ashvakatri (nonclassical).

Folk Baandar-Baashing (Maharashtra).

Action Pectoral, expectorant.

anthelmintic. Used in the treatment

of chest diseases, cough, hectic fever,

dyspepsia, loss of appetite, chronic

jaundice and cutaneous affections.

Pounded fonds are used as poultice

for swellings. Peeled rhizome with

sugar is prescribed for urinary

disorders and in spermatorrhoea.

Aqueous extracts possess antibacterial


Dryobalanops camphora


Synonym D. aromatica Gaertn. f.

Family Dipterocarpaceae.

Habitat From Borneo to Sumatra


English Borneo or Barus Camphor.

Ayurvedic Bhimseni Kapoor.

Folk Baraas Kapoor.

Action See Cinnamomum camphora.

Dryopteris dentata

(Forsk.) C. Chr.

Synonym Cyclosorus dentatus.

Family Polypodiaceae.

Habitat Throughout India in the

plains, also on the hills.

Action Aqueous extracts—

antibacterial against Staphylococcus



filix-mas(Linn.) Schoutt

Synonym Aspidium filix-mas Linn.

Family Polypodiaceae.

Habitat Temperate regions of

America, Europe, Asia, near damp

and shady terrains.

English Male Fern, Aspidium.

Unani Sarakhs, Sarakhs Muzakkar.

Siddha/Tamil Iruvi.

Action Taenifuge, vermifuge

(normally used in conjunction with

a saline purgative, not used with

castor oil.) Also, deobstruent, abortifacient.

Externally for rheumatism,

sciatica and neuralgia. No more

in use as an anthelmintic as better

alternatives are available.

Rhizomes and fonds contain filicin

(%), a mixture of dimeric, trimeric

and tetrameric butanone chloroglucosides,

that kills tapeworms. Excessive

dose of filicin may cause intestinal


Durio zibethinus Linn. 227

cramps and blindness, also liver damage.

Related Himalayan species include:

D. odontoloma (Kashmir valley), D.

marginata, D. barbigera (Kashmir to

Sikkim), D. schimperiana (Mussoorie)

and D. blanfordii (Chattri, Chamba).

The ferns gave filicin ., ., .,

. and .%, respectively.

Drypetes roxburghii

(Wall.) Hurusawa.

Synonym Putranjiva roxburghii


Family Euphorbiaceae.

Habitat Wild and cultivated

throughout tropical India.

Ayurvedic Putrajivaka, Sutajva,


Siddha/Tamil Karupali, Irukolli.

Action Leaves, fruits and stones

of fruits are given in colds and

fevers, also in rheumatic affections.

Rosaries,made of hard stones of the

fruit, are placed around the necks

of children to protect them from


Theseed kernel yield .%of a sharpsmelling

essential oil of themustard oil

type. The oil contains isopropyl and

-butyl isothiocyanates as the main

constituents and -methyl-butyl isothiocyanate

asminor component. Anadditional

glucoside, glucocleomin, has

been found in the seed kernels. A glucosidic

pattern similar to that in the

seeds is reported in the shoots and


The fruit pulp contains a large proportion

of mannitol and small quantities

of a saponin glucoside and alkaloid.

The alkaloid is also present in a small

quantity in the stones of the fruit.

Dosage Seed, leaf, bark—– g

powder. (CCRAS.)

Duranta plumieri Jacq.

Synonym Duranta repens Linn.

Family Verbenaceae.

Habitat Cultivated as a hedge plant.

Folk Durantaa.

Action Antifungal (topically).

The leaves contain a saponin and

fruits an alkaloid analogous to narcotine.

Macerated fruits, which even in

dilutions of  :  parts of water, is

lethal to mosquito larvae (the action is

less marked on Culicine larvae.

Durio zibethinus Linn.

Family Bombacaceae.

Habitat Native to Malaysia;

cultivated in South India for its

edible fruit, in lower elevations of

the Nilgiris and some parts of the

West Coast.

English Durian, Civet Fruit.

Folk Durio

Action Fruit—reduces lethality of

alcohol. Leaves and roots—used in

a prescriptions for fever. Leaves—

used in medicinal bath during fever.

Fruit-walls—used externally for


228 Dysoxylum binectariferum Hook. f.

skin diseases. Ashes of the skin—

given after childbirth.

The edible pulp of the fruit contains

about % total sugars and an equal

amount of starch; crude protein ., fat

., total carbohydrates ., mineral

matter .%; carotene , vitamin C

 mg/ g.

The seeds are edible like chestnuts

after roasting.

Dysoxylum binectariferum

Hook. f.

Family Meliaceae.

Habitat Assam, Sikkim, Bengal

and theWestern Ghats.

Siddha/Tamil Agunivagil, Cembil.

Folk Lassuni (West Bengal).

Action Fruit—anti-inflammatory,

diuretic, CNS depressant.

The bark from mature trees contain

% tannin and that from young trees


EtOH (%) extract of fruit—antiinflammatory,

diuretic and CNS depressant.

The fruit contains a tetranortriterpenoid,

dysobinin, a potential CNS depressant

and inflammation inhibitor.

The stem bark contains an alkaloid,

rohitukine, which exhibited anti-inflammatory

and immunomodulatory


1 comment:

  1. Isotope Labeling Service, Chiral Synthesis and Resolution, Bioconjugation, PEGylation services, analytical services. Neoline