Sunday, June 7, 2009


Galium aparine Linn.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat The Temperate Himalayas.

English Goosegrass, Clivers,

Cleavers, Catch Weed.

Action Choleretic, stomachic,

diuretic, refrigerant, lymphatic,

alterative, antiscorbutic, detoxifier;

non-steroidal anti-inflammatory

used for enlarged lymph nodes,

especially cervical neck nodes,

cystic and nodular changes in the

glands, modular goitre. Used as

a cleansing drink for malignant

conditions and skin disorders,

including psoriasis.

Key application As diuretic. (The

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

The plant contains iridoid monoterpenes

(asperuloside), benzyl isoquinoline

alkaloids (including protopine),

beta-carbolin alkaloids (including harmine),

quinazoline alkaloids and flavonoids

(such as luteolin). Methanolic

extract of the plant contains chlorogenic

acid, scopoletin and rutin. The

plant is reported to contain several

sterols. The root contains anthraquinones.

Asperuloside can be chemically converted

to prostanoid intermediates.

Galium verum Linn.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Kashmir, Lahul and other

west Himalayan regions, at altitude

of ,–, m

English Lady's Bedstraw, Cheese


Action Herb—diuretic, used for

kidney stone, gravel, gout. Used

topically for poorly healing wounds.

The plant contains the iridoids including

asperuloside and galioside;

flavonoid glycosides; quercetin--glucoside,

quercetin--glucoside, quercetin-

-rutinoside, luteolin--glucoside;

anthraquinone derivatives, including

alizarin, and large amounts of

salicylic acid. Its high organic acid

content causes curdling of milk.

The root contain n-alkanes.

Garcinia cambogia Desr.

Synonym G. gummi-gutta (Linn.)


Family Guttiferae; Clusiaceae.

Habitat WesternGhats andNilgiris.

English Gamboge tree.

Ayurvedic Vrkshaamla (allied

species), Kokam (var.).

Siddha/Tamil Kodakkapuli.

Action Fruit rind—used in rickets

and enlargement of spleen, in

skeletal fractures.

The plant contains iso-prenylated

polyphenols—cambogin and camboG

278 Garcinia cowa Roxb.

ginol. The fruit contains about %

acid (dry weight basis), which is essentially

()-hydroxycitric acid (HCA).

HCA is a potent inhibitor of ATP citrate

lyase, the enzyme that produces

acetyl CoA for both fatty acid and

cholesterol synthesis.

Taking Garcinia fruit rind extract

orally does not seem to help decrease

weight, satiety, fat oxidation or energy

expenditure in obese people. Some researchers

are of the view that garcinia

inhibits the supply of fatty acids without

affecting adipose conversion. (Natural

Medicines Comprehensive Database,


Latex gave benzophenone derivatives,

camboginol and cambogin.

Garcinia cowa Roxb.

Synonym G. kydia Roxb.

Family Guttiferae; Clusiaceae.

Habitat Tropical forests of Assam,

Bengal, Orissa and the Andamans.

Ayurvedic Paaraavata, Kowaa.

Folk Kaphal (Nepal), Kujithekera


Action Sun-dried slices of the fruit

are used in dysentery. The latex

is used as febrifuge. Gum-resin—

drastic cathartic (may produce

nausea and vomiting).

The fruits from Assam contain: total

soluble solids ., titrable acidity

., total sugars .% and vitamin C

. mg/g

The latex gave xanthones, cowanin,

cowanol, cowaxanthone and norcowanin.

The bark contains cowanin, cowanol,

cowaxanthone and rubraxanthone.

Cawanol and cowaxanthone are reported

to exhibit moderate antimicrobial

activity against Staphylococcus aureus.

Garcinia hanburyi Hook. f.

Family Guttiferae; Clusiaceae.

Habitat Evergreen forests of Assam

and Khasi Hills.

English Siam Gamboge.

Ayurvedic Kankushtha;

Kaalakushtha, Tamaala.

Unani Usaar-e-revand.

Action Gum-resin—drastic

hydragogue, cathartic; used for

dropsical conditions. Toxic. The

gum-resin contains –% resins

consisting mainly of alpha- and

beta-garcinolic acids with gambogic

acids; about –% gum.

Gambogic acid, morellic acid and

isomorellic acid are toxic constituents

of the gum-resin.

Garcinia indica Choisy.

Synonym G. purpurea Roxb.

Family Guttiferae; Clusiaceae.

Habitat Evergreen forests of

Western Ghats from Konkan

southwards and in Goa. Also

cultivated in southern districts of

Maharashtra and on lower slopes of



Garcinia mangostana Linn. 279

English Kokam Butter tree,

Mangosteen Oil tree.

Ayurvedic Vrkshaamla, Tintidika,

Chukra, Amlavrkshak, Kokam,


Siddha/Tamil Murgal.

Folk Kokam.

Action Fruit—antiscorbutic,

cholagogue, cooling, antibilious,

emollient and demulcent. A syrup

fromthe fruit juice is given in bilious

affections. Bark—astringent, Oil or

Kokam Butter—used for dysentery

and diarrhoea with mucus. Applied

externally to ulcerations, fissures of

lips, chapped skin and skin diseases.

The fruit rind contain a polyisoprenylated

phenolic pigment, garcinol

and its isomer isogarcinol, along

with ()-hydroxycitric acid, cyanidin-

-glucoside and cyanidin--sambubioside.

L-leucine andDNP-L-leucine hydrochloride

have been reported from

the leaves.

EtOH (%) extract of aerial parts

exhibited semen coagulant and CNS

depressant activity.

Kokum butter contains fatty acids—

palmtic ., stearic ., oleic .,

linoleic . and others .%.

Dosage Fruit—– ml

juice; root bark—– ml

decoction. (CCRAS.)

Garcinia mangostana Linn.

Family Guttiferae; Clusiaceae.

Habitat Native to Malaysia. Now

cultivated mainly on lower slopes of

the Nilgiris.

English Mangosteen, Dodol.

Siddha/Tamil Sulambuli, Mangusta.

Folk Mangustaan.

Action Fruit—antileucorrhoeic,

astringent, antifungal, antibacterial;

used in cystitis, diseases of the

genitourinary tract, diarrhoea,

tropical dysentery and fevers.

Pericarp—used externally for

eczema and other skin diseases.

Leaves—anti-inflammatory, antiimmunosuppressive,



The plant contains anthocyanin glycosides,

a benzophenone, maclurin

and several prenylated and related xanthones.

The leaves contain terpenoids,

xanthones and long chain hydrocarbons.

The pericarp (fruit hull) contains the

xanthone derivatives, mangostin, normangostin,

beta-mangostin, gammamangostin,

isomangostin as major


Mangostin, isolated from the rind

of fruit, inhibited primary and secondary

responses to adjuvant-induced

arthritis in rats. Mangostin, isomangostin

and mangostin triacetate exhibited

pronounced anti-inflammatory

activity in rats both by i.p. and oral


Mangostin also produced antiulcer

activity in rats.

Mangostin and some of its derivatives

produced CNS depression, characterized

by ptosis, sedation and decreased

motor activity.

Gamma-mangostin showed more

potent radical scavenging and antioxidant

activity than BHA.


280 Garcinia morella (Gaertn) Desv.

Garcinia morella (Gaertn) Desv.

Synonym G. pictoria Roxb.

Family Guttiferae; Clusiaceae.

Habitat Throughout southern

India, also in Assam and West

Bengal, up to , m

English Indian Gamboge.

Ayurvedic Kankushtha, Tamaal,

Taapichha, Ushaare-revand.

Siddha/Tamil Iravakhinni.

Action Gum-resin—hydragogue,

cathartic, anthelmintic. Used in

dropy and amenorrhoea. Causes

nausea, vomiting and griping in

large doses.

The gum contains morellin, neomorellin,

beta-guttiferin and alphaguttiferin

and their derivatives. The

heartwood gave morelloflavone. Seed

coat gave morellin, isomorellin and

their neo derivatives which exhibited

antibacterial and antiprotozoal activity.

Dosage Gum-resin—– mg.


Garcinia pedunculata Roxb.

Family Guttiferae; Clusiaceae.

Habitat Forests of northeast

Bengal, sporadic in NEFA, Manipur

and upper Assam

Ayurvedic Amlavetasa. Vetasaamla.

Folk Thaikala (Bengal).

Action Antiscorbutic, astringent,

cooling, cardiotonic, emollient.

Used in anorexia, dyspepsia, colic,

liver and spleen diseases difficult

micturition. Cough and other

respiratory disorders, ulcers and

skin diseases.

Dry fruits (pericarp) contain the

benzophenones, pedunculol, garcinol

and cambogin.

The heartwood gave benzophenone

and xanthone.

Dosage Fruit—– ml juice.


Garcinia xanthochymus

Hook. f. ex T. And.

Synonym G. tinctoria (DC.) W. F.


Family Guttiferae; Clusiaceae.

Habitat The lower hill forests

of Eastern Himalayas, Peninsular

India, Orissa, Maharashtra and the


English Egg tree.

Ayurvedic Tamaal (var.), Vrkshaamla


Siddha/Tamil Kulavi, Malaippachai,

Mukki, Tamalam

Folk Amsul (Maharashtra).

Action Fruit—anthelmintic, improves

appetite. Also used as a cardiotonic.

Fruit gave xanthochymol

and isoxanthymol (polyprenylated

benzophenone derivatives),

flavones and xanthones.


Gardenia latifolia Ait. 281

Gardenia gummifera Linn. f.

Synonym G. arborea Roxb.

G. inermis Dietr.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Uttar Pradesh, Bihar,

Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra,

Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

English Gummy Cape Jasmine.

Ayurvedic Venupatrikaa, Naadihingu,

Hingushivaatikaa. Hingupatrikaa,

Hingupatri (also equated

with Ferula Jaeschkeana Vatke).

Unani Dikaamaali.

Siddha/Tamil Dikkamalli, Kambil,

Sinna Kambil.

Action Gum—carminative, antispasmodic,

stimulant, diaphoretic,

anthelmintic, antiseptic, expectorant.

Given to children in nervous

disorders and diarrhoea due to


The gum yielded flavones, including

gardenin, de-Me-tangeretin and

nevadensin; wogonins, isoscutellarein,

apigenin and de-MeO-sudachitin.

Dosage Gum—– mg.


Gardenia jasminoides Ellis.

Synonym G. florida Linn.

G. augusta Merrill.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Native to China and Japan;

cultivated in Indian gardens.

English Cape Jasmine.

Ayurvedic Gandharaaja.

Siddha/Tamil Karinga.

Action Plant—cathartic, antispasmodic,

anthelmintic, antiperiodic.

Root—antidysenteric. Also used in

dyspepsia and nervous disorders.

Fruits—used in gastric hyperacidity,

constipation, cholestasis, internally

and externally for inflammation

and as a tranquilizer.

The plant contains iridoid glycosides—

geniposide ., genipin .,

gardenoside . and geniposidic acid

. mg/g The stem and root contain

oleanolic acid, D-mannitol and stigmasterol.

The leaves contain an antifungal

compound, cerbinal.

Geniposide is an important active

principle of the fruit. The fruit also

contain the carotenoids, crocin and

crocetin. Aqueous and methonalic extracts

of the fruit exhibited antioxidant

activity due to the presence of geniposide

and crocin; crocin was more

potent than geniposide.

The extract as well as geniposide

caused a remarkable decrease in GOT,

GPT and ALP activities. They also produced

a significant decrease in the level

of total cholesterol in the serum of

CCl-induced and D-galactosamineintoxicated

rats. The crude extract as

well as geniposide exhibited protective

effect against induced hyperbilirubinemia

by effectively lowering serum


Gardenia latifolia Ait.

Family Rubiaceae.


282 Gardenia resinifera Roth.

Habitat Throughout the greater

part of India, mostly in dry forests.

English Boxwood Gardenia.

Ayurvedic Parpataki.

Siddha/Tamil Kumbay, Perungambil.

Folk Paaparaa, Ban-pindaalu.

Action Bark—used in skin diseases.

The stem bark contains hederagenin,

D-mannitol, sitosterol and siaresinolic,

episiaresinolic, oleanolic and

spinosic acid.

Gardenia resinifera Roth.

Synonym G. lucida Roxb.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Central India and Deccan


Ayurvedic Naadihingu (related

species), Jantuka.

Unani Dikaamaali.

Siddha/Tamil Kambil, Kumbai,


Action Gum—antimicrobial,

anthelmintic; used in skin diseases.

Gum gave flavonoids—gardenins,

wagonin derivatives, de-Metangeretin,

nevadensin, hexacosylp-

coumarate. See G. gummifera.

Gardenia turgida Roxb.

Synonym Ceriscoides turgida Roxb.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Throughout the greater

part of India, up to , m

Ayurvedic Mahaapindi, Karahaata,

Kharahaara. (Bark is sold as

Bhaargi.) Thanella.

Siddha/Tamil Nanjundam, Malangarai.

Action Root—used as a remedy

for indigestion in children. Fruits—

used in affections of the mammary

glands. Pounded pulp is applied to

forehead in fever.

The bark and wood gave beta-sitosterol,

hederagenin, Me-esters of oleanolic

and gypsogenic acids. Root gave


Saponins from bark decreased formation

of histamine and may find use

in asthma. (Market drug is expectorant

andweak spasmolytic, butwas not

found effective in asthma.)

Garuga pinnata Roxb.

Family Burseraceae.

Habitat Throughout India, up to

, m on the hills.

English Grey Downy Balsam.

Ayurvedic Paaranki, Kharpata.

(Kinkiraata, Karnikaara, Mrigalindika

are doubtful synonyms.)

Siddha/Tamil Karre Vembu,


Folk Ghogar, Toon.

Action Fruit—stomachic. Leaf—

astringent, antiasthmatic. Bark—



Gentiana kurroo Royle. 283

The leaves and stem bark contain

sterols, sitosterol, stigmasterol and

campesterol; fatty acids; aliphatic compounds;

a mixture of long chain esters;

along with tannins and waxes.

The leaves also contain garugarin

and amentoflavone. Gum-resin

contains alpha-amyrin, butyrospermol

and dammarandiol.

Aqueous and ethanolic extract of the

leaves exhibit anti-inflammatory and

antiallergic activities.

Gaultheria fragrantissima Wall.

Family Ericaceae.

Habitat Central and Eastern

Himalayas, Khasi Hills, Western

Ghats, the Nilgiris and Travancore.

English Fragrant Wintergreen,

Indian Wintergreen. (Wintergreen

oil is obtained from G. procumbens

Linn., a native of America.)

Ayurvedic Gandhapuura, Gandhapuurna.

Siddha/Tamil Kolakkaai.

Action Leaves—stimulant, carminative,

diuretic, antiseptic. Oil (in

the form of liniment or ointment)—

applied externally in rheumatism,

sciatica and neuralgia. The plant is

strongly irritant.

The leaves gave hyperoside (quercetin-

-galactoside), ursolic acid, betasitosterol

and essential oil containing

methyl salicylate as a major constituent.

The yield of oil from Assam

plants contains .% methyl salicylate.

Heptyl aldehyde, present in the

low boiling fraction of the oil, brought

about the regression of tumours in

mice and dogs.

Gelidium amansii Kutz.

Family Gelidaceae, Rhodophyceae.

Habitat Indigenous to Japan.

English Agar Agar, Japanese

Isinglass. (Dried mucilaginous


Folk Agar-Agar.

Action Bulk-laxative. Agar-Agar

does not increase peristaltic action.

Its action is similar to that of

cellulose of vegetable foods which

aids the regularity of the bowel

movement. (Often made into an

emulsion with liquid paraffin for

use in constipation.)

Most agars consist of two major

polygalactoses, the neutral agarose

and the sulphonated polysaccharide

agaropectin, with traces of amino acids

and free sugars.

Agar contains a large amount of

pectin whichmay precipitate when exposed

to alcohol. (Sharon M Herr.)

Gentiana kurroo Royle.

Family Gentianaceae.

Habitat Kashmir and North-West


English Himalayan Gentian, Indian

Gentian Root.

Ayurvedic Traayamaana, Traayanti,

Traayanta, Traayantikaa, Neelkanthi,

Anujaa, Girijaa, Girishaanujaa,


284 Geophila repens (Linn.) I. M. Johnson.

Balbhra, Paalani. (Paakhaanabheda

is a wrong synonym)

Unani Ghaafis.

Action Sialagogue, digestant,

appetite-stimulant, antispasmodic,

anti-inflammatory, emmenagogue.

Used for alkalosis, feeble digestion

in the elderly from gastric acid

deficiency (increases gastric juices

without altering PH); also used for

jaundice, nausea, vomiting, travel

sickness, diarrhoea, malaria and

nervous exhaustion. (In Chinese

medicine, Gentiana sp., known as

Longdan, are used for jaundice,

hepatitis, urinary tract infections,

pruritis and eczema.)

Key application Gentiana lutea

internally, for digestive disorders,

such as lack of appetite, fullness and

flatulence (German Commission

E, WHO), for anorexia following

illness and dyspepsia (ESCOP).

The British Herbal Compendium

approves gentian for lack of

appetite, anorexia, atonic dyspepsia,

gastrointestinal atony, and as

antiemetic. The British Herbal

Pharmacopoia recognizes it as

a bitter tonic.

The rhizome and roots of G. Kurroo

contain iridoid glycoside; major

component was identified as -


The rhizomes and roots of Picrorhiza

kurrooa Royle ex Benth., found in

the Himalayas, have similar properties

and uses and are mixed or substituted

for those of G. kurroo.

Gentiana lutea (Yellow Gentian) is

a native of Europe and AsiaMinor and

is imported into India. The most important

constituents of the drug are

secoiridoid bitter compounds, amarogentin

and gentiopicroside, together

with traces of swertiamarin and

sweroside. The roots also contain alkaloids,

gentianine and gentioflavine,

xanthones, and bitter oligosaccharides,

gentiobiose and gentianose.

Amarogentin, gentiopicrin, swertiamarin,

sioeroside (iridoid monoterpenes)

are toxic constituents.

Gentiana tenella Rottb., synonym

Gentianella tenella H. Smith and G.

decumbens Linn.f. occur at high altitudes

in the Himalayas, and are used

as substitutes for gentian. G. tenella is

known as Kadu in Kashmir and Titaa

in Punjab. The rhizome is used as

Traayamaana in Ayurvedic medicine.

The flowering tops of G. olivieri

Griseb., synonym G. dahurica Fisch.,

used in Unani medicine as Gul-e-

Ghaafis, are imported into India from


Dosage Root—– g powder.


Geophila repens

(Linn.) I. M. Johnson.

Synonym G. reniformis D. Don.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Assam,Western Ghats and

Andaman Islands.

Folk Karintakaali (Kerala).

Action Properties are similar

(though inferior) to those of Ipeac

(Cephaelis ipecacuanha A. Rich.).


Geum urbanum auct. non Linn. 285

Geranium nepalense Sweet.

Synonym G. affine W. & A.

Family Geraniaceae.

Habitat Temperate Himalayas,

Kashmir, Khasi Hills and the


English Nepal Geranium, Nepalese

Crane's Bill.

Ayurvedic Bhanda, Bhandaa.

Folk Ratanjot (var.), Roel (Kashmir).

Action Astringent, styptic,

used in renal diseases, diarrhoea,

internal and external bleeding.

Also used topically for ulcers and


Theplant gave geraniin, kaempferol-

-rhamnoside and kaempferitrin. The

leaves gave tannins.

EtOH (%) extract of the plant exhibited

hypotensive activity.

A gastrointestinal-contracting choline-

like substance has been isolated

from var. thumbergii and is found useful

for the treatment of gastrointestinal

disorders such as gastroptosis.

Geranium robertianum Linn.

Family Geraniaceae.

Habitat Western Himalayas from

Kashmir to Garhwal at ,–

, m.

English Herb-Robert Geranium.

Action Haemostatic, astringent,

antidiarrhoeic, styptic, antidiabetic.

The herb has a disagreeable odour

and a bitter, saline and astringent taste.

Applied externally as a resolvent to tumours.

In Western herbal, the herb is used

for diarrhoea, to improve functioning

of liver and gallbladder and to prevent

the formation of calculi.

Theherb contains several flavonoids

including rutin. A ethanolic extract

can inhibit the growth of E. coli, P.

aeruginosa and S. aureus.

Geranium wallichianum

D. Don ex Sweet.

Family Geraniaceae.

Habitat Western Himalayas from

Kashmir to Kumaon at ,–

, m.

English Wallich Crane's Bill.

Ayurvedic Ratanjot (substitute).

Folk Laal Jadi, Laal Jahri.

Kaoashund (Kashmir).

Action Astringent.

The root stocks sometimes substituted

for those of Coptis teeta Wall.;

contain –% tannins and % nontannins.

Geum urbanum auct. non Linn.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat The temperate Himalayas

from Kashmir to Kumaon at ,–

, m Grows wild in Europe and

Great Britain.

English Avens Root, Herb Bennet,

Wood Avens.


286 Ginkgo biloba Linn.

Action Astringent, styptic,

stomachic, febrifuge.

The herb and root was used in Europe

in chronic dysentery, diarrhoea

and intermittent fevers. In India, an

infusion of the rootstock is used as

sudorific in fevers, ague, chills and


Eugenol is present in the root stock

in combination with vacianose as phenolic

glycoside gein. The rootstock

contains tannins (–%).

A related species, G. elatum Wall., is

found in the Himalayas from Kashmir

to Sikkim It is used for dysentery and


Ginkgo biloba Linn.

Family Ginkgoaceae.

Habitat Native to China and Japan;

cultivated in Indian gardens as an


English Maidenhair tree called

Living Fossils (in India), Kew tree.

Action Antagonizes bronchospasm,

used as a circulatory stimulant,

peripheral vasodilator.

Key application Standardized

dry extract—for symptomatic

treatment of disturbed performance

in organic brain syndrome within

the regimen of a therapeutic concept

in cases of dementia syndromes—

memory deficits, disturbance in

concentration, depressive emotional

conditions, dizziness, tinnitus and

headache. (German Commission

E, ESCOP, WHO.) As vasoactive

and platelet aggregation inhibitor.

(The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

(For pharmocological studies in

humans and clinical studies, see


The majority of pharmacological

studies and clinical trials have been

conduced using a standardized extract

which contains % flavonoid glycosides

(Ginko flavone glycosides) and

% terpenoids (ginkgolides and bilobalide).

The extract increases tolerance to

hypoxia and exhibits anti-ischaemic

effect. It simultaneously improves the

fluidity of blood, decreases platelet adhesion,

decreases platelet and erythrocyte

aggregation and reduces plasma

and blood viscosity. The extract protects

erythrocytes from haemolysis.

The extract also decreases the permeability

of capillaries and protects the

cell membrane by trapping deleterious

free radicals.

The extract also increased cerebral

blood flow in about % patients evaluated

(patients between – year age

had % increase from the base line,

compared with % in those - to -


A reversal of sexual dysfunction

with concurrent use of ginkgo with

antidepressant drugs has been reported.

(Am J Psychiatry,  (), –


e National Centre for Complementary

and Alternative Medicine,

USA, is conducting a -year study

of  people aged  and older to

determine if ginkgo,  mg daily,

prevents dementia or Alzheimer's


c/r). .


Gloriosa superba Linn. 287

Girardinia heterophylla Decne.

Synonym G. diversifolia (Link)


Family Urticaceae.

Habitat Temperate and sub-tropical

Himalayas fromKashmir to Sikkim,

and in Assam and Khasi hills.

English Himalayan Nettle.

Ayurvedic Vrishchikaa.

Folk Bichhuu-booti, Awaa, Chikri.

Action Leaves—decoction is given

in fevers; applied externally to

swollen joints, also as a paste for

headache. (Due to stringing hair,

the plant causes dermatitis and is

known as Bichhuu.)

The leaves contain -OH-tryptamine

and histamine, also AC-choline.

The plant gave beta-sitosterol.

Gironniera reticulata Thw.

Synonym G. cuspidata Kurz.

Family Ulmaceae.

Habitat Northeastern parts of

India and in Deccan Peninsula.

Siddha/Tamil Kodaittani.

Folk Narakyaa-ood (Maharashtra,

Indian bazar).

Action Blood-purifier in itch and

cutaneous eruptions; mixed with

lemon juice, applied externally.

The wood contains a skatole and silica


Gisekia pharnaceoides Linn.

Family Aizoaceae.

Habitat Drier parts of Northern

and Western India and Deccan


Ayurvedic Elavaaluka (var.).

(Prunus cerasus Linn., Rosaceae, is

the accepted source of Elavaaluka.)

Folk Baalu-ka-saag, Morang,


Action Anthelmintic. Fresh herb is

used for taenia.

The plant contains triacontane, dotriacontane,

myristone, sugars, and


Glinus lotoides Linn.

Synonym Mollugo lotoides (L.)

O. Kuntze.

Mhirta Thumb.

Family Molluginaceae; Aizoaceae.

Habitat Throughout the plains and

lower ghats of India in river beds.

Siddha/Tamil Siru seruppadai.

Folk Gandhi-buuti.

Action Plant—antidiarrhoeal,

antibilious, diuretic. Decoction is

given in piles.

The plant gave pentacyclic triterpenoid

sapogenins; amixture of beta-and

gamma-sitosterol, oleanolic acid, mollugogenol

and its constituents. Aerial

parts gave vitexin and vicenin.

Gloriosa superba Linn.

Family Liliaceaes.


288 Glossocardia bosvallia DC.

Habitat Throughout tropical India,

up to , m on the hills.

English Glory Lily, Super Lily,

Tiger's Claws.

Ayurvedic Laangali, Laangaliki,

Laangalaki, Laanglaahva, Indrapushpi,

Agnishikhaa, Anantaa,

Vishaalyaa, Halini, Sirikramaa,

Shukrapushpikaa, Vahnimukhi,

Garbhanut, Garbhapaatani. Kalihaari

(Costus specious Koen., is also

used as Kalihaari), Kalikaari.

Siddha/Tamil Kalappankizhangu.

Action Tuberous root—antiinflammatory,

alterative, anthelmintic,

antileprotic. Used for

piles, swollen joints, parasitical

affections of skin. Fresh juice of

plant—uterine stimulant.

The root contain colchicine .–

.%. Colchicine and its derivatives are

present in tubers, seeds and flowers.

The seeds are used as raw material

for preparing drugs for gout. They are

considered a rich source of colchicine

and gloriosine.

Theherb is a gastrointestinal irritant.

Dosage Detoxified tuberous root—

– mg. (API Vol. III.)

Glossocardia bosvallia DC.

Synonym G. linearifolia Cass.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Plains of Northern

and Western India and Deccan


Ayurvedic Parpata (substitute).

(Fumaria parvifolora Linn., Hedyotis

corymbosa (L.) Lam synonym

Oldenlandia corymbosa Linn.,

Mollugo cerviana (L.) Ser., Justicia

procumbens Linn., Polycarpea

corymbosa Lam are also used as

Parpata for fevers.)

Siddha Parapalanamu.

Action Used as emmenagogue.

The essential oil from the plant is

antimicrobial, that from flowers anthelmintic.

Glycine max Merrill.

Synonym G. soja Sieb. & Zucc.

G. hispida Maxim.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Native to South East Asia;

now cultivated as pulse crop mainly

in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh,

Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra,

Gujarat, Naga Hills, Mainpur and


English Soybean, Soya.

Folk Soyabean, Raam Kurthi, Bhat.

Action Used as a protein supplement.

(Products include fortified

wheat flour, soymilk, snack foods,

cooking oil.)

Key application Soy lecithin (phospholipids

extracted from the seeds

of G. max)—used for moderate

disturbances of fat metabolism,

especially hypercholesterolaemic (if

dietary measures are not sufficient).

(German Commission E.)


Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn. 289

Soybean is rich in protein, oil and

minerals, but low in carbohydrates. It

also contains water-and fat-soluble vitamins.

The major portion of soy protein

is composed of glycinin and betaconglycinin.

Wheat flour can be fortified with

full-fat or defatted soyflour for balancing

it in essential amino acids, lysine

and methionine.

Soy saponins are divided into three

groups according to their respective

type of aglycon, soyasapogenol A, B

and E. Saponin A and AB group fraction

protects the liver against antioxidation

and improved lipid metabolism

in the injured liver.

Administration of a small peptide

derived from soybean showed antifatigue,

antiobesity and hypoglycaemic

activity in mice.

Feeding soy protein to hamsters,

consistently, resulted in significantly

reduced incidence of gallstones.

In studies of experimental carcinogenesis

in animals, soybean isoflavones

exhibited protective effect in % animals.

Glycosmis pentaphylla

(Retz.) DC.

Synonym G. arborea (Roxb.)

A. DC.

G. cochinchinensis Gamble.

Limonia pentaphylla Retz.

Family Rutaceae.

Habitat Peninsular India and

Andaman Islands. Cultivated in


Ayurvedic Vana-nimbuukaa,


Siddha/Tamil Konji, Amam,


Folk Bana-Nimbu, Paanal (Kerala).

Action Plant—bechic, antianaemic,

antirheumatic. Root—

anti-inflammatory. Leaf—used in

Jaundice and liver disorders, eczema

and other skin affections. Leaf and

root—vermifuge, febrifuge. A paste

of the wood is applied externally to


Leaf extract from a Sri Lankan plant

yielded the alkaloids arborine, skimmianine

and arborinine. The steam

distillate of leaves showed significant

antifungal activity.

Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Native to the Mediterranean

regions. Now grown in

Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and

South India.

English Licorice, Liquorice.

Ayurvedic Yashtimadhu, Madhuyashtyaahvaa,

Madhuli, Madhuyashtikaa,

Atirasaa, Madhurasaa,

Madhuka, Yastikaahva, Yashtyaahva,

Yashti, Yashtika, Yashtimadhuka.

Klitaka (also equatedwith Indigofera

tinctoria). (Klitaka and Klitanakam

were considered as aquatic varieties

of Yashtimadhu.)

Unani Asl-us-soos, Mulethi.

Rubb-us-soos (extract).

Siddha/Tamil Athimathuram.


290 Gmelina arborea Roxb.

Action Demulcent, expectorant,

antiallergic, anti-inflammatory,

spasmolytic, mild laxative, antistress,

antidepressive, antiulcer,

liver protective, estrogenic, emmenagogue,

antidiabetic. Used in

bronchitis, dry cough, respiratory

infections, catarrh, tuberculosis;

genitourinary diseases, urinary tract

infections; abdominal pain, gastric

and duodenal ulcers, inflamed

stomach, mouth ulcer. Also used

for adrenocorticoid insufficiency.

Key application In catarrh of

the upper respiratory tract and

gastric, duodenal ulcers. (German

Commission E, ESCOP, WHO.)

The British Herbal Compendium indicates

the use of liquorice for bronchitis,

chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer,

rheumatism and arthritis, adrenocorticoid

insufficiency, and to prevent

liver toxicity. Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia

recognizes its use as an antiinflammatory

and antiulcer agent.

The main chemical constituent of

liquorice is glycyrrhizin (about –

%), a triterpene saponin with low

haemolytic index. Glycyrrhetinic (glycyrrhetic)

acid (.–.%), the aglycone

of glycyrrhizin is also present in

the root. Other active constituents of

liquorice include isoflavonoids, chalcones,

coumarins, triterpenoids and

sterols, lignans, amino acids, amines,

gums and volatile oils.

Hypokalemia is the greatest threat

when liquorice preparations high in

glycyrrhizin are prescribed for prolonged

periods. Liquorice causes fluid

retention. Patients should be placed

on a high potassium and low sodium

diet. Special precautions should be

takenwith elderly patients and patients

with hypertension or cardiac, renal or

hepatic disease.

A special liquorice extract known as

DGL (deglycyrrhizinated liquorice) is

used in the treatment of peptic ulcer.

Oral liquoricepreparations, containing


acid, are used for the treatment of

viral infections—viral hepatitis, common

cold. Topical preparations, containing

glycyrrhetinic acid, are used

for herpes, eczema, psoriasis.

In Japan, a preparation of glycyrrhizin,

cysteine and glycine is used by injection

for the treatment of acute and

chronic hepatitis.

Dosage Root—– g powder. (API

Vol. I.)

Gmelina arborea Roxb.

Synonym Premna arborea Roth.

Family Verbenaceae.

Habitat Throughout India, up to

,mon the hills and in Andaman

Island; also grown in gardens.

English Candahar tree,White Teak.

Ayurvedic Gambhaari, Kaashmari,

Kaashmarya, Sarvatobhadraa,

Bhadra, Mahaabhadraa, Sadaabhadraa,

Madhuparnikaa, Sriparni,

Pitarohini, Hiraa, Bhadraparni,


Siddha/Tamil Kattanam, Kumizham

Action Leaf—demulcent, bechic.

Used for removing foetid disG

Gnetum montanum Markgraf. 291

charges from ulcers. Root—

stomachic, laxative, antibilious,

demulcent, galactagogue. Bark—

anticephalalgic. Root and bark—


The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

recommends the use of the bark

and stemin inflammatory diseases and

oedema; the fruit in dysuria and haemorrhagic


The heartwood contains lignans, arborone,

-oxodihydrogmelinol, paulownin

acetate and epieudesmin; metrans-

p-methoxycinnamate and transp-

hydroxycinnamic acid.

Alcoholic extract of stem bark

showed anti-inflammatory activity

comparable to phenylbutazone.

Dosage Root, root bark—– g

for decoction. (API Vol. I.)

Gmelina asiatica Linn.

Synonym G. parvifolia Roxb.

Family Verbenaceae.

Habitat South India; planted in

gardens in Maharashtra and West


English Small Cashmere tree.

Ayurvedic Gambhaari (related

species), Gopabhadra, Vikarini.

Siddha/Tamil Kumizham

Action Root and leaf—demulcent,

alterative, blood purifier (used in

venereal diseases), anticatarrhal,

astringent, antirheumatic.

The plant contains lignans of the

furofuran series.

The leaves show antibiotic activity

against E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

Gnaphalium luteo-album Linn.

Family Asteraceae.

Habitat Throughout India,

ascending up to , m in the


English Jersey Cudweed, Cotton

Weed, Cat's Foot, Everlasting


Folk Bal-raksha.

Action Leaves—astringent,

haemostatic, vulnerary. The

tomentum is applied as counterirritant

in gout, also used as


Gnetum montanum Markgraf.

Synonym G. scandens Roxb. in


Family Gnetaceae.

Habitat Tropical Himalayas from

Nepal to Bhutan, Assam and


English Joint Fir.

Siddha/Tamil Anapendu, Peiodal

(G. ula.)

Action Seed oil—antirheumatic.

Plant— antiperiodic. Leaves—


The stem-wood yielded bergenin,

acetophenone and stilbene derivatives.


292 Gnida glauca (Fresen.) Gilg.

G. ula Brongn. non-Karst is found in

evergreen forests ofWestern and Eastern

Ghats up to , m.

Gnida glauca (Fresen.) Gilg.

Synonym G. eriocephalus Meis.

Lasiosiphon glaucus Fresen.

L. eriocephalus (Meisner) Decne.

Habitat Western Ghats.

Action Leaf—anti-inflammatory;

used for contusions and swellings.


The plant contains bicoumarins,

lysocephalin and lasiocrin; a coumarin

glucoside, crioside, and a bicoumarin

glycoside, eriocephaloside. The plant

also gave ingiresinol, syringin, genkwanin

and its glycoside, beta-sitosterol

and its glucoside.

Gordonia obtusa Wall.

Family Theaceae.

Habitat Konkan and Western


Folk Miyili, Atangi, Ola, Nagette,

Thorilla (Tamil Nadu).

Action Leaves—stomachic,


Leaves contain .% alkaloid and

tannic acid. The bark contains ellagic

acid and coumarin.

Gossypium arboreum Linn.

Family Malvaceae.

Habitat Cultivated all over India as

a fibre plant.

English Tree Cotton, Desi Cotton.

Ayurvedic Kaarpaasi.

Siddha/Tamil Sempartthi (Red

Cotton), Sivappuparutthi.

Folk Kapaasa.

Action Seed—anticatarrhal (used

in consumption), antigonorrhoeic

(used in gleet and chronic cystitis).

Root—febrifuge. Plant (especially

leaf)—uterine stimulant.

The glands contain –% gossypol,

a polyphenolic toxic compound.

Seeds contain .–.% protein,

.–.% free gossypol. Gossypol

is a male contraceptive. At an initial

dose of  mg/day orally for 

months, followed by – mg weekly

maintenance dose, sperm motility is

reduced initially as it inhibits important

enzymes of metabolic pathways

thus affecting availability of enzyme

to spermatozoa. Subsequently sperm

production is blocked.

Gossypol is reported to cause a transient

weakness early in therapy, hypokalaemia

and changes in ECG

among other side effects.

Gossypol also assistsmenstrual flow

and effectively inhibits eggs implantation.

Gossypol and its derivatives have

been shown to have significant antimicrobial

activity as well as wound healing

effect. It is reported to kill herpes


Gossypium barbadense Linn.

Family Malvaceae.


Gracilaria lichenoides (Linn.) Harv. 293

Habitat Native to South America,

particularly its north-western parts.

Also cultivated in India.

English Egyptian Cotton, Sea-

Island Cotton.

Ayurvedic Kaarpaasa.

Siddha/Tamil Semparutthi.

Folk Kapaasa.

Action Root—emmenagogue,

oxytocic, abortifacient, parturient,

lactagogue. Seed and leaf—

antidysenteric. Seed—galactogogue,

pectoral, febrifuge. Seed

oil—used externally for clearing

spots and freckles from the

skin. Leaf—hypotensive, antirheumatic.

Flower—used in

hypochondriasis and bronchial


The seed contains .–.% protein;

.–. free gossypol.

Gossypium herbaceum Linn.

Family Malvaceae.

Habitat Cultivated mainly in

Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra

Pradesh and Karnataka.

English Asiatic Cotton, Levant

Cotton, Uppam Cotton.

Ayurvedic Kaarpaasa, Kaarpaasi,

Kaarpaasaka, Rakta-Kaarpaasa,

Shona-Kaarpaasa, Samudraantaa,

Tuula, Pichu, Bhaaradwaaji,


Unani Pambahdaanaa. (Seed.)

Siddha/Tamil Paruttikkootam

Action Root bark—diuretic,

oxytocic. Bark—emmenagogue,

haemostatic. Seed—demulcent,

laxative, expectorant, abortifacient,

galactagogue, nervine, anticephalalgic.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

recommends the seed oil for toning

up the breast.

The seed contains .–.% protein,

free gossypol .–.%.

Dosage Seeds, devoid of lint—–

 g powder. (API Vol. I.)

Gouania leptostachya DC.

Synonym G. tiliaefolia Lam.

Family Rhamnaceae.

Habitat Sub-Himalayan region

from Kangra eastwards and in parts

of Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and

Andhra Pradesh.

Folk Batvaasi (Nepal), Batvaasi

(Bengal), Bitkil-chaand (Bihar).

Action Leaves—used in poultices

for sores. Bark—used for washing

hair for destroying vermin.

The bark and root contain saponin.

Theleaves of a related species, Gouania

microcarpa DC., found in Peninsular

India from Konkan southwards,

gave a triterpenic acid, along with

tetratriacontanoic acid.

Gracilaria lichenoides

(Linn.) Harv.

Family Rhodophyceae.


294 Grangea maderaspatana Poir.

Habitat The coasts of Indian Ocean

and Chilka Lake.

English Moss.

Folk Chinai-ghaas. Known as

Ceylon Agar-Agar or Agal-Agal.

Action Emollient, diuretic,

alterative. Aqueous extract—

antihypotensive and spasmolytic.

Aqueous extract contains prostaglandins.

Grangea maderaspatana Poir.

Synonym Artemisia maderaspatana


Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Throughout the greater

part of India.

Ayurvedic Aakaarakarabha

substitute (doubtful).

Siddha/Tamil Maasipathri.

Folk Mastaru, Mukhatari,

Maachipatri (Maharashtra).

Action Leaf—stomachic, antispasmodic,

sedative, emmenagogue,

deobstruent, antiseptic. Used in


Aerial parts of the plant afforded

clerodane derivatives. Presence of

phytol, lupeol, p-hydroxybenzoic acid,

a phenylalanine derivative, hardwickiic

acid, strictic acid and butenolides, is

reported. Aura amide was also isolated

from the aerial parts.

A mixture of flavonoids extracted

from the aerial parts exhibited oestrogenicity

and anti-implantation activity

in mice. A crude extract of the plant

exhibited strong cytotoxic activity.

Graptophyllum picum (L.) Griff.

Synonym G. hortense Nees.

Justica picta L.

Family Acanthaceae.

Habitat A native to Polynesia;

introduced into Indian gardens.

English Caricature Plant.

Folk Kaalaa-aduusaa (Maharashtra).

Ysjudemaram (Tamil


Action Leaves—emollient and

resolvent; applied to swellings and

ulcers. (Used as a substitute for

Adhatoda vasica).

Grewia asiatica auct. non L.

Synonym G. subinaequalis DC.

Family Tiliaceae.

Habitat Extensively cultivated in


Ayurvedic Parushaka, Parusha.

Unani Phaalsaa.

Siddha/Tamil Palisa,Thadachi.

Action Fruit—stomachic, astringent,

cooling. Bark—demulcent.

Root bark—antirheumatic. Leaf—

used in pastular eruptions.

Thebark contains taraxasterol, betasitosterol,

erythrodiol; lupeol, betulin,

lupenone, friedelin; alpha-amyrin.The


Grewia tiliaefolia Vahl. 295

heartwood gave beta-sitosterol. Quercetin,

kaempferol and their glycosides

were also obtained from the leaves.

Ripe fruits are rich in vitamin A and

C; threonine, phosphoserine, serine

and taurine are the dominant amino

acids in the juice. The fruits also contain

sodium , potassium , and

calcium  ppm

Fruits also gave pelargonidin-, -

diglucoside, quercetin, quercetin---

beta-D-glucoside, naringenin and --


The stem bark exhibited antifertility


Dosage Ripe fruit—–ml juice.


Grewia hirsuta Vahl.

Synonym G. polygama Mast.

Family Tiliaceae.

Habitat Sub-Himalayan tract from

the Indus to Nepal up to , m,

also in hills of Bihar, Orissa and

Tamil Nadu.

Ayurvedic Naagabalaa, Gudsharkaraa.

Siddha/Tamil Tavadu.

Folk Gulshakari.

Action Fruit and root—diuretic,

antidiarrhoeal. Roots and

leaves, crushed with sugar candy,

are prescribed for spermatorrhoea.

Dosage Root—– ml decoction.


Grewia populifolia Vahl.

Synonym G. tenax (Forsk.) Aschers

& Schwf.

Family Tiliaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in Punjab, Sind,

Rajasthan andWestern India, down

to the Nilgiri Hills.

Ayurvedic Gaangeru(ki). Substitute

for Gulshakari (Naagabalaa).

Siddha/Tamil Achhu.

Folk Gangeran.

Action See G. hirsuta.

The stem bark contains triterpenoids.

Dosage Root—– ml juice; –

 ml decotion. (CCRAS.)

Grewia sclerophylla

Roxb. ex G. Don.

Synonym G. scabrophylla Roxb.

G. obliqua auct. non-Juss.

Family Tiliaceae.

Habitat Sub-Himalayan tract and

outer hills from Kumaon to Bhutan

up to , m and in Assam

Ayurvedic Parushaka (related

species), Dhanvana (related species)

Siddha/Tamil Kattu Kadali.

Folk Jangali Phaalsaa.

Action Root—emollient, bechic.

Used in irritable conditions of the

intestines and bladder.

Grewia tiliaefolia Vahl.

Family Tiliaceae.


296 Grewia villosa Willd.

Habitat Upper Gengetic plain, Bihar,

Bengal, Central and Peninsular


English Dhaman.

Ayurvedic Dhanvana, Dhanurvriksha.

Siddha/Tamil Tarra, Unnu, Sadachi.

Folk Dhaamin, Dhaaman.

Action Bark—antidysenteric. Stem

bark—semen coagulant. Plant—

used in fractures.

The roots and bark gave triterpenoids.

A related species, Grewia optiva,

found in sub-Himalayan tract at –

, m, is also known as Dhaaman.

Grewia villosa Willd.

Family Tiliaceae.

Habitat Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat,

Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

English Tamthar.

Siddha/Tamil Kullai.

Folk Dhohan (Rajasthan), Jalidar


Action Root—antidiarrhoeal. Root

and bark—used in genitourinary

infections, syphilis and smallpox.

The methanol extract of the roots

contain beta-carboline alkaloids, harman,

harmine, harmol, harmalol and


The roots are also used to treat


Guaiacum officinale Linn.

Family Zygophyllaceae.

Habitat Introduced from theWest

Indies; grown as an ornamental.

English Lignum Vitae, Tree-of-life,

Pockwood tree.

Ayurvedic Jivadaaru, Loha-


Unani Chob-hayaat.

Folk Loha-lakkar.

Action Antirheumatic, antiinflammatory,

mild laxative,

diuretic, diaphoretic, fungistatic

(During the sixteenth century it was

used as a cure for syphilis.)

Key application As a supportive

therapy for rheumatic complaints.

(German Commission E.) The

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

reported anti-inflammatory activity

in the resin.

Several triterpene saponins, sapogenins

and prosapogenins have been

isolated from different parts of the


A triterpenoidal saponin, isolated

from the flowers, showed activity

against Gram-negative bacteria. (The

herb is used as a additive to mouth


Guazuma ulmifolia Lam.

Synonym G. tomentosa H. B. & K.

Family Sterculiaceae.

Habitat Native to tropical America.

Cultivated as a roadside shade tree

in warmer parts of the country.

English Bastard Cedar.


Gymnema montanum Hook. f. 297

Ayurvedic Pundraaksha, Rudraakshi

(fake Rudraaksha).

Siddha Rudraksham and allied

names are misnomers for this

plant. (Rukraaksha is equated with

Elaeocarpus ganitrus Roxb.)

Action Fruit—anticatarrhal (used

in bronchitis). Bark—demulcent,

sudorific. Used in skin diseases.

Seed—astringent, carminative,


The plant gave kaempferol glycosides.

Leaves contain octacosanol

and taraxerol-OAC, friedelin--alpha-

OAC,  beta-ol and beta-sitosterol.

Bark contains friedelin, betulin and


Guettarda speciosa Linn.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Native to tropical America;

occurs in tidal forests of South

India and in Andaman Islands.

(An extract of flowers, resembling

rose-water, in sold in Travancore


Action Bark—used in chronic

dysentery; also applied to wounds

and abscesses.

Guizotia abyssinica Cass.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Native to tropical Africa.

Cultivated in Madhya Pradesh,

Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and


English Nigerseed.

Siddha/Tamil Pey Ellu, Uch Ellu.

Folk Raam-til, Kaalaa Til, Sargujaa.

Action Oil from seed—antirheumatic.

The seeds yield an oil (%), a mixture

of triglycerides, lauric, palmitic,

palmitoleic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and

arachidic acids. The unsaponifiable

matter is a mixture of stigmasterol, ntriacontane

and lupeol. Seeds contain


Gymnema hirsutum

Wight & Arn.

Family Asclepiadaceae.

Habitat Southern parts of Uttar

Pradesh adjoining Madhya Pradesh,

also in Bihar andWestern Ghats.

Folk Gurmaar (related species).

Action Leaf—when chewed,

temporarily paralyses the sense of

taste for sweet and bitter substances.

Plant—used as stomachic, bechic,

expectorant, and inmale impotency,

poor lactation.

The leaves contain gymnemic acid.

Gymnema montanum Hook. f.

Family Asclepidaceae.

Habitat Western Ghats from

Konkan southwards.

Folk Gurmaar (related species).

Action See G. sylvertre.

The leaves contain gymnemic acid.


298 Gymnema sylvestre B. Br.

Gymnema sylvestre B. Br.

Family Asclepiadaceae.

Habitat Central and Peninsular


English Australian Cow Plant,

Ipecacuanha (Indian).

Ayurvedic Meshashringi, Meshavishaanikaa,

Meshavalli, Chhaagalshrngi.

Ajashringi (also equated

with Dolichandrone falcata and

Pergularia extensa).

Unani Gurmaar Buuti.

Siddha/Tamil Kannu Minnayamkodi,

Passaam, Shirukurinja.

Action Leaf—antidiabetic. Stimulates

the heart and circulatory

system, activates the uterus. Used

in parageusia and furunculosis.

Plant—diuretic, antibilious. Root—

emetic, expectorant, astringent,


Gymnemagenin, the main sapogenin

in the leaves, yielded .–.% of

total gymnemic acids.

Gymnemic acids are antisweet principles

and exhibit inhibitory effect on

levels of plasma glucose.

The extract of dried leaves, given to

diabetic rats at a dose of  mg/day

per rat for  weeks, was found to bring

about blood glucose homoeostasis by

increasing serum insulin levels. Increased

glycoprotein level and the resultant

nephropathy, retinopathy and

micro-and macro-angiopathy were also


The leaf extract (– mg/kg),

when orally administered to experimentally

induced hyperlipidaemic rats

for weeks, reduced the elevatedserum

triglyceride and total cholesterol in

a dose-dependent manner. The efficacy

and antiatherosclerotic potential of

the extract ( mg/kg) were comparable

to that of a lipid lowering agent,


In homoeopathy, a drug obtained

from the leaves and roots is prescribed

for both diabetesmellitus and insipidus

Gymnemic acid is reported to inhibit

melanin formation in vitro. It also

inhibits dental plaque formation.

Dosage Root, leaf—– g powder;

– ml decoction. (CCRAS.)

Gymnosporia spinosa

(Forsk.) Fiori.

Synonym G. Montana (Roth)


Maytenus senegulensis Exell.

M. emarginata Ding Hou.

Family Celastraceae.

Habitat Throughout the drier parts

of India.

Ayurvedic Vikankata (substitute)

Sruva-Vrksha (substitute),


Siddha/Tamil Kattangi,Nandunarai,


Folk Baikal.

Action Plant—antispasmodic.

Root—used in gastroenteritis and


Thebark is ground to a paste and applied

withmustard oil to kill lice in the

hair. A decoction of leafy twigs is used

as a mouth wash to relieve toothache.


Gynocardia odorata R.Br. 299

The leaves contain celacinnine, alpha-

and beta-amyrin, beta-amyrone,

beta-sitosterol and its -O-glucoside

and kaempferol. The extracts of the

plant show cytotoxic effect on some

cancers. An ointment, prepared by

mixing leaf ash and purified butter, is

used for sores.

Gynandropsis gynandra

(Linn.) Briq.

Synonym G. pentaphylla DC.

Cleome gynandra Linn.

Family Capparidaceae.

Habitat Throughout warmer parts

of India.

Ayurvedic Tilaparni (white

var.), (Pita or yellow-flowered

var. is equated with Cleome viscosa

Linn.), Ajagandhaa, Pashugandhaa,

Ugragandhaa, Puutigandhaa,

Barbaraka. Suuryaavartta has been

equated with G. pentaphylla DC.

Siddha/Tamil Thaivelai, Nalvelai.

Action Leaves and seeds—used

in the same way as mustard.

Bruised leaves—rubefacient and

vesicant, used as counter-irritant

in headache, neuralgia, rheumatic

affections. Roots—decoction,

febrifuge. Seeds—anthelmintic;

externally counter-irritant. Applied

as poultice to sores with maggots.

An infusion is given for coughs.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

recommended the use of the seed

in chlorsis, chronic obstructive jaundice

and enlarged prostate.

The seeds are reported to contain

cleomin, hexacosanol, free beta-sitosterol

and kaempferol; also glucosinolates.

Alcoholic extract of the whole plant

exhibited anti-inflammatory activity in

carrageenan-induced inflammation in


The medicinal properties of the

seeds are attributed to the presence

of cleomin. Seeds also contain % tannins.

Dosage Seed—– g powder. (API

Vol. I.) Leaf—– ml decoction.


Gynocardia odorata R.Br.

Synonym Hydnocarpus odorata


Family Flacourtiaceae.

Habitat Eastern Himalayas, Khasi

Hills and Sikkim.

Ayurvedic Chaalmograa (substitute).

Tuvaraka (var.) (Controversial


Unani Tukhm-e-Biranj Mograa.

Folk Chaaval-mungari.

Action Oil from seed used in

psoriasis, eczema, scrofula, gout,

rheumatic affections.

A triterpenoid ketolactone, odolactone,

has been isolated from the plant.

The fruit pulp is used as piscic.

The seeds of G. odorata were formerly,

erroneously, thought to be the

source Chaalmograa oil of commerce

obtained from the seeds of HydnocarG

300 Gynura pseudo-china (L.) DC.

pus kurzii, used in leprosy. Gynocardia

oil does not contain chaulmoogric or

hydnocarpic acid.

Gynura pseudo-china (L.) DC.

Synonym G. nudicaulis Arn.

Family Asteraceae, Compositae.

Habitat Eastern Himalaya, Sikkim,

Assam, andWestern Ghats in Tamil

Nadu and Kerala.

Action Plant—emollient, resolvent.

Used as a poultice in erysipelas

and for tumours in the breast.

Root—used both externally and

internally for enhancing blood

circulation especially when blue

spots and blotches result from

blows. The powdered root,

mixed with tea, is given to

parturient women. Leaves—used

for poulticing pimples. The juice is

used asa gargle for inflammations

of the throat.

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