Sunday, June 7, 2009


Ochna jabotapita Linn.

Synonym O. squarrosa Linn.

Family Ochnaceae.

Habitat Assam, Bihar, Orissa and

Deccan Peninsula. Often cultivated

in parks and gardens.

Siddha/Tamil Chilanti, Sherundi.

Folk Kanaka Champaa. (Bhuinchampaa,


(Ochna pumila).

Action Bark—digestive tonic.

Root—a decoction is used in

asthma, tuberculosis and in

menstrual disorders. Leaves—

boiled and used as emollient

cataplasm; used as a poultice in


Isoflavones, along with beta-sitosterol

and oleanolic acid, have been isolated

from the heartwood.

A related species, Ochna pumila

Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don., found in

outer Himalayas and sub-Himalayan

tract from Kumaon to Assam, is reported

to exhibit antitubercular activity.

Tetrahydroamentoflavone has been

isolated from the leaves. The plant is

also used for epilepsy in folk medicine.

Ochrocarpus longifolius

Bentb. & Hook. f.

Synonym Mammea longifolia

Planch. & Triana.

Family Guttiferae; Clusiaceae.

Habitat Evergreen forests of

Western India from Khandala

southwards to Malabar and Coimbatore.

Ayurvedic Surapunnaaga (Naagakeshara

is equated with Mesua


Siddha/Tamil Nagappu, Nagesarpu.

Folk Laal-Naagakeshar. Surangi


Action Flowerbuds—cooling,

stomachic, analgesic, antibacterial;

used for gastritis, haemorrhoids,

blood diseases, leprosy, leucoderma.

Flower buds are popularly known as


Flowers exhibited potent hypotensive,

anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic

activity attributed to vitexin.

Leaves gave amentoflavone, quercetin

and vitexin as major constituents.

Ocimum basilicum Linn.

Synonym O. caryophyllatum Roxb.

O. minimum Linn.

O. pilosum Willd.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Lower hills of Punjab;

cultivated throughout India.

English Sweet Basil, Basil Herb.


444 Ocimum canum Sims.

Ayurvedic Barbari, Tuvari, Tungi,

Kharpushpa, Ajgandhikaa, Baabui


Unani Faranjmishk. (also equated

with Dracocephalum moldavica

Linn. by National Formulary of

Unani Medicine.), Raihan (also

equated with O. sanctum). (used as

a substitute for Phanijjaka.)

Siddha/Tamil Tiruneetruppachhilai.

Folk Bana-Tulasi. Sabzaa (Maharashtra).

Action Flower—stimulant, carminative,

antispasmodic, diuretic,

demulcent. Seed—antidysenteric.

Juice of the plant—antibacterial.

Essential oil—antibacterial,

antifungal, insecticidal.

(Because of high estragole content

of the essential oil, the herb should not

be taken during pregnancy, nursing or

over extended periods of time.) (German

Commission E.) Included among

unapproved herbs by German Commission


The herb contains an essential oil;

major constituents are linalool (up to

%) methyl ether (estragole) up to

% and eugenol; caffeic acid derivatives;

flavonoids. Thymol and xanthomicrolwere

isolated fromthe leaves.

Aesculetin, p-coumaric acid, eriodictyol,

its -glucoside and vicenin- from

leaves have been isolated.

The essential oil at concentration

of .% completely inhibited mycelial

growth of twenty two species of fungi,

including mycotoxin-producing

strains of Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus.

Leaves act as an insect repellent

externally; bring relief to insect

bites and stings.

In homoeopathy, the fresh mature

leaves are used to treat haematuria, inflammation

and congestion of kidney.

Dosage Whole plant—– ml

decoction; seed—– g powder.


Ocimum canum Sims.

Synonym O. americanum Linn.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Plains and lower hills of


English Hoary Basil.

Ayurvedic KaaliTulasi, Vana-Tulasi.

Siddha/Tamil Ganjamkorai,


Action Plant—stimulant, carminative,

diaphoretic. Leaf—bechic,

febrifuge; used in cold, bronchitis,

catarrh, externally in skin diseases.

Essential oil—antifungal. Seeds—

hypoglycaemic; also used in the

treatment of leucorrhoea and other

diseases of urinogenital system.

The essential oil at the flowering

stage contains citral as a major component

along with methylheptenone,

methylnonylketone and camphor.

Leaves yielded beta-sitosterol, betulinic

acid and ursolic acid and flavonoids,


and nevadensin.

Seeds exhibited antidiabetic activity,

improved glucose tolerance was observed

in diabetic patients who were


Ocimum sanctum Linn. 445

given  g seed/day for  month, lowering

of fasting plasma glucose level up

to % was also observed.

Ocimum gratissimum Linn.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Throughout India.

English Shrubby Basil.

Ayurvedic Vriddha Tulasi, Raam-

Tulasi, Raan-Tulasi.

Siddha Elumicha-Tulasi, Peria-


Action Plant—used in neurological

and rheumatic affections, in

seminal weakness and in aphthae of

children. Seed—used in cephalalgia

and neuralgia. Essential oil—

antibacterial, antifungal.

Inhomoeopathy, freshmature leaves

are used in constipation, cough, fever,

nasal catarrh; also in gonorrhoea with

difficult urination.

A heterotic hybrid 'Clocimum' (polycross

of gratissimum) has been developed

in India which yields .–

.% essential oil having a eugenol

content up to %. Direct production

of methyl eugenol and eugenol acetate

from 'Clocimum' oil is reported.

Major constituents reported from

'Clocimum' oil are myrcene ., eugenol

., isoeugenol ., methyleugenol

.%; other constituents are

alpha-pinene, limonene, phellandrene,

terpene -ol, alpha-terpineol, carveol,

carvene, geranyl acetate, caryophyllone

and caryophyllone oxide.

(At Regional Research Laboratory,

CSIR, Jammu, a study was conducted

to assess the inheritance pattern of major

chemical constituents of essential

oils in hybrids produced by interspecific

as well as intraspecific crosses of

Ocimum sp.).

Ocimum kilimandscharicum


Synonym O. camphora Guerke.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Native of Kenya. Cultivated

on a small scale in West Bengal,

Assam, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka,

Kerala and Dehr Dun.

English Camphor Basil.

Ayurvedic Karpura Tulasi.

Action Plant—spasmolytic,

antibacterial. Decamphorized oil—

insecticidal, mosquito repellent.

Essential oil contains camphor, pinene,

limonene, terpinolene, myrcene,

beta-phellandrene, linalool, camphene,

p-cymene, borneol and alpha-selinene.

The Camphor content varies in different

samples from  to .%.

Ocimum sanctum Linn.

Synonym O. tenuiflorum Linn.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Throughout India; grown

in houses, gardens and temples.

English Holy Basil, Sacred Basil.

Ayurvedic Tulasi, Surasaa, Surasa,

Bhuutaghni, Suravalli, Sulabhaa,

Manjarikaa, Bahumanjari, DevaO

446 Ocimum viride Willd.

dundubhi, Apet-raakshasi, Shuulaghni,

Graamya, Sulabhaa.

Unani Tulasi.

Siddha/Tamil Tulasi, Nalla-Tulasi.

Action Leaf—carminative, stomachic,

antispasmodic, antiasthmatic,

antirheumatic, expectorant, stimulant,

hepatoprotective, antiperiodic,

antipyretic and diaphoretic. Seed—

used in genitourinary diseases.

Root—antimalarial. Plant—adaptogenic,

antistress. Essential oil—

antibacterial, antifungal.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

recommends the use of the leaf and

seed in rhinitis and influenza; the seed

in psychological disorders, including

fear-psychosis and obsessions.

Major components of the essential

oil are eugenol, carvacrol, nerol and

eugenolmethylether. Leaves have been

reported to contain ursolic acid, apigenin,

luteolin, apigenin--O-glucuronide,

luteolin--O-glucuronide, orientin

and molludistin.

Ursolic acid, isolated from leaves,

exhibited significant protection of mast

cell membrane by preventing granulation

and decreased histamine release.

The ethanolic extract (%) of fresh

leaves, volatile oil fromfresh leaves and

fixed oil from seeds showed antiasthmatic

activity and significantly protected

guinea-pigs against histamine

and dyspnoea.They also showed antiinflammatory

activity against carrageenan-,

serotonin-, histamine- and

PGE--induced inflammation and inhibited

hind paw oedema in rats.

The ethanol extract (%) of the

leaves showed hepatoprotective effect

against paracetamol-induced liver


The plant extract exhibited antiulcerogenic

property against experimental


Oral administration of alcoholic extract

of leaves lowers blood sugar level

in normal, glucose-fed hyperglycaemic

and streptozotocin-induced diabetic

rats. The activity of the extract was

. and .%of that of tolbutamide

in normal and diabetic rats respectively.

Administration of the juice of the

plant affected a significant reduction

in the size of urinary brushite crystals.

A study of methanol extract and

aqueous suspension of the leaves

showed immunostimulation of humoral

immunologic response in albino

rats indicating the adaptogenic action

of the plant.

Dosage Seed—– g powder (API,

Vol. IV); plant—– ml infusion


Ocimum viride Willd.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Native to Africa; introduced

into India.

English Fever plant of Sierra Leone.

Folk Taap-maari Tulasi (Maharashtra).

Action Leaves—febrifugal. Used

as a remedy for coughs and fevers.


Ocimumviride species, cultivated in

Jammu-Tawi, gives maximum oil yield


Olax scandens Roxb. 447

(.%) at full bloom stage and highest

percentage of thymol (.%) in the

oil, which can be used as a substitute

for thyme-ajowan oil.

Oenanthe javanica (Blume) DC.

Synonym O. stolinifera Wall. ex


Family Apiaceae; Umbelliferae.

Habitat Marshy places and river

banks in North India from Kashmir

to Assam.

Folk Jateraa (Meghalaya); Panturasi


Action The plant extract showed

strong antimutagenic and antitumour


Fromtheherb, beta-sitosteryl glucoside,

stigmasteryl glucoside, isorhamnetin

and hyperin were isolated. The

fruit yield .% of an essential oil, containing

phellandrene and myristicin.

Oenothera odorata Jacq.

Family Onagraceae.

Habitat Native to Chile; cultivated

as a garden plant in South Australia.

Introduced into Indian gardens.

English Evening Primrose (var.);

Sundrop (var.).

Action Oil from seeds—prescribed

for eczema (in children); premenstrual

syndrome and cyclical breast


Linalool (.%) was determined in

the flower oil.

Evening Primrose is equated with

Oenothera biennis L. (native to North

America). The oil from seeds, known

asEvening Primrose oil, contains about

% cis-linolenic acid and about %

cis-gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Evening

Primrose oil is one of the most

widely prescribed plant-derived medicines

in the world. Sold under the

trade name Epogam, it is recognized

by the governments of Great Britain,

Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Spain,

Greece, South Africa, Australia and

NewZealandas a treatment for eczema.

A combination, known as Efamol Marine,

used for eczema, contains %

Evening Primrose Oil and % fish oil.

Evening Primrose Oil has become

a frontline treatment in Great Britain

for initial treatment of cyclical breast

pain and fibrocystic breast disease.

Olax scandens Roxb.

Family Olacaceae.

Habitat Sub-Himalayas tract of

Kumaon and Bihar, Orissa, Madhya

Pradesh, Deccan and Western


Ayurvedic Dheniaani, Karbudaar

(doubtful synonym).

Siddha/Tamil Malliveppam,


Folk Rimil-beeri (Bihar).

Action Bark—used in anaemia and

as a supporting drug in diabetes;

also in the treatment of fever.


448 Oldenlandia umbellata Linn.

Oldenlandia umbellata Linn.

Synonym Hedyotis umbellata

(Linn.) Lam.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Bihar, Orissa, Travancore.

Cultivated on the Coromandel


English IndianMadder, Chay-Root.

Siddha/Tamil Inbooral.

Folk Chiraval (Maharashtra).

Action Leaves and roots—used in

bronchitis, asthma, consumption.

The plant gave anthraquinone derivatives.

The root gave alizarin, rubichloric

acid and ruberythric acid, also

anthraquinones. Purpurin, pupuroxanthin

carboxylic acid, present in

Madder (Rubia tinctorum), are almost

entirely absent.

Olea europaea Linn.

Family Olaeaceae.

Habitat Native of Mediterranean

region; cultivated in Jammu and

Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

English Olive.

Unani Zaitoon.

Action Leaves and bark—

febrifugal, astringent, diuretic,


Oil—preparations are used for cholangiitis,

cholecystitis, cholelithiasis,

icterus, flatulence, meteorism, lack of

bacteria in the intestines. Demulcent

and mild laxative. Externally used

for wound dressing and for minor

burns, psoriasis and pruritus. (Included

among unapproved herbs by

German Commission E.)

Chemical investigations of two varieties—

Ascotrinia and Ascolina—

grown in Jammu region have shown

that the characteristics of fruits and

their oils are similar to those of European


Leaves of Olea europaea gave iridoid

monoterpenes including oleuropein

and oleuroside; triterpenes including

oleanolic and maslinic acids;

flavonoids including luteolin and apigenine

derivatives. The oil contains

glycerides of oleic acid about –%,

with smaller amounts of linoleic, palmitic

and stearic acid glycerides.

The leaves exhibited hypotensive,

antiarrhythmic and spasmolytic activities

in animal studies. The oil exhibited

contraction of gallbladder due to

raising of the cholecystokinin level in

the plasma.

India's requirements of olive oil are

met by imports.

Onosma bracteatum Wall.

Family Boraginaceae.

Habitat Kashmir and Kumaon.

English Borage.

Ayurvedic Gojihvaa, Kharpatraa,

Darvipatraa, Vrishjihvaa.

Unani Gaozabaan (related species).

Siddha/Tamil Ununjil.

Action Cooling, astringent, diuretic,

cardiac tonic. Used for cold,


Operculina turpethum (Linn.) SilvaManso. 449

cough, bronchial affections; insomnia,

depression, mental exhaustion;

constipation, misperistalsis, jaundice;

dysuria, urethral discharges;


The name Gaozaban is applied to

six different plants, belonging to five

genera. According to TheWealth of India,

Gaozaban is derived not from this

plant but from Anchusa strigosa Labill,

which occurs in Iran. Kashmiri Gaozaban

is derived from Macrotomia benthamii.

Coccinia glauca is also used as


Borage has been equated with Borago

officinalis Linn. (Boraginacea.).

Dosage Dried leaves and stems,

flowers—– g powder.

Onosma echioides

C. B. Clarke non Linn.

Synonym Onosma hispidum

Wall. ex D. Don.

Family Boraginaceae.

Habitat Kashmir and Kumaon up

to ,–, m.

Unani Ratanjot (equated with

Onosma echioides Linn., according

to National Formularly of Unani


Action Astringent and styptic.

Root—bruised and used as application

to eruptions. An ingredient

of ointments for ulcers, scrofula,

burns. Flowers—stimulant, cardiac


Ursolic acid and naphthoquinones,

onosone A and B have been isolated

from the root. Shikonin acetate

is obtained from callus cultures of the


The species, distributed in western

Himalayas, is Onosma echioides C. B.

Clarke non Linn.; Onosma echioides

Linn. is an European species. A variety

of this species, var. kashmiricum

Johnson, is found in Kashmir. Onosma

hookeri C. B. Clarke occurs in Sikkim

and Bhutan.

Maharanga emodi (Wall.) DC., synonym

Onosma emodi (Wall.) DC. (the

Himalayas from Garhwal to Bhutan

at altitudes of ,–, m) is also

known as Ratanjot and Shankhuli.

(Ratanjot is used in a generic sense

to cover a range of red dye-yielding

roots, rather than the root of a single

species. As many as  plant species

belonging to four different families are

known as Ratanjot; five of themdo not

yield red dye. General properties and

colour reactions attributed to Ratanjot

resemble Alkanet fromAlkanna tinctoria


Operculina turpethum

(Linn.) Silva Manso.

Synonym Ipomoea turpethum R.


Family Convolvulaceae.

Habitat Throughout India up to

, m; occasionally grown in


English Indian Jalap, Turpeth.

Ayurvedic Trivrta, Trivrtaa, Tribhandi,

Triputaa, Saralaa, Suvahaa,


450 Ophioglossum vulgatum Linn.

Rechani, Nishotra, Kumbha, Kaalaa,

Shyaama, Shyaamaa.

Unani Turbud, Nishoth.

Siddha/Tamil Karunchivadai.

Action Root—purgative, antiinflammatory

(particularly used in

rheumatic and paralytic affections;

also in fevers, oedema, hepatic and

haemophilic diseases).

White Turpeth is preferred to Black

Turpeth as cathartic; the latter produces

drastic purgation and causes

vomiting, fainting and giddiness.

White Turpeth is derived from Marsdenia

tenacissima in folk medicine.

The active principle of O. turpethum

is a glycosidic resin present in the drug

up to %. It is similar to jalap resin and

is concentrated mostly in the root bark.

It contains an ether insoluble glycoside,

turpethin, which constitutes about half

of the resin and two ether soluble glycosides,

alpha-and beta-turpethein (

and % respectively).

Dosage Root—– g powder. (API,

Vol. III.)

Ophioglossum vulgatum Linn.

Family Ophioglossaceae.

Habitat Moist meadows in Great

Britain. Found in the Himalayas,

Bihar, Assam, Pune (Maharashtra),

Annamalai and Shevaroy hills

(South India); up to an altitude of

, m.

English English Adder's Tongue.

Serpant's Tongue.

Action Fern—antiseptic, styptic,

vulnerary, detergent, emetic.

The mucilaginous and astringent

decoction of the fern is used in

angina in Reunion. An ointment,

prepared by boiling the herb in oil

or fat, is used for wounds.

Ophioglossum pendulum L. (Assam)

is used in the form of a scalp ointment

for improving the hair growth.

American Adder's Tongue is equated

with Erythronium americanum Ker-

Gawl (Liliaceae). The fresh leaves gave


Ophiorrhiza mungos Linn.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Khasi Hills up to –

 m, in Western Ghats and the

Andaman Islands.

English Mongoose Plant.

Ayurvedic Sarpaakshi. (Gandhanaakuli

is a wrong synonym. It is

equated with Aristolochia indica.)

Siddha/Tamil Keerippundu.

Folk Sarahati. Mungus-vel


Action Root—bitter tonic. Leaves—

used for dressing ulcers.

The roots contain starch, a resin

and small amounts of a bitter amorphous

alkaloid. Beta-sitosterol, -

alpha-ergost--en--beta-ol and -

alpha-ergost- ()-en- beta-ol (as

an ester) have been identified in the

root. Leaves and stems contain traces

of hydrocyanic acid.


Opuntia vulgaris Mill. 451

Opuntia cochinellifera Mill.

Synonym Nopalea cochenillifera


Family Cactaceae.

Habitat Indian gardens. Introduced

into India towards the end of the

th century.

English Cochineal Cactus. (A host

for cochineal insect, Dactylopius

cacti Linn.)

Siddha/Tamil Puchikalli.

Action Fruits—emollient, bechic.

Mucilaginous joints—used as

poultices in cases of articular

rheumatism, inflammations, scalds,

burns and skin diseases.

Opuntia dillenii (Ker-Gawl.) Haw.

Synonym O. stricta Haw. var.

dillenii (Ker-Gawl.) Benson.

Family Cactaceae.

Habitat Native of Mexico; wellacclimatized

throughout India.

English Prickly Pear, SlipperThorn.

Ayurvedic Naagaphani, Kanthaari.

Unani Naagphani.

Siddha/Tamil Sappathikalli,


Action Leaves—applied as

poultice to allay inflammation and

heat. Fruit—baked and given in

whooping cough.

Dried or fresh flowers of cactus (opuntia

series)—astringent and haemostatic.

An infusion is given in irritable

bowel, mucous colitis, and prostatitis.

Ash of the aerial portion, mixed with

sugar candy, is given for  days for

birth control in tribal areas of Andhra


ThePlant is recommended for growing

in high pollution zones for abating

sulphur dioxide pollution.

Pods contain a polysaccharide, arbinogalactan.

Betanin has been isolated

fromripe fruits. Flowers contain the

glycosides of isorhamnetin and quercetin,

with smal amounts of the free


Opuntia ficus-indica (Linn.) Mill.,

known as Prickly Pear or Indian Fig,

is a spineless cactus, mostly cultivated

in Indian gardens. Ripe fruits are nutritious.

Flowers are astringent and reduce

bleeding; used for diarrhoea and

irritable bowel syndrome; also for enlarged

prostate. The flower decoction

exhibits a strong diuretic effect.

The cladodes are used as a topical

anti-inflammatory remedy for oedemata

and arthrosis, as regulators of

smooth muscles in the treatment of

whooping cough and as anti-infective


The stem or their crude preparations

showed hypoglycaemic effect in

non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

patients (irrespective of its being

heated or blended during preparation).

Neobetanin (,-dehydro betanin)

is the major constituent in the fruit.

Opuntia vulgaris Mill.

Family Cactaceae.

Habitat Throughout the greater

part of India.


452 Orchis latifolia Linn.

English Prickly Pear.

Ayurvedic Naagaphani (var.).

Action In homoeopathy, a tincture

made from the flowers and

wood, is given for diarrhoea and


The fresh stalks yielded calcium

magnesium pectate which exhibited

antihaemorrhagic action. A flavonoside

has been obtained from dried

flowers. It resembles rutoside in its

action of inhibiting capillary fragility.


trihydroxy-methoxy-flavonol and glucose.

The plant is reported to contain

an alkaloid. It also yields a mucilage

which gives arabinose and galactose.

Orchis latifolia Linn.

Family Orchidaceae.

Habitat Kashmir to Nepal at

altitudes of ,–, m in damp


English Orchis, Salep.

Ayurvedic Munjaataka, Saalammisri,

Saalam-panjaa. (Eulophia

campestrisWall. is also equated with


Unani Saaleb, Khusyaat-us-Saalab,

Saalab Misri.

Siddha Silamishri.

Action Considered aphrodisiac

and nervine tonic by Unani

physicians. Tuber—nutritive,

demulcent, restorative. Given

to convalescents suffering from

chronic diarrhoea and bilious

fevers. Allays irritation of gastrointestinal


Orchis species (Salep) contain mucilage

(up to %)–glucans, glucomannans

(partially acetylized), starch

(%), proteins (–%).

The leaves of Orchis latifolia contain

a glucoside, loroglossin. Most of

the Salep used in Unani medicine is

imported from Iran and Afghanistan.

Allium macleanii Baker (Afghanistan)

is known as Baadashaahi (royal)

Saalab, and is used as a substitute

for Munjaataka.

Dosage Tuber—– g powder.


Origanum majorana Linn.

Synonym Majorana hortensis


Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Native to Europe and Great


English Sweet Marjoram. (Origanum

vulgare Linn., Wild Marjoram,

occurs in Simla hills and in

Kashmir valley.)

Ayurvedic Sukhaatmaka, Marubaka,

Phanijjaka. (Ocimum basilicum

is used as a substitute for Phanijjaka.)

Unani Marzanjosh.

Folk Maruae. Santhraa. Jangali

Maruaa (Origanum vulgare Linn.).


Oroxylum indicum Vent. 453

Action Emmenagogue, antispasmodic,

carminative, expectorant.

Leaves and seed—

astringent, antispasmodic.

Warm infusion of herb—promotes

suppressed menstrual


The herb contains about % volatile

oil comprising sabinene hydrate, sabinene,

linalool, carvacrol, estrogole,

eugenol and terpenes; flavonoids including

luteolin--glucoside, diosmetin-

-glucoside, apigenin--glucoside;

rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid; and

triterpenoids such as ursolic acid, oleanolic

acid, sterols.

Marjoram herb and oil exhibit antibacterial

action. (German Commission

E.) The herb contains arbutin

and hydroxyquinone (a carcinogenic

agent) in low concentrations. The herb

is not suited for extended use. Topical

application of hydroxyquinone leads

to depigmentation of the skin. There is

no reports of similar side effects with

marjoram ointment. (German Commission


Origanumvulgare Linn. (WildMarjoram)

contains volatile oilwith a widely

varying composition; major components

include thymol, beta-bisabolene,

caryophyllene, linalool and borneol;

other constituents are similar to those

of O. majorana.

The leaves of Wild Marjoram contain

phenolic acids. The phenyl propionic

acid and the phenyl glucoside

showed antioxidant activity comparable

to that of BHA, a synthetic antioxidant.

Wild Marjoram preparations are

used for bronchial catarrh and disturbances

of the gastrointestinal tract

in Unani medicine.

Sweet Marjoram shows stronger effect

on the nervous system than Wild

Marjoram and gives better results in

anxiety, headaches and insomnia.

Both the species have been included

among unapproved herbs by German

Commission E.

Oroxylum indicum Vent.

Family Bignoniaceae.

Habitat Throughout the greater

part of India.

English Indian Trumpet Flower.

Ayurvedic Shyonaaka, Shoshana,

Tuntuka, Kutannata,Madhukparna,

Patrorna, Bhalluka, Prthushimba,


Siddha/Tamil Peruvaagai.

Folk Sonaa-paathaa.

Action Tender fruit—carminative,

stomachic, spasmolytic. Seed—

purgative. Root bark—astringent,

antidiarrhoeal. Used for amoebic

dysentery. Bark—antirheumatic,


The leaves contained flavones and

their glycosides including baicalein

and scutellarein; also anthraquinone,

aloe-emodin. Bark of the root gave

chrysin, baicalein and oroxylinA. Bark

also gave dihydrobaicalein. Heartwood

yielded beta-sitosterol and an

iso-flavone, prunetin.

Dosage Root—– g powder; –

 g for decoction. (API, Vol. III.)


454 Orthosiphon grandiflorus Boldingh.

Orthosiphon grandiflorus


Synonym O. aristatus (Blume)Miq.

O. spiralis (Linn.) Merrill

O. stamineus Benth.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Manipur, Naga and Lushai

hills, Chota Nagpur,Western Ghats.

English Kidney Tea Plant, Java Tea.

Folk Mutri-Tulasi (Maharashtra).

Action Leaves—diuretic, used

in nephrosis and severe cases of

oedema. An infusion of leaves is

givenas a specific in the treatment of

various kidney and bladder diseases

including nephrocirrhosis and

phosphaturia, also in rheumatism

and gout.

Key application In irrigation

therapy for bacterial and inflammatory

diseases of the lower urinary

tract and renal gravel. (German

Commission E.)

Flower tops and leaves (samples

from Indonesia) contained methyl ripariochromene

A. In another sample,

leaves also yielded several phenolic

compounds including lipophilic

flavones, flavonol glycosides and caffeic

acid derivatives. Rosmarinic acid

and ,-dicaffeoyl-tartaric acid (%

of total phenolics, .% in hot water

extract) were major compounds of

caffeic acid derivatives.

The leaves also contain a high percentage

(.–.) of potassium salts.

Presence of orthosiphonin and potassium

salts help in keeping uric acid and

urate salts in solution, thus prevents

calculi and other deposits. The leaf extract

lowers blood sugar in diabetics,

but not consistently.

Orthosiphon pallidus Royle, equated

with the Ayurvedic herb Arjaka and

Shveta-Kutherak and known as Ajagur

andNaganda-baavari in folkmedicine,

is used for dysuria and colic.

Orthosiphon tomentosus Benth.

var. glabratus Hook. f.

Synonym O. glabratus Benth.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Orissa, Gujarat, South

India, ascending up to , m in

the hills.

Ayurvedic Prataanikaa (nonclassical).

Folk Tulasi (var.), Kattu-thrithava


Action Plant—a decoction is

given in diarrhoea. Leaves—applied

externally to cuts and wounds.

Oryza sativa Linn.

Family Gramineae; Poaceae.

Habitat Cultivated all over India as

a food crop.

English Rice.

Ayurvedic Shaali, Vrihidhaanya,

Tandula, Nivara.

Unani Biranj Saathi.

Siddha/Tamil Nell.


Osmanthus fragrans Lour. 455

Action Rice-water (a water

decoction of rice)—demulcent

and refrigerant in febrile and

inflammatory diseases and in

dysuria. Also used as a vehicle

for compound preparations used

for gynaecological disorders. It is

regarded as cooling in haematemesis

and epistaxis, and as diuretic.

The green clum or stalks—recommended

in biliousness. Ash of the

straw—used in the treatment of

wounds and discharges. Lixiviated ash

of straw is used as anthelmintic and in


The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

recommends the dried root in dysuria

and lactic disorders.

The pigments occurring in coloured

types of rice are amixture of monoglycosides

of cyanidin and delphinidin.

The dark Puttu Rice of India contains

a diglycosidic anthocyanin.

Dosage Root— g for decoction.

(API, Vol. II.)

Osbeckia chinensis Linn.

Family Melastomataceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Garhwal to Bhutan, North Bengal,

Bihar and Khasi, Aka and Lushai


Folk Bhui-lukham (Lushai).

Action Plant—anodyne, antipyretic,


The plant contains the flavonoids,

quercetin, kaempferol and hydrolysable

tannins, besides gallic acid, methyl

gallate and ellagic acid.

The flavonoids and tannins showed

antioxidant activity. Ellagic acid suppressed

increase in lipid peroxidation

induced by CCl and Cobalt- irradiation

and this effect was more

than that of alpha-tocopherol. Gallic

acid showed anti-inflammatory activity

against zymosan-induced acute

footpad swelling in mice.

Osmanthus fragrans Lour.

Family Obleaceae.

Habitat Native to China and Japan.

Found in Kumaon, Garhwal and


Ayurvedic Vasuka (Also equated

with Brihat Bakula.)

Folk Silang, Silingi, Bagahul, Buuk.

Action Diuretic, genitourinary

tract disinfectant.

Flowers—antiseptic, insecticidal.

Used for protecting clothes from insects.

The flowers yield an oil containing

oleanolic and urosolic acids, betasitosterol,

glycosides and awax (.%)

composed mainly of triacontane. The

leaves are reported to contain a phillyrin-

like glycoside.

Osmanthus suavis King, known as

Silingi in Nepal and Chashing in Bhutan,

is found in eastern Himalayas at

altitudes of ,–, m and in Aka

hills in Assam. It is used as a var. of


Dosage Flower— mg to  g

powder. (CCRAS.)


456 Osmunda regalis Linn.

Osmunda regalis Linn.

Family Osmundaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas, Khasi hills

and the Western Ghats at altitudes

of ,–, m.

English Royal Fern.

Action Fern—antispasmodic,

astringent, an aqueous extract is

administered for intestinal gripe;

used externally in rheumatism; also

prescribed in muscular debility.

Fonds enter into diuretic drinks

used for treating body swellings.

Root—mucilaginous, styptic,


The rhizomes contain phenolic, gallic,

caffeic, p-coumaric, vanillic, salicylic,

p-hydroxybenzoic and ferulic

acids and catechol tannins (.%)

which are responsible for fern's astringent

activity. Biological activity of

these tannins corresponds to that of

% tannic acid.

Osyris wightiana Wall. ex Wight.

Synonym O. arborea Wall. ex DC.

O. quadriparita Salzm. ex Decne.

Family Santalaceae.

Habitat Sub-tropical Himalaya,

Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu.

Folk Popli (Maharashtra); Paral

(Karnataka, Tamil Nadu); Jhuri

(Nepal); Dalmi, Dalmia (Garhwal,


Action Leaf—emetic.

The leaf contains %tannin. It gave

cis--hydroxy-L-proline, and exhibited

antiviral activity.

The heartwood is faintly fragrant

and reported to be used for adulterating


Ougeinia dalbergioides Benth.

Synonym Ougeinia oojeinensis

(Roxb.) Hochr.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Outer Himalayas and

sub-Himalayan tract from Jammu

to Bhutan up to an altitude of

, m, and extending through the

whole of northern and central India

into the greater part of Deccan


English Chariot tree, Punjab Kino.

Ayurvedic Tinishaa, Tinisha,

Syandana, Nemi, Sarvasaara,

Ashmagarbhaka, Vajjala, Chitrakrt.

Siddha/Tamil Narivengai.

Folk Saanan.

Action Bark—febrifuge, antidiarrhoeal,


Theleaves and heartwood contained

iso-flavonoids—dalbergion, hemoferritin

and urgenin. Leaves, in addition,

contained flavonoids—quercetin,

kaempferol and leucopelargonidin.

Stem bark gave triterpenes, lupeol and


Oxalis acetosella Linn.

Family Oxalidaceae.


Oxyria digyna (L.) Hill. 457

Habitat Temperate Himalayas

from Kashmir to Sikkim from ,

to , m and Nilgiris in Tamil


English Common Wood-Sorrel.

Ayurvedic Chaangeri (related


Folk Tinpatiyaa, Amrul.

Action Diuretic and refrigerant.

Used for urinary affections and

fevers. (Sorrel is equated with

Rumex acetosa Linn.)

Aerial parts gave -O-(beta-D-glucopyranosyl)

isovitexin. The whole

flowering plant contains .–.%

oxalic acid (high in fresh leaves and


Oxalis corniculata Linn.

Family Oxalidaceae.

Habitat Throughout the warmer

parts of India.

English Indian Sorrel.

Ayurvedic Chaangeri, Amlapatrikaa,

Amlikaa, Chukraa,

Chukrikaa, Chhatraamlikaa.

Unani Ambutaa bhaaji, Amutaa


Siddha/Tamil Puliyarai.

Folk Tinpatiyaa, Ambilonaa.

Action Plant—boiled with butter

milk is a home remedy for indigestion

and diarrhoea in children.

Used for tympanitis, dyspepsia,

biliousness and dysentery; also for

its anti-inflammatory, analgesic,

antipyretic and antiscorbutic activities.

Leaf paste is applied over

forehead to cure headache.

The leaves contain the flavonoids,

vitexin, isovitexin and vitexin--Obeta-

D-glucopyranoside. The leaves

contain .% of lipid (dry weight),

a rich source of essential fatty acids

and alpha-and beta-tocopherol (.

and . mg/g dry basis, respectively.)

They are a good source of vitamin C

(mg/ g), carotene (.mg/ g)

and calcium (.% of drymaterial) but

contain a high content of oxalates (%

of dry material).

The leaves and stem contain tartaric

and citric acid; stems contain also

malic acid.

An aqueous extract of the plant

shows activity againstMicrococcus pyogenes

var. aureus. Expressed juice of

the entire plant shows activity against

Gram-positive bacteria.

Oxalis martiana Zucc. (native to

America, naturalized in moist and

shady placaes in temperate parts of

India) is equated with Wood-Sorrel. It

is known as Khatmitthi in Delhi and

Peria-puliyarai in Tamil Nadu.

Dosage Whole plant—– ml

juice. (API, Vol. III.)

Oxyria digyna (L.) Hill.

Family Polygonaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Kashmir to Sikkim, in the alpine

region at altitudes of ,–,m.

Folk Chohahak, Amlu (Punjab).

Kailaashi (Kashmir).

Action Refrigerant, antiscorbutic.


458 Oxystelma secamone (Linn.) Karst.

Oxystelma secamone

(Linn.) Karst.

Synonym O. esculentum R. Br.

Sarcostemma secamone (Linn.)


Family Asclepiadaceae.

Habitat Throughout the

plains and lower hills of India,

including paddy fields

and hedges rear semi-marshy


Ayurvedic Dugdhikaa, Duudhilataa,

Duudhialataa .

Folk Usipallai (Tamil Nadu);

Dugdhani (Maharashtra); Jaladudhi


Action Herb—antiseptic, depurative,

galactogogue; decoction used

as a gargle in stomatitis and sore

throat. Latex—vulnerary. Fresh

root—prescribed in jaundice.

A pregnane ester oligoglycoside

(oxysine), a pregnane triglycoside (esculentin),

a cardenolide (oxyline), two

more cardenolides, oxystelmoside and

oxystelmine, have been isolated from

the roots.

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