Sunday, June 7, 2009


Paederia foetida Linn.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Central and Eastern

Himlayas extending to Assam,West

Bengal, Bihar, Orissa.

Ayurvedic Talanili, Gandhaprasaarini.

(Prasaarini is also

equated with Raaja-balaa, Sida


Siddha/Tamil Talanili, Mudiyar


Folk Gandhabhaaduli (Bengali).

Action Leaf—carminative, antiinflammatory,

astringent, spasmolytic,

antidiarrhoeal, diuretic, antilithic.

Root— anti-inflammatory.

Used for rheumatic affections, piles,

inflammations of the liver, spleen

and chest.

Aerial parts contain epi-friedelanol,

embelin and beta-sitosterol. Leaves

and stems gave iridoid glycosides, sitosterol,

stigmasterol, campesterol, ursolic

acid, hentriacontane, hentriacontanol,

ceryl alcohol, palmitic acid and

methyl mercaptan. The foetid smell is

due to methyl mercaptan.

All parts of the plant have been employed

for rheumatic affections.

A related species, Paederia scandens

(Lour.) Merill, synonym P. tomentosa

Blume, is known as Gandha Prasaarini.

The iridoid glucosides, paederoside,

paederosidic acid and scandosides

have been isolated fromthe plant.

Dosage Plant—– ml juice; – ml decoction. (CCRAS.)

Paeonia emodi Wall. ex Royle.

Family Paeoniaceae.

Habitat Northwestern Himalaya

from Kashmir to Kumaon at ,–, m.

English Himalayan Paeony.

Unani Ood Saleeb, Ood Gharqi,


Folk Root—used in nervous affections,

uterine diseases, as a blood

purifier. Flower—antidiarrhoeal.

Seed—emetic, cathartic. Plant—

CNS depressant, hypothermic,

diuretic, anti-inflammatory.

The root contains an essential oil,

with salicylaldehyde as the chief component,

a fixed oil, benzoic acid and

sucrose. The plant gave Gallo tannin

and glucogallin.

Paeonia officinalis Linn.

Family Paeoniaceae.

Habitat Indigenous to Great


English Paeony.

Unani Ood Saleeb, Ood Gharqi.

Action Root—antispasmodic,

sedative, smooth muscle relaxant,

vasodilatory, hypotensive,


460 Panax pseudoginseng Wall.

anti-inflammatory, analgesic, emmenagogue,


Flower—used for diseases of mucous

membranes, fissures, anal

fissures associated with haemorrhoids,

also for ailments of the

respiratory tract, nervous conditions

and skin diseases. Root—

used for arthritis, neuralgia, neurasthenia,

migraine, epilepsy, allergic

disorders, whooping cough and

painful spasms.

The herb gave monoterpene ester

glucosides of the pinen-type (including

paeoniflorin); anthocyanin including

paeonin; tannins (pentagalloyl glucose);

flavonoids including kaempferol


Paeoniflorin shows a smooth muscle

relaxant, vasodilatory, anti-inflammatory,

immunostimulating and some

CNS depressant activity in animal

studies. Pentagalloyl glucose exhibited

antiviral activity in animal studies

in vitro against herpes simplex.

German Commission E included

Paeony (flower and root) among unapproved

herbs. The Pharmacopoeia of

People's Republic of China indicates the

use of the root in dementia, headache

and vertigo. (WHO.)

Panax pseudoginseng Wall.

Family Araliaceae.

Habitat Western Himalayas,

Pithoragarh district of Uttaranchal.

English Indian Ginseng, Indian


Ayurvedic In Indian medicine,

Panax quinquefolium Linn. and

Panax schinseng Knees have been

equated with Lakshmanaa.

Action Adaptogen, digestive

relaxant, old-age revitalizer. Sustains

nerves and immune system in

physical exhaustion and during convalescence.

Antiarrhythmic (used

for angina). Activities comparable

with Korean ginseng.

Indian pseudoginseng, including

subspecies himalaicus and its varieties,

variety angustifolius and variety

bipinnatifidus, has been found to be

a rich source of oleanolic acid saponins,

while dammarane saponins (panaxadiol

and panaxatriol) are present in

minor quantities. Panax burkillianus

Bennet & Viswan and P. sikkimensis

Banerjee are also related to the commercial


Panax quinquefolium (American

Ginseng) has been introduced into India

in the Kashmir valley during .

It is rich in dammarane saponins. The

air-dried roots of the plant, introduced

in India, contain total saponin content

of .%. The saponins isolated include

ginsenosides Rb, Rb, Rb, Rc,

Rd, Re, Rg, pseudoginsenoside F

and chikusetsu saponin V; the major

saponin being ginsenoside Rb. The

saponin fraction of the root yielded

panaxadiol, panaxatriol and oleanolic


Ginsenosides Rb and Rc are 'iols'

while Rg is a 'riol' ('riol'group is

arousing, 'iol'is sedative.) In American

ginseng 'iols'predominate.

Panax pseudoginseng, equated with

Himalayan ginseng (NaturalMedicines

Comprehensive Database, ), is believed

to dilate the coronary vessels, reP

Panicum miliaceum Linn. 461

duce vascular resistance and improve

the coronary collateral circulation. It

increased blood flow while reducing

blood pressure.

Panax schiseng, synonym P. ginseng

Mey. (Asiatic or Chinese Ginseng) is

cultivated in northern China, Korea

and Japan.

Pandanus facicularis Lam.

Synonym P. tectorius auct. non

Soland ex Parkinson.

P. odoratissimus Linn. f.

Family Pandanaceae.

Habitat Sea coast of the Indian

Peninsula on both sides, and the

Andaman Islands.

English Screw Pine.

Ayurvedic Ketaka, Ketaki,

Suuchikaa pushpaa, Jambuka,

Trinshunya, Ketakark, Krakchhada.

Unani Keoraa.

Siddha/Tamil Thazhai,Thalay.

Action Flower—carminative, stomachic,

cooling, antiseptic. Used for

headache, ulcers, dysuria, scabies

and other skin diseases. Root—

used for osteoarthritis, leucorrhoea

and amenorrhoea; contraindicated

during pregnancy. Leaves—

used for skin diseases, small pox,

scabies, leprosy. The Ayurvedic

Pharmacopoeia of India recommends

the decoction of the root in

abdominal inflammation. Oil and

otto—stimulant, antispasmodic,


The chief constituent of the oil is

methyl ether of beta-phenylethyl alcohol.

The oil also contains diterpene,

d-linalool, phenylethyl acetate, citral,

phenylethyl alcohol, ester of phthalic

acid, fatty acids and stearoptene.

The leaves contain the piperidine alkaloids.

Dosage Root—– g for

decoction (API, Vol. I); flower

linctus—– ml. (CCRAS.).

Pandanus utilis Bory.

Family Pandanaceae.

Habitat Native of Malagasy; grown

in Indian gardens.

Ayurvedic Ketaki (related species).

Action Root—a decoction is

used for the treatment of venereal


Panicum miliaceum Linn.

Family Poaceae.

Habitat Cultivated mainly in Uttar

Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra

Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil


English Common Millet, Proso

Millet, Hog Millet.

Ayurvedic Chinaaka, Cheenaa.

Unani Chinaa Ghaas, Faaluudaa.

Siddha/Tamil Panivaragu.

Folk Chenaa, Chi-Tibet.

Action Seeds (grains)—demulcent;

used in diarrhoea. Plant—



462 Papaver rhoeas L.

The seedlings contain an alkaloid

hordenine (beta-p-hydroxyphenethyl

dimethylamine). Saponins afforded

diosgenin and yamogenin isolated

from the leaves.

The grains contain –% of proteins

which include prolamin, glutelin

and smaller amounts of albumin and

globulin. The protein has a biological

value of % and a digestibility coefficient

of % at % level of protein


In Indian medicine, Chinaaka and

Kangu (Setaria italica L. Beauv.) are


Papaver rhoeas L.

Family Papaveraceae.

Habitat Kashmir and throughout

the plains of North India; cultivated

in gardens.

English Corn Poppy, Red Poppy.

Ayurvedic Rakta Posta.

Siddha/Tamil Sivappu, Kasakasa.

Folk Laal Posta, Laal Kaskas.

Action Latex from capsules—

narcotic. Petal—expectorant,

antitussive, sudorific. Used for

diseases of the respiratory tract, for

disturbed sleep and as a sedative for

the relief of pain. (Included among

unapproved herbs by German

Commission E.)

The petals contain cyanidine derivatives.

An alkaloid rhoeadine is present

in leaves and flowers (.%), unripe

capsules (.%) and in roots

(.%). The capsules contain morphine,

thebine and narcotine and meconic


Other species, commonly grown

in Indian gardens, are P. nudicaule

Linn. (Iceland Poppy) and P. orientale

(Oriental Poppy). P. nudicaule

plants with yellow flowers are more

cyanogenetic than those with red or

white flowers. P. orientale contains

.% alkaloids, which include thebaine,

isothebaine, protopine, glaucidine

and oripavine. Isothebaine stimulates

and later depresses the central

nervous system.

Papaver somniferum Linn.

Family Papaveraceae.

Habitat Native to Asia; now grown

in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan

and Madhya Pradesh.

English Opium Poppy.

Ayurvedic Ahiphena, Aaphuuka.

Post-daanaa (seed).

Unani Afyum. Tukhm-ekhashkhaash


Siddha/Tamil Kasakasa (seeds).

Action Opium is obsolete

as a drug. Narcotic, sedative,

hypnotic, analgesic, sudorific,

anodyne, antispasmodic. Crushed

poppyheads were in use as a topical

poultice for crippling pain in

terminal diseases.

Poppy seed—nutritive, demulcent,

emollient, spasmolytic, devoid of

narcotic properties. Specific against

obstinate constipation, also used

in catarrh of the bladder. Poppy


Paris polyphylla Sm. 463

seed oil is also free from narcotic

properties. Used against diarrhoea,

dysentery and scalds.

Opium contains isoquinoline alkaloids;

the major one is morphine

with narcotine, codeine, papaverine

and thebaine. Poppy seeds, used in

Indian medicine, do not contain alkaloids.

The seeds contain thiamine ,

riboflavin , folic acid , pantothenic

acid  and niacin  mcg/ g.

The seed oil (from Turkey) contains

gamma-tocopherol , alpha-tocopherol

 and beta-tocopherol  mcg/

 g. Some low-molecular proteins

(% of total protein) have been isolated,

along with cysteine, glutamic acid

and arginine. The seeds yield a fatty

oil (%) containing palmitic, stearic,

oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids.

The extract of seeds showed highly

significant antisecretory (antidiarrhoeal

activity) against E. coli enterotoxin-

induced secretory responses in

experimental animals.

Thetriglycerides isolated fromseeds

showed anti-tumour activity against

Ehrlich's ascites in mice.

The aqueous extract of seeds showed

marked hypoglycaemic activity when

administered to glucose-loaded and alloxan

diabetic rats.

The seeds were found to increase

the activity of carcinogen detoxifying

enzyme, glutathione-S-transferase by

more than % in the stomach, liver

and oesophagus in mice.

Following Papaver sp. are found in


P. argemone Linn. (indigenous to

the Mediterranean region; commonly

grown in gardens in India) contains

.%of alkaloids including rhoeadine,

protopine, and anthocyanins. Petals

are sudorific.

P. dubium Linn. (North-westernHimalaya

form Kashmir to Garhwal; as

a winter weed in North Indian plains)

contains rhoeagenine as the principal

alkaloid, besides rhoeadine, protopine.

Petals contain cyanidin B and

pelargonidin C. Petals are sudorific.

P. hybridum Linn. (gardens of Punjab

and Uttar Pradesh) is diaphoretic

(petals). Plant latex contains alkaloids

including berberine, coptisine,

pahybrine, papaverrubines A, B,Dand

E and sanguinarine. Plant also gave

glaucine and glucamine.

P. nudicaule Linn. (Gulmarg, Kashmir,

at altitudes of ,–, m),

known as Iceland Poppy, gave alkaloids

including papaverrubines B and D;

leave gave cyanogenic glycosides including

dhurrin and triglochinin. The

flower and fruit are mild diaphoretic.

P. orientale Linn. (indigenous to

Mediterranean region; grown in Indian

gardens), known as Oriental Poppy,

contains .% of alkaloids including

thebaine, isothebane, protopine,

glaucidine and oripavine. Latex from

poppy capsule is narcotic.

Paris polyphylla Sm.

Family Liliaceae.

Habitat Temperate Himalayas

from Simla to Bhutan and in Lushai

and Aka Hills.

Ayurvedic Haimavati, Shvetavachaa.

Folk Baal-bach.


464 Parmelia perlata (Huds.) Ach.

Action Plant—sedative, analgesic,

haemostatic, anthelmintic.

The rhizome contains a glucoside,

alpha-paristyphnin, which exhibited

a depressant action on carotid pressure,

myocardium, and respiratory

movements experimentally. It produced

vasoconstriction in kidney, but

vasodilation in the spleen and limbs,

and stimulated isolated intestines.

Parmelia perlata (Huds.) Ach.

Family Parmeliaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in Kashmir hills

and the Himalayas.

Ayurvedic Shaileya, Shaileyaka,

Shilaapushpa, Shilaadaaru,

Shailaka, Shilodbhava, Shaila,

Shailpushpa. Kaalaanu-saarthaka,

Bhuri-charilla, Sthavira, Vrddha,


Unani Charelaa.

Action Astringent, resolvent,

diuretic. Used externally for pain

in renal and lumbar regions. Also

used as an ingredient in cosmetic


The lichen contains lecanoric acid

and atranorin.

Several lichen species contain abundant

quantities of usnic acid which exhibits

antimicrobial and antifungal activity

and is immunologically active in

contact dermatitis.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

recommends the thallus in dysuria.

Dosage Whole thallus—– g

powder. (API, Vol. III.)

Parthenium hysterophorus


Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Tropical and subtropical

countries of the world.

English Congress Grass.

Folk Pichhi, Machhipatri.

Action Anti-amoebic, antidysenteric,

febrifuge, analgesic, emmenagogue.

The grass was introduced into India

during  s (it first appeared in


The grass exhibits in vitro antiamoebic

activity against axenic and

polygenic cultures of Entamoeba histolytica,

comparable to the standard

drug for amoebiasis, Metronidazole.

Parthenin and some of its derivatives

exhibited significant antimalarial

activity against a multi drug-resistant

strain of Plasmodium falciparum.

The main toxic constituent of the

grass responsible for causing dermatitis

and other forms of allergy are

parthenin and coronopilin. Parthenin

in present up to % in the capitulum

and % in the leaves.

Parthenocissus himalayana

(Royle) Planch.

Synonym Vitis himalayana Brandis.

Family Vitaceae.

Habitat Throughout theHimalayas.

Folk Kandur (Jaunsar), Philunaa

(Garhwal) Laderi (Kumaon).


Passiflora foetida Linn. 465

Action Bark and twigs—astringent

and expectorant.

Paspalum scrobiculatum Linn.

Family Gramineae; Poaceae.

Habitat Cultivated throughout


English Kodo millet.

Ayurvedic Kodrava, Korduusha.

Siddha/Tamil Varagu.

Folk Kodo.

Action Plant—used as a CNS

drug for treating schizophrenia and


The plant contains hentriacontanol,

hentriacontanone and sitosterol. The

grains have often been reported to

cause poisoning in men and animals

when used as a food; non-poisonous

types have been reported from Tamil


Passiflora edulis Sims.

Family Passifloraceae.

Habitat Native of Brazil; cultivated

in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra

Pradesh, in North India in Punjab

and Himachal Pradesh.

English Purple Granadilla, Passion


Action Juice from purple fruit—

a good source of ascorbic acid

(contains up to  mg/ g),

carotene and sugars.

The juice from the yellow variety

(equated with Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa)

contains lesser amounts of ascorbic

acid and sugars.

The purple Passion fruit contains

the C-glucoside, beta-ionyl-beta-Dglucopyranoside.

A protease inhibitor

(PEPI) has been isolated from the

juice. PEPI inhibited trypsin and chymotrypsin

activities, but did not inhibit

papain activity. The esters and

terpenoids form themajor part of fruit

components. The terpenoids include

a number of monoterpenes (including

hydroxylated linalool derivatives),

and monoterpene glycosides. Norterpenoid

aglycones have also been found.

The yellow Passion fruit contains

sulfur-containing volatiles, acetates,

butanoates and hexanoates of -mercaptohexanol.

The leaves contain Cglycosylflavonoids.

Passiflora foetida Linn.

Family Passifloraceae.

Habitat Native to America; found

willd in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka

and Tamil Nadu.

English Stinking Passion Flower.

Siddha/Tamil Siru Ponaikalli.

Action Leaves and roots—emmenagogue,

antihysteric. Fruits—

emetic. A decoction is used for biliousness

and asthma (for expelling

bile and cough).

The plant contains C-glycosides of

apigenin and luteolin. Apigenin--

C-glucoside has been detected in the



466 Passiflora incarnata Linn.

Passiflora incarnata Linn.

Family Passifloraceae.

Habitat Native of South-east

America; grown in Indian gardens.

English Wild Passion Flower,


Action Flowering and fruiting

dried herb—mild sedative,

hypnotic, tranquilizer, hypotensive,

vasodilator, antispasmodic,

anodyne, anti-inflammatory,

Key application In nervous restlessness,

irritability and difficulty

in falling asleep. (German Commission

E, ESCOP,The British Herbal

Compendium, The British Herbal

Pharmacopoeia,WHO.) The British

Herbal Compendium also indicated

it in neuralgia, dysmenorrhoea, and

nervous tachycardia.

The herb contains flavonoids (up to

.%), inparticularC-glycosylflavones;

cyanogenic glycoside, gynocardine.

The alkaloid harman has been isolated,

but the presence of harmine, harmaline,

harmol and harmalol has been

disputed. The alkaloid and flavonoids

are reported to have sedative activity

in animals. Apigenin exhibits antispasmodic

and anti-inflammatory activity.

Passion Flower was formerly approved

as an OTC sedative in the USA,

but it was taken off themarket in 

because safety and effectiveness had

not been proven. An animal study in

 suggested that apigenin binds to

central benzodi-zepine receptors (possibly

causing anxiolytic effects). (NaturalMedicines



The drug is used in homoeopathic

medicine for epilepsy.

The herb exhibits a motility-inhibiting

effect in animal experiments.

Passion Flower, used as an adjunct

to clonidine, was superior to clonidine

for mental symptoms of opiate withdrawal.

(Sharon M. Herr.)

Passiflora laurifolia Linn.

Family Passifloraceae.

Habitat Native of tropical America;

grown in Indian gardens.

English Water-lemon, Jamaica

Honey Suckle.

Action Leaves—anthelmintic.

Seeds—hypnodil. Fruit—edible.

Plant—poisonous (the foliage

produces hydrocyanic acid).

The fruit pulp contains pantothenic

acid (. mg/ g); leaves contain

 mg/ g vitamin C.

Passiflora quadrangularis Linn.

Family Passifloraceae.

Habitat Native of tropical America;

grown in Indian gardens.

English Giant Granadilla.

Action Fruit—edible; contains

 mg/ g ascorbic acid; narcotic

when eaten in excess. Leaves,

the peel and seeds of green fruit,

and roots—yanogenetic. Roots—poisonous.


Paullinia asiatica Linn. 467

The root contains an alkaloid passiflora

which is identical with harman

from Passiflora incarnata.

Pastinaca sativa Linn.

Synonym Peucedanum sativum

Benth. & Hook. f.

Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat Native to Europe; grows

in cool climate in India. (Hollow

Crown, Student and Large Guernsey

are Indian horticultural varieties.)

English Parsnip.

Action Above ground parts—

diuretic, carminative (eaten as

a vegetable and salad), used for

kidney disorders. Root—used for

kidney disorders, fever and as

a diuretic and analgesic.

The parsnip is a rich source of

coumarins (.% dry weight). The

coumarin fraction of the fruit extract

inhibits growth of cancer cells (HeLa-

S)cultured in the dark. The fruit contains

small amounts of photoactive

furocoumarins which are phototoxic.

(Severe dermatitis results after contact

with the furocoumarin in the presence

of light.) The fruit contains xanthotoxin

(.%), imperatorin (.%) and

bergapten (.%). Coumarin, pastinacin,

isolated from the fruit, showed

spasmolytic action.

Pastinaca secacul Linn.

Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat Native to Europe.

English Wild Parsnip.

Unani Shaqaaq-ul-Misri.

Action Root—galactagogue,

aphrodisiac, spermatogenetic. An

important ingredient of Unani

compounds for oligospermia, low

sexual drive and debility.

Shaqaaq-ul-Misri has also been

equated with Trachydium lehmanni

Benth. In Kashmir, Eryngium caeruleum

Bieb (Umbelliferae) and in Chakrata,

Polygonatum verticillatum All.

(Liliaceae) are known as shaqaaqul

(also Dudhaali).

Polygonatum verticillatum rhizomes

are used in Tibetan medicine

for emaciation and senility. The dried

rhizomes contain diosgenin.

Paullinia asiatica Linn.

Synonym Limonia oligandra

Dalz. Toddalia aculeata Pers.

Family Rutaceae.

Habitat Found in Konkan and


English Lopez Root tree, Wild

Orange tree, Forest Pepper.

Ayurvedic Kaanchana, Dahana.

Siddha/Tamil Kattu Milagu,


Folk Jangali Kaalimirchi, Limri


Action Root bark—bitter, febrifuge,

diaphoretic, antiperiodic. Infusion

used in constitutional debility and

convalescence after febrile and other

exhausting diseases.


468 Pavetta indica Linn.

The root gave coumarins, including

toddanol, todhanone, toddasin,

pimpinellin, toddalolactone; alkaloids,

including toddaline, toddalnine.

Pavetta indica Linn.

Synonym P. tomentosa Roxb. ex


Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Throughout greater part

of India, ascending to an altitude

of about , m in the Himalayas,

also recorded from the Andamans.

English White-Pavetta.

Ayurvedic Papata, Kathachampaa.

Siddha/Tamil Pavattai.

Folk Paapadi (Maharashtra).

Action Root—bitter and aperient.

Prescribed in visceral obstructions,

renal dropsy and ascites. Leaves—

used for fomenting piles and for

haemorrhoidal pains. The root bark

contains d-mannitol.

Pavonia odorata Willd.

Family Malvaceae.

Habitat North-West India, Bengal

and Konkan.

English Fragrant Sticky Mallow.

Ayurvedic Vaalaka, Baalaka, Baala,

Barhishtha, Hrivera, Ambu, Jala,

Nira, Paya, Toya, Udichya, Vaari,

Muurdhaja. Sugandhbaalaa (also

equated with Valeriana Jatamansi).

In the South, Celus vettiveroides is

equated with Baalaka.

Siddha/Tamil Peraamutti, Kastoori


Action Plant—anti-inflammatory

and spasmolytic. Used in rheumatic

affections. Root—stomachic,

astringent, demulcent. Used in

dysentery, haemorrhages from

intestines; ulcers and bleeding


The roots gave an essential oil containing

isovaleric acid, isovaleraldehyde,

armomadendrene, pavonene,

alpha-terpinene, azulene and pavonenol.

The plant exhibits antiparasitic activity

against Entamoeba histolytica.

Pavonia zeylanica Cav.

Family Malvaceae.

Habitat Throughout greater part of


Siddha/Tamil Sithamutti, Mammatti,


Action Plant—purgative, anthelmintic,


The stem gave a saponin, pavophylline,

and a keto-ester, methyl -


Pedalium murex Linn.

Family Pedaliaceae.

Habitat Throughout the plains of


English Caltrops (bigger var.).


Pedilanthus tithymaloides Poir. 469

Ayurvedic Brihatgokshura,

Kshouraka, Trikantaka, Gokantaka,

Swaadukantaka, Bhakshantaka.

Unani Khaar-e-khasak Kalaan,

Gokharu Kalaan.

Siddha/Tamil Peru-neranji, Annaineringi.

Action Fruit—used for spermatorrhoea,

nocturnal emissions,

menstrual irregularities, puerperal

diseases, genitourinary disorders,

difficult micturition, chronic

cystitis, renal calculus. Root—


The stem and fruits contain flavonoids

pedalitin and its glucoside (pedaliin),

diometin, dinatin and its derivatives.

The fruits contain nonacosane,

tritriacontane, triacontanoic acid,

sitosterol-beta-D-glucoside, rubusic

acid, luteolin as major constituents.

Leaves and fruits yield phenolic acids

which include caffeic, protocatechuic,

p-coumaric and ferulic acids. Flowers

gave dinatin, quercetin and quercetin-


Aqueous extract of the fruit is reported

to produce in vitro inhibitory

effect on crystallization in urinary lithiasis.

The solubility of uric acid in aqueous

extract is reported to be % more

than in water alone.

The plant extracts exhibit diuretic


Dosage Fruit, root—– g powder;

–ml. decoction. (CCRAS.)

Pedicularis pectinata Wall.

Family Scrophulariaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Kashmir eastwards at altitudes

of ,–, m, extending to


English Lousewort.

Folk Mishran, Michren (Punjab),

Lugro-maarpro (Kashmir).

Action Leaves—astringent,

haemostatic, diuretic.

The herb is closely related to Eyebright

(Euphrasia officinalis Linn.) of

the same family, found in the Temperate

Himalayas from Kashmir to Kumaon.

Eyebright is astringent and bacteriostatic.

Pedilanthus tithymaloides Poir.

Family Euphorbiaceae.

Habitat Native to West Indies;

cultivated as an ornamental.

English Slipper Plant, Bird-Cactus.

Folk Vilaayati-sher (Maharashtra),

Naagaphani, Naagadaman (Madhya


Action Latex—used for warts,

leucoderma, venereal diseases.

Root—emetic (used in West Indies

as Ipecacuanha).

An extract of the air-dried and

powdered whole plant contains octacosanol,

cycloartenone, oxime and


Thelatex fromthe stem contains the

proteolytic enzyme, pedilanthain. It

exhibited anti-inflammatory activity in

carrageenan-induced rat paw oedema

andwasmore effective than the control


470 Peganum harmala Linn.

drug phenylbutazone.The enzyme also

showed anthelmintic property.

The leaves contain n-hentriacontanol

and dehydrodammaronol-A. The

root gave azafrin.

Peganum harmala Linn.

Family Zygophyllaceae.

Habitat Throughout Northern and

Northwestern India, and in drier

regions of Deccan.

English Wild Rue; Foreign Henna,

Syrian Rue.

Ayurvedic Haramal, Isband.

Siddha/Tamil Simaiyaravandi,


Action Plant—emmenagogue,

abortifacient. Seeds—narcotic,

hypnotic, antispasmodic, anodyne

and emetic; used in asthma, hiccough,

colic, neuralgia, hysteria,

dysmenorrhoea; used as abortifacient

(properties similar to ergot,

savine and rue). (Dried seeds constitute

the drug Harmal of Indian


The plant gave flavonoids—kaempferol,

quercetin and acacetin. Aerial

parts and seeds contain alkaloids—

harmine, harmaline and harmalol

(called harman alkaloids). Harman

alkaloids from the seeds have been

suggested for use in nervous diseases,

and as coronary dilators and embolic.

Harmol exhibits hypertensive activity.

Harmine, vasicinone, deoxyvasicinone

and -hydroxy glucosylharmine

exhibit antitumour activity.

The alkaloids, harmine, harmaline

and harmol exhibit antibacterial and

antifungal activity.

The aqueous extract of seeds exhibited

significant antiviral activity in vitro

against herpes virus hominis type ,

slight activitywas also observed against

influenza virusesAand B.The plant extract

exhibits significant analgesic activity.

Pelargonium graveolens L'Hert.

Family Geraniaceae.

Habitat Introduced into India in

the Shevroy hills of Tamil Nadu;

cultivated largely in the Nilgiri and

Palni hills of Tamil Nadu.

English Geranium.

Action Oil—antifungal.

Geranium oil produced from the

plant grown in the temperate region at

high altitudes is rich in menthone, citronellol,

nerol and geraniol; while the

oil produced from the plants grown at

lower altitudes is rich in isomenthone,

linalool and citronellyl formate.

Geranium oil and its constituents

are reported to exhibit marginal antitumour


The oil also exhibits in vitro antifungal


Peltophorum pterocarpum

Backer ex K. Heyne.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Coastal forests of the

Andaman Islands.


Pentatropis spiralis Decne. 471

English Copper Pod, Rusty


Siddha/Tamil Ivalvagai, Perungondrai.

Action Bark—used for dysentery;

also used as a constituent of gargles,

tooth-powders and lotions for sores

and muscular pains.

The bark contains .% of a catechol

type of tannin and .% non-tans.

The wood and leaves also contain tannin.

The pods contain bergenin which

exhibits anti-inflammatory activity in

carrageenan-induced rat paw oedema

and is found to be equipotent to


Aqueous extract of leaves and ethanolic

extract of flower exhibit antifungal


Pentapetes phoenicea Linn.

Family Sterculiaceae.

Habitat A shrub cultivated as an

ornamental throughout the hotter

parts of India.

Ayurvedic Bandhujiva, Bandhuuka,


Folk Gul-dupahariaa.

Action Capsule—mucilaginous,

used for the diseases of the bowels;

a decoction is used as emollient.

Root—astringent, antibilious,

antiphlegmonous, febrifuge.

Pentatropis microphylla W. & A.

Synonym P. capensis (Linn. f.)


Family Asclepiadaceae.

Habitat West Bengal, Gujarat and

Peninsular India.

Ayurvedic Kaakanaasaa,

Kaakanaasikaa, Kaakaangi, Kaaktundphalaa,


Siddha/Tamil Uppilankodi.

Folk Singarauti (Gujarat). Amarvel.

Action Plant—antifungal, antiseptic,

keratolytic; used in various skin


Theplant gave n-octacosanol, alphaamyrin,

friedelin, beta-sitosterol. An

appreciable amount of salicyclic acid

has been isolated from the plant. The

plant also yields a cardiac glycoside.

Dosage Plant—– ml.

decoction. (CCRAS.)

Pentatropis spiralis Decne.

Synonym P. cynanchoides R. Br.

Family Asclepiadaceae.

Habitat A climber found in

Punjab, Delhi, Upper Gangetic

Plain, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Ayurvedic Kaakanaasaa (related


Folk Ambarvel, Vanaveri (Punjab).

Action Root—astringent, antigonorrhoeic,

alterative. Plant—emetic,


An acyclic diterpene ester, cis-phytyl-

l-palmitate, togetherwith the triterpenes,

squalene, n-taraxasterol and

taraxasterol, has been isolated from

the plant.


472 Pergularia extensa N. E. Br.

Pergularia extensa N. E. Br.

Synonym P. daemia (Forsk.) Chiov.

Family Asclepiadaceae; Periplocaceae.

Habitat Throughout India and

hotter parts.

English Hairknot Plant, Whitlow


Ayurvedic Uttamaarani,

Vrischikaali, Vishaanikaa. Phalakantaka.

Ajashringi is a doubtful


Siddha/Tamil Utthaamani, Veliparuthi.

Folk Utaran.

Action Plant—Uterine stimulant,

tones up urinary bladder, stimulates

gastric secretion, expectorant, emetic.

Leaf—used for amenorrhoea,

dysmenorrhoea; externally applied

to carbuncles.

The plant gave betaine, a polypeptide,

hentriacontane, lupeol, alpha-and

beta-amyrin, beta-sitosterol as major

constituents. Seeds and stems gave cardenolides—

calactin, calotropin, calotropagenin,

uzarigenin and coroglaucigenin.

The plant extract exhibits stimulating

action on uterine and other involuntarymuscles.

The extracts cause rise

in arterial blood pressure, increase in

movement and tone of urinary bladder,

and stimulation of gastric secretions.

An aqueous extract of the leaves shows

antibacterial activity against E. coli and

Micrococcus pyogenes var. aureus.

Pericampylus glaucus

(Lam.) Merill.

Family Menispermaceae.

Habitat Hill forests of Sikkim,

Northern Bengal and Assam.

Folk Baarak-kaant (Maharashtra),

Goriaa-loti (Assam).

Action Leaves—an infusion is used

for asthma and high fever. Pounded

leaves are applied in headache.

The mucilage in water is used for

arresting falling of hair.

The bark contains a non-toxic principle.

The root is reported to contain

a narcotic alkaloid.

Perilepta auriculata

(Nees) Bremek.

Synonym Strobilanthes auriculatus


Family Acanthaceae.

Habitat Upper Gangetic Plain,

Madhya Pradesh.

Siddha/Tamil Kurinji.

Folk Pandadi (Gujarat).

Action Pounded leaves—rubbed

on body during the cold stage of

intermittent fever.

Perilla frutescens (Linn.) Britton.

Family Labiatae; Lamiacae.

Habitat Throughout the Himalayas

up to an altitude of about , m,

and in the hills of Assam.

English Perilla, Wild Coleus.


Peristrophe bicalyculata Nees. 473

Folk Bhanjeer, Ban-tulasi, Banjiraa,


Action Herb—sedative, antispasmodic,

antiasthmatic, resolvent.

P. frutescens var. crispa is used in

mixtures prescribed for cough and lung


Several chemotypes of Perilla have

been detected. The Indian type is rich

in rosefuran. Other components are

perillene, perilla ketone, beta-caryophyllene,

phellandrene and a few sesquiterpenoids.

Aerial parts gave ethyl

linolenate, linolenic acid and betasitosterol.

The leaves also gave an anthocyanin,

perillanin. The leaves and

flowering tops yield essential oils containing

perilla ketone as major component—

% in leaf oils and % in

inflorescence oils at fruiting stage.

Perillaldehyde, a major component

of the plant extract, inhibits (moderately)

a broad range of both bacteria

and fungi. The MeOH extract of

var. acuta Kudo is reported to prolong

hexobarbital-induced sleep in mice.

Dillapiol has been isolated as the active

principle from the methanolic extract.

Periploca aphylla Decne.

Family Asclepiadaceae; Periplocaceae.

Habitat Punjab and Rajasthan.

Folk Barri (Punjab).

Action Plant—stomachic; used

in cerebral fever. Bark—purgative.

Latex—used against tumours and


The leaves and stems contain .%

of resin alcohol, a bitter substance, tannin

and small quantities of a glucosidal

principle which produces first a decrease

and then an increase in blood

pressure. The bark contain % tannin.

Periploca calophylla Falc.

Family Asclepiadaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas, from

Kashmir to Nepal and Meghalaya,

ascending to , m.

Ayurvedic Krishna Saarivaa

(substitute). (Cryptolepis buchanani

is equated with Krishna Saarivaa.)

Action Used in place of Cryptolepis

buchanani and Hemidesmus indicus

for rheumatism, urinary and skin


The glycosides locin, plocin, plocinin,

calocin, calocinin, as well as triterpenoids,

have been reported from the


Peristrophe bicalyculata Nees.

Family Acanthaceae.

Habitat Distributed throughout


Ayurvedic Nadikaantaa,

Praachibalaa, Sulomshaa, Kaakatikta,

Kaakajanghaa. (Aatarilaal is

a wrong synonym. It is equated

with Anthriscus cerefolium Hoffm.,

used in Unani medicine.)

Siddha/Tamil Chebisa.

Folk Masi.


474 Persea americana Mill.

Action Plant—febrifuge. The

essential oil shows tuberculostatic

activity in vitro. It inhibits the

growth of various strains of

Mycobaterium tuberculosis.

Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India

recommends the dried root in insomnia

and for fear-psychosis in children.

Dosage Root—– g powder. (API,

Vol III.)

Persea americana Mill.

Synonym P. gratissima Gaertn. f.

Family Lauraceae.

Habitat Native to Central America;

introduced into India and grown for

its fruit in Bangalore, Nandi Hills,

Courtallam, Nagarcoil, Shevaroys,

lower Palnis and the foothills of the

Nilgiris; also in Pune.

English Avocado, Alligator Pear,

Butter Fruit.

Action Fruit—hypocholesterolaemic.


potentially toxic to goats and sheep.

The fruit is highly nutritious. The

fruit from Nilgiris contains .% fat,

.% protein; also manganese, phosphorus,

iron, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin

C, beta-carotene, thiamine, riboflavin,

nicotinic acid and foliate. It

is relatively low in sodium and simple


American Avocado is rich in oil (– g/ g fresh fruit) that is mainly

monounsaturated and a good source

of linoleic acid. Its high fiber content

might be responsible for its cholesterol

lowering effects.

Preliminary evidence suggests that

unsaponifiable fractions of Avocado

and soybean oils (combination) can

inhibit cartilage degradation and promote

cartilage repair in osteoarthritic

chondrocytes. (Properties of Avocado

cited in NaturalMedicines Comprehensive

Database, .)

Avocado oil is used in cosmetic

preparations, soaps and pharmaceuticals.

The peel of immature fruit contains

antifungal compounds. The fruit

pulp is used topically to promote hair


Persea macrantha

(Nees) Kosterm.

Synonym Machilus macrantha


Family Lauraceae.

Habitat Bihar and Peninsular

India, up to , m.

English Machilus.

Action Bark—antiasthmatic,

antirheumatic, purgative.

The root gave phytosterols, glycosides

and alkaloids, the major one being

machiline, shown to be identical

with dl-coclaurine. Machiline exhibits

hypotensive activity.

The leaves are used in external applications

for ulcers.

Petiveria alliacea Linn.

Family Phytolaccaceae.


Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) Airy-Shaw. 475

Habitat Native to America;

introduced into India, grown in


Action Root—diuretic, antispasmodic,

emmenagogue, abortifacient.

Used for whooping cough,

also for rheumatism and nervous

diseases. (Long term use in high

doses causes brain damage.)

Ethanolic extract of the leaves contains

leridal, leridol, -O-methylleridol

and -O-rhamnosides of dihydrokaempferol,

dihydroquercetin andmyricetin.

The presence of high nitrate

content in the plant has been reported

and is considered a risk factor in


Petroselinum crispum

(Mill.) Airy-Shaw.

Synonym Apium crispum Mill.

Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat Native to Europe, now

cultivated throughout India.

English Parsley.

Unani Fitraasaaliyum, Karafs-e-


Action Diuretic (used for bladder

disorders, painful urination,

retention of excess fluid in the

tissues), antispasmodic, uterine

tonic, emmenagogue, sedative

(used for PMS and menopausal

hot flushes, also in prostatitis),

carminative, expectorant, aperient,

antiseptic, anti-inflammatory.

Key application For flushing

out the efferent urinary tract in

disorders of the same and in

prevention and treatment of kidney

gravel. (German Commission

E.) Contraindicated in kidney


The British Herbal Compendium approves

the internal use of the herb

for flatulent dyspepsia, dysuria and

rheumatic conditions.

The leaves and roots contain furocoumarins—

psoralen, -and -methoxy

psoralen, imperatorin, oxypeucedanin,

iso-pimpinelin. Myristicin has

been isolated from the leaf oil. The

plant gave flavonoids—piin, luteolin,

apigenin--glucoside, luteolin--glucoside

among others.

Myristicin showed high activity as

an inducer of the detoxifying enzyme

system, Glutathione S-transferase

(GST) in the liver and small intestines

of female mice (may be considered as

a cancer chemoprotective agent).

The flavonoids, particularly apigenin,

have been shown to be antiinflammatory,

to inhibit histamine release

and to act as a free radical scavenger.

Apiole, a constituent of the

volatile oil, is reportedly antipyretic

and phthalides of the root, seed and

leaf are sedative in mice.

Both apiole and myristicin exhibit

aquaretic and uterine stimulant activity,

while sodium retention has been

observed. (Natural Medicines Comprehensive

Database, .)

In homoeopathy, the herb is used for

the treatment urinary disorders—udden

urge to urinate with severe pain,

dribbling of urine after urination, gleet

discharge and for amenorrhoea and

neuralgic dysmenorrhoea.


476 Peucedanum grande C. B. Clarke.

Peucedanum grande

C. B. Clarke.

Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat Western Ghats and hills of

Peninsular India.

Folk Baaphali (Gujarat), Duku.

Action Fruits—carminative,

diuretic, stimulant. An infusion

is used for gastric and intestinal


The seeds and roots gave imperatorin,

byakangelicin and osthol. Seeds,

in addition, gave phelopterin, columbianadin

and byakangelicol.

Phaseolus aconitifolius Jacq.

Synonym Vigna aconitifolia (Jacq.)


Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Throughout India.


English Aconite-Bean, Moth.

Ayurvedic Makushtha,Moth.

Siddha/Tamil Tulukkapayir.

Action Seeds—used as a diet

in fever; contains .% protein.


Phaseolus adenanthus

G. F. W.Mey.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Throughout India, in the


Ayurvedic Aranya-mudga. Mudgaparni


Siddha/Tamil Kattupayaru.

Action A decoction is used in

bowel complaints and stricture. The

roots are used to stop excessive


Phaseolus lunatus Linn.

Synonym P. inamoenus Linn.

Family Fabaceae.

Habitat Native to tropical America;

cultivated throughout India.

English Double Bean, Lima Bean,

Burma Bean.

Ayurvedic Shimbi.

Unani Lobiyaa, Sem.

Action Seeds—astringent. Used

as a diet in fever. The shoots and

pods from Manipur are reported

to contain alkaloids, saponins and


Phaseolus mungo

Linn. non-Roxb. & auct.

Synonym Vigna mungo (Linn.)


Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

English Kidney Bean, Black Gram.

Ayurvedic Maasha. (P. sublobatus

Roxb. and Teramnus labialis Spreng.

are equatedwith Maashaparni; dried

aerial parts are used.) Phaseolus

dalzellii Cooke and P. sublobatus

Roxb. are known as Maashaparni in



Phaseolus vulgaris Linn. 477

Unani Urd-Siyaah.

Siddha/Tamil Ulunthu.

Action Used as a pulse. In the form

of a confection, used for leucorrhoea

and seminal debility. Oil extracts

of the pulse is used externally in

rheumatism, contracted knee, stiff

shoulder. Root—used as a poultice

for inflammations and abscesses.


Teramnus labialis Spreng. (grows

wild): The whole plant is used in

rheumatism, paralysis, nervous diseases,

haemoptysis and catarrh of respiratory


Phaseolus radiatus

Linn. non-Roxb. & auct.

Synonym Vigna radiata (Linn.)


Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Extensively cultivated all

over India.

English Greengram, Golden Gram.

Ayurvedic Mudga, Mungalya.

Unani Moong.

Siddha/Tamil Pattishai-payaru.

Action Used as a pulse. Soup

is given as a diet to patients of

enlarged liver and spleen, and

after recovery from acute illness.

A poultice of it is used for checking

secretion of milk and reducing

distention of the mammary


Phaseolus trilobus

sensu Ait. & auct.

Synonym Vigna trilobata (Linn.)


Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Throughout India, up

to an elevation of , m in the


English Wild Gram.

Ayurvedic Mudgaparni, Kaakaparni,

Suuryaparni, Alpikaa, Sahaa,

Kaakamudraa, Maarjaargandhikaa.

(P. adenanthus G. F. W., and Vigna

pilosa Baker are used asMudgaparni

in the South. Dried aerial parts,

root and seed are used.)

Siddha/Tamil Kaatupayaru.

Folk Jangali Moong, Mugavan.

Action Whole plant—febrifuge.

Leaves—sedative, cooling, antibilious.

A decoction is used

in intermittent fever. The plant

contains friedelin, epifriedelin,

stigmasterol and tannins. The bean

contains methionine, tryptophan

and tyrosine; also strepogenin,

uridine, diphosphate-galacturonic

acid. The seed protein contained

lysine, valine, leucine and phenylalanine.

Dosage Seed—– ml.

decoction (CCRAS.); whole plant—

– g. (API, Vol. IV.)

Phaseolus vulgaris Linn.

Synonym P. nanus Linn.

Family Fabaceae.


478 Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus Nees.

English Kidney Bean, French Bean,

Haricot Bean.

Unani Raajmah (seed), Lobia,


Action Bean—diuretic, hypotensive,

resolvent, regulates blood

sugar. Used for water retention; albuminuria,

especially of pregnancy;

premenstrual tension.

Key application Seed-free pods—in

supportive treatment for inability to

urinate. (German Commission E.)

The seeds of French Bean contain

triterpenoid glucosides and soyasaponin


Raajmah consumption by diabetic

patients is reported to produce highly

significant reduction in their blood

glucose level and glycaemic index, as

compared to wheat and rice consumption.

Raw bean contains lectins which are

destroyed when cooked. Its hypoglycaemic

activity is most likely due to its

chromium, trigonelline and fiber content.

(Sharon M. Herr.)

Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus


Family Acanthaceae.

Habitat The sub-tropical Himalayas,

Upper Gangetic Plain,

Bihar, North Bengal and Assam.

Folk Dieng-soh kajut (Meghalaya),

Chuhai (Bihar), Titaaphul (Assam).

Action Whole plant—used like

Adhatoda vasica in whooping

cough and menorrhagia. Fruits

and leaves—burnt and prescribed

for fevers. The leaves are reported

to contain diterpene lactone,

phlogantholide A and its glucoside.

A related species, P. jenkinsii C. B.

Clarke, found in Assam, is also known

as Titaaphul. A decoction of leaves is

given for diseases of spleen and liver

and for fevers.

Phoenix dactylifera Linn.

Family Palmae; Arecaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in Punjab and


English Date Palm.

Ayurvedic Kharjuura, Kharjuuraka,

Kharjuurikaa. Pindakharjuurikaa.

Chhuhaaraa (dry date). Pindakharjuura

is the fruit of Phoenix acaulis


Unani Khurmaa, Khajuur,


Siddha/Tamil Perichchankay, Ita.

Action Fruit pulp—antitussive,

expectorant, demulcent, laxative,

diuretic, restorative. Sap—cooling,

laxative. Gum—used in diarrhoea

and genitourinary diseases.

The fruit contains ascorbic acid (vitamin

C), carotene (as vitamin A),

nicotinic acid, riboflavin, thiamine,

sugars (–%). Besides sucrose and

invert sugars, rhamnose, xylose, arabinose,

ribose, galactose and galacturonic

acid have been identified in

the fruit. Invert sugar predominates

in the soft dates; sucrose in dry varieties.

Thedried date, used inAyurvedic


Pholidota articulata Lindl. 479

andUnani compositions, contains protein

.–, fat ., carbohydrates .–.% and calcium ., phosphorus

. and iron . mg/ g.

Presence of sterols of ergosterol

group, and esterone has been reported

from dried date seeds.

ChargedC-glycosylflavones andcaffeylshikimic

acid, leucocyanidin are

characteristically present in the plant.

Flavonol glycosides are also common.

Several uncharged C-glycosylflavones

were also detected.

Dosage Fresh fruit—– g, dried

fruit—– g. (API, Vol. IV.)

Phoenix paludosa Roxb.

Family Palmae.

Habitat Coastal swamps of West

Bengal (particularly Sundarbans),

Orissa and the Andamans.

Ayurvedic Hintala.

Folk Hital (Orissa), Hintalamu


Action Fruits—antiphlogistic,

cooling; used in flatulence.

Triacontanol, beta-sitosterol have

been isolated from the plant.

Phoenix pusilla Gaertn.

Family Palmae; Arecaceae.

Habitat Coromandel Coast.

Ayurvedic Parushaka (Kerala).

(Grewia asiatica Linn., Tiliaceae, is

also equated with Parushaka.)

Siddha/Tamil Kalangu, Ithi, Sagi.

Action Fruit—cooling, laxative.

Used in respiratory disorders.

Gum—used in diarrhoea and

genitourinary diseases. Fresh sap—


Phoenix sylvestris Roxb.

Family Palmae; Arecaceae.

Habitat Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka

and Madhya Pradesh.

English Wild Date Palm.

Ayurvedic Kharjuuri.

Siddha/Tamil Periyaitcham, Icham.

Folk Sulemaani Khajuur, Desi


Action Fruits—restorative. Juice—

cooling, gastric stimulant. Seeds—

used in ague. Root—used for

nervous debility.

Fresh, unfermented sap (Niraa) is

a good source of ascorbic acid, nicotinic

and isonicotinic acids, riboflavin,

thiamine, sugars; crystine, leucine,

isoleucine, lysine, phenylalanine, threonine,


The concentration of amino acids is

much higher in palm jaggery than in

sugar cane jaggery.

Fresh fruits contain protein ., fat

., calcium . and phosphorus


Dosage Fruit—– g paste.


Pholidota articulata Lindl.

Family Orchidaceae.


480 Phragmites communis Trin.

Ayurvedic Jivanti (substitute).

(Dendrobium macraei Lindl. is also

used as a substitute for Jivanti.

Jivanti is equated with Leptadenia

reticulata W. & A.)

Action Age-sustaining tonic,


Phragmites communis Trin.

Family Gramineae; Poaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas, from

Kashmir to Kumaon up to an

altitude of , m.

English Common Reed.

Folk Dila, Dambu (Punjab).

Action Rhizomes and roots—diuretic,

emmenagogue, diaphoretic,

hypoglycaemic, antiemetic.

The rhizomes are rich in carbohydrates;

contain nitrogenous substances

., fat ., N-free extr. ., crude

fibre ., sucrose ., reducing sugars

., and ash (rich in silica) .%; asparagine

.% is also present. Leaves

possess a high ascorbic acid content

( mg/ g).Nodes and sheaths

yield .% and the underground parts

over % of furfural.

The root of common Reed is prescribed

in Chinese traditional medicine

as an antipyretic against influenza

and fevers. Presence of polyols,

betaines and free poline has been reported

in the methanolic extract. The

extract is reported to show bactericidal

activity. The root gave a polysaccharide

which contains sugars, arabinose,

xylose and glucose in a molar ratio

of ::; some of the fractions showed

immunological activity.

Phragmites karka Trin. ex Steud.

Synonym P. roxburghii (Kunth)


P. maxima Blatter & McCann in


Family Gramineae; Poaceae.

Habitat Throughout India, in

marshy places.

English Common Reed-grass.

Ayurvedic Nala. (Arundo donax

Linn. is also equated with Nala.)

Siddha/Tamil Perunanal.

Folk Narakul.

Action Stem and rhizome—

diuretic, diaphoretic. Used topically

to relieve insect bite.

P. karka is not discriminated fromP.

communis formedicinal uses in Indian


Phyla nodiflora (L.) E. Greene.

Synonym Lippia nodiflora A. Rich.

Family Verbenaceae.

Habitat Throughout India, near

fresh water bodies.

English Jalapippali, Shaaradi,

Shakulaadani, Matsyagandhaa,

Matsyaadani, Laangali, Vashiraa.

Siddha/Tamil Poduthalai.

Action Spasmolytic, diuretic,



Phyllanthus distichus Muell.-Arg. 481

The plant contains flavone glycosides—

nodiflorins A and B, lipiflorins

A and B, as well as free flavones including

-hydroxyluteolin, nepetin and

nodifloretin along with beta-sitosterol

and stigmasterol glucosides.

Dosage Plant—– ml. juice.


Phyllanthus amarus

Schum. &Thonn.

Phyllanthus fraternus Webster.

Family Euphorbiaceae.

Habitat Throughout the hotter

parts of India, particularly on

cultivated land, up to , m.

Ayurvedic Bhuumyaamalaki, Bahupatri,

Bhuudhaatri, Bahuphalaa,


Unani Bhui Aaamalaa.

Siddha/Tamil Keelkaay Nelli.

Action Plant—diuretic, deobstruent,

astringent, anti-inflammatory,

styptic. Used as a single drug in

the treatment of jaundice. Used

in prescriptions for dyspepsia,

indigestion, chronic dysentery,

urinary tract diseases, diabetes, skin


The leaves yielded lignans—phyllanthin

(bitter), hypophyllanthin (nonbitter);

niranthin, nirtetralin and phyltetralin.

The whole plant gave a number

of flavonoids, including quercetin,

quercitrin, astragalin, rutin, kaempferol.

Isolation of a hydrolysable tannins,

amarulone, is reported from the plant.

The plant is reported to show antiviral

activity against hepatitis B virus and

related hepadna virus. Itwas also found

to effectively repair CCl-induced liver

damage in rats.

The herb exhibited hypotensive and

hypoglycaemic activity. (Indian J Exp

Biol ,  () –.)

Phyllanthus fraternus Webster: The

ethanolic extract of the plant exhibited

hepatotoxic-protective activity in

albino rats pretreated with CCl-, The

petroleum extract is reported to possess

analgesic and anti-inflammatory

properties. The flavonoids, isolated

from the ethanolic extract of the

plant, exhibit hypoglycaemic activity

in alloxan-treated albino rats. The

ethanolic and aqueous extracts of the

plant exhibit antibacterial and antifungal


Dosage Root, stem, leaf—–.

powder. (API, Vol. I and III.)

Phyllanthus distichus Muell.-Arg.

Synonym P. acidus Skeels.

Cicca acida (Linn.) Merrill.

Family Euphorbiaceae.

Habitat Indian gardens.

English Country Gooseberry.

Ayurvedic Lavali-phala, Lowani


Siddha/Tamil Aranelli.

Action Fruit—astringent, tonic to

liver; improves appetite, useful in

biliousness, constipation, vomiting,

bronchitis. Roots and seed—

cathartic. The juice of the root


482 Phyllanthus maderaspatensis Linn.

bark produces headache and severe

abdominal pain.

The root bark contains % tannin,

saponin, gallic acid and a crystalline

substance (probably lupeol). The bark

contains beta-amyrin and phyllanthol.

Thefruit is sour; contains acidity (as

acetic acid) .%.

Phyllanthus maderaspatensis


Family Euphorbiaceae.

Habitat Throughout drier parts of


Unani Kanochaa, Isfahaan Marv.

Siddha/Tamil Mela-nelli.

Action Leaves—an infusion is used

in headache. Seeds—carminative,


Whole plant revealed antispasmodic

action in isolated guinea-pig ileum,

CNS depressant and hypothermic effects

in mice.

Phyllanthus niruri Linn.

Family Euphorbiaceae.

Habitat Native to America.

English Chanca Piedra.

Ayurvedic Bhuumyaamalaki,

assigned to P. niruri, has now been

equated with P. fraternus.

Action Antispasmodic, antipyretic,

diuretic, antiviral, bactericidal.

Taking Chanca Piedra orally does

not seem to be effective for treating

hepatitis B.The herb contains niuride,

which inhibits specific HIV-protein

binding activity, but does not protect

cells from acute HIV infection. (NaturalMedicines



Phyllanthus simplex Retz.

Synonym P. virgatus J. R.

et G. Forst.

Family Euphorbiaceae.

Habitat Throughout India.

Ayurvedic Bhumyaamalaki (var.).

Folk Mothi-bhuiaamvali (Maharashtra).

Plant—antiseptic. Fresh leaves,

bruised in butter milk, are used as

a wash for itch. Fresh leaves, flowers

and fruits with cumin seeds and sugar,

are used in gonorrhoea. Root—applied

to mammary abscesses.

Fruits contain oxalic acid.

Phyllanthus urinaria Linn.

Family Euphorbiaceae.

Habitat Throughout the plains of

India from Punjab to Assam and

Southward to Kerala up to ,m.

Ayurvedic Bhuumyaamataki (var.),


Siddha/Tamil Senkeezhnelli.

Folk Laal-bhui-aamlaa, Hazaarmani.

Action See P. amarus.


Physalis peruviana Linn. 483

The leaf and stem gave flavonoids—

quercetin, astragalin, quercitrin, isoquercitrin

and rutin; Me-brevifolincarboxylate

and tri-dehydrochebulic


Physalis alkekengi Linn.

Family Solanaceae.

Habitat Native to South-east

Europe and Japan; naturalized in

many parts of the world; grown in

Indian gardens.

English Strawberry Tomato,Winter

Cherry. (Withania somnifera is also

known as Winter Cherry.)

Ayurvedic Raajaputrikaa.

Unani Kaaknaj.

Action Berries—diuretic, antitussive,

oxytocic, analgesic, febrifuge;

used for urinary disorders, suppression

of urine, gout and intermittent


Berries contain flavonoids, including

luteolin--glucoside and withasteroids.

Physalis angulata Linn.

Family Solanaceae.

Habitat Native to tropical America;

cultivated in Indian gardens in

Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; also

grows in moist places as a weed.

Action Plant—diuretic.

Aerial parts yielded seco-withanolides—

cleaved steroidal constituents

containing physalins. In Taiwan, physalin

B and F have been isolated from

the ethanolic extract of thewhole plant.

Both physalin B and F are reported to

inhibit the growth of several human

leukaemia cell systems.

Physalis minima Linn.

Family Solanaceae.

Habitat Throughout India,

ascending up to , m.

English Sun-berry.

Ayurvedic Tankaari, Parpotikaa,


Siddha/Tamil Sodakku thakkali.

Action Berries—diuretic, aperient,

alterative. Used for gout and urinary


Quercetin -O-galactoside, isolated

from the crude extract of the leaves, is

reported to exhibit anti-inflammatory

activity comparable to phenylbutazone

in carageenan-induced rat paw oedema.

Physalis minima Linn. var indica C.

B. Clarke is common weed in irrigated

fields and bunds.

The plant contains withasteroids,

physalindicanols, withaminimin and

withaphysalin, -O-glucosides of

kaempferol and quercetin, in addition

to beta-sitosterol and its glucoside.

The diuretic action of Physalis minima

leaves is attributed to the high content

of potassium nitrate (–%).

Physalis peruviana Linn.

Family Solanaceae.


484 Physochlaina praealta Miers.

Habitat Native to tropical America;

grown in the hills and plains

throughout India.

English Cape Gooseberry.

Ayurvedic Parpoti (var.).

Siddha/Tamil Perungunni, Pottipallam.

Folk Rasbhari, Mako.

Action Plant—diuretic. Leaf—

anthelmintic, an infusion is used

in abdominal disorders. Fruits—

a good source of carotene and

ascorbic acid; eaten as a table fruit.

The fruit contain carotene (as vitamin

A) , IU, thiamine ., riboflavin

., nicotinic acid . and

ascorbic acid  mg/ g; mineral

matter .%; phytin phosphorus ,

iron ., ionizable iron ., sodium.,

potassium , copper ., and sulphur

 mg/ g. The juice from the

ripe fruits contain considerable quantity

of pectin. The chief acid is citric

acid, but malic and tartaric acids are

also present.

The plant is a source of highly oxygenated

ergostane-type of steroids—withanolides and related compounds.

Physochlaina praealta Miers.

Family Solanaceae.

Habitat Lahul valley (Punjab),

Ladakh, North Kashmir. Western

Tibbet at altitudes of ,–,m.

Folk Daturaa (Ladakh), Laangtaan;

Sholar, Bajarbang (Punjab).

Action Leaves—poisonous and


The roots of the plant contain .%

alkaloids (calculated as hyoscyamine).

The plant constitutes an excellent

source of atropine.

Picea smithiana Boiss.

Synonym P. morinda Link.

Abies smithiana Lindl.

Family Pinaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Kashmir to Kumaon at altitudes of

,–, m.

English West Himalayan Spruce.

Folk Roi, Rhai, Raghaa, Kathela,

Kandre, Morindaa. Spruce (trade).

Action Essential oil—antiseptic.

Used in bath salts, room sprays and


Key applications Fir Needle

Oil, obtained from Picea abies,

synonym P. excelsa)—externally

and internally, for catarrhal illness

of the upper and lower respiratory

tract; externally, for rheumatic

and neuralgic pains. (German

Commission E.)

The oil contains alpha-pinene, lalpha-

phellandrene, dipentene, bornylacetate,

cadinene, S-guaiazulene and

a bicyclic sesquiterpene. The oil distilled

from the leaves collected in Gulmarg

had a ester content of .% (as

bornyl acetate). The bark contained

.% tannin.

Picea abies has been introduced at

Manali (at , m). It yields an oleoresin

which is used in plasters and

ointments. The essential oil is used in


Picrorhiza kurroa Royle ex Benth. 485

perfumes and cosmetics. The needles

yielded dilignol glycosides.

Picrasma quassioides Bennett.

Family Simaroubaceae.

Habitat Garhwal, Himachal

Pradesh and Kulu.

English Quassia (substitute for P.

excelsa Lindtl).

Ayurvedic Bhurangi, Nimbi.

(Clerodendrum serratum and its

related species represent Bhaargi or


Folk Nimatotaa.

Action Wood—a non-astringent

bitter tonic and stomachic, amoebicidal,

anthelmintic (used as

enema), insect repellent. Used

as a supporting medicine for

temporary relief in cirrhosis of


Many indole alkaloids of beta-carboline,

canthin--one and beta-carboline

dimer type, have been isolated

from the wood. These are reported

to increase the blood flow rate in the

intestine and stomach of rabbit; also

exhibited antiviral activity on Herpes

simplex virus.

Nigaki lactone and methylnigakinone,

isolated from the wood, showed

antigastric ulcer activity in rats. The

extract of the wood is reported to prevent

the secretion of gastric juice in

a dose-dependent manner in rats. The

extract also showed the same effects

on rats having aspirin-induced gastric


Picrorhiza kurroa Royle ex Benth.

Family Scrophulariaceae.

Habitat The alpine Himalayas from

Kashmir to Sikkim.

English Picrorhiza.

Ayurvedic Katukaa, Katurohini,

Kattarohini, Katuki, Katukikaa,

Krishnabhedaa, Kaandaruhaa,

Matsyashakalaa, Chakraangi, Shatparvaa,

Arishta, Ashokarohinya,


Unani Kutki, Kharbaq-e-Hindi.

Siddha/Tamil Kaduguragini.

Action Root—stomachic, antidiarrhoeal,

cholagogue, hepatoprotective.

Used in hepatitis, chronic

dysentery, amoebiasis.

Key application In jaundice,

intermittent fever, dyspnoea and

skin diseases. (The Ayurvedic

Pharmacopoeia of India.)

The roots yield a glycosidal bitter

principle, kutkin, found to be a mixture

of two iridoid glycosides, picroside

I and kutkoside. Also obtained

were D-mannitol, kutkiol, kutkisterol

and a ketone (identicalwith apocynin).

Kutkin exhibited hepatoprotective

activity in CCl-induced toxic rats.

Picroliv, a standardized fraction

from the alcoholic extract of the root

and rhizome, containing –% of

a mixture of picroside I and kutkoside

(:) showed dose-dependent protective

activity on isolated hepatocytes

in vitro against thiocetamide-induced

hepatic damage in rat and was found

to be more potent than Silymarin,


486 Picrorhiza scrophulariaeflora Pennell.

a known hepatoprotective agent. Picroliv

is reported to show protective

effect against rifampicin-induced hepatotoxicity

in rats. It also exerts hypolipidaemic

effect in normal, tritontreated

and cholesterol-fed rats.

Kutkin, picroside I and kutkoside

exhibit anti-inflammatory property.

The phenolic glycoside, androsin,

isolated from the plant, prevents allergen

and platelet activating factorinduced

bronchial obstruction in

guinea-pigs in vitro.

Cucurbitacin glycosides, isolated

from the root, exhibit liver protective,

tumour inhibitory and anti-inflammatory


Dosage Root—– g; – g as

purgative. (CCRAS.)

Picrorhiza scrophulariaeflora


Family Scrophulariaceae.

Habitat Eastern Himalayan in

Nepal and Sikkim.

Action Properties similar to those

of Picrorhiza kurroa.

The root contains the iridoid glycosides,

amphicoside, catalpol, aucubin

and androsin; also cucurbitacin glycosides.

Pilocarpus microphyllus Stapf.

Family Rutaceae.

Habitat Native to tropical America;

cultivated in Indian gardens.

English Jaborandi.

Action Stimulant (excites most

glands), expectorant, powerful

diaphoretic. Used in hair tonics

to stimulate hair growth. (Irritates

stomach and causes vomiting in


The leaf contains a parasympathetic

stimulant pilocarpine (.%). It is an

obsolete medicinal herb, but is used in

the production of pilocarpine. (NaturalMedicines



Pimenta dioica (Linn.) Merrill.

Synonym P. officinalis Lindl.

Family Myrtaceae.

Habitat Native to West Indies and

tropical America; grown in Indian

gardens; in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa

and Bangalore.

English Allspice tree, Jamaica

Pepper tree, Pimento tree.

Action Berry oil and leaf oil—

carminative and stimulant. The oil

contains chiefly eugenol (–%),

responsible for the herb' effect on

the digestive system and its pain

relief properties; also for anaesthetic

effect when crushed berries are

applied topically.

Pimpinella anisum Linn.

Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat Native to the Mediterranean

region; cultivated in Uttar

Pradesh., Punjab, AssamandOrissa.


Pinus excelsa Wall. ex D. Don. 487

English Anise, Aniseed.

Unani Anisoon, Baadiyaan-roomi.

Action Carminative, diuretic,

anticholerin, antispasmodic, expectorant.

Used for flatulence,

dry coughs, whooping cough,


Key application Internally in

dyspeptic complaints; internally

and externally in catarrhs of

the respiratory tract. (German

Commission E, ESCOP, WHO,The

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

The fruit gave volatile oil consisting

mainly of trans-anethole (–%),

with estragole, anise ketone, anisic

acid, beta-caryophyllene, anisaldehyde,

linalool. The fruit contained

traces of furocoumarins; seeds gave

benzoic acid, caffeic acid, containing

protein and myristicin. Roots afforded

sterols, coumarins and flavone glycosides.

Aniseed has been demonstrated

to increase the mucociliary transport

in vitro and to significantly increase

liver-regeneration in rats.

Aniseed is also used as a galactagogue.

This property is thought due to

the presence of polymers of anethole,

dianethole and photoanethole.

Aqueous extract of roasted aniseed

is reported to show cholinomimetic effect

on rat blood pressure, rat jejunum

and frog rectus abdominis preparations.

Alcoholic extract of aniseeds possesses

antimicrobial and fungicidal activity.

Anethole has a structure similar to

catecholamines including adrenaline,

noradrenaline and dopamine and to

the hallucinogenic compound myristicin

as well. (Natural Medicines Comprehensive

Database, .)

Pimpinella saxifraga Linn. var.

dissectifolia C. B. Clarke,


Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat Kashmir at , m.

English Burnet Saxifrage, Pimpinella


Action Root—carminative,

stimulant, expectorant, cholagogue,

diuretic, emmenagogue. Used for


Key application Rhizome—in

catarrhs of the upper respiratory

tract. (German Commission E.

Above ground parts have been

included among unapproved


The main components of the fruits

and roots are isoeugenol epoxy tiglic

ester, isoeugenol epoxy--methylbutanoic

ester and -phenyl tiglic ester.

Roots also contain pimpinellin and


Pinus excelsa Wall. ex D. Don.

Synonym P. wallichiana

A. B. Jackson.

Family Pinaceae.

Habitat Himalayas from Kashmir

to Bhutan at ,–, m, also


English Indian Blue Pine, Bhutan

Pine, Five-leaved Pine.


488 Pinus gerardiana Wall.

Ayurvedic Sarala (var.).

Folk Chillaa.

Action Uses similar to Pinus


The essential oil contains alpha-and

beta-pinene as major constituents.

Pinus gerardiana Wall.

Family Pinaceae.

Habitat NorthwestHimalayas from

Garhwal eastwards at altitudes of

,–, m.

English Neosia Pine, Edible Pine,

Chilgoza Pine.

Ayurvedic Nikochaka.

Unani Chilgozaa.

Action Kernels—stimulant,

carminative, expectorant. Oil from

seeds—externally used for wounds

and ulcers.

The kernels gave protein ., fat

., carbohydrates . and mineral

matter .%. The mineral constituents

include calcium ., phosphorus .

and iron .mg/ g. Pectin is present

to the extent of .% (calculated as calcium

pectate). Seed protein on hydrolysis

gave amino acids—eucine, isoleucine,

valine, lysine, phenylalanine,

tryptophan and methionine. The oil

gave glycerides. The essential oil from

oleoresin contains alpha-and beta-pinene

as major constituents; other constituents

are sesquiterpenes.

Pinus khasya Royle.

Synonym P. insularis Endl.

Family Pinaceae.

Habitat Assam; introduced into

hills of North Bengal.

English Khasi Pine.

Ayurvedic Sarala var.

Folk Digsaa (Khasia).

Action Spasmolytic, antimicrobial.

Oleo-resin—considered superior to

that of P. roxburghii for turpentine.

The bark contains –% of tannin.

Theessential oil fromoleoresin contains

chiefly alpha-pinene. Other constituents

are beta-pinene, longifoline

and sesquiterpenes. Abetic acid from

rosin possesses weak cardiac and spasmolytic


Pinus roxburghii Sarg.

Synonym P. longifolia Roxb.

Family Pinaceae.

Habitat The Western and Eastern


English Long-leaved Pine, Threeleaved

Pine, Chir Pine.

Ayurvedic Sarala, Pita-vriksha,

Surabhidaaruka, Dhuupavriksha,

Namasu. Oleo-resin—Shriveshtaka,


Unani Sanobar-ul-Hindi. Oleoresin—

Gandh-Bihrojaa, Qinn,


Siddha/Tamil Simaidevadaru.

Action Needle, needle oil—

decongestant, expectorant, antiseptic.

Oil—used in cough and cold

remedies, particularly inhalations


Piper betle Linn. 489

and in rubefacients for rheumatism

and muscle stiffness. Resin—

expectorant, antiseptic, antipruritic.

Theessential oil fromoleoresin contains

chiefly alpha-and beta-pinene;

carene and longifoline.

Pinus pinaster Ait (Cluster Pine,

Maritime Pine) has been successfully

grown in Kulu, Manali and Rahini.

German Commission E recognized the

efficacy of the needle-oil in catarrhal

diseases of the upper and lower respiratory

tract (internally, as well as


Dosage Heartwood, root—– g

powder. (API, Vol. III.)

Pinus succinifera

(Goppert) Cornw.

Family Pinaceae.

Habitat Native of northern


English Baltic Amber, Succinite.

Unani Ambar, Kahruubaa,

Action Cardiac tonic, styptic.

Vateria indica is used in Unani

medicine as a substitute for P.

succinifera gum-resin (Fossil-resin).

Piper attenuatum

Buch.-Ham. ex Miq.

Synonym P. bantamense Blume.

Family Piperaceae.

Habitat Eastern tropicalHimalayas,

Assam, Khasi Hills and the Nilgiris.

Siddha/Tamil Kattumilaaku.

Action Root—diuretic. Plant—

rubefacient; used for muscular

pains and headache.

Several aristolactams have been reported

from the aerial parts of the

plant. Crotepoxide exhibited significant

antitumour activity.

Roots contain alkamides including

piperine, piperlonguminine and


Piper betle Linn.

Family Piperaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in warmer

and damper parts of India; Assam,

West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh,

Karnataka, Kerala.

English Betel pepper.

Ayurvedic Taambula, Naagvallari,

Naagini, Taambulvalli, Saptashiraa,


Unani Paan, Tambool.

Siddha/Tamil Vetrilai Nagavalli,


Action Leaf—stimulant, carminative,

astringent, antiseptic. Essential

oil from leaves—antispasmodic,

antiseptic. Used in respiratory

catarrhs. Fruit—bechic.

The leaves afforded beta- and gamma-

sitosterol, hentriacontane, pentatriacontane,

n-triacontanol, stearic

acid and chavicol. The essential oil

from leaves contained carvacrol, eugenol,

chavicol, allyl catechol, cineole,

estragol, caryophyllene, cardinene, pcymene

and eugenol methyl ether.


490 Piper chaba Hunter non-Blume.

Administration of the leaf extract resulted

in decreased tumour burden and

tumour incidence and a delay in the

onset of mammary tumour in Wistar

rats. The alcoholic extract of the leaf stalk

is reported to show antispermatogenic

and antiandrogenic effect in male albino


The essential oil exhibited hypotensive,

cardiac as well as respiratory depressant

and cardiotonic properties.

The leaf showed antifungal and antibacterial

activity. The antiseptic activity

is attributed to chavicol.

Dosage Leaf—– ml juice. (API,

Vol. III.)

Piper chaba Hunter non-Blume.

Synonym P. retrofractum Vahl.

P. officinarum DC.

Family Piperaceae.

Habitat Native to Moluccas,

cultivated in Indonesia, also in


English Java Long Pepper.

Ayurvedic Gajapippali (spikes of

Scindapsis officinalis, Araceae, are

also known as Gajapippali), Chavya,


Siddha/Tamil Chevuyam.

Action Similar to P. longum

and P. nigrum. Fruits—stimulant,

carminative; used in haemorrhoidal

affections; as a tonic, afterchildbirth.

Roots—chewed or

brewed in decoction for colic,

dyspepsia and gastralgia.

Key application In diseases of the

spleen, chlorosis, diseases of the

abdomen. colic, worm infestation.

(The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of


Java long pepper is similar in composition

to black pepper; it contains

less piperine and volatile oil (piperine

. and volatile oil .%).

The stem is used as a substitute for

Piper longum root. It contains the alkaloids

piperine and piplartine. Betasitosterol,

glycosides, glucose and fructose

and mucilage have also been reported.

Active principles show muscle

relaxant property.

Piper cubeba Linn. f.

Family Piperaceae.

Habitat Native to Indonesia;

cultivated in Assam and Karnataka.

English Cubeb, Tailed Pepper.

Ayurvedic Kankola, Kakkola,

Kankolaka, Takkola, Koraka,

Kolaka, Kashphala, Sheetalchini,


Unani Kabaabchini, Habb-uluruus.

Siddha/Tamil Valmilagu.

Action Fruit—Carminative,

diuretic, expectorant. Used for

coughs, bronchitis, asthma, urinary

tract infections, amoebic dysentery.

Stimulates genitourinary mucous

surfaces. Oil—antibacterial, used in

genitourinary diseases and cystitis.

Key application In dysuria. (The

Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India.)


Piper longum Linn. 491

The ground fruits have been found

to be effective in treating amoebic dystentery.

The oil exhibits antiviral activity in

rats and antibacterial in vitro.

Unripe fruit contains volatile oil (–%) consisting of sesquiterpene hydrocarbons;

lignans, mainly cubebine

(about %), with ()-cubebinin and kinokinin;

cubebic acid. The oxygenated

cyclohexanes, piperenol A and B, together

with (+)-crotepoxide and (+)-

zeylenol, have been isolated from the

fruit. Polyhydroxy cyclohexanes possess

antitumour, antileukaemic and antibiotic


Dosage Fruit—– g powder. (API,

Vol. I.)

Piper hamiltonii C. DC.

Family Piperaceae.

Habitat Sikkim, Terai, West Bengal

and Khasi hills, up to  m.

English Wild Pepper.

Folk Jangali Paan.

Action Carminative and diuretic.

Kadsurin A and isodihydrofutoquinol

B have been isolated from aerial


Piper longum Linn.

Family Piperaceae.

Habitat Warmer parts of India,

from Central Himalayas to Assam,

lower hills of West Bengal; Uttar

Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Western

Ghats from Konkan southwards to

Trivandrum. Often cultivated.

English Indian Long Pepper,


Ayurvedic Pippali, Maagadhi,

Maagadha, Maagadhaa, Maagadhikaa,

Magadhodbhavaa, Vaidehi,

Upkulyaa, Pippalikam, Chapalaa,

Kanaa, Krishnaa. Uushnaa, Shaundi,

Kolaa, Tikshna-tandulaa.

Unani Filfil Daraaz, Daarfilfil.

Siddha/Tamil Thippili, Arisi thippili.

Thippiliver (root).

Action Fruits—used for diseases

of the respiratory tract (cough,

bronchitis, asthma); as sedative (in

insomnia and epilepsy); as cholagogue

(in obstruction of bile duct

and bladder), as emmenagogue, as

digestive, appetizer and carminative

(in indigestion); as general tonic and

haematinic (in anaemia, chronic

fevers and for improving intellect).

Applied locally on muscular pains

and inflammations.

Several aristolactams and dioxoaporphines

have been isolated from Indian

long pepper. It also contains the

long chain isobutyl amide, longamide,

besides guineensine and the lignans,

pluviatilol, methyl pluviatilol (fargesin),

sesamin and asarinine.

Piperine is themajor alkaloid of peppers.

Piperine is antipyretic, hypotensive,

analeptic, CNS stimulant. It has been

reported to exert significant protection

against CCl-induced hepatotoxicity

in mice. It improves drug availability

in experimental animals, and is


492 Piper nigrum Linn.

used for enhancing the efficacy of coadministered


Piperine enhanced bioavailability of

hexobarbital, phenytoin, propranolol

and theophylline. (Sharon M. Herr.)

(Piperine is also a component of Piper



dienamide, isolated from the fruit, exhibited

antitubercular property.

Milk extract of the fruit effectively

reduced passive cutaneous anaphylaxis

in rats. It protected guinea-pigs against

antigen-induced bronchospasm.

In China, Piper longum oil constituents

were reported to inhibit the

increase in serum total cholesterol induced

by triton in mice.

The root powder exhibited antifertility


A related species, P. peepuloides

Roxb., is known as Saamvali Peepal.

It is used specifically against obstinate

skin diseases and as a sialagogue.

Dosage Fruit—– mg (API, Vol.

IV); root—– g powder. (CCRAS.)

Piper nigrum Linn.

Family Piperaceae.

Habitat Native of the Indo-

Malaysian region; cultivated

in Western Ghats, Karnataka,

Maharashtra, Assam and Kerala.

English Black Pepper.

Ayurvedic Maricha, Vellaja,

Uushna, Suvrrita, Krishnaa.

Unani Filfil Siyaah, Safed.

Siddha/Tamil Milagu. Milaguver


Action Stimulant, carminative,

diuretic, anticholerin, sialagogue,

bechic, antiasthmatic. Used in

fevers, dyspepsia, flatulence, indigestion,

and as mucous membrane

and gastro-intestinal stimulant. Externally—

rubefacient and stimulant

to the skin. Used as a gargle for sore

throat. Used with ginger and Piper

longum for viral hepatitis.

The fruit yielded piperine, piperatine

and piperidine; amides, piperyline,

piperoleins A and B, and N-isobutyl-


The aqueous extract of roasted black

pepper is reported to show cholinomimetic

effect on rat abdominis muscles.

Dosage Fruit— mg to  g.


Piper schmidtii Hook. f.

Family Piperaceae.

Habitat Assam, Western Ghats,

the Nilgiris and Palni hills above

, m.

English Nilgiri Pepper.

Action Carminative.

The neolignan schmiditin, together

with lignin galgravin as well as

friedelin, beta-sitosterol and its beta-

O-glucoside have been isolated from

the extract of aerial parts. The extract

exhibited antiamoebic activity.

Piper sylvaticum Roxb.

Family Piperaceae.


Pisonia aculeata Linn. 493

Habitat Assam and Bengal.

Ayurvedic Vana-Pippali.

Folk Pahaari Peepal.

Action Fruit—carminative. Aerial


The root yielded a lignin, sesamin;

amides (including piperine, piperlongumine)

and beta-sitosterol.

Piper thomsoni Hook. f.

Family Piperaceae.

Habitat Sikkim, Bengal, Manipur,

Khasi and Jaintia hills.

Folk Jangali Paan.

Action Root—(macerated in water)


Piper wallichii Hand.-Mazz.

Synonym P. aurantiacum Wall ex


Family Piperaceae.

Habitat Nepal, Lakhimpur and

Khasi Hills in Assam.

Ayurvedic Wrongly equated with

Sambhaaluka. (Sambhaalu has

been identified as Vitex negundo.)

Renukaa is also a wrong synonym

(it is equated with the seed of Vitex


Siddha/Tamil Kaattu-milagu.

Action Fruits—used as uterine


The fruit contain piperine, piperettine

and sylvatine, besides beta-sitosterol.

The seeds gave aurantiamide, its

acetate and auranamide.

The fraction, containing alkaloids,

showed oxytocic activity. The lignin

constituents inhibited platelet aggregation

caused by platelet-activating factor.

Piscidia piscipula (Linn.) Sarg.

Synonym P. erythrina Linn.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Native to America;

introduced in India.

English Jamaica Dogwood.

Action Sedative, spasmolytic,

analgesic, anti-inflammatory.

The bark gave several, isoflavonoids.

Piscidone and piscerythrone exhibit

spasmolytic activity. Piscidin glycoside

and rotenone are toxic constituents.

The bark is used for neuralgia, migraine

and insomnia in South America

and West Indies.

In some in vitro tests, the root bark's

extract exhibited antispasmodic effects

as strong as papaverine's (NaturalMedicines



Pisonia aculeata Linn.

Family Nyctaginaceae.

Habitat The sea coast in Peninsular

India, also in the Andaman Islands.

Siddha/Tamil Karindu.

Folk Baghachuur (Bengal).


494 Pisonia grandis R. Br.

Action Bark and leaves—counterirritant

for swellings and rheumatic

pains. Fresh leaves—used as a wash

for scabies.

Pisonia grandis R. Br.

Synonym P. morindaefolia R. Br. ex


Family Nyctaginaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in gardens in

Chennai and other places near the

sea on both east and west coasts.

English Lettuce tree.

Siddha/Tamil Chandi keerai,

Leechai kottai keerai, Nachu Kottai


Action Fresh leaf—diuretic, used

in inflammations (of elephantoid

nature in legs and other parts).


The plant gave octacosanol, betasitosterol,

alpha-spinasterol, beta-sitosterol-

beta-D-glucopyranoside, dulcitol

and quercetin.

Pistacia integerrima

Stewart ex Brandis.

Synonym P. chinensis Bunge

subspecies Integerrima (Stewart)

Rech. f.

Family Anacardiaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from Indus

to Kumaon.

Ayurvedic Karkatashringi,

Shringi, Karkatashringikaa,

Karkata, Karkataakhya, Kulirashringaaya,


Vakraa, Vishaani. Ajashringi (also

equated with Gymnema sylvestre).

Unani Kaakraasingi, Kakar.

Siddha/Tamil Karkatagasingi.

Action Gall—astringent, expectorant,

antiasthmatic, antidysenteric,


Key application In cough, bronchitis

and dyspnoea. (The Ayurvedic

Pharmacopoeia of India.)

The tetracyclic triterpenes, pistacigerrimones

A, B and C have been isolated

from the galls produced on the


Alpha-pinene ., beta-pinene .,

alpha-phellandrene . and delta-carene

% are major constituents of

the essential oil extracted from galls.

The oil is reported to exhibit CNSdepressant,

antispasmodic, carminative

and antibacterial, antiprotozoal,

antiamoebic, anthelmintic activities.

Dosage Gall—– g powder. (API,

Vol. I.)

Pistacia lentiscus Linn.

Family Anacardiaceae.

Habitat Mediterranean countries.

The resin is imported into India.

English Mastic tree.

Unani Mastagi, Roomi Mastagi,


Siddha/Tamil Ponnuikan kungiliyam.


Pistia stratiotes Linn. var. cuneata Engl. 495

Action Resin—carminative,

diuretic, stimulant, astringent.

The mastic gum contains % essential

oil. The oil sample from Spain is

reported to contain % monoterpene

hydrocarbons, the major constituents

ofwhich are alpha-pinene %andmycrene


Chief components of the resin triterpenes

are mastic acid, isomastic acid,

oleanolic acid and tirucallol.

The lyophilized aqueous extract of

the aerial parts gave steroid-triterpenes,

catechin tannins, flavonoids, saponins,

resins and sugars. In some regions

of Spain, the aerial parts are used

against hypertension.

There is some preliminary evidence

that Mastic might have hypotensive

and antioxidant effects. (The Review of

Natural Products by Facts and Comparisons,


For prevention of gastric and duodenal

ulcers, someresearchers thinkMastic

might have antisecretory and possibly

cytoprotective effects. (J Ethnopharmacol,

(), ; Natural Medicines

Comprehensive Database, .)

Pistacia khinjuk Stocks is known as

khinjak, Butum and Roomi Mastagi

in Mumbai and Maharashtra. P. terebinthus

Linn. is known as Kabuli Mustaki.

Pistacia vera Linn.

Family Anacardiaceae.

Habitat Native to eastern Mediterranean

region, Iran, Afghanistan

and Central Asian countries;

cultivated in North India.

English Pistachio, Green Almond.

Ayurvedic Mukuulaka.

Unani Pistaa (Kernel), Ilk-ul-

Ambaat (resin).

Action The kernel is used as

a cardiac and brain tonic; flowers

are included in prescriptions for

leucorrhoea; husk is used against

dysentery and as astringent in

stomatitis and tonsillitis.

Pistia stratiotes Linn. var.

cuneata Engl.

Family Araceae.

Habitat Tropical and sub-tropical

Asia, Africa and America.

English Water Lettuce, Tropical


Ayurvedic Jalakumbhi, Vaariparni,


Siddha/Tamil Agasatamarai.

Action Whole plant and root—

diuretic, used for dysuria. Leaf—antitussive,

demulcent, antidysenteric,

externally applied to haemorrhoids,

ulcers, skin diseases. Ash—applied

to ringworm of the scalp.

The plant gave -di-C-glycosylflavones

of vicenin and lucenin type,

anthocyanin-cyanidin--glucoside, luteolin-

-glycoside and mono-C-glycosylflavones—vitexin and orientin.

Dosage Plant—– ml juice.



496 Pithecellobium dulce Benth.

Pithecellobium dulce Benth.

Family Mimosaceae.

Habitat Cultivated throughout the

plains of India.

English Minila Tamarind, Madras

Thorn, Quamachil.

Siddha/Tamil Karapilly, Kodukkaa


Folk Vilaayati Imli, Dakhini


Action Bark—astringent, febrifuge,

antidysenteric. Stem-bark—spasmolytic.


The leaves contain alpha-spinasterol;

its beta-D-glucoside, octacosanol,

kaempferol, its -rhamnoside, behenic

and lignoceric acids. An insulin-like

principle has also been reported in the


Seeds gave kaempferol, quercetin

and a saponin consisting of a mixture

of oleanolic and echinocystic acid glycosides.

Lecithin is also reported from


The seed exhibited haemolytic agglutinating


Saponins fromseeds show spermicidal


The bark contains tannins (up to

%) of a catechol type; non-tans –%; .% of pectin.

Pithecellobium monadelphum


Synonym P. bigeminatum auct.

non-(L.) Mart. ex Benth.;

P. gracile Bedd.

Family Mimosaceae.

Habitat Eastern Himalayas, Khasi,

Jaintia and Lushai Hills.

Siddha/Tamil Kalpakku.

Folk Kachloraa.

Action Leaf—used externally

as a mostrum for leprosy; also

applied for promoting growth of

hair. Seed—hypoglycaemic. Aerial

parts—diuretic, spasmolytic.

The seeds contain .% protein;

major amino acids are aspartic acid

., glutamic acid ., alanine .,

leucine ., glycine ., serine .%.

Seeds contain a poisonous principle

pithecolobine. They are used after repeated

boiling and discarding of water.

Pittosporum dasycaulon Miq.

Family Pittosporaceae.

Habitat The rain forests of South


Folk Gapasundi (Maharashtra),

Boogri (Karnataka).

Action Stem-bark—antibacterial,


Pittosporum floribundum

Wight & Arn.

Family Pittosporaceae.

Habitat Subtropical Himalayas,

Ganjam, Konkan, Western Ghats

and the Nilgiris.

Siddha/Tamil Kattu Sampangi.

Folk Tumari. Vikhaari, Vekhali



Plantago lanceolata Linn. 497

Action Bark—anti-inflammatory,

antispasmodic, narcotic; used in

chronic bronchitis; also administered

in leprous affections; a paste

is applied to inflammatory and

rheumatic swellings.

The Himalayan plants yielded an essential

oil (.%) with alpha-pinene,

dipentene, linalool, cineol, methyl salicylate,

decyl aldehyde, anisaldehyde,

bergapten, eugenol, indole and salicylic

and benzoic acids as major constituents.

The oil is applied topically in

sprains, bruises, sciatica, rheumatism,

chest affections and in certain skin diseases.

The narcotic action of the bark is

attributed to the presence of a yellow

oleoresin. The bark also contain

a saponin, pittosporin.

Plantago amplexicaulis Cav. var.

bauphula (Edgew.) Pilger.

Family Plantaginaceae.

Habitat Punjab, Rajasthan and


English Brown Ispaghula.

Unani Aspaghol.

Action Seed—astringent. Seed


See Plantago ovata.

Plantago lanceolata Linn.

Family Plantaginaceae.

Habitat Western Himalayas, from

Kashmir to Garhwal and Simla.

English Rib Grass, Ribwort Plantain,

English Plantain, Buckhorn


Unani Baartang, Aspaghol.

Folk Balatang.

Action Leaf and root—astringent,

bechic, antiasthmatic,

anti-inflammatory, hypothermic,

diuretic. Seed—cathartic, diuretic,


Key application Internally, for

catarrhs of the respiratory tract and

inflammatory alterations of the oral

and pharyngeal mucosa; externally

for inflammatory reactions of the

skin. (German Commission E,


Globularin and methyl ester of desacetyl

asperulosidic acid were isolated

from the plant along with catapol.

A crude mucilage, isolated from

the leaves, contains L-arabinose .,

D-galactose ., D-glucose ., Dmannose

., L-rhamnose . and

uronic acid .%. Alpha-D-glucan was

separated from this mucilage.

Leaves gave aucubin and esculetin,

in addition to polysaccharides. The

whole plant yielded rhamnosidoglycoside

of caffeic acid. Seeds contain .%

aucubin. Aucubin exhibits antibacterial

activity. Hepatoprotective effect is

also attributed to the aucubin content.

Alcoholic extract of young leaves exhibit

antibacterial action against Streptococcus

betahaemolyticus, Micrococcus

pyogenes var. aureus and Bacillus

subtilis, thus confirming their woundhealing



498 Plantago major Linn.

Plantago major Linn.

Family Plantaginaceae.

Habitat The temperate and alpine

Himalayas from Kashmir to Bhutan

at altitudes of –, m.

English Broadleaf Plantain.

Ayurvedic Ashvagola (var.).

Folk Isabgol.

Action Plant—haemostatic,

antihistaminic, antibacterial,

wound-healing in burns and

inflammation of tissues. Leaves—

cooling, astringent, diuretic,

vulnerary, febrifuge. Used for

diarrhoea, bacillary dysentery,

hepatitis, urinary diseases, piles,

ulcers and skin diseases. Leaves

are used for cystitis with blood,

haematuria and other bladder


The aqueous extract of the leaves

showed anti-inflammatory activity in


The aerial parts contain an iridoid

glucoside, majoroside. The leaves

contain a phenylpropanoid glycoside,

plantamajoside, exhibiting antibacterial

activity against several pathogenic

bacteria including E. coli and Staphylococcus

aureus. (The glycoside is less

inhibitory than the free acids, caffeic,

ferulic, and rosmarinic and esculetin.)

Plantago ovata Forsk.

Synonym P. ispaghula Roxb.

Family Plantaginaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in parts of

Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

English Ispaghula, Spogel seeds,

Blond Psyllium.

Ayurvedic Ashvagola. Ashwakarna

(also equated with Shorea robusta).

Unani Aspaghol.

Siddha/Tamil Isapppa.

Folk Isabgol.

Action Seed and husk—laxative,

diuretic, demulcent, bechic,

cholinergic. Used in inflammatory

conditions of the mucous

membrane of gastrointestinal and

genitourinary tract, chronic amoebic

and bacillary dysentery; also in


Key application In chronic

constipation and irritable bowel.

(German Commission E.) Also in

constipation due to duodenal ulcer

or diverticulitis (WHO.) German

Commission E also noted that

Blond Psyllium seed lowers serum

cholesterol levels. It has also been

shown to slow sugar absorption

thereby reducing blood glucose.

(ESCOP.) Use of Blond Psyllium

husk up to six months did not

clinically alter vitamin or mineral

status in a review of eight human

trials. It did not reduce absorption

of calcium. (J AmGeriatr Soc, ,

; Am J Clin Nutr, , ;

Natural Medicines Comprehensive

Database, .)

The seed contains amino acids including

valine, alanine, glutamic acid,

glycine, cystine, lysine, leucine and

tyrosine; and a mucilage consisting

of a mixture of polysaccharides composed

mainly of xylose, arabinose and


Plectranthus mollis Spreng. 499

galacturonic acid; rhamnose and galactose

are also present. The seeds also

gave aucubin, the antibacterial principle.

The seed coat contains fatty acids

mainly linoleic, oleic andpalmitic acids

in decreasing concentrations.

The seeds show a liver protective effect

on induced hepatotoxicity inmice.

In China, the plant is used clinically to

treat certain types of hepatitis (activity

due to aucubin content).

Dosage Husk—– g. (CCRAS.)

Platanus orientalis Linn.

Family Platanaceae.

Habitat Native to eastern Mediterranean

region; cultivated inKashmir

and North-western Himalayas at

,–, m.

English Oriental Plane, Oriental

Sycamore. European Plane tree.

Folk Chinaar, Buin (Kashmir and


Action Bark—antidiarrhoeal,

antiscorbutic, antirheumatic.

Leaf—astringent. Buds—antiseptic,

used for urinary infection.

The buds yielded kaempferol, its

derivatives and caffeic acid. The methanolic

extract exhibits antiseptic and

antimicrobial activities.

The bark contains .% of platanin,

also .% tannin and .% non-tans.

The shoots and leaves contain alantoin;

roots phlobaphene. The sap of

the tree contains up to % mannitol.

A triterpene, platanolic acid, is found

in most parts of the plant except the


Platycodon grandiflorum

(Jacq.) A. DC.

Family Campanulaceae.

Habitat East Asia; introduced into

India and cultivated in rockeries

and borders.

English Balloon Flower, Chinese

Bell Flower.

Action Expectorant and antitussive.

Root—used to treat cough, tonsillitis

and asthma, also to treat stomatitis,

peptic ulcer and inflammatory

diseases. (WHO.)

The major chemical constituents of

the root are triterpene saponins. The

root exhibits haemolytic action.

Plectranthus mollis Spreng.

Synonym P. incanus Link.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Temperate Himalayas

from Simla to Sikkim and in Bihar,

Madhya Pradesh and Western


Folk Laal-Aghaadaa (Maharashtra).

Action Leaves—styptic, febrifuge.

The aerial parts yielded an essential

oil (.%)containing piperitenone

oxide (.) and cis-pipestone oxide

(.%) as major constituents.

The antimicrobial activity of  mg

of the oil was found to be the same as

that of  units of penicillin G. sodium.

The essential oil also exhibited cardiac

depressant, respiratory stimulant and

vasoconstrictor action. The leaves and


500 Plesmonium margaritiferum Schott.

flowering tops, in addition to the oil,

also contain resin and tannin.

Plesmonium margaritiferum


Family Araceae.

Habitat Bengal, Chhota Nagpur,

Ranchi, Purnea, Vishakhapatnam

and Tamil Nadu.

Ayurvedic Vajrakanda.

Folk Kharhar (Uttar Pradesh).

Action Anti-inflammatory (wellground

tubers are rubbed on

swellings of the extremities).

Seeds—externally applied to

bruises. The tubers are poisonous

(can be eaten after several boilings).

Pluchea indica Less.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Sundarbans, in salt

marshes and mangrove swamps.

Folk Kukarondh, Manjurukh


Action Root and leaves—astringent,

antipyretic; given in decoction as

a diaphoretic in fevers. Leaf—

juice is given for dysentery;

an infusion for lumbago, also

against leucorrhoea. Root—antiinflammatory,


The aerial parts contain terpenic

glycosides. The root contains sesquiterpenes,

lignin glycosides, thiophene


The extractsof defattedroots showed

significant anti-inflammatory activity.

The extracts inhibited protein exudation

and leucocyte migration.

Neuropharmacological studies on

different experimental models of rodents

exhibited potent central nervous

system depressant activity.

The methanolic fraction of the extract

exhibited significant hepatoprotective

activity against induced hepatotoxicity

in rats and mice. The extract

also caused significant reduction

in the elevated serum enzyme levels

and serum bilirubin content in acute

liver injury.

Pluchea lanceolata C. B. Clarke.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Punjab, Upper Gangetic

plains, Gujarat, Rajasthan.

Ayurvedic Raasnaa, Rasanaa, Raasnikaa,

Rasaa, Yuktaa, Yuktrasaa,

Suvahaa, Elaaparni.

Folk Vaaya-surai (Uttar Pradesh),


Action Aerial parts—smooth

muscle relaxant. Stem—antiinflammatory.

Pluchea lanceolata

is the source of Raasnaa in Punjab,

Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. Vanda

roxburghii is used as Raasnaa in

Bengal. Throughout South India,

Alpinia galanga is accepted as


Thestem and leaves containmoretenol,

moretenol acetate, neolupenol, octacosanoic,

hexacosanoic and tetracosanoic

acid, tetracosanol, hexacoP

Plumbago zeylanica Linn. 501

sanol, triacontanol, stigmasterol and


The petroleum extract of the stem

and leaves and the chloroform-soluble

portion of the methanolic extract exhibited

.% and .% antioedema

activity, respectively. The triterpenes,

moretenol acetate, moretenol and neolupenol

exhibited ., , and .%

anti-inflammatory activity respectively

as against ibuprofen as standard exhibiting

.% activity.

Plumbago capensis Thunb.

Synonym P. auriculata Lam.

Family Plumbaginaceae.

Habitat Native to South Africa;

grown in gardens in India.

Ayurvedic Nila-chitraka (blueflowered

var.). (Bears pale-blue


Action See P. zeylanica.

Plumbago indica Linn.

Synonym P. rosea Linn.

Family Plumbaginaceae.

Habitat Indigenous to Sikkim and

khasi hills, grown in Indian gardens.

English Rose-coloured Leadwort.

Ayurvedic Rakta-chitraka (redflowered


Siddha/Tamil Chittramoolam.

Action See P. zeylanica. P. indica

is preferred in West Bengal and

Kerala. Both P. indica and P.

zeylanica contain about .%


Plumbago zeylanica Linn.

Family Plumbaginaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in gardens

throughout India; also found wild

in Peninsular India.

English Ceylon Leadwort,


Ayurvedic Chitraka, Agni, Vahni,

Jvalanaakhya, Krshaanu, Hutaasha,

Dahana, Sikhi.

Unani Sheetraj Hindi.

Siddha/Tamil Chittramoolam.

Action Root—intestinal flora

normalizer, stimulates digestive

processes; used for dyspepsia. Root

paste is applied in order to open

abscesses; a paste prepared with

milk, vinegar or salt and water, is

used externally in leprosy and other

obstinate skin diseases. A cold

infusion is used for influenza and

black-water fever.

Key application In sprue, malabsorption

syndrome, piles and inflammatory

diseases of ano-rectum.

(The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of


The root yielded naphthoquinone

derivatives, plumbagin being the most

important active principle.

The root extract, after processing

for plumbagin enhancement, has been

used in a number of drug formulations

for liver ailments. Experimentally,

plumbagin prevented the accumulation

of triglycerides in liver and aorta


502 Plumeria acuminata Ait.

and regressed atheromatous plaques

and abdominal aorta. The chloroform

extract of the root showed significant

activity against pencillin-resistant (also

non-pencillin resistant) strains of Neisseria

gonorrhoea. (The root is used for

treating sexually transmitted diseases

in traditional Indian medicine.)

In Siddha medicine, in Tamil Nadu,

theplant is aningredient in anumberof

drug formulations for treating cancers

of the uterus, breast, lungs and oral

cavity, in addition to haemorrhoids.

Plumbagin is abortifacient, antiovulatory;

causes selective testicular lesions

in dogs; in lower doses it behaves

like a spindle poison, in higher concentration

exhibits radiomimetic nucleotoxic

and cytotoxic effects.

Dosage Detoxified root—– g

powder. (API, Vol. I.)

Plumeria acuminata Ait.

Family Apocynaceae.

Habitat Native to Mexico;

cultivated in Indian gardens.

English Pagoda tree.

Action Root bark—used in herpes,

sexually transmitted diseases.

Bark—stimulant, emmenagogue.

Root—violent cathartic. Latex—

purgative, rubefacient.

Iridoids are present in the leaf, stem,

flower and root. Plumieride glucoside

has been isolated from all parts of the

plant. The plumeric acid, isolated from

leaves, exhibits promising cytotoxic activity.

Fulvoplumierin (a pigment) inhibits

the growth of various strains of Mycobacterium


Plumeria alba Linn.

Family Apocynaceae.

Habitat Native to West Indies;

cultivated in Indian gardens.

English White Champa.

Ayurvedic Kshira Champaka

(white-flowered var.).

Siddha/Tamil Perumal Arali,

Seemai Arali.

Action Root bark—used in blennorrhagia.

Bark and latex—used

externally in herpes, syphilitic ulcers

and scabies. Seed—haemostatic.

The root gave iridoids—iso-plumericin,

plumericin, plumieride, plumieride

coumarate and its glucoside.

The bark gave alpha-and beta-amyrin

and their acetates, beta-sitosterol, scopoletin

and plumieride. Theflowers also

contain plumieride coumarate and

its glucoside, in addition to quercetin


Plumeria rubra Linn.

Family Apocynaceae.

Habitat Native to Mexico; grown

throughout India.

English Red Jasmine.

Ayurvedic Kshira Champaka

(red-flowered var.).


Podophyllum sikkimensis R. Chatterji &Mukerjee. 503

Action Root bark—used in

blennorrhagia. Flower—bechic

(used in pectoral syrups). Bark—

a decoction is used in venereal

diseases and leprosy.

The bark contains cytotoxic iridoids

(including fulvoplumierin which also

inhibits the growth of Mycobacterium

tuberculosis) and the lignin, liriodendrin.

The plant contains the triterpene

rubrinol which showed antibacterial

activity against Gram-positive and

Gram-negative bacteria, including

Pseudomonas aeruginosa (a causative

agent responsible for infecting burns,

wounds, urinary tract and infection in

cystic fibrosis) and Pseudomonas pseudomallei

(which causes melioidosis or


The herb contains cardiac glycosides

which have a narrow-margin of safety.

(Sharon M. Herr.)

Podophyllum hexandrum Royle.

Synonym P. emodi Wall. ex

Hook. f. &Thoms.

Family Berberidaceae.

Habitat Inner ranges of the

Himalayas, fromKashmir to Sikkim

at ,–, m.

English Indian Podophyllum.

Ayurvedic Giriparpata.

Folk Bana-kakari (Punjab), Venivel

(Gujarat), Patvel (Maharashtra).

Paapraa, Paapri.

Action Rhizomes and roots—

antineoplastic. Strongly irritant

to skin and mucous membranes.

Used topically as an ointment for

venereal warts, verrucae and similar


Key application P. peltatum

externally, for removal of pointed

condyloma (skin adjacent to the

treated area should be protected).

(German Commission E.) P. hexandrum:

Podophyllin (–%) for

external application, – h weekly,

for anogenital warts. (Indian Herbal

Pharmacopoeia.) (Podophyllin is

a mitotic poison.)

May Apple of North America is

equated with Podophyllum peltatum

Linn. The main lignin is podophyllotoxin.

Podophyllum hexandrum contains

similar lignans with the exception

of alpha-and beta-peltatins, which

are reportedly absent; the concentration

of podophyllotoxin is up to .%.

P. peltatum contains about .% and

the Taiwanese species P. pleianthum

.% podophyllotoxin.

(Podophyllotoxin is a valuable lignin,

as it is used for the synthesis

of chemically administered cytostatic

etoposide and tenoposide.)

Podophyllum sikkimensis

R. Chatterji & Mukerjee.

Family Berberidaceae.

Habitat Sikkim.

Folk Paapraa (var.).

Action Resin—used against


The rhizomes and roots yield .%

resin which gave a lignin lactone desigP

504 Pogostemon benghalensis Kuntze.

nated sikkimotoxin; also -galactosidyl

quercetin, quercetin and isorhamnetin.

It is yet to be established that the

lactone possesses properties analogous

to those of podophyllotoxin.

Pogostemon benghalensis


Synonym P. plectranthoides Desf.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Throughout greater part of


Folk Ishwar-jataa. Jui-lataa (Bihar,

Bengal). Phaangalaa (Maharashtra).

Action Root—used in haemorrhage,

especially in uterine

haemorrhage. Leaf—styptic; used

for cleaning wounds. Essential

oil—antifungal. Acetone extract—

insecticidal, insect repellent.

Pogostemon pubescens Benth., synonymP.

parviflorusBenth. is alsoknown

as Phaangalaa in Maharashtra. Aerial

part exhibits antifungal and leaf antibacterial


Sesquiterpene lactone, caryophyllen-

-beta--olide, has been isolated

from the whole plant.

Pogostemon purpurascens Dalz.

(Manipur and South-western India)

also possesses properties similar to

P. benghalensis. The acetone extract

exhibited larvicidal activity against

the larvae of malaria vector, Anopheles

stephensi. It also showed activity

against yellow fever mosquito.

Pogostemon cablin Benth.

Synonym P. patchouli var. sauvis

Hook. f.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Native to the Philippines;

introduced in India.

English Patchouli.

Ayurvedic Paachi.

Folk Paanari.

Action Plant—insecticidal.

Leaves—an infusion is given in

menstrual troubles.

The oil, extracted from dried leaves,

is reported to possess antibacterial activity

against E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus,

Streptococcus pyogenes, Bacterium

coli and B. typhosum. It is also

found effective against Mycobacterium

tuberculosis. The oil is used in insectrepellent


Pogostemon parviflorus Benth.

Synonym P. pubescens Benth.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Hills of South-western

India, ascending to , m.

Folk Phaangalaa (Maharashtra).

Action Aerial parts—antifungal,


Acetone extract of the aerial parts

exhibits larvicidal activity against the

larva of malaria vector, Anopheles stephensi

and Culex quinquefasciatus.


Polyalthia longifolia Thw. 505

Pogostemon patchoulis

Hook. f. non-Pelletier.

Synonym P. heyneanus Benth.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat Western Ghats of

Karnataka, Kerala and the Nilgiri

hills up to , m.

English Patchouli.

Ayurvedic Paachi, Pancholi.

Siddha/Tamil Kadir Pachai.

Folk Paanch (Maharashtra),

Sugandhi Paanadi (Gujarat).

Action Leaf—bechic, antiasthmatic.

A poultice of leaves is applied to

boils and to relieve headache.

The plant gave alpha-pyrone derivatives,

pogopyrones A and B; n-octacosanol,

beta-sitosterol and its glucoside

and several flavones. Pogopyrone B exhibited

cytotoxic activity.

Polianthes tuberosa Linn.

Family Amaryllidaceae.

Habitat Native to Mexico;

cultivated for ornamental use.

English Tuberose.

Ayurvedic Rajanigandhaa.

Siddha/Tamil Nilasampangi.

Folk Gulcheri, Gulshabbu.

Action Flowers and bulbs—

diuretic. Externally used for skin

eruptions. The bulbs are rubbed

with turmeric and butter and

applied over red pimples of infants.

The bulbs are reported to contain

an alkaloid, lycorin, which causes


Dried and powdered bulbs are used

for gonorrhoea.

Polyalthia longifolia Thw.

Family Annonaceae.

Habitat Native to Sri Lanka; grown

in gardens throughout the warmer

parts of India.

English Mast tree, Fake Asoka tree,

False Devadaru, Cemetry tree

Ayurvedic Devadaari (Devadaaru

is equated with Cedrus deodara).

(An adulterant to the bark of Saraca


Siddha/Tamil Nettilingam.

Action Febrifuge. Causes cardiac


The stem bark contains clerodane

diterpenes, polyalthialdoic acid and

kolavenic acid. The stem and its bark

also contain the cytotoxic aporphine

alkaloid, liriodenine, besides nor-oliveroline

and oliveroline-beta-N-oxide.

Azafluorene alkaloids are also present

in the bark and leaves. The leaf exhibits

fungitoxic activity.

Polyalthia simiarum Hook. f. &

Thoms. (Orissa, Assam, Bengal, Bihar,

Eastern Himalaya) is also equated

with Fake Ashoka tree. It is known

as Boga-khamtou in Assam, Wojarah,

Mongai in Orissa and Labshi, Kutti in


Polyalthia suberosa Thw. (from Assam

to Uttar Pradesh in the North

and Kerala in the South) is known


506 Polycarpaea corymbosa Lam.

as Chamkhirni. The leaves contain

alpha-and beta-amyrin, lupeol, betasitosterol,

stigmasterol and campesterol.

The stems and leaves contain the

triterpene, suberosol, which showed

anti-HIV replication activity. Thestem

bark contains alkaloids, oxostephanine

and lanuginosine, which exhibited

antibacterial activity against several

Gram-positive and Gram-negative


Polycarpaea corymbosa Lam.

Family Caryophyllaceae.

Habitat Throughout the greater

part of India, ascending up to

, m in the Himalaya.

Ayurvedic Parpata (substitute).

Siddha/Tamil Nilaisedachi.

Folk Pittapaaparaa (Uttar Pradesh),

Rupaaphuli (Gujarat).

Action Leaves—anti-inflammatory,

applied as poultice. Also prescribed

in jaundice in the form of pills with

molasses. Flowering head, along

with stem and leaves—astringent,

demulcent. Plant—spermicidal.

The plant gave camelliagenins (barrigenol)

and stigmasterol.

Polycarpon prostratum

(Forsk.) Alschers & Schweinf.

Synonym P. loeflingii Benth. &

Hook. f.

Family Caryophyllaceae.

Habitat Throughout the warmer

parts of India in fields and waste


Folk Ghima, Suretaa.

Action Leaves—an infusion of

roasted leaves is given for cough

following fever, particularly in


Alcoholic extract of the plant exhibits

spasmolytic activity. The aerial

parts contain tetrahydroxy triterpenes.

Presence of a triterpenoid saponin, and

hentriacontane, hentriacontanol, betaamyrin

and its acetate, beta-sitosterol

and stigmasterol is also reported.

Polygala chinensis

auct. non Linn.

Synonym P. arvensis Willd.

Family Polygalaceae.

Habitat Throughout India and the


English Senega.

Folk Meradu, Maraad, Negali

(Maharashtra). Maraad (Nepal).

Action Root—antiasthmatic; used

as a substitute for Senega obtained

from the American plant Polygala

senega. (In Chinese medicine

Senega refers to P. tenuifoliaWilld.)

Key application Senega Root—

in productive cough, catarrh of

the respiratory tract and chronic

bronchitis. (German Commission E,


Senega yielded lactonic lignans,

their glycosides and flavonol glycosides.

The root gave arctiin, afzelin,


Polygonatum cirrhifolium (Wall.) Royle. 507

myricitrin and rutin. A triterpenic

saponin was also obtained from the

plant. The root contains salicylic acid,

methyl salicylate and senegin (a saponin


Senega is used for chronic bronchitis,

catarrh, asthma and croup, as an


Related species are: P. chinesis Linn.,

synonym P. glomerata Lour; P. telephioides

Willd., synonym P. brachystachya

DC. non-Bl., found throughout

the plains of India. Both the plants are

used as expectorant, antiasthmatic and


Toxic constituents of Polygala senega

root are: triterpene saponins—–% senegasaponins A-D with aglycone

presenegenin or senegin. Saponins

irritate GI tractmucosa and cause

reflex secretion of mucous in the bronchioles.

A French patent is used against graft

rejection, eczema and multiple sclerosis

as an anti-inflammatory drug.

Polygala crotalarioides

Buch.-Ham. ex DC.

Family Polygalaceae.

Habitat Tropical Himalayas from

Simla to Sikkim and the KhasiHills.

Folk Lilakanthi, Lilakaathi. (Bihar).

Maraad (var.).

Action Root—used for cough

and pulmonary catarrh; chewed

or ground and drunk with water

to expel phlegm from the throat;

provokes coughing.

Polygala sibirica Linn.

Synonym P. heyneana Wall.

ex W. & A.

Family Polygalaceae.

Habitat Throughout the Himalayas

and Western Ghats.

English Common Milkwort.

Folk Negali, Meradu (var.).

Action Leaves—used in spermatorrhoea.

Root—a decoction is given

as an expectorant in cold and cough

and chronic chest diseases. (Used

as a substitute for Senega.) Also

used for inflammation of urinary

bladder; externally for mammary

abscesses and carbuncles.

Polygonatum cirrhifolium

(Wall.) Royle.

Family Liliaceae.

Habitat Northern Himalayas, from

, to , m.

Ayurvedic Mahaa-medaa, Medaa,

(substitute: Asparagus racemosus,

also Saalab-misri.)

Folk Devarigaanl (Gharwal).

Action Root—rejuvenating tonic

for nervous system.

The root gave neoprazerigenin A-

-O-beta-lycotetraoside (PS-III) and

its methyl proto-type congener (PSII)

and steroidal saponins, sibiricoside

A (PS-I) and sibiricoside B (PS-IV).

Dosage Root—– g powder.



508 Polygonatum multiflorum All.

Polygonatum multiflorum All.

Family Liliaceae.

Habitat Western Himalayas

from Kashmir to Kumaon and in


English Solomon's Seal.

Ayurvedic Mahaa-medaa, Medaa

(var.). (Substitute: Asparagus


Action Anti-inflammatory, nervine,

astringent. Used as an infusion for

pulmonary complaints; as a poultice

for piles and bruises.

The root and herb gave diosgenin

and its glycosides.

Dosage Root—– g powder.


Polygonatum verticillatum All.

Family Liliaceae.

Habitat Temperate Himalayas and


Ayurvedic Medaa. (Substitute:

Asparagus racemosus.)

Unani Shaqaaqul. (Substitute:

Pastinaca secacul.)

Folk Mithaa-dudhiaa.

Action Used in Tibetan medicine

for treating emaciation, senility,

pulmonary affections. The rhizomes

is valued as salep.

The dried rhizomes contain .–%


The lactins of the rootstock did not

contain carbohydrates; the amino acid

revealed presence of % aspartic acid

and asparagine.

The plant exhibits diuretic properties.

It gave a digitalis glucoside and is

considered poisonous by the hill people

in the Himalayas.

Polygonum affine D. Don.

Synonym Bistorta affinis (D. Don)


Family Polygonaceae.

Habitat Himalayas from Kashmir

to Nepal at altitudes of ,–, m.

Folk Khukhudi.

Action Flowers—stimulant.

The inflorescence gave flavonoids,

including quercetin, isorhamnetin, luteolin

and apigenin derivatives. The

leaves contain the flavonoids, -Cglucosyltricin

and isorhamnetin.

Polygonum aviculare Linn.

Family Polygonaceae.

Habitat From Kashmir to Kumaon.

English Knotgrass, Knotweed,

Mexican Sanguinaria.

Folk Machoti, Kesri.

Action Astringent and haemostatic.

Used for excessive menstruation,

bleeding piles; bleeding from

bowel, stomach, lungs, nose, throat;

mucous colitis, children's summer



Polygonum glabrum Willd. 509

Key application In mild catarrhs of

the respiratory tract, inflammatory

changes to the oral and pharyngeal

mucosa. (German Commission E.)

The plant gave flavonoids including

quercetin, avicularin, quercitrin, and

derivatives of kaempferol, esculetin

and scopoletin. The plant also gave

gallic, caffeic, oxalic., silicic, chlorogenic

and p-coumaric acids; tannins

including catechin.

The methanolic extract of the plant

showed high protection against CCl-

induced hepatotoxicity in mice. This

activity is attributed to the presence of

flavonoid glucosides.

The flavonoids exhibit astringent

properties and are found to decrease

capillary fragility and have a cortisonelike-

effect on gingival tissue. (J Ethnopharmacol,

(), .)

Polygonum bistorta Linn.

Synonym P. paleaceum Wall. ex

Hook. f.

Family Polygonaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Kashmir to Sikkim and the hills of


English Snake Weed, Bistort,

Dragon Wort.

Unani Anjabaar.

Action Anti-inflammatory,

haemostatic, astringent, demulcent,

anticatarrhal, antidiarrhoeal. Used

for internal haemorrhages, irritable

bowel, diverticulosis, urinary and

uterine affections. Used as a mouth

wash and gargle for ulceratedmouth

and bleeding gums.

The herb contains ferulic, sinapic,

vanillic, syringic, melilotic, p-coumaric,

p-hydroxybenzoic, gentisic, salicyclic

and ellagic acids, about –%

tannins mainly catechins.

When administered before the induction

of adjuvant arthritis, the

aqueous-ethanolic extract of the herb

inhibited both the maximal oedema response

and the total oedema response

in rat.

Polygonum glabrum Willd.

Family Polygonaceae.

Habitat Throughout India in

marshy places, up to , m. in the


Ayurvedic Rakta-rohidaa (Gujarat).

Siddha/Tamil Attalaree.

Action Plant juice and rootstock—

used in pneumonia, consumption,

jaundice, fevers. Leaf—

antispasmodic. Used for colic.

The leaves contain flavonoids—

quercetin, rhamnetin, quercitrin, avicularin

and rutin. Flowers contain

pigments, delphinidin-,-diglucoside

and cyanidin-,-diglucoside and


The methanolic aqueous extract of

the leaf gave a pure anthelmintic substance,

a terpenoid (PGA). (The herb

is used as an anthelmintic in Sudan.)


510 Polygonum hydropiper Linn.

Polygonum hydropiper Linn.

Family Polygonaceae.

Habitat Throughout India in wet


English Water Pepper, Pepperwort,


Folk Paakur-muula, Paani-maricha


Action Haemostatic, astringent,

anti-inflammatory, diuretic,

lithotriptic, emmenagogue (used

as infusion for delayed menses

and amenorrhoea), antifungal

(root and leaf used externally).

Contraindicated during pregnancy.

The herb contains sesquiterpenes,

including warburganal and polygodial,

in the leaves; polygonal, isodrimeninol,

isopolygodial and confertifolin in

the seeds; and flavonoids including

quercetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin

and rhamnesin; polygonolide (an isocoumarin).

Isoquercitrin exhibited significant

anti-oxidative activity. Polygodial and

warburganal possess significant antifungal

property. Warburganal also

possesses potent cytotoxic and antibiotic

activity. (The herb is used against


Polygonum plebeium R.Br.

Family Polygonaceae.

English Throughout warmer parts

of India in moist areas, ascending

to , m in the Himalayas.

Ayurvedic Sarpaakshi (a confusing


Folk Muniyaaraa (Bihar), Raaniphool,

Macheti, Dubiaa Saaga.

Action Galactogenic, antidiarrhoeal.

Powdered herb is given in


The whole plant yields % tannin.

The rootstock contains oxymethylanthraquinone.

Flowers gave oleanolic acid, betulinic

acid, epi-friedelanol, beta-sitosterol,

and flavonoids—quercetin, quercetin-

-arabinoside and quercetin--rutinoside.

Polygonum viviparum Linn.

Family Polygonaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Kashmir to Sikkim at ,–, m.

English Viviparous Bistort.

Unani Anjabaar. (substitute).

Folk Billori, Maamekh (Punjab).

Action Rootstock—astringent,

antidiarrhoeal, antileucorrhoeic,

antiseptic, antiperiodic. Used

in haemoptysis; also for gleet.

A decoction is used as a gargle for

sore throat and spungy gums, as

a lotion for ulcers.

Polypodium vulgare Linn.

Family Polypodiaceae.

English Polypody Root.

Unani Bisfaayaj.


Pongamia pinnata Pierre. 511

Action Expectorant, laxative,

stomachic, cholagogue, alterative,

antistress. Used in cough, bronchitis,

catarrh, loss of appetite,

dyspepsia; and in skin diseases.

The rhizome gave saponin glycosides,

based on polypodosapogenin,

including osladin; ecdysteroids; phloroglucin

derivatives; tannin.

Polyporus officinalis Fries

Family Polyporaceae.

Habitat On the old trunks of

various coniferous trees.

English White Agaric.

Unani Ghaariqoon.

Action Used in the treatment of

sweats in wasting diseases such as

phthisis (it checks profuse sweats);

also as an expectorant and diuretic.

Thedrug contains agaric acid (agaricin).

The resinous extract, when burnt,

yields notmore than % of a white ash,

rich in phosphates. The drug gives –% soft resin.

Agaric acid acts as a counter-irritant

when applied to abraded surfaces or

mucous membrane.

Polyscias fruticosa (L.) Harms.

Synonym Nothopanax fruticosum

(L.) Miq.

Panax fruticosus L.

Family Araliaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in gardens all

over India.

Action Leaf—used in sinusitis,

headache,migraine, tonsillitis. Stem

bark—used for promoting expulsion

of placenta after child birth. Root—

antibacterial, antifungal, diuretic.

Leaf and root—used in dysuria.

The root contains polyacetylenes,

falcarinol and heptadeca derivatives.

Falcarinol and heptadeca exhibited

strong antibacterial activity against

Gram-positive bacteria and the dermatophytic

bacteria, also showed antifungal

activity. The antibacterial activity

of falcarinol was found to be

 to  times stronger than that of

erythromycin, chloramphenicol and


Polyscias scutellaria (Burm. f.) F. R.

Fosberg (commonly grown in Indian

gardens) exhibits anti-inflammatory

activity. The leaves contain several triterpenoid

saponins, polyscisaponins,

oleanolic acid derivatives.

Pongamia pinnata Pierre.

Synonym P. glabra Vent.

Derris indica (Lam.) Benett.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Western Ghats, tidal

forests up to , m.

English Pongam Oil tree, Indian


Ayurvedic Karanja.

Siddha/Tamil Pungam.

Action Oil—applied in scabies,

herpes, leucoderma and other

cutaneous diseases; over chest in

pneumonia and cold; also used


512 Populus alba Linn.

internally as cholagogue in sluggish

liver. Leaves—juice is prescribed

in flatulence, dyspepsia, diarrhoea

and cough. An infusion is given for

leprosy and gonorrhoea. Root—

a paste is used in scrofulous

enlargements; juice is used for

cleaning foul ulcers and closing

fistulous sores. Stem bark—given

internally in bleeding piles. Rind

of pod and seed—prescribed in

bronchitis and whooping cough.

Leaf and seed—antileprotic. Leaf

and seed oil—antirheumatic.

The tree is rich in flavonoids and related

compounds. These include simple

flavones, furanoflavonoids, chromenoflavones,


coumarones, flavone glucosides, sterols,

triterpenes and amodified phenylalanine

dipeptide. Seeds and seed oil

gave karanjin, pongamol, pongapin

and kanjone.

The aqueous extract of stem bark

shows significant sedative and antipyretic

effects in rats, and antispasmodic

effect in vitro on smooth muscles.

In Indonesia, a decoction of the bark

is drunk after child birth.

The aqueous extract of seeds showed

significant antiviral activity against

herpes simplex viruses HSV- and 

cell lines experimentally. Albino rats,

treated with the aqueous extract of

seeds, recovered faster from induced

infection and skin-burn than the untreated


Dosage Seed— mg powder; – g for decoction. (API, Vol. I.)

Populus alba Linn.

Family Salicaceae.

Habitat Northwestern Himalaya

at ,–, m, also grown in


English White Poplar.

Folk Safedaa, Jangali Fraas.

Action Bark—antirheumatic,

anti-inflammatory, antibacterial,

antipyretic, diuretic, febrifuge,

stimulant, antiseptic. Used for

arthritis, rheumatic affections,

cystitis and other urinary diseases,

stomach and liver disorders,

anorexia and debility.

Key application Unopened leafbuds

externally for haemorrhoids,

frostbite and sunburn. (German

Commission E.)

The bark contains glycosides, salicin

and populin, erisin and tannin (–%).

Salicin, a bitter tonic and antiperiodic,

is used like quinine in intermittent

fever, also in rheumatism.

Populus nigra Linn. var.

italica Kochne.

Family Salicaceae.

Habitat North-western Himalaya

at –, m.

English Black Lombardy Poplar.

Action Bark and balsam from

leaf bud— used for cold. Bark—

depurative. Leaf bud—antiseptic,



Portulaca quadrifida Linn. 513

The bud exudate contains dimethylcaffeic

acid, which was found active

against herpes simplex virus type .

A % ethanol extract of a mixture

of flowers and buds showed % inhibition

of enzymatic conversion of testosterone

into  alpha-dihydrotesterone

and -androstene-, -dione. The extract

was partitioned between ethylacetate

and water and the resultant ethylacetate

fraction contained the active

compounds, pinobanksin, demethylquercetin

and pinocembrin. It exhibited

% inhibitory activity on the enzyme.

Pinocembrin was the most potent,

almost equal to estradiol, which

was used as a control.

The bark of all Populus species contains,

phenolic glycosides, salicin and

populin (salicin benzoate). Tannins are

also present (–%).

Both salicin and populin cause elimination

of uric acid. Salicin is antiperiodic

and is used like quinine in intermittent

fever, also in coryza, rheumatism

and neuralgia.

Portulaca oleracea Linn.

Family Portulacaceae.

Habitat All over India, cultivated

as a vegetable.

English Common Purslane.

Ayurvedic Brihat Lonikaa, Lonaa,

Loni, Ghoddhika, Ghotikaa,

Upodika, Khursaa.

Unani Khurfaa, Kulfaa.

Siddha/Tamil Pulli-keerai, Paruppukirai.

Action Refrigerant (reduces body

heat), mild spasmodic, diuretic,

antiscorbutic. Used in scurvy and in

diseases of liver, spleen, kidney and

bladder; also in dysuria, stomatitis

and dysentery. A paste of leaves

is applied to swellings, erysipelas,

burns and scalds. Seeds—diuretic,

antidysenteric; applied externally to

burns and scalds.

A crude protein-free extract of the

herb contained l-nor-adrenaline, dopamine

and l-dopa, also catechol. (The

fresh plant contained . mg/g l-noradrenaline

in one sample.) The extract

gave a strong pressor responsewhen injected

intravenously into anaesthetized


The oral administration of the homogenates

of P. oleracea reduced the

blood sugar level of alloxan-diabetic

rabbits to normal.

The extract of the leaves and stems

reduced muscle tone in individuals

suffering from spasticity and exhibited

skeletal muscle relaxant activity

both in vitro and in vivo. The extract

produced dose-dependent negative inotropic

and chronotropic effects and

pressor response on rat blood pressure.

The diuretic action of the herb is

attributed to the presence of high percentage

of potassium salts.

Dosage Plant-– mg powder;

juice—– ml (CCRAS.)

Portulaca quadrifida Linn.

Family Portulacaceae.


514 Portulaca tuberosa Roxb.

Habitat Warmer parts of India,

cultivated as a vegetable.

Ayurvedic Laghu-lonikaa.

Siddha/Tamil Siru Pasalai-keerai.

Action Similar to P. oleracea.

Used in asthma, cough, urinary

discharges, inflammations and

ulcers. A poultice of the herb

is applied to haemorrhoids and


Portulaca tuberosa Roxb.

Synonym P. pilosa Linn.

Family Portulacaceae.

Habitat Peninsular India, near


Ayurvedic Bichhuu-buuti.

Folk Jangali Gaajar (Gujarat),

Sanjivani (Bihar).

Action Leaves—an infusion

is given internally in dysuria;

externally applied to erysipelas. The

herb shows diuretic, calculolythic,

analgesic and antipyretic properties.

The aerial parts contain diterpenoids,

pilosanone A and B.

Potentilla anserina Linn.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat Western Himalayas at

altitudes of ,–, m.

English Silverweed.

Action Astringent, antiinflammatory,


haemostatic. Used for diarrhoea,

leucorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea,

arthritis, cramps, kidney stones,

bleeding piles; as a mouth wash in

pyrrhoea, gingivitis and sore throat.

Key application In mild dismenorrhoeal

disorders; as a support for

treatment of milder, nonspecific,

acute diarrhoea and in light inflammation

of the oral and pharyngeal

mucosa. (German Commission E.)

The plant gave anthocyanins—cyanidin

and delphinidin. Aerial parts

gave tannins (–%). The plant also

gave choline, betaine, histidine, an

essential oil and vitamin E.

The maximum amounts of tannins

occur in the root stock (up to .% on

dry basis). The ethanolic and aqueous

extract of the herb ( : ) contain .

to .% of tannin. The tannin fraction

exhibited anti-mutagenic effect.

Potentilla fruticosa HK. (temperate

Himalaya) is also used like Silverweed.

The flowers and young shoots contain

flavonoids, quercetin, terniflorin,

tribuloside and ()-catechin. The plant

also contains stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol

and campesterol; ()-epicatechol

gallate, ()-catechol, ()-epicatechol,

()-epigallocatechol and ()-epigallocatechol

gallatehavebeen isolated from

aerial parts.

Potentilla arbuscula D. Don.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat Temperate Himalaya from

Himachal Pradesh to Sikkim and

the hills of Assam at ,–, m.


Premna herbacea Roxb. 515

Ayurvedic Bajradanti (Kumaon

and Garhwal). Potentilla fulgens

HK. is also equated with Bajradanti.

Action Rootstock—antidiarrhoeal;

used in tooth powders for

strengthening gum and teeth.

Potentilla nepalensis Hook.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Kashmir to Kumaon.

Folk Ratanjot (substitute).

Action Rootstocks—depurative;

ash, mixed with oil, is applied to


Pothos scandens Linn.

Family Araceae.

Habitat Cultivated as an ornamental.

Found in Bihar, North

Bengal, Orissa, Western Ghats and


Siddha/Tamil Aanaparuga.

Action Leaves—anti-inflammatory,

antiseptic, antimicrobial. Applied to

smallpox pustules. Root—bruised

and fried in oil, applied to abscesses.

Prangos pabularia Lindl.

Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat Kashmir and Himachal

Pradesh at altitudes of ,–, m.

Ayurvedic Avipriya.

Unani Baadiyaan-kohi, Karafs-ekohi,

Fitraasaaliyun (also equated

with Petroselinum crispum Mill.

Nym. ex auct. Kew.).

Folk Komal.

Action Root and fruit—diuretic,

emmenagogue. An infusion of root

is given for indigestion and irregular


The roots and umbels yielded coumarins

and their glycosides. Osthol


which occurs in the dried roots up to

the extent of .%, has been found to

be a potent respiratory and circulatory

stimulant in experimental animals. Its

respirotonic effect was more marked

than that of coramine, leptazol and


Premna herbacea Roxb.

Synonym Pygmaeopremna herbacea


Family Verbenaceae.

Habitat Thesub-tropical Himalayas

and inAssam, extending southwards

through West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa

into Deccan Peninsula. Roots are

usually confused with those of

Clerodendrum serratum and are

sold as Bhaarangi.

Siddha/Tamil Siru Thekku.

Folk Gethiaa, Ghantu Bhaarangi.

Baaman-haati (Bengal). Fruits

are known as Bhuumi-jambu,

Phin Jaamun. The root is known

as Bhaarangamuula; in Andhra

Pradesh, Gandu Bhaarangi.


516 Premna integrifolia Linn.

Action Root and leaves—given in

asthma, rheumatism.

The root contains several diterpenoids.

Quinonemethide (bharangin)

is reported from the plant.

Premna integrifolia Linn.

Synonym P. obtusifolia R. Br.

P. corymbosa auct. non Rottl. &


Family Verbenaceae.

Habitat Indian and Andaman

Coasts, plains of Assam and Khasi


English Headache tree.

Ayurvedic Agnimantha (Kerala),

Shriparni, Jayee, Ganikaarikaa,


Siddha/Tamil Munnai

Folk Agethaa, Ganiyaari.

Action Carminative, galactagogue.

The tender plant is used for neuralgia

and rheumatism. A decoction of

leaves is used for flatulence and


Aqueous extracts of the plant

showed a powerful action on the uterus

and gout of the experimental animals,

causing a marked increase in their activity.

The leaves contain an isoxazole alkaloid

premnazole, which was found

to reduce granuloma formation in rats

(.%), its activity was comparable

to phenylbutazone (–%).

Premnazole also reduced GPT and

GOT in serum and liver. Studies suggest

that premnazole acts probably by

controlling the activity of the adrenocorticotropic


Dosage Leaf, root bark—– ml decoction, powder—– g.


Premna latifolia Roxb.

Family Verbenaceae.

Habitat Peninsular India, Bihar,

West Bengal and North-eastern


English Dusky Fire Brand Bark.

Ayurvedic Agnimantha (var.).

Siddha/Tamil Pachumullai, Erumai


Folk Agethu (var.).

Action Leaves—diuretic, spasmolytic.

Stem bark—hypoglycaemic.

The leaves gave a furanoid, premnalatin,

and flavone glycosides. The

stem bark gave iridoid glucosides and

geniposidic acid.

Premna latifolia var. mucronata C.B.

Clarke and Premna barbata Wall. are

known as Bakaar and Basota (in Garhwal).

These have been equated with the

classical herb Vasuhatta.

Premna tomentosa Willd.

Synonym Cornulia corymbosa


Family Verbenaceae.

Habitat Peninsular India and Bihar

up to , m.

English Bastard Teak.


Prosopis chilensis Stuntz. 517

Ayurvedic Agnimanth (var.).

Siddha/Tamil Kolakottathekku

pinari, Pondanganari.

Folk Gineri (var.).

Action Bark and essential oil

of root—used in stomach disorders.

Leaf—diuretic, vulnerary;

prescribed as a tonic after child

birth; used in dropsical affections.

Pounded leaves—vulnerary.

The heartwood gave apigenin derivatives.

The leaves gave essential oil

containing d-and dl-limonene, betacaryophyllene

a sesquiterpene hydrocarbon,

a diterpene hydrocarbon and

a sesquiterpene tertiary alcohol.

Primula denticulata Sm.

Family Primulaceae.

Habitat Temperate Himalayas from

Kashmir to Bhutan and in Khasi

and Jaintia hills at , m.

Folk Keechey (Tibet).

Action Root—powder used for

killing leeches. Flowers—eaten in


The whole plant contains several triterpenoid


Primula veris Linn., synonym P.

officinalis Hill and P. elatior Hill are

grown in Indian gardens.

Key application Primula veris, P.

elatior Hill—the flower and the root

in catarrhs of the respiratory tract.

(German Commission E, ESCOP.)

Contraindicated in gastritis and

gastric ulcer. (ESCOP.)

The roots and rhizomes of P. veris

and P. elatior contain a saponin, yielding

a sapogenin, primulagenin A.Aflavonol

glycoside named primulaflavonoloside

has been reported in the flowers

of P. veris. The root of P. veris are

considered as a substitute for Senega

(Polygala senega) roots.

Anthocyanidins have been detected

in most of the Primula species, also

a highly toxic allergenic substance,

primin, in the leaves and glandular

hairs. The floral and foliar parts of the

different genotypes showed presence of

kaempferol, quercetin and myricetin.

Primula vulgaris Huds.

Synonym P. acaulis Hill.

Family Primulaceae.

Habitat Sub-Himalayan region.

English Primrose (Evening

Primrose is equated with Oenothera

biennis), Cowslip.

Unani Nakhud. (Also equated

with Cicer arietinum by National

Formulary of Unani Medicine.)

Action Plant—anti-inflammatory,

vulnerary, vermifuge, emetic. Used

only externally.

The plant gave phenolic glycosides,

flavonoids, saponins.

Prosopis chilensis Stuntz.

Synonym Prosopis juliflora DC.

Family Mimosaceae.


518 Prosopis spicigera Linn.

Habitat Argentine, Arid, Mexican,

Peruvian and Australian species

have been introduced into India.

English Mesquite.

Folk Khejaraa, Vilaayati Kikar,

Kaabuli Kikar.

Action Gum—inferior to Gum

arabic. The dry wood contains

., bark .–., and roots –%


The leaves contain piperidine alkaloids,

juliprosinene, juliflorinine and

N-methyljuliforidine. Other alkaloids

present in the leaves are juliprosine,

isojuliprosine, juliflorine, julifloricine

and julifloridine.

A mixture of alkaloids containing

mainly juliprosine and isojuliprosine

showed significant antifungal activity

against dermatophytes (comparable to


The alkaloid fraction also showed

broad spectrum bactericidal action

against both Gram-positive and Gramnegative

bacteria (comparable to antibiotics

like penicillin, streptomycin,

ampicillin, sulphamethoxazole and tetracycline).

Significant activity of juliflorine

against fungi and bacteria, and that

of julifloricine against bacteria has also

been reported.

The fruit gave a flavone glycoside,

patulitrin which exhibited cytotoxic


Prosopis spicigera Linn.

Synonym P. cineraria Druce.

Family Mimosaceae.

Habitat Dry and acrid regions of


Ayurvedic Shami, Tungaa,

Keshahantri, Shankuphalaa.

Siddha/Tamil Kalisam.

Action Pod—astringent, pectoral,

demulcent. Bark—antiinflammatory,


Flower—administered to prevent


The stem bark contains vitamin K,

n-octacosyl acetate, the long chain

aliphatic acid. Presence of glucose,

rhamnose, sucrose and starch is also


A cytotoxic principle, patulibin, has

been isolated from flowers.

Dosage Leaf, fruit—– g powder,

– ml decoction. (CCRAS.)

Prosopis stephaniana Kunth.

Family Mimosaceae.

Habitat Parts of Punjab and


Ayurvedic Samudra-shami, Shami


Folk Khejaraa (var.)

Action Pods and roots—astringent,

styptic, antidysenteric.

Prunus amygdalus Batsch var.

amara (bitter); var. sativa (sweet).

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in Kashmir

at elevation of –, m, also


Prunus avium Linn. 519

in Himachal Pradesh and Uttar


English Almond.

Ayurvedic Vaataama, Vaataada.

Unani Baadaam Shireen, Loz.

Siddha/Tamil Vaadumai.

Action Kernels—nutritious,

demulcent and stimulant nervine

tonic; valuable in diets for peptic

ulcer. Unripe fruits— astringent,

applied to gums. Oil—nutritive,

demulcent, slightly laxative.

Almond flourmadefromthe residue

left after expressing almond oil, and almond

butter, is used for the preparation

of starch-free diabetic food.

The chief protein of almond is a globulin,

amandin, an albumin is also reported.

Amandin has a high arginine

content (.%). The primary chemical

difference between the sweet and

bitter kernel lies in the high content

(.–.%) of amygdalin in bitter kernel;

the ripe sweet almond being free

of this cyanogenetic glucoside. Owing

to the presence of amygdalin, which

on enzymatic hydrolysis yields hydrocyanic

acid, the bitter almond is not fit

for human consumption.

The oil yield from bitter kernels is

usually  to % and from sweet almond

 to %. The bitter almond

oil containing hydrocyanic acid finds

limited use in medicine as an antispasmodic

and sedative. Dissolved in 

times water, it is applied externally in

prurigo senilis. Hydrocyanic acid-free

oil is used for flavouring purposes.

Partial replacement of saturated fatty

acids with almonds lowers total

plasma cholesterol and low-density

lipoprotein cholesterol.

Prunus armeniaca Linn.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat North-western Himalayas,

particularly in the valleys of

Kashmir, Chenab and Kullu, and in

Simla hills at altitudes of , m.

English Apricot.

Ayurvedic Peetaalu, Aaluka,


Unani Khuubaani, Mashmash.

Action Powdered kernels—

antitussive, antiasthmatic.

The dried apricot contains, ,-

dihydroxybenzoic, chlorogenic and

vanillic acids, quercetin, quercitrin,

rutin, hyperoside and kaempferol.

Apricot leaves contain quercetin, cynadin,

kaempferol, caffeic acid and

p-coumaric acid.

Prunus avium Linn.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat Native to Eurasia;

cultivated in Kashmir, Kumaon and

Himachal Pradesh.

English Sweet Cherry.

Ayurvedic Elavaaluka, Elaya,


Folk Gilaas, Krusbal.

Action Fruit stalks—diuretic, antiinflammatory,

astringent, used for

oedema, inflammation of urinary


520 Prunus cerasoides D. Don.

tract, cystitis, nephritis, urinary


The stems contain salicylic acid,

organic acids tannins and potassium

salts. Protocatechuic, p-coumaric, ferulic

and diferculic acids have been

identified in the shoots.

The fruit contains salicylates and

cyanogenic glycosides, and vitamin A,

B and C. Sugars consist mainly of

glucose and fructose, with sucrose as

a minor component. Malic acid is the

principal acid, small amounts of citric,

tartaric and succinic acids are also

reported. The lipids of the fruit pulp

contain cis-vaccenic acid.

The acetone extract of peduncle gave

an isoflavone, prunetin, which on hydrolysis

yielded an aglycone identified

as prunetin and sugar as glucose.

The seeds contain a cyanogenic glycoside

and are toxic. The bark contains

tannins up to %.

Dosage Seed—– g powder.


Prunus cerasoides D. Don.

Synonym P. puddum Roxb. ex

Brandis. non-Miq.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat The temperate Himalayas

from Garhwal to Sikkim, also in


English Wild Himalayan Cherry,

Bird Cheery.

Ayurvedic Padmaka, Padmagandhi,

Padmaadyaa, Padmaakha,


Action Kernel—antilithic. Stem—

refrigerant, antipyretic. Tender

branches are crushed and soaked in

water and taken internally to avert

abortion. Oil—similar to that of

bitter almond oil.

The plant contains a flavone glucoside,

puddumin-A. The root bark

contains beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol,

ursolic acid, prunetinoside, glucogenkwanin

and neosakuranin. Seeds contain

flavonoid glycosides.

The leaves, twigs, bark and kernels

contain a cyanogenetic substance.

Dosage Heartwood—– g powder.

(API, Vol. III.)

Prunus cerasus Linn.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat Native of Eurasia;

cultivated in Kashmir, Himachal

Pradesh and Kumaon for edible


English Sour Cherry.

Ayurvedic Elavaaluka (var.).

Folk Aalu-baalu, Gilaas.

Action Fruit—diuretic, antiinflammatory.

Used for genitourinary

inflammations, cystitis and

urine retention. Bark—febrifuge,

antidiarrhoeal. Fruit stalk—diuretic.

Fruit stalk and stem—pectoral.

Bark and fruit stalk—astringent.

Kernel—nervine. Leaf—an infusion

is given for convulsions in children.

Key application Heartwood—in

skin eruptions, erysipelas, obstinate

skin diseases, haemorrhagic


Prunus persica Batsch. 521

diseases. As a tonic for promoting

conception. (The Ayurvedic

Pharmacopoeia of India.)

The leaves, fruits and bark gave

flavone glycosides. The bark contains

–% tannin. The kernel contains

a considerable proportion of hydrocyanic

acid. The leaves contain amygdalin.

(Amygdalin, a nitrile glycoside,

has been reported to inhibit the growth

of Sarcoma- cells in culture.)

Prunus domestica Linn.

Synonym P. communis Huds.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in Kashmir,

Himachal Pradesh and Kumaon.

English Prune.

Ayurvedic Aaruka (Prunus domestica

var. insititia). Aaluubukhaaraa.

Unani Aaluuchaa.

Siddha/Tamil Alpagada-pungam.

Action Fruit—refrigerant, laxative,

nutritive. Improves haemoglobin

levels in iron deficiency. Promotes

excretion of excess calcium by

the kidneys. An adjuvant for

atherosclerosis and arthritis.


The fruit pulp contains about %

sugar and malic acid as major constituents.

Kernel contains fixed oil

about % and amygdalin and benzoic

acid among others.

The crude extract of the fruit was

found effective in controlling centrally

induced emesis in dogs. The action

was comparable to that of Metoclopramide

(Maxolon) and chlorpromazine


Prunus mahaleb Linn.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat Native to Europe and

West Asia, introduced in India and

grown as an ornamental.

English Mahaleb Cherry.

Ayurvedic Gandha-priyangu.

(Priyangu is equated with Callicarpa

macrophylla Vahl.)

Unani Mahlib, Habb-ul-Mihlab.

Folk Ghaulaa (Maharashtra).

Action Kernel—paste applied

externally for treating freckles and

blemishes. Contains coumarin,

salicylic acid, amygdalin and hydrocyanic

acid as major constituents;

the oil gave alpha-elecsteric acid.

Prunus persica Batsch.

Synonym Persica vulgaris Nutt.

Amydgala persica Linn.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat Native to China; cultivated

in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and


English Peach.

Ayurvedic Aaluka, Aaruka, Aru,


Action Fruit—mild tranquillizer,

expectorant, diuretic, antipyretic.

Bark or leaves—used as tea for


522 Pseudarthria viscida Wt. & Arn.

morning sickness, dry and hard

cough, whooping cough and

bronchitis. Leaves—used in



Peach seeds are a constituent of a traditionalChinese

herbal drugwhich has

been used for the treatment of gynaecological

disorders such as hypermenorrhea,

dysmenorrhoea and infertility.

Peach fruit extract containing nitrile

glycosides, such as prunasin and amygdalin,

has been reported to inhibit the

growth of Sarcoma- cells in culture.

Fast-acting, wrinkle-eliminating

cosmetic formulations contain peach

kernel extract as one of the components.

The heartwood contains beta-sitosterol

and its D-glucoside, hentriacontane,

hentriacontanol, and the flavonoids

naringenin, dihydrokaempferol,

kaempferol and quercetin.

Pseudarthria viscida Wt. & Arn.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Orissa throughout South

India and Gujarat.

Ayurvedic Sanaparni, Shaalaparni


Siddha/Tamil Neermalli.

Action Root—astringent, febrifuge,

antirheumatic. A decoction or

powder is used for biliousness

and diarrhoea. Used as a substitute

for Desmodium gangeticum

(Shaalaparni) in South India.

Leucopelargonidin has been isolated

from the root.

Psidium guajava Linn.

Family Myrtaceae.

Habitat Native to Central America;

cultivated chiefly in Uttar Pradesh,

Punjab, Bihar, Maharashtra, and

Andhra Pradesh.

English Guava

Ayurvedic Peruka (non-classical),


Siddha/Tamil Koyya.

Action Unripe fruit—antidiarrhoeal.

Leaves—used for dysentery,

diabetes, cough and cold. Flowers—


Guava juice may be helpful in regulating

blood sugar in type  diabetes

and syndrome X. (Sharon M. Herr.)

A residue obtained frommethanolic

fraction of unripe fruits was found to

possess significant antidiarrhoeal activity.

The fraction decreased gastric

motility in an experimental animal

model. The fraction was also found to

inhibit significantly the growth of different

strains of Shigella sp. and Vibrio


InChina andTaiwan, the leaf extract

is administered for treating diarrhoea,

dysentery, diabetes and inflammations.

The leaf extract (containing quercetin)

inhibits acetylcholine release in the

gastro-intestinal tract which might account

for us antidiarrhoeal activity. An

extract of leaveswith a little salt is given

in relieve whooping cough.

In New Papua Guinea, decoction of

new leaf tips is drunk to treat hepatitis.

Guava seed oil contains very higher

proporation of linoleic acid (.%)


Pterocarpus dalbergioides Roxb. 523

than sunflower, groundnut, olive, soybean

and coconut oil. The seeds from

Pakistan yield .% of a fatty oil.

Vitamin C content of the ripe fruit

ranges from  to  mg/ g. It

is highest in the skin and in the flesh

next to it.

PsidiumcattleyanumSabine is equated

with Straberry Guava and is known

as Seemai Koyya in Tamil Nadu and

Pahari Payaar in Bengal. The fruit contains

vitamin C – mg/ g.

Smaller var. of Guava is equated

with Psidium guineense Sw. It is found

in Tripura.

Psoralea corylifolia Linn.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

English Babchi, Purple Fleabane.

Habitat Rajasthan., eastern districts

of Punjab and adjoining areas of

Uttar Pradesh.

Ayurvedic Somaraaji, Somavalli,

Somavallik, Soma, Chaandri,

Vaakuchi, Baakuchi, Avalguja.

(Somaraaji and Avalguja have also

been equated with Centratherum


Unani Baabchi, Bakuchi.

Siddha/Tamil Karpoogaarisi.

Action Seed—used in leucoderma,

vitiligo, leprosy, psoriasis and

inflammatory diseases of the skin,

both orally and externally. (The

Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India.)

The seed and roots contain chalcones,

flavones, isoflavones, furanocoumarins

and coumesterol group of

compounds. These include psoralen,

isopsoralen, bavachinin.

A mixture of psoralen and isopsoralen,

in a ratio of :, is recommended

for topical application in leucoderma.

These furanocoumarins initiate transformation

of DOPA to melanin under

the influence of UV light. Seeds

are powdered and administered orally

with warm water ( g/day) in cases of


Psoralen was found to be cytotoxic

in vitro. The combination therapy of

psoralen and UV irradiation has been

shown to inhibit the growth of tumours

in vivo.

Bavachinin-A, isolated from the

fruits, exhibited marked anti-inflammatory,

antipyretic and mild analgesic

properties similar to those of

oxyphenylbutazone and hydrocortisone.

It demonstrated better antipyretic

activity than paracetamol experimentally.

Oral administration of the powdered

seeds has generally resulted in

side reactions (nausea, vomiting, purging);

external application generally

proved highly irritant to the skin.

Dosage Seed—– g powder

(CCRAS.); – g powder (API,

Vol. I).

Pterocarpus dalbergioides Roxb.

Family Fabaceae.

Habitat The Andamans, sparingly

cultivated in West Bengal.

English Andaman Padauk,

Andaman Redwood.


524 Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb.

Ayurvedic Rakta-chandana (var.).

Siddha Vengai (Tamil), Yerravegisa


Folk Chalangada (Andamans).

Action See Pterocarpus santalinus.

The wood contains a red pigment

santalin and a yellow flavonoid santal,

both of which also occur in Pterocarpus

santalinus. The bark and the

heartwood contain pterostilbene. The

heartwood yields pterocarpin, liquiritigenin

and isoliquiritigenin. The sapwood

gave homopterocarpin additionally.

Pterocarpus indicus Willd. non-Baker,

Malay Padauk, is also known as

Vengai in Tamil and Yerravegisa in Telugu.

A decoction of the wood is given

in dropsy and for stone in the bladder.

Thebark-kino is used as an application

for sores and a decoction of the bark

or kino is used for diarrhoea.

Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Throughout the tropical

zones of India in the hilly regions.

English Indian Kino tree, Malabar

Kino tree.

Ayurvedic Asana, Bijaka, Priyaka,


Unani Bijaysaar.

Siddha/Tamil Vengai.

Action Bark-kino—astringent,

antihaemorrhagic, antidiarrhoeal.

Flowers—febrifuge. Leaves—used

externally for skin diseases.

Key application Heartwood—

in anaemia, worm infestation,

skin diseases, urinary disorders,

lipid disorders and obesity. Stem

bark—in diabetes. (The Ayurvedic

Pharmacopoeia of India.)

The heartwood and roots contain

isoflavonoids, terpenoids and tannins.

Tannins include the hypoglycaemic

principle ()-epicatechin. Stilbenes,

such as pterostilbene; flavonoids, including

liquiritigenin, isoliquiritigenin,

-hydroxyflavanone, ,-dihydroxyflavanone,


and pterosupin; a benzofuranonemarsupsin

and propterol, p-hydroxy-benzaldehyde

are active principles of therapeutic


The gum-kino from the bark provides

a non-glucosidal tannin, Kino

tannic acid (–%).

The ()-epi-catechin increases the

cAMP content of the islets which is

associated with the increased insulin

release, conversion of proinsulin to insulin

and cathepsin B activity.

Oral administration of ethylacetate

extract of the heartwood and its flavonoid

constituents, marsupin, pterosupin

and liquiritigenin, for  consecutive

days to rats exhibited a significant

reduction of serum triglycerides,

total cholesterol and LDL- and

VLDL-cholesterol levels, but it did not

exert any significant effect on HDLcholesterol.

The ethanolic and methanolic extracts

of the heartwood exhibited significant

in vitro antimicrobial activity

against Gram-positive and Gramnegative

bacteria and some strains of



Pterospermum acerifolium Willd. 525

Kino is powerfully astringent. The

therapeutic value of kino is due toKino

tannic acid.

Dosage Heartwood—– g

for decoction. (API, Vol. I); stem

bark—– g for decoction (API,

Vol. III).

Pterocarpus santalinus Linn. f.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Found in Cuddaph district

of Andhra Pradesh, neighbouring

areas of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

English Red Sandalwood, Red


Ayurvedic Raktachandana,


Unani Sandal Surkh.

Siddha/Tamil Shivappu chandanam.

Folk Laal-chandan.

Action Heartwood—antibilious,

anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic,

astringent, diaphoretic, febrifuge.

A paste of wood is used externally

for inflammations and headache.


The heartwood contains terpenoids—

eudesmol, iso-pterocarpolone,

pterocarpol, cryptomeridiol, pterocarptriol

and pterocarpdiolone; pigments

santalins A and B.The bark contains


lupenone and lupeol derivatives. The

sapwood gave acetyl oleanolic aldehyde,

acetyl oleanolic acid and erythrodiol.

An ethanolic extract (%) of the

wood powder was found effective in

lowering blood sugar levels in fasting,

fed, glucose-loaded and streptozotocin

diabetic models in rats.

A cream prepared from the methanolic

extract of the heartwood of Red

Sandalwood and rhizomes of Curcuma

longa showed .% inhibition of

oedema in combination (Curcuma longa

and red sandalwood showed .

and .% inhibition respectively,

when used individually).

A decoction of the heartwood produced

potentiation of pentobarbitoneinduced

hypnosis in albino mice;

blocked conditioned avoidance response

in rats and showed anticonvulsant

and anti-inflammatory activities.

Dosage Heartwood—– g

powder. (API, Vol. III.)

Pterospermum acerifolium


Family Sterculiaceae.

Habitat Maharashtra, Manipur,

North Bengal, Bihar and Assam,

Western Ghats and Andaman


English Hathipaila.

Ayurvedic Muchukunda,

Muchakunda, Kshatravriksha,

Chivuka, Prativishnuka,

MuchukundaChampaa. Karnikaara

(also equated with Cassia fistula).

Unani Gul-e-Muchkun.

Siddha/Tamil Vennangu.

Action Flower—anti-inflammatory,

styptic (used for bleeding piles,

haematuria, ulcers). Charred


526 Pterospermum canescens Roxb.

flowers and bark, mixed with the

powder of Mallotus philippinensis,

are applied to smallpox eruptions.

The fresh flowers yielded kaempferol-

-O-beta-D-galactoside, along

with luteolin and its -O-glucoside.

The leaves also contain betulin, lupeol,

bauerenol, friedelin and betasitosterol.

Dosage Flower—– g powder.


Pterospermum canescens Roxb.

Synonym P. suberifolium Lam.


Family Sterculiaceae.

Habitat Karnataka and Tamil

Nadu, occasionally planted in West


Ayurvedic Muchukunda (var.)

Siddha/Tamil Sempulavu.

Action Flowers—anodyne; a paste

with rice-water and vinegar is used

externally in migraine. Leaves—

applied externally in headache.

Flowers gave arachidic, linoleic,myristic,

oleic, palmitic and stearic acids

and beta-sitosterol, kaempferol--

beta-D-galactoside and kaempferol-

-rutinoside. The flavonoids present

in the leaves are kaempferol--beta-Dgalactoside,

kaempferol, quercetin and

its -O-arabinoside and -O-rhamnoside.

The leaves also contain betulin,

beta-amyrin, lupeol, bauerenol, friedelin,

taraxerone and beta-sitosterol.

Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Eastern Himalayas, Assam

and Khasi Hills.

English Tropical Kudze.

Ayurvedic Vidaari (var.).

Action Root—antipyretic, antiinflammatory,

spasmolytic. Flower—


The root of P. lobata is used in Chinese

medicine as an antipyretic and

spasmolytic agent.

The root contains pueraria glycosides

and puerarol. The glycosides

showed strong antioxidant activity and

inhibited lipid peroxidation. The root

also contain several flavones which

showed .%inhibition against stomach

cancer in vivo in mice. The isoflayvonoids,

daidzein, formononetin,

daidzin and puerarin. Daidzein and

puerarin show significant anti-inflammatory


The cosmetics containing the root

extracts with –%puerarin and –% sugars (as sucrose) are used as

moisturizing, skin-lightening and sunscreening

and hair-growth stimulating


An isoflavonoid, triterpenoid saponin

and tryptophan derivative isolated

from the flowers showed protective effect

against experimental liver injuries

in mice.

The tryptophan derivatives and their

glycosides exhibited antihyperglycaemic


Pueraria phaseoloides (Roxb.)

Benth., synonym P. javanica Benth.

(Sub-Himalayan regions; Assam, AnP

Punica granatum Linn. 527

dhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala,

up to , m) is equated with Tropical

Kudze. The plant is used against ulcers

and boils.

Pueraria tuberosa DC.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Punjab, Western Uttar

Pradesh, Central India.

English Indian Kudze.

Ayurvedic Vidaari, Swaadukandaa,

Ikshugandhaa, Gajavaajipriyaa,

Kandapalaasha, Bhuumikushmaanda.

(Substitute for Jivaka and


Folk Bhui-kumhadaa, Suraal.

Action Tuber—diuretic, cardiac

tonic, galactagogue. Also used for

fertility control. Root—used as

a demulcent, and refrigerant in

fevers, as cataplasm for swelling of

joints, as galactagogue.

The butanolic extract of Pueraria

tuberosa showed significant protection

against hepatic damage in rats. The

ethanolic extract of the tubers and its

butanol and pre-puerarin fractions exhibited

anti-implantation effect. The

pure compounds, puerarin, daidzein

and tuberosin, exhibited significant

anti-implantation activity in hamsters.

In Indian medicine, Vidaari and

Kshira-vidaari are used for promoting

breast milk and semen, and as

a restorative tonic. Most authors have

equatedVidaari with Pueraria tuberosa

and Kshira-vidaari with Ipomoea digitata.

In Western herbal, Pueraria lobata

and P. tuberosa roots are used alone

or in combination with other products

for symptoms due to alcoholism. But

preliminary research shows thatKudze

does not improve sobriety in chronic

alcoholics. (Natural Medicines Comprehensive

Database, .)

Dosage Tuber—– g powder.


Pulicaria dysenterica Bernh.