the distinguished scientist
Dr. A. P. J. Adbul Kalam
who revived the glory of
Indian medicinal and aromatic plants
in the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
First of all, let me acknowledge with gratitude the contribution of the following
reference works which synchronised the synonyms and medicinal properties of
Indian medicinal plants:
• A Catalogue of Indian Synonyms of the Medicinal Plants of India by Moodeen
Sheriﬀ (). (The ﬁrst exhaustive compilation of synonyms of Indian medic-
inal plants in regional languages, besides Latin and English).
• Indian Medicinal Plants by Lt. Col. K.R. Kirtikar and Major B.D. Basu ().
• Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants by Col. Sir Ram Nath Chopra et al. (CSIR,
• Useful Plants of India (CSIR, ; based on The Wealth of India series, Vol. I
, Vol. XI ).
• Dictionary of Indian Medicinal Plants by Akhtar Husain et al. (CIMAP, ).
Based on this legacy, Indian Medicinal Plants. An Illustrated Dictionary is aimed
at bringing out an updated Active Study Dictionary of plant sources of Indian
medicine, as a companion volume of my earlier book Encyclopedia of Indian
Medicinal Plants/Indian Herbal Remedies, published by Springer.
Ayurvedic synonyms have been selected from the following sources:
• The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India (Vol. I to IV).
• Standard Nomenclature of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants (CCRAS, ).
• Medicinal Plants used in Ayurveda (Rashtriya Ayurveda Vidyapeeth/ National
Academy of Ayurveda, ).
• Plants of Sharangadhara Samhita by Prof. K.C. Chunekar and Dr. K. Pondel
(National Academy of Ayurveda, ).
VIII Guiding Factors
• Plants of Bhava Prakash by Prof. K.C. Chunekar and Dr. N.P. Hota (National
Academy of Ayurveda, ).
• Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha (CCRAS). Published
• Dravyagun Vigyaan, Vol. II (Hindi) by Dr. Priyavrata Sharma ().
Unani synonyms have been selected from the following sources:
• The National Formulary of Unani Medicine.
• Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM). Published litera-
• Unani Dravyagunaadarsh (Hindi) by Daljit Singh (Ayurvedic and Tibbi Acade-
my, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, ).
Siddha/Tamil synonyms have been selected from the following sources:
• Formulary of Siddha Medicine. (Indian Medical Practitioners’ Cooperative
Pharmacy and Store Ltd., IMPCOPS, Chennai).
• The Wealth of India (Vol. II to XI).
• Dictionary of Indian Medicinal Plants (CIMAP).
• The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India (Vol. I to IV).
• Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha (CCRAS). Published
The medicinal plants shortlisted by the National Academy of Ayurveda and
the department of Indian Systems of Medicine (AYUSH) have been included in
Key applications of medicinal plants are based on the following sources:
• German Commission E monographs.
• ESCOP monographs.
• WHO monographs.
• Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia.
• The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India (Vol. I to IV) for traditionally recognised
Guiding Factors IX
• The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.
• The British Herbal Compendium.
• Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, .
For further study, all major ﬁndings and leads, including references to re-
search documents and journals, can be reached through the following books (in
• The Wealth of India First Supplement Series (Vol. I to V).
• The Wealth of India original series (Vol. II to XI and revised Vol. to ).
• Compendium of Indian Medicinal Plants (Vol. I to V, CDRI).
• Potter’s New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations ( edn).
• Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, .
• PDR for Herbal Medicines, .
• The Treatise on Indian Medicinal Plants (Vol. I to VI).
• Additional sources, as cited at appropriate places.
Dosage of crude herbs is based on the recommendations of The Ayurvedic
Pharmacopoeia of India (Vol. I to IV) and Standard Nomenclature of Ayurvedic
Medicinal Plants (CCRAS).
Roman spellings of Ayurvedic synonyms, introduced for the ﬁrst time by
Rashtriya Ayurveda Vidyapeeth (National Academy of Ayurveda), New Delhi-
, have been followed. Asiatic Society’s markings are now obsolete. The
text has been formatted following the style-manual of The Wealth of India series
Detailed references of research journals are beyond the purview of this project.
The text is based on authentic treatises which are the outcome of scientiﬁc
screening and critical evaluation by eminent scholars. As I have already indicated,
readers, if they so desire, can always refer back to a particular research paper
cited in the original source. I did not follow the trend of enumerating research
papers which were not actually consulted by me. Researchers should consult the
Database on Medicinal Plants used in Ayurveda series (CCRAS) and Reviews on
Indian Medicinal Plants series (ICMR) for detailed bibliography.
All Indian common names have been spelled according to their actual pro-
nunciation. The way was shown by the National Academy of Ayurveda by
introducing aa in the spellings. In The Review of Natural Products (Facts and
Comparisons) edition., Khat, Chaat, Chat, qaad, jaad and Miraa have been
X Guiding Factors
included among the common names of Catha edulis, while the common name
of Gymnema sylvestre is spelled as Gurmar instead of Gurmaar. Perhaps the
actual pronunciation was not known to the editors. In India, O is pronounced
in a speciﬁc ascent, as in Om, that is the reason uu is used instead of oo. Simi-
larly, Sanskrit synonyms end with a, that is why aa is used for facilitating proper
pronunciation. These changes have been included so that Indian names are
A few words of gratitude. Dr. V.K. Agarwal Ph. D. (Medicinal Chemistry), who
was the senior editor (chemistry and pharmacology) of The Wealth of India series
for years, reviewed the entire text. He remained closely associated with all my
projects and deserves much more than a few formal words of thanks. Sarita Joshi,
my research associate, bore the brunt of the workload throughout the diﬃcult
phases of the project. For this she also deserves a special mention.
Finally, I would like to add that a concerted eﬀort has been made in the book
to rationalise the therapeutic coverage of Indian medicinal plants as part of my
commitment to scientiﬁc herbalism.
Society for New Age Herbals
B-/, Janak Puri, New Delhi-
Abelmoschus esculentus Abies pindrow Royle.
Synonym A. pindrow Spach.
Synonym Hibiscus esculentus Linn. A. webbiana Lindl. var. pindrow
Family Malvaceae. Pinus pindrow Royle.
Habitat Native to tropical Africa; Family Pinaceae.
cultivated throughout India, up to Habitat Kashmir, Himachal
, m. Pradesh, Tehri-Garhwal and other
areas of northern India, at altitudes
English Gumbo, Lady Finger, Okra.
of ,–, m.
Ayurvedic Bhaandi, Bhindaka, English Pindrow-Fir, Silver-Fir, The
Bhendaa. West-Himalayan Low-Level Fir.
Unani Baamiyaa. Ayurvedic Taalisha (related sp.).
Folk Badar, Morinda, Raisalla,
Folk Bhindi, Raamturai. Action Uses similar to those of A.
Action Immature pods (decoc-
tion)—emollient, demulcent and Terpenoids, ﬂavonoids, glycosides
diuretic (in catarrhal aﬀections, and steroids of the leaf were found
ardor urine, dysuria, dysentery). to have mast cell stabilizing action in
Seeds—antispasmodic. rats. Terpenoids and ﬂavonoids of-
fered bronchoprotection against his-
Fatty fraction of the fresh watery ex- tamine challenge in guinea pigs. The
tract of the seeds causes destruction ulcer protective action of petroleum
of cancerous cell growth in vitro. The ether, benzene and chloroform frac-
pods are reported to exhibit antitu- tion has been attributed to steroidal
mour activity. An ethanolic extract contents. Terephthalic acid demethyl
of pods was eﬀective against Gram- ester (TADE), isolated from the leaf,
positive bacteria. exhibited protection against inﬂamma-
The ripe fruits contain quercetin, tion and bronchospasm in guinea pigs.
hyperin (hyperoside), hydrolysate of Ethanolic extract of leaves showed sig-
precipitated mucilage, proanthocyani- niﬁcant anxiolytic eﬀects on all the
dins, D-glucose, D-glucuronic and paradigms of anxiety, barbiturate hyp-
galacturonic acids. nosis potentiation.
Fresh ﬂowers contain ﬂavonol gly- Pindrolactone, a lanostane-based
cosides and anthocyanins. triterpene lactone, isolated from the
2 Abies webbiana Lindl.
A leaves, showed mild activity against
Gram-positive bacteria but exhibit-
A biﬂavonoid, abiesin, n-triaconta-
nol, beta-sitosterol and betuloside are
ed potent antibacterial activity against present in the leaves.
Gram-negative bacteria E. coli. The essential oil from leaves con-
tains alpha-pinene, l-limonene, delta-
carene, dipentene, l-bornyl acetate and
l-cardinene as major constituents.
Abies webbiana Lindl.
Dosage Needles—– g powder.
Synonym A. spectabilis (D. Don) (API Vol. IV.)
Pinus webbiana Wall.
Family Pinaceae. Abroma augusta Jacq.
Habitat The Himalayas from
Synonym Ambroma augusta
Kashmir to Assam at altitudes of
English Indian Silver Fir, The
West-Himalayan High-Level Fir, Habitat Throughout the hotter and
The East-Himalayan Fir. moister parts of India, from Punjab
and Uttar Pradesh, eastwards
Ayurvedic Taalisa, Taalisapatra, to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam,
Taalisha, Patraadhya, Dhaatriparni, Meghalaya and Tripura, ascending
Dhaatripatra. to , m, southwards in Peninsular
Unani Taalisapattar. India.
Siddha/Tamil Taalispatri. English Perennial Indian Hemp,
Folk Badar, Chilrow, Morinda,
Raisalla, Taalispatra. (Tallispatra, Ayurvedic Pishaacha Kaarpaasa,
Taalispatri and Talespattre are Pivari.
also equated with the leaves of Unani Ulat-kambal.
Cinnamomum tamala Nees.)
Action Expectorant, bronchial seda- Folk Kumal, Sanukapaasi.
tive, decongestant, anticatarrhal,
antiseptic, carminative. Action Rootbark—emmena-
gogue (used for dysmenorrhoea,
Key application Fir (Abies alba amenorrhoea), abortifacient, galac-
Miller) needle oil—in catarrhal ill- totrophic.
ness of upper and lower respiratory
tract (internally and externally); The root contains abromine (be-
externally in rheumatic and neu- taine), friedelin, abromasterol, abro-
ralgic pains. Contraindicated in masterol A, choline, beta-sitosterol,
bronchial asthma and whooping stigmasterol and octacosanol. Leaves,
cough. (German Commission E.) reported to be useful in treating uterine
Abutilon indicum Linn. Sweet. 3
disorders, contain taraxerol, its acetate
antibody-forming cells, bone marrow
cellularity and alpha-esterase-positive
bone marrow cells.
Dosage Leaf juice—– ml. Oral administration of agglutinins,
Rootbark powder—– g. (CCRAS.) isolated from the seeds, is useful in the
treatment of hepatitis and AIDS.
The seed extract exhibited antischis-
Abrus precatorius Linn. tosomal activity in male hamsters.
The methanolic extract of seeds in-
Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae. hibited the motility of human sperma-
Habitat Throughout the country, tozoa.
ascending to an altitude of about The roots contain precol, abrol, gly-
, m in the outer Himalayas. cyrrhizin (.%) and alkaloids—abra-
sine and precasine. The roots also con-
English Indian Wild Liquorice,
tain triterpenoids—abruslactone A,
Jequirity, Crab’s Eye, Precatory
methyl abrusgenate and abrusgenic
Ayurvedic Gunjaa, Gunjaka, Alkaloids/bases present in the roots
Chirihintikaa, Raktikaa, Chirmi- are also present in leaves and stems.
ti, Kakanti, Kabjaka, Tiktikaa, A. fruticulosus Wall. Ex Wight and
Kaakananti, Kaakchinchi. (Not to Arn. synonym A. pulchellus Wall., A.
be used as a substitute for liquorice.) laevigatus E. May. (Shveta Gunjaa) is
Unani Ghunghchi, Ghamchi. also used for the same medicinal pur-
poses as A. precatorius.
Folk Chirmiti, Ratti. Dosage Detoxiﬁed seed—– g
powder. Root powder—– g. (API
Action Uterine stimulant, abortifa- Vols. I, II.)
cient, toxic. Seeds—teratogenic. A
paste of seeds is applied on vitiligo
Abutilon indicum Linn. Sweet.
Along with other therapeutic appli-
cations, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Synonym A. indicum G. Don.
of India has indicated the use of seeds Family Malvaceae.
in baldness. Habitat Throughout the hotter
Seeds contain abrin, a toxalbumin, parts of India. Found as a weed in
indole derivatives, anthocyanins, ste- the sub-Himalayan tract and other
rols, terpenes. Abrin causes aggluti- hills up to , m.
nation of erythrocytes, haemolysis and
enlargement of lymph glands. A non- English Country Mallow, Flowering
toxic dose of abrin (. mcg/kg body Maples, Chinese Bell-ﬂowers.
weight), isolated from the seeds of red Ayurvedic Atibalaa, Kankatikaa,
var., exhibited a noticeable increase in Rishyaproktaa.
4 Acacia arabica Willd. var. indica Benth.
A Unani Kanghi, Musht-ul-Ghaul,
Medic.; A. fruticosum Guill. et al.;
A. hirtum (Lam.) Sweet, synonym A.
Siddha/Tamil Thutthi. graveolens Wt. and Arn.; A. muticum
Sweet, synonym A. glaucum Sweet; and
Folk Kanghi, Kakahi, Kakahiyaa. A. polyandrum Wight and Arn., syn-
Action Dried, whole plant— onym A. persicum (Burm. f.) Mer-
febrifuge, anthelmintic, demulcent, rill (known as Naani-khapaat, Jhinaki-
diuretic, anti-inﬂammatory (in khapaat, Kanghi, Makhamali-khapaat
urinary and uterine discharges, and Khaajavani-khapaat, respectively,
piles, lumbago). Juice of the plant— in folk medicine).
emollient. Seeds—demulcent Dosage Root—– g powder. (API
(used in cough, chronic cystitis), Vol I.)
laxative. Leaves—cooked and
eaten for bleeding piles. Flowers—
Bark—astringent, diuretic. Root— Acacia arabica Willd. var.
nervine tonic, given in paralysis; indica Benth.
also prescribed in strangury. Synonym A. nilotica (Linn.) Delile
Along with other therapeutic appli- subsp. indica (Benth.) Brenan.
cations, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Family Mimosaceae.
of India indicates the use of the root in Habitat Throughout the drier parts
gout, polyuria and haemorrhagic dis- of India.
The plant contains mucilage, tan- English Babul, Black Babul, Indian
nins, asparagines, gallic acid and ses- Gum arabic tree.
quiterpenes. Presence of alkaloids, Ayurvedic Babbuula, Babbuuri,
leucoanthocyanins, ﬂavonoids, sterols, Baavari, Aabhaa, Shuulikaa,
triterpenoids, saponins and cardiac Shitaka, Kinkiraata, Yugmakantaka,
glycosides is also reported. Sukshmapatra, Pitapushpaka.
Asparagine is diuretic. Gallic acid Unani Aqaaqia, Babuul, Kikar,
is analgesic. Mucilages act by reﬂex, Mughilaan, Samur.
loosen cough as well as bronchial ten-
sion. Essential oil—antibacterial, anti- Siddha/Tamil Karu-velamaram,
fungal. Karuvelei. Velampisin (gum).
The drug exhibits immunological Action Stembark—astringent,
activity. It augments antibody in spasmolytic, hypoglycaemic.
animals. EtOH (%) extract of A. Gum—demulcent (soothing agent
indicum ssp. guineense Borssum, syn- for inﬂammatory conditions of the
onym A. asiaticum (Linn.) Sweet, ex- respiratory, digestive and urinary
hibits anticancer activity. tracts). Pods—used in urogenital
Related sp. include: Abutilon avicen- disorders. Seeds—hypoglycaemic
nae Gaertn., synonym A. theophrastii in normal rats; no such eﬀect in
Acacia catechu (Linn. f.) Willd. 5
diabetic rats. Seed oil—antifungal.
Flowers, pods and gum resin—used
Habitat Drier regions of India,
particularly Punjab, Madhya
in diarrhoea and dysentery. Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar,
Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and
Along with other therapeutic appli- Rajasthan.
cations, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia
of India indicates the use of stembark English Cutch tree, Catechu.
in acute diarrhoea and helminthiasis. Ayurvedic Khadira, Kadara,
Tannin contents of the bark varies Somavalka, Gaayatri, Dantdhaavan,
considerably (–%). Several poly- Kantaki, Raktasaara (heartwood
phenolic compounds have been re- extract).
ported in the bark, also in the pods.
The whole pod contains –% tan- Unani Khair, Kaat, Katthaa
nins and –% after the removal of (heartwood extract).
seeds. Siddha/Tamil Karunkaali
The seeds of A. benthamii, A. nilotica (bark), Kalippakku, Kadiram.
ssp. subulata, probably same as ssp. in- Katthakkaambu, Kaasukkatti
dica, are considered hypoglycaemic. (heartwood extract).
Some seed components stimulate in-
sulin secretion by beta cells. Action Cutch from wood—
The gum contains galactose; l-ara- powerful astringent (in urinary and
binose, l-rhamnose and aldobiouronic vaginal discharge), antidiarrhoeal,
acids, also arabinobioses. haemostatic; used for treating
The ﬂowers contain ﬂavonoids— excessive mucous discharges,
kaempferol--glucoside, iso-quercitrin haemorrhages, relaxed conditions
and leucocyanidin. of gums, throat and mouth,
stomatitis, irritable bowel; also used
Dosage Stembark—– g for as an antileprotic drug.
decoction. (API Vol. I.)
Along with other therapeutic appli-
cations, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia
of India indicates the use of dried pieces
Acacia canescens Grab.
of heartwood in inﬂammations, skin
Family Mimosaceae. diseases and urinary disorders, recom-
Habitat Bihar and South India. mends its use as a blood puriﬁer, in
diseases caused by lipid disorders.
Ayurvedic Aadaari (related sp.) Cutch (the concentrated extract)
Folk Ari, Araara. contains tannins –%, catechin –
Action See A. torta. %, phlobatannins including cate-
chutannic acid –%; ﬂavonoids in-
cluding quercetin, quercitrin, ﬁsetin;
gums, resins, pigments. The gum from
Acacia catechu (Linn. f.) Willd.
A. catechu is a good substitute for Gum
Family Mimosaceae. arabic.
6 Acacia chundra Willd.
A Seed extract—hypoglycaemic to
normal albino rats, but not eﬀective
Andhra Pradesh on dry and rocky
in diabetic rats. The saline extract of English Red Cutch.
seeds shows leuco-agglutinating activ-
ity against leukaemic cells. It agglu- Ayurvedic Khadira (related sp.).
tinates white cells from patients with Siddha/Tamil Katthakkaambu
diﬀerent types of leukaemia. The acti- (heartwood extract).
vity is inhibited by simple sugars. Root
extract shows antibacterial and fungi- Folk Laal Khair.
cidal activity. Action Uses similar to those of A.
The heartwood contains a hepato- catechu heartwood extract.
Astringent and antibacterial prop- The bark and leaves are used for ul-
erties of catechu result from its high cerated abscesses and toothache; wood
tannin content. for leucoderma.
Gambrine in pale catechu shows hy- EtOH (%) extract—spermicidal
potensive eﬀects. and spasmolytic.
Fisetin in black catechu and (+)-
catechin in black and pale catechu
may protect against liver damage; (+)-
Acacia concinna (Willd.) DC.
catechin is also thought to protect
against experimentally induced ulcers Synonym A sinuata (Lour.) Merrill;
in animals; (+)-catechin (cianidanol) is A. rugata (Lamk.) Ham.
associated with fatal anaemia. Methyl-
catechin, one of the major metabolites
of (+)-catechin, inhibits the binding Habitat Tropical jungles throughout
of monocytes to vascular endothelial India, especially in the Deccan.
cells; thus, the catechin found in cate- Ayurvedic Saptalaa, Shitalaa,
chu may reduce atherosclerosis. (Natu- Saatalaa, Shrivalli, Kantvalli.
ral Medicines Comprehensive Database,
.) Unani Shikaakaai, Kharunb Nabti.
Siddha/Tamil Seekai, Sigakai.
Dosage Heartwood—– g for
decoction. (API Vol. I.) Folk Ban-Reethaa.
Action Febrifuge, expectorant,
emetic, spasmolytic, diuretic,
Acacia chundra Willd. antidiarrhoeal. Leaves—an infusion
is given in malarial fever. Pods and
Synonym A. sundra DC. seeds—decoction is used to remove
dandruﬀ (known as Shikaakaai),
Family Mimosaceae. extensively used as a detergent. An
Habitat Rajasthan, Gujarat, ointment is used for skin diseases.
Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Bark—extract is used in leprosy.
Acacia leucophloea Willd. 7
The bark yields a saponin which,
on hydrolysis, yields lupeol, alpha-
The ethanolic extract of unripe pods
yields a glycosidal fraction (.%)
spinasterol and acacic acid lactone. which exhibits anti-inﬂammatory ac-
Pods also yield saponins (.%). Sug- tivity. It also shows signiﬁcant antibac-
ars identiﬁed are glucose, arabinose terial activity.
and rhamnose. The plant acts as an antiseptic agent
The leaves contain alkaloids, nico- for curing sores, gums and loose teeth.
tine and colycotomine, a triterpenoid The ﬂowers are the source of Cassie
saponin and oxalic, tartaric, citric, suc- perfume.
cinic and ascorbic acids. The main constituents of the ﬂowers
The bark saponins are spermicidal, are benzyl, anisic, decylic and cuminic
also haemolytic and spasmolytic. A de- aldehydes, as well as traces of geraniol,
coction of pods relieves biliousness and farnesol and linalool.
acts as a purgative.
Acacia leucophloea Willd.
Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd. Synonym A. alba Willd.
Family Mimosaceae. Family Mimosaceae.
Habitat Native to West Indies; now Habitat Dry regions of the country,
occurring throughout India. especially in Punjab, Rajasthan and
English Cassie Flower, Cassie Madhya Pradesh.
Absolute, Sweet Acacia. English White Babul.
Ayurvedic Arimeda, Vitkhadira. Ayurvedic Arimeda, Arimedaka,
Arimanja, Irimeda, Vitakhadir,
Unani Vilaayati Kikar, Gandbabuul,
Guyaa Babuul, Durgandh Khair.
Unani Kath Safed, Vilaayati Babuul,
Siddha/Tamil Kastuurivel, Vedday-
Siddha/Tamil Valval, Velvayalam.
Action Bark—astringent, demul-
cent, anthelmintic, antidysenteric, Folk Safed Babuul, Safed Kikar,
anti-inﬂammatory (used in stom- Renvaa.
atitis, ulcers, swollen gums, dental Action Bark—bitter, demulcent and
caries, bronchitis, skin diseases). cooling; used in biliousness and
Ripe pods contain tannins and sev- nating activity has been reported.
eral polyphenolic compounds. Essen- Leaves—antisyphilitic and antibac-
tial oil from pods—direct muscle relax- terial. Gum—demulcent.
ant, cardiac depressant and sedative.
Various plant parts are used in in- EtOH (%) extract of aerial parts—
sanity, epilepsy, delirium and convul- hypotensive and central nervous sys-
sions. tem depressant.
8 Acacia pennata (L.) Willd.
A The rootbark contains leucophleol,
leucophleoxol and leucoxol.
Bechic, antihaemorrhagic, anti-
inﬂammatory, spasmolytic. Root—
used for dysentery and urinary
Acacia pennata (L.) Willd. discharges.
The gum consists mainly of arabin.
Family Mimosaceae. It is the salt of an organic acid, ara-
Habitat Throughout India; ascend- bic acid, with metals such as calcium,
ing to , m in the Himalayas. magnesium and potassium.
Ayurvedic Lataakhadira, Aadaari, The stembark gives octacosanol,
Ari. beta-amyrin, uvaol, beta-stosterol and
its glucoside and erthrodiol. An al-
Siddha/Tamil Indan, Indu. Iyak kaloid, dimethyltryptamine has been
Koluntu (tender leaves). isolated from the leaves.
Action Bark—antibilious, antiasth-
matic. Leaf—stomachic, styptic Acacia suma Buch.-Ham.
(for bleeding gum), antiseptic (for Synonym A. polycantha Willd.
scalding of urine). A decoction of
young leaves is taken for body pain, Family Mimosaceae.
headache and fever. Habitat West Bengal, Bihar, western
The bark contains tannin %, lupe-
Ayurvedic Shveta Khadira, Kadara,
ol and alpha-spinasterol. Stem yields
Unani Khor, Safed Khair.
Action Cutch is prepared from the
Acacia senegal Willd. heartwood. See A. catechu.
Acacia ferruginea DC. is also equat-
Synonym A. verek Guillem and
ed with Shveta Khadira.
Habitat Native to Sudan. Cultivated Acacia torta (Roxb.) Craib.
in dry parts of western India.
Synonym A. intsia Willd.
English Gum arabic tree. A. caesia Wright and Arn. non-
Ayurvedic Shveta Babbuula. Willd.
Action The tree yields the true Gum Family Mimosaceae.
arabic of commerce. Mucilaginous, Habitat Throughout India in the dry
demulcent, emulsifying agent. Used and intermediate zones; ascending
as an ingredient in compounds for to an altitude of about , m in
treatment of diarrhoea, catarrh. the Himalayas.
Acanthospermum hispidum DC. 9
Ayurvedic Aadaari, Lataa Khadira
(related sp., see. A. pennata).
Folk Chinnivara. A
Action Leaves—stomachic, al-
Siddha/Tamil Kariyundu, Ingu. terative; prescribed in digestive
Folk Araar, Chilar (Punjab), Aila disorders, dyspepsia, colic, diar-
Acalypha indica Linn.
tic (in skin diseases). Bark contains
% tannins, triterpene alcohol, Family Euphorbiaceae.
saponins of acacic acid, lupeol and
Habitat Occurs throughout the
a steroid, acaciol. An alkaloid,
plains of India, ascending the hills
tryptamine, is present in the root
in Orissa up to m.
and stem bark.
English Indian Acalypha.
Various plant parts are used in
Ayurvedic Kuppi, Muktavarchaa,
cough, bronchitis, measles, tubercular
ﬁstula and in the treatment of men-
strual disorders. The bark is used for Siddha/Tamil Kuppaimeni.
washing the hair. Folk Khokli, Kuppi, Aamaabhaaji.
Action Antibacterial (leaf used in
scabies). Plant—emetic, expecto-
Acalypha ciliata Forsk. rant (used in bronchitis, asthma,
pneumonia). Tincture of fresh
Family Euphorbiaceae. plant is used in homoeopathy
Habitat Common in plains, for incipient phthisis with bloody
as a weed in gardens; also in expectorations, emaciation and
wastelands, especially in Bangalore arterial haemorrhage.
The plant contains kaempferol;
Ayurvedic Kuppi (smaller var.). leaves and twigs contain acalyphamide
Folk Daadari (Gujarat). and other amides, quinone, sterols,
Action See A. indica. cyanogenic glycoside.
The herb causes intestinal irritation.
Acalypha fruticosa Forsk.
Family Euphorbiaceae. DC.
Habitat Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Family Compositae; Asteraceae.
Karnataka and Kerala.
Habitat Native to Brazil; found as
English Birch-leaved Acalypha. a weed throughout the greater part
Siddha/Tamil Kuppaimeni. of India.
10 Acanthus ilicifolius Linn.
A Ayurvedic Trikantaka. (Diﬀerent
from Gokshura; also equated with
Habitat The western Himalayas
from Kashmir to Kumaon.
Martynia diandra, Martineacea, English Milfoil, Yarrow, Thousand
known as Kaakanaasaa.) Leaf.
Action Used in dermatological Unani Biranjaasif. National
aﬀections. Formulary of Unani Medicine
also equates Leonurus cardica
The essential oil (yield .%) showed
Linn. (Labiatae) with Biranjaasif.
antibacterial and antifungal activity.
Folk Gandana, Rojmari.
Action Anti-inﬂammatory, anti-
spasmodic (used in cold, ﬂatulent
Acanthus ilicifolius Linn.
colic, heartburn), emmenagogue,
Family Acanthaceae. cicatrizant, antidysenteric, anti-
haemorrhagic, antipyretic, diapho-
Habitat Common in tidal forests retic, diuretic, urinary antiseptic.
along the East and West coasts; also
distributed in Meghalaya and the Key application In dyspeptic
Andamans. ailments, such as mild, spastic
discomforts of the gastrointestinal
English Sea Holly. tract. As astringent, antispasmodic,
Ayurvedic Krishna Saraiyaka. choleretic, antibacterial. (German
(Blue-ﬂowered Katasaraiyaa.) Commission E.) As diaphoretic. (The
British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.) In-
ternally for feverish conditions,
Folk Hargozaa. common cold and digestive com-
Action Decoction—antacid (used plaints; topically for slow-healing
in dyspepsia with acid eructations), wounds and skin inﬂammations.
also diuretic (used in dropsy and (The British Herbal Compendium.)
bilious swellings). Aerial parts show The plant contains ﬂavonoids, al-
eﬀect on nictitating membrane. kaloids (achilleine), polyacetylenes,
The root is a cordial attenuant and triterpenes, coumarins, tannins, sal-
is used in debility associated with icylic acid, a volatile oil containing
asthma, paralysis, leucorrhoea. linalool, camphor, sabinene, chamazu-
lene and other azulenes.
The air-dried plant contains an al-
Sesquiterpene lactones are bitter and
kaloid, acanthicifoline, and a ﬂavone.
tonic. Achilleine helps arrest internal
and external bleeding. Flavonoids con-
tribute to the antispasmodic action.
Achillea millefolium Linn. The ﬂavonoid apigenin is anti-in-
ﬂammatory, antiplatelet and spasmo-
Synonym A. lanulosa Nutt. lytic. Alkaloids and bases are anti-
Family Compositae; Asteraceae. inﬂammatory. Alkaloid betoncine is
Achyranthes aspera Linn. 11
haemostatic. Salicylic acid is anti-
inﬂammatory. Chamazulene is anti-
altitude of , m, in the southern
inﬂammatory and antiallergenic. (Nat- English Prickly Chaﬀ Flower.
ural Medicines Comprehensive Data-
base, .) Ayurvedic Apaamaarga, Chirchitaa,
An extract of the plant was found Shikhari, Shaikharika, Adahshalya,
to be rich in luteolin or luteolin - Mayura, Mayuraka, Kharamanjari,
glucoside and can be used for the treat- Kharapushpaa, Pratyakpushpaa,
ment of hyperpigmentation of skin. Aaghaat, Vashira, Kanihi.
Achras zapota Linn. Folk Chirchitta, Chichidaa,
Synonym Manilkara zapota (Linn.) Latjeeraa.
P. van Royan Action Astringent, pectoral (ashes
Manilkara achras (Mill.) Fosberg of the plant used in asthma and
Sapota achras Mill. cough), diuretic, hepatoprotective,
Family Sapotaceae. emmenagogue. Benzene extract of
Habitat Native to Central America. the plant exhibited abortifacient
Cultivated chieﬂy in Maharashtra, activity. The ﬂowers, ground and
Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. mixed with sugar, are given for
English Sapota, Sapodilla Plum, haemostatic. Seeds—emetic; used
Chicle. for biliousness. Essential oil—
Unani Sapotaa, Cheeku. antifungal.
Siddha/Tamil Shimai eluppai. Key application As astringent,
Action Fruit—antibilious. Seed— emetic. (Indian Herbal Pharma-
diuretic. Fruit and bark—febrifuge. copoeia.)
The bark contains latex (–% Along with other therapeutic appli-
of which consists of gutta-percha-like cations, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia
substance); also contains tannin of India indicates the use of the whole
(.%). The seeds contain quercitol. plant in lipid disorders and obesity, the
Chewing gum consists of approxi- root for its blood-purifying property.
mately % chicle, plus sugar, corn The plant juice and ash are used
syrup and ﬂavourings. for treating bleeding piles. An alka-
line powder of the plant is used in
preparing Kshaarasutra of Ayurvedic
Achyranthes aspera Linn. medicine, which is recommended for
Family Amaranthaceae. The whole plant contains the alka-
Habitat Throughout the tropical loids achyranthine and betaine. Achy-
and subtropical regions, up to an ranthine, a water-soluble alkaloid, is
12 Achyranthes bidentata Blume
A reported to dilate blood vessels, low-
er blood pressure, decrease heart rate
three mannose units, has been isolated
from the roots. It enhanced immune
and increase the rate and amplitude of response and prolonged survival time
respiration. It also shows spasmodic of mice bearing Ehrlich carcinoma.
eﬀects on the rectus muscle of frog, di- The roots contain free oleanolic acid
uretic and purgative action in albino (.%) and its saponins (.%). An
rats. alcoholic extract of the root showed
The presence of ecdysterone and presence of amino acids, steroids, tri-
oleanolic acid is also reported in the terpenoids, alkaloids and coumarins.
root. The seeds aﬀorded achyranthin.
The ashes of the plant yield large Extract of the plant—antimicrobial.
quantities of potash. The seeds yield
saponins and oleanolic acid and its es-
The presence of tannins and glyco-
sides is also reported in the plant.
Dosage Whole plant—– g for Synonym Aconitum balfourii Stapf.
decoction. Root—– g. (API Family Ranunculaceae.
Vols. II, III.) Ash— mg to g. Habitat The sub-alpine and alpine
(CCRAS.) Himalayas between , and
Ayurvedic Vatsanaabha (related
Achyranthes bidentata Blume sp.).
Family Amaranthaceae. Folk Banwaa.
Habitat The temperate and sub- Action Poisonous, highly toxic.
tropical Himalayas from Kishtwar
to Sikkim at ,–, m, Khasi Air-dried roots contain .% total
hills. alkaloids of which pseudoaconitine is
Ayurvedic Shveta Apaamaarga. .%. Pseudoaconitine is biological-
(Rakta Apaamaarga is equated ly . times as active as aconitine. (A.
with Achyranthes rubra-fusca atrox is a poisonous species and is one
Hook. f. and A. verschaﬀeltii Lam., of the common constituents of Aconi-
synonym Iresine herbstii Hook. f.) tum ferox of commerce.)
Action Astringent, diuretic,
spasmolytic. Plant is given
Stapf ex Holmes.
in whooping cough, roots in
hemicrania. Family Ranunculaceae.
A water-soluble oligosaccharide, Habitat The western Himalayas
composed of six glucose units and from Hazara to Kashmir and
Aconitum falconeri Stapf. 13
Chamba in Himachal Pradesh,
between altitudes of , m and
interacts with antiarrhythmics, anti-
hypertensives, Digoxin/cardiac glyco-
, m. sides. (Sharon M. Herr.)
English Indian Napellus. Dosage Root—– mg powder.
Ayurvedic Visha, Shringika-Visha, (CCRAS.)
Vatsanaabha (related sp.).
Folk Mohri, Meethaa Zahar.
Action Sedative, antirheumatic, Aconitum deinorrhizum Stapf.
analgesic, antitussive, antidiar- Family Ranunculaceae.
rhoeal. Ayurvedic Formulary of
India, Part I and Part II, equated Habitat Alpine regions of Chat-
A. chasmanthum with Vatsanaabha. tadhar and Bhalesh ranges of
(See A. ferox.) It has the same uses Bhadarwah district in Jammu and
as A. ferox. The alkaloid content Kashmir.
of the root ranges from . to Ayurvedic Vatsanaabha (related
.%; includes chasmaconitine and sp.).
chasmanthinine. Folk Bashahr-Mohra, Dudhiyaa
Napellus, equated with Aconitum Bish, Safed Bikh.
napellus Linn., is indigenous to Cen- Action Roots and leaves are used in
tral Europe (named after the Black sea rheumatism, rheumatic fever and
port Aconis and known as Wolfsbane, acute headache.
Monkshood). Aconitum of homoeo-
pathic medicine is an alkaloid obtained The roots contain .% total alka-
from the roots and stems of A. nepellus. loids, of which .% is pseudoaconi-
Used as an analgesic and sedative. It tine.
contains terpenoids up to .%, includ-
ing aconitine and aconine.
Toxic constituents of A. napellus Aconitum falconeri Stapf.
are aconitine, mesaconitine, hypaconi-
tine, -acetylacoitine, lappaconitine Family Ranunculaceae.
(diterpenoid-ester alkaloids), benza- Habitat The sub-alpine and alpine
conine, benzoylaconine. zones of the Garhwal Himalayas.
Aconitine, mesaconitine and hyp- Ayurvedic Vatsanaabha (related
aconitine exert widespread eﬀects on sp.).
cardiac, neural and muscle tissue by
activitating sodium channels. (Natu- Folk Bikh, Bis, Meethaa Telia.
ral Medicines Comprehensive Database, Action Sedative, carminative,
.) anti-inﬂammatory (used for the
Aconitine is absorbed through mu- treatment of nervous system,
cus membranes and the skin. (Fran- digestive system; rheumatism,
cis Brinker.) It is a cardiotoxin and fever).
14 Aconitum ferox Wall. ex Ser.
A The root alkaloids contain bishati-
sine, bishaconitine, falconitine and
cardiac depression. Topically, aconi-
tine has analgesic, anti-inﬂammatory
mithaconitine. Treatment with cow’s and anaesthetic activity.
milk reduces cardiotoxic eﬀect of the
Wall. ex Royle.
Aconitum ferox Wall. ex Ser. Family Ranunculaceae.
Family Ranunculaceae. Habitat Cultivated at Manali and
Rahla in Himachal Pradesh. Also
Habitat The alpine Himalayas from
found in northwestern Himalayas
Sikkim to Garhwal and Assam.
at altitudes ranging from , to
English Indian Aconite, Wolfsbane, , m.
Monkshood. English Atis Root, Aconite.
Ayurvedic Vatsanaabha, Visha, Ayurvedic Ativishaa, Arunaa,
Amrita, Vajraanga, Sthaavaravisha, Vishaa, Shuklakandaa, Bhanguraa,
Vatsanaagaka, Shrangikavisha, Ghunapriyaa, Ghunavallabhaa,
Garala. Kaashmiraa, Shishubhaishajyaa
Unani Bish, Bishnaag. (indicating its use in paediatrics),
Siddha/Tamil Vasanaavi, Karunaab-
hi. Unani Atees.
Folk Bacchanaag, Bish, Mithaa
Zahar, Telia Visha. Folk Patis.
Action Narcotic, sedative, antilepro- Action Often regarded as non-
tic, anti-inﬂammatory. Extremely poisosnous, antiperiodic, anti-
poisonous. (Roots possess depres- inﬂammatory, astringent (used
sant activity, but after mitigation in in cough, diarrhoea, dyspepsia),
cow’s milk for – days, they exhibit tonic (used after fevers), febrifuge,
stimulant activity.) antispasmodic (used in irritabil-
ity of stomach and abdominal
Key application In neuralgia. pains).
(Aconitum napellus L. has been
listed by German Commission E Along with other therapeutic appli-
among unapproved herbs.) cations, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia
of India indicates the use of the dried,
The root contains diterpenoid alka- tuberous root in emesis and helminthi-
loids, which act as a powerful poison asis.
that aﬀects the heart and central ner- The roots yield .% of total alka-
vous system. Aconitine has a short- loids, of which atisin is .%. Atisine
lived cardiotonic action followed by is much less toxic than aconitine and
Aconitum violaceum Jacq. ex Stapf. 15
pseudoaconitine. (The inert character
of the plant is well known to the hill
Family Ranunculaceae. A
Habitat The alpine Himalayas of
people, who often use it as a vegetable.) Sikkim, Nepal, the adjoining parts
The plant possesses potent immuno- of southern Tibet, between altitudes
stimulant properties. of , m and , m.
Dosage Root—.–. g. (API Ayurvedic Prativishaa, Shyaamkan-
Vol. I.) daa, Patis.
Action Root—antiemetic, antidiar-
Aconitum laciniatum rhoeal, antirheumatic, antiperiodic.
(Bruhl) Stapf. The root contains diterpenoid alka-
Family Ranunculaceae. loids and a nitrogenous non-alkaloid
compound, benzamide. Alkaloids in-
Habitat The sub-alpine and alpine clude vakognavine, palmatisine, vaka-
Himalayas of Sikkim between tisine, vakatisinine and vakatidine.
altitudes of , m and , m. The root is intensely bitter, like qui-
Ayurvedic Vatsanaabha (related nine, is used with Piper longum for di-
sp.). arrhoea and vomiting; used externally
Folk Kaalo Bikhmo. as an application for rheumatism.
Action Poisonous. (Found mixed
with the roots of A. ferox and
A. spicatum of commerce.) Aconitum spicatum Stapf.
Habitat The alpine zone of the
Aconitum luridum Himalayas of Sikkim and Chumbi.
Hook. f. and Thoms. Principal source of Bikh or Bish of
English Nepal Aconite.
Habitat The Himalayas from eastern
Ayurvedic Vatsanaabha (related
Nepal to Chumbi at altitudes of
, to , m.
Action Antipyretic, analgesic.
Ayurvedic Vatsanaabha (related
sp.). The roots yield .% of alkaloids
which contain mainly pseudoaconitine
Action As potent as Aconitum ferox.
Aconitum palmatum D. Don. Aconitum violaceum
Jacq. ex Stapf.
Synonym A. bisma (Buch.-Ham.)
Rapaics. Family Ranunculaceae.
16 Acorus calamus Linn.
A Habitat The alpine zone of the
Himalayas from Gilgit to Kumaon.
calamus L. var. americanus, a diploid
American var.; type II—var. vulgaris
Ayurvedic Vatsanaabha (related L. (var. calamus), a European triploid;
sp.). type III and type IV—var. augustatus
Bess. and var. versus L., subtropical
Folk Tilia Kachnaag, Dudhia. tetraploids.
Action Nervine tonic. Beta-asarone is carcinogenic in ani-
mals. Volatile oil of types II, III and
Air-dried roots of the plant are re-
IV—major constituent is usually beta-
ported to contain % indaconitine.
asarone (isoasarone), up to %. In-
dian calamus oil contains asarone up
to % and its beta-isomer. In type I,
Acorus calamus Linn. beta-asarone and other phenylpropa-
noids are absent. It is superior in spas-
molytic activity to the other types.
Habitat Wild and cultivated Indian practitioners mostly use A.
throughout India in damp marshy calamus externally. Shveta Vachaa
places from to , m; common (Haimavati, equated with Acorus gra-
in Manipur and Naga Hills. mineus Scoland. Ex Ait., a diploid, is
English Sweet Flag, Calamus. used internally. Unani physicians use
Paris polyphylla Sim. as Khuraasaani
Ayurvedic Vachaa, Ugragandhaa,
Ugraa, Golomi, Shadgranthaa,
The essential oil-free alcoholic ex-
tract of A. calamus possesses sedative
Kshudra-patra, Maangalyaa, Ghor-
and analgesic properties.
Alpha-asarone potentiates pento-
Unani Waj-e-Turki, Waj. barbital, accounts for some, but not all,
Siddha/Tamil Vasambu. neurodepressive activity. Beta-asarone
Action Rhizome—nervine tonic, is reportedly hallucinogenic. (Francis
hypotensive, tranquilizer, sedative Brinker.)
(with neuroleptic and antianxiety The ethanolic extract of rhizomes
properties), analgesic, spasmolytic, show signiﬁcant antisecretory and an-
anticonvulsant; used for bronchial tiulcerogenic activity; also, protective
catarrh, chronic diarrhoea and eﬀect against cytodestructive agents,
Along with other therapeutic appli- Dosage Rhizome—– mg
cations, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia powder. (API Vol. II.)
of India indicates the use of the dried
rhizomes as a brain tonic in weak mem-
ory, psychoneurosis and epilepsy. Acorus gramineus Soland. ex Ait.
Four types of Calamus are used
in herbal medicine: type I—Acorus Family Araceae.
Actinodaphne hookeri Meissn. 17
Habitat Native to Japan, occasion-
ally met within Sikkim at an altitude
Actiniopteris dichotoma Kuhn. A
of , m, in Khasi Hills up to Synonym A. australis (L. f.) Link.
, m. A. radiata (Sw.) Link.
A. dichotoma Kuhn.
Ayurvedic Haimavati (white var. of
Vachaa). Family Adiantaceae.
Action Antispasmodic (used in Habitat Throughout India, espe-
abdominal colic). See A. calamus. cially common in Kumaon Hills
and the Nilgiris, below an altitude
of , m.
English Peacock’s tail.
Actaea spicata Linn.
Ayurvedic Mayurshikhaa, Madhu-
Synonym A. acuminata Wall. ex chhadaa, Sahastrahi, Vahrishikhaa.
Royle Action Styptic, antibacterial,
Family Ranunculaceae. antipyretic.
Habitat Native to Europe; grows in The stems and leaves contain rutin,
temperate Himalayas from Hazara a styptic active principle. Anthelmintic
to Bhutan. activity, attributed to the fern, was not
English Baneberry Grapewort. observed in experiments on mice.
Folk Visha-phale (Kannada). Dosage Root—– g powder.
anti-inﬂammatory, nerve sedative,
emetic, purgative; used in the
treatment of rheumatic fever, Actinodaphne hookeri Meissn.
lumbago, scrofula, nervous disor-
Synonym A. angustifolia Nees.
The plant is reported to contain Habitat The western Ghats, Orissa
trans-aconitic acid, which shows a and Sikkim up to , m.
strong cytostatic action. Its Me ether
is active against Ehrlich’s ascites tu- Siddha/Tamil Thali, Paratathali.
mours. Folk Pisaa (Maharashtra).
In folk medicine, roots are used in Action Infusion of leaves—urinary
cases of ovarian neuralgia, uterine ten- tract disinfectant, antidiabetic,
derness and sub-involution. They are spasmolytic.
adulterant of the roots of Helleborus
niger. Berries are poisonous; used top- The leaves contain a very small
ically for skin diseases. The toxic con- amount of an amorphous alkaloid.
stituent is protoanemonin (lactone). It They also contain beta-sitosterol, hen-
is irritant to mucous membrane. triacontanone, hentriacontanol and
18 Adansonia digitata Linn.
A quercetin--rhamnoside and hydro-
The roots contain a ﬂavanone glyco-
The bark gives an alkaloid, actino-
Adenanthera pavonina Linn.
Family Leguminosae; Mimosaceae.
Adansonia digitata Linn.
Habitat The western Ghats, the
Family Bombacaceae. Andamans and sub-Himalayan
Habitat Native to tropical Africa; tract; also cultivated.
common along the west coast of English Coral Wood, Red Wood.
Ayurvedic Rakta Kanchana, Rakta
English Baobab, Monkey Bread Kambala.
tree, African calabash.
Ayurvedic Sheet-phala, Ravanaam-
likaa, Gorakshi, Panchparni. Folk Ghumchi (bigger var.).
Unani Gorakh Imli. Action Astringent and styptic
(used in diarrhoea, haemorrhage
Siddha/Tamil Papparapuli. from the stomach, haematuria),
Folk Gorakh Imli; Gorakh anti-inﬂammatory (in rheumat-
Chinchaa. ic aﬀections, gout). Seeds—
Action Cooling, refrigerant (allays anticephalgic; also used for the
burning sensation). Leaves— treatment of paralysis. A decoction
diaphoretic (used as a prophylactic is given in pulmonary aﬀections.
against fevers). Fruit—antidysen- The seed contains an anti-inﬂam-
teric, antiseptic, antihistaminic. matory active principle, O-acetyletha-
The fruit pulp is a source of vita- nolamine. The leaves contain octa-
min C (.–. mg/ g); dried cosanol, dulcitol, glucosides of beta-
pulp contains calcium and vitamin B. sitosterol and stigmasterol. The bark
Furfural (.%) is obtained after dis- contains sitgmasterol glucoside.
tillation of the fruit. In Africa, dried
leaves provide much of the dietary cal-
cium. Aqueous extract of the bark is Adhatoda vasica Nees.
used for treating sickle cell anaemia.
An infusion of the leaves and ﬂow- Synonym A. zeylanica Medic.
ers is given in respiratory disorders. Justicia adhatoda Linn.
(Powdered leaves prevented crisis in Family Acanthaceae.
asthma induced by histamine in guinea
pigs.) Dried fruit pulp also gives relief Habitat Throughout India, up to an
in bronchial asthma, allergic dermati- altitude of , m.
tis and urticaria. English Malabar Nut, Vasaca.
Adiantum capillus-veneris Linn. 19
Ayurvedic Vaasaa, Vaasaka,
Vaasikaa, Simhaasya, Simhaparni,
more powerful and active than A. vasi-
ca. Fresh leaf juice is used in haemop-
Simhavadanaa, Vaajidanta, Vrisha, tysis and menorrhagia, also as an anti-
Jacobinia tinctoria Henl. is equated
with the red-ﬂowered var. of Vaasaa.
Dosage Leaf—– ml juice.
Folk Vasaakaa. Dried leaves—– g for deoction.
Action Expectorant (used in Root—– g powder. (API Vols. I,
bronchial, asthmatic and pulmo- IV.)
nary aﬀections), antispasmodic,
Key application As bronchodilatory, Adiantum aethiopicum Linn.
expectorant. (Indian Herbal
Synonym A. emarginatum Bedd.
Pharmacopoeia.) The Ayurvedic
Pharmacopoeia of India indicates its Family Adiantaceae.
use in dyspnoea. Habitat North Kanara and the
Nilgiri and Palni hills at higher
The chief quinazoline alkaloid vas- elevations.
icine is reported in all parts of the
plant, the highest being in inﬂores- Ayurvedic Hansapadi (related sp.).
cence. It is a bitter bronchodilator, res- Action Rhizomes—decoction
piratory stimulant, hypotensive, car- abortifacient. Astringent and
diac depressant, uterotonic and aborti- emetic. Emollient in coughs and
facient. An aqueous solution of va- diseases of the chest; sudoriﬁc.
sicinone hydrochloride, when studied
in mice and dogs, was found to po-
tentiate the bronchodilatory activity Adiantum capillus-veneris Linn.
of aminophylline, also that of isopre-
naline. Vasicinone exhibited smooth- Family Adiantaceae.
muscle-relaxant properties of airways. Habitat All along the Himalayas
Alkaloids present in the plant from Kashmir to Sikkim between
showed signiﬁcant protection against altitudes of , and , m.
allergin-induced bronchial obstruc-
tion in guinea pigs. English American Maidenhair
The leaves are found to activate the Fern, Venus Hair, Rock Fern.
digestive enzyme trypsin. Ayurvedic Hansaraaja, Hansapadi
An extract of the leaves showed (related sp.).
signiﬁcant antifungal activity against Unani Parsiaavashaan.
Adhatoda beddomei C.B. Clarke, Siddha/Tamil Seruppadai.
found in Kerala, is considered to be Folk Mubaaraka.
20 Adiantum incisum Forsk.
A Action Astringent, demulcent,
expectorant, antitussive, stimulant,
English Walking Maidenhair Fern.
Black Maidenhair (A. venustum G.
emmenagogue. Fonds used in Don is also known as Hansaraaja.)
chronic catarrh (as an ingredient Ayurvedic Hansapadi, Hansapaadi,
of cough and bronchial medicines); Raktapaadi, Kitamaataa, Tri-
also in cold imposthumes of uterus, paadikaa, Hansaraaja; a substitute
hard swellings and hard tumours of for Taamrachuda-paadikaa.
spleen, liver and other viscera.
The fern contains ﬂavonoid gluco-
Folk Raajhans, Mubaaraka.
sides, including rutin, isoquercetin, as-
tragalin, kaempferol; hydroxycinnam- Action Febrifugal, antidysenteric,
ic acid esters; terpenoids, including soothing agent in erysipelas. The
adiantone. rhizome is also prescribed for
strangury, atrophy, emaciation or
cachexy, muscular pain; emetic in
Adiantum incisum Forsk. large doses.
Synonym A. caudatum Linn. Along with other therapeutic appli-
cations, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia
Family Adiantaceae. of India indicates the use of the dried
Habitat The plains and the lower whole plant in psychosis-related fear.
slopes of the hills in Punjab, (It is one of the ingredients of the
Rajasthan, West Bengal, Tamil classical drug Maanasamitra Vataka,
Nadu and Maharashtra. prescribed for mental disorders.)
Ayurvedic Nilakantha-shikhaa, The chemical constituents are chlo-
Mayurshikhaa, Vahrishikhaa. rophyll-degradation products and
Action Used in hemicrania,
cough, fever; externally in skin Dosage Whole plant—- g (API
diseases; used as a substitute for Vol. III.)
The fern yields adiantone, isoadian-
tone, fernene, hentriacontane, hentri- Adina cordifolia
acontanone-, beta-sitosterol. Hook. f. ex Brandis
Habitat Indigenous in deciduous
Adiantum lunulatum Burm.
forests all over India.
Synonym A. philippense Linn. English Yellow Teak, Saﬀron Teak.
Family Adiantaceae. Ayurvedic Haridru, Haraduaa-
Habitat Throughout the greater kadamba, Gaur-kadamba,
part of India, up to an altitude of Girikadamba, Dhaaraakadam-
, m. ba, Pitadaaru, Kadambapushpa.
Aerva javanica (Burm. f.) Juss. ex Schult. 21
Siddha/Tamil Manjakadambu. use of root in dysuria; stembark in
diabetes and lipid disorders.
Folk Haladu, Kheta Kadam.
Action Antibacterial, antiseptic, A number of coumarins (includ-
antidysenteric, antibilious (used ing xanthotoxol and alloimperatorin
in biliary colic), febrifuge. Root— methyl ether), ﬂavonoids (including
astringent. rutin and marmesin), alkaloids (in-
cluding alpha-fagarine), sterols and
The heartwood contains indole al-
essential oils have been isolated from
kaloids; bark .–.% tannin. The
plant parts. Pectin is an important
leaves contain ursolic acid and querce-
constituent of the fruit.
Alkaloid aegeline, present in the
leaves, is eﬃcacious in asthma. The
active principle in aqueous extract of
Aegle marmelos leaf shows hypoglycaemic activity sim-
(L.) Correa ex Roxb. ilar to insulin. Leaves are also given
Family Rutaceae. in jaundice. Alcoholic extract of seeds
shows antiallergic activity.
Habitat The plains and sub-
Marmin, a coumarin isolated from
mountain regions of India, ascend-
the roots, shows anti-inﬂammatory ef-
ing to an altitude of , m in the
fects experimentally. Marmin also in-
western Himalayas; cultivated all
hibited gastric haemorrhagic lesions
in rats and exhibited antiulcer eﬀects.
English Bael tree, Bengal Quince. Seed oil showed beneﬁcial eﬀects in
Ayurvedic Bilva, Shriphala, regeneration of tumour cells.
Shaandilya, Shailuusha, Shalya, Aurapten is found to be the most
Sadaaphala, Mahaakapitha (Kapitha potent inhibitor of heart rate. Rootbark
is equated with Feronia limonia), is used for palpitation of the heart.
Maaluura, Rudrajataa, Rudranir-
Dosage Pulp of unripe or half
ripe fruit— g powder. Root— g
Unani Bael. powder. (API Vols. I, III.)
Siddha/Tamil Vilvam, Koovilam.
Action Stomachic, antimicrobial
(speciﬁc for diarrhoea, colitis, Aerva javanica
dysentery and enteric infections), (Burm. f.) Juss. ex Schult.
digestive, astringent, spasmolytic,
hypoglycaemic. Synonym A. persica (Burm.f.)
Key application As antidiarrhoeal. A. tomentosa Frosk.
(Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)
Along with other therapeutic Family Amaranthaceae.
applications, The Ayurvedic Phar- Habitat Punjab, Central and
macopoeia of India indicates the Peninsular India.
22 Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. ex Schult.
A English Javanese Wool Plant. Aerva scandens Wall., synonym A.
sanguinolenta Blume, is also known as
Paashaanabheda in the south.
Folk Dholphuli, Khul. Paashaanab- Species used as Paashaanabheda:
heda (southern India). Bergenia ligulata (north), Aerva lanata
Action Anti-inﬂammatory, diuretic, (south), Coleus amboinicus (east) and
anticalculus, insecticidal. Wooly Bryophyllum pinnatum (west).
seeds are used against rheumatism.
Dosage – ml decoction.
The plant extract contains ascor- (CCRAS.)
bic acid, kaempferol, beta-amyrin and
beta-sitosterol. The leaves also contain
sitosterol and its glucoside. Aesculus hippocastanum Linn.
Family Hippocastanaceae; Sapinda-
Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. ex Schult.
Habitat Endemic to the mountains
Family Amaranthaceae. of Balkan Peninsula and western
Habitat The warmer parts of India, Asia. Introduced into India; occa-
ascending to , m. sionally grown as an ornamental
Gorakshaganjaa, Aadaanpaaki, English Horse Chestnut tree.
Shatkabhedi. Unani Baloot. (Quercus incana and
Siddha/Tamil Sirupeelai. Q. infectoria have also been equated
with Baloot in National Formulary
Folk Paashaanabheda (southern in Unani Medicine.)
Action Anticalculus (used in
lithiasis), diuretic, demulcent, Action Anti-inﬂammatory, va-
anthelmintic, antidiarrhoeal, sodilator, astringent (used for
anticholerin, bechic; leaf used rheumatism, venous congestion,
in hepatitis, root in strangury. haemorrhoids), febrifuge. Leaf—
A decoction of the plant is used in used in whooping cough.
catarrh of bladder. The ﬂowers and Key application In chronic venous
roots are used for headache. insuﬃciency, varicosis, nocturnal
Key application As diuretic and systremma (cramps in the calves)
lithontriptic. (The British Herbal and swelling of the legs. (Non-
Pharmacopoeia.) invasive treatment measures should
also be followed.) (German
The plant contains palmitic acid, Commission E, ESCOP, The British
beta-sitosterol and alpha-amyrin. Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)
Aframomum melegueta (Rosc.) K. Schum. 23
Horse Chestnut contains triterpe-
noid saponins (especially aescin, a
The leaves contain aescin, quercetin
and beta-sitosterol. Stems also con-
complex mixture composed of acylat- tain rutin, astragalin, aesculin. Seeds
ed glycosides of protoaesigenin and contain aescin, aesculuside A and B, al-
barringtogenol-C, including hippo- so aliphatic esters. Seeds possess anti-
caesculin), coumarins and ﬂavonoids. inﬂammatory activity.
Aescin has been shown to eliminate The extract of seeds is considered
oedema and reduce exudation. It an- to be active against P- lymphocy-
tagonizes the eﬀect of bradykinin, al- tic leukaemia and human epidermoid
though it is not a direct bradykinin carcinoma of nasopharynx.
antagonist. It causes an increase in
plasma levels of ACTH, corticosterone
and glucose in rats. Hippocaescu- Aframomum melegueta
lin and barringtogenol-C--angelate (Rosc.) K. Schum.
show antitumour activity in vitro.
The hydroxycoumarin aesculin Synonym Amomum melegueta
leads to increased bleeding time. Rosc.
(Roasting seems to destroy the tox- Family Zingiberaceae.
ins.) A few fruits can cause severe
Habitat Native to tropical Africa;
toxic symptoms. (Francis Brinker.) In
cultivated in Indian gardens.
some countries, an intravenous mix-
ture containing aescin is used after English Grains of Paradise, Alligator
surgery. (Natural Medicines Compre- pepper, Meleguetta pepper.
hensive Database, .) Unani Heel Habshi.
Action Roots possess cardamom-
like taste and are given as a decoction
for constipation; also as a vermifuge
Aesculus indica Hook.
for tapeworms. Juice of young
Family Sapindaceae; Hippocastana- leaves—styptic. The seeds contain
ceae. an alkaloid, piperine; also gingerol,
paradol, shogaol and zingerone.
Habitat The Himalayas from
Kashmir to western Nepal, Kulu Gingerol and shogaol suppress gas-
and Chamba in Himachal Pradesh, tric contractions; also have sedative
Tehri-Garhwal and Kumaon in and analgesic actions. Pungency of the
Uttar Pradesh at –, m. grains is due to paradol.
A decoction of the whole plant is
English Indian Horse Chestnut, taken internally as a febrifuge.
Himalayan Chestnut. High oxalic acid content in the fruit
may cause reduced function of the
Action Antirheumatic, galacto- Aframomum korarima K. Schum.,
genic, antileucorrhocic. native to tropical Africa, known as
24 Aganosma dichotoma (Roth) K. Schum.
A False cardamom, is also equated with
Active principle is agaric acid (aga-
ricin), present to the extent of –%.
Aganosma dichotoma Agaricus campestris Linn.
(Roth) K. Schum.
Synonym Psalliota campestris
Synonym A. caryophyllata G. Don (Linn.) Fr.
Family Apocynaceae. Family Agaricaceae.
Habitat Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Habitat The fungi is distributed in
Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil many parts of India, particularly
Nadu; often cultivated in Indian on the hills and plains of northern
gardens. and eastern India. Grows during
the rainy weather on dead organic
Ayurvedic Madhumaalati. matter, e.g. rotting leaves and
Action Antiseptic; anodyne (an manure.
ingredient in massage oils for English Field mushroom, Edible
paraplegia, neuralgia, sciatica); also mushroom.
anthelmintic and emetic.
Ayurvedic Chhatraka, Bhuumi-
The leaves contain quercetin, kaem- chhatra.
pferol and phenolic acids. Shoot tips Unani Kammat.
and ﬂower buds contain tannin.
Aganosma calycina A. DC. is also
equated with Madhumaalati. Folk Khumbi.
Action A protein (.%) supple-
ment and an excellent source of
Agaricus albus Linn. vitamins of B complex. Vitamins K,
C and D are also present. Though
Family Agaricaceae. all the amino acids are reported
Habitat Punjab, Asia Minor. to be present, the concentration of
tryptophane is particularly low.
English Purging Agaric.
Extracts of A. campestris contain ty-
Unani Gharaiqoon; also equated rosinase; lowered blood pressure of hy-
with Fomes oﬃcinalis (Vill. ex Fr.) pertensive animals when administered
Lloyd. intravenously (exhibited no eﬀect on
Action Diuretic, laxative, deob- normal animals).
structant, expectorant; purgative Fungal enzyme preparations have
and emetic in large doses; used in been used in digestive diseases.
the treatment of night sweats in Field mushroom contains amylase,
phthisis, and as a supporting drug maltase, glycogenase, protease, cata-
for asthma. lase, tyrosinase, phosphomonoesteras-
Aglaia roxburghiana Miq. Hiern 25
es, polyphosphatases, polyphenoloxi-
dase and dehydropeptidases.
Ageratum conyzoides Linn. A
Family Asteraceae, Compositae.
Habitat Throughout India, up to an
altitude of , m.
Agaricus ostreatus (Jacq.) Fries
English Goat Weed, White Weed.
Ayurvedic Dochunty, Uchunti,
Habitat Artocarpus interifolia, Sahadevi (related sp.).
indigenous to the western Ghats.
Action Anti-inﬂammatory, antibac-
English Oyster Mushroom (grows terial, antifungal, styptic.
on Artocarpus integrifolia).
The leaf is reported to contain stig-
Action Prevents excessive salivation. masterol (.%) and beta-sitosterol
Also given internally in dysentery, (.%) as major component of sterol
diarrhoea, stomatitis; as a paste to faction. The dried ﬂowering plant con-
gums in apthae. tains the pyrrolizidine alkaloids, lycop-
samine and echinatine.
An aqueous extract of leaves is re-
Agave americana Linn. ported to show haemostatic activity.
The plant extract exhibited muscle re-
Family Agavaceae. laxant activity experimentally. The
Habitat Native to America; grown ethanolic extract (%) of roots pos-
in gardens for ornamentation. sesses anti-inﬂammatory and analgesic
English Century Plant, American The aqueous extract of leaves ex-
Aloe. hibits antifungal and crude plant ex-
Ayurvedic Kaantala (related sp.). tract antibacterial properties.
Aglaia roxburghiana Miq. Hiern
Action Leaf juice—used for
warts, cancerous ulcers and putrid Synonym A. elaegnoidea (A. Juss.)
tumours. Leaves are also used as Benth.
a resolvant in syphilis and scrofula. Milnea roxburghiana (Miq.) Wight
The leaves contain ten steroidal sa- Family Meliaceae.
ponins (six of these are spirostanolic
and four furostanolic), also hecogenin Habitat Western Ghats, tropical
(.%) and piscidic acid. The seeds forests in the hills of Andhra
contain steroid sapogenins including Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and
hecogenin. The plant exhibits signiﬁ- Andaman and Nicobar islands.
cant antibacterial activity. Ayurvedic Priyangu (var.)
26 Agrimonia eupatoria auct non L.
A Siddha/Tamil Gnaazhal. (Dried
ﬂowers of Myristica malabarica
and discharging skin, psoriasis and
Lam. are also used as Priyangu.) Key application In mild, non-
Action Fruit—cooling (in febrile speciﬁc, acute diarrhoea and
complaints), antipyretic, astringent, in inﬂammation of oral and
antidiarrhoeal, antidysenteric, pharyngeal mucosa; as astringent.
anti-inﬂammatory (seeds used for (German Commission E, The British
painful micturition). Fruits are Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)
also used for treating obstinate skin
The herb contains condensed tan-
diseases and tumours.
nins up to %, coumarins, ﬂavonoids
Bisamide alkaloids of the leaves ex- (glucosides of luteolin, apigenin and
hibit anticancer activity (by inhibiting quercetin), polysaccharides, volatile
the growth of vinblastine-resistant KB oil. Luteolin -glucoside shows a chole-
cells). gogic action. Aqueous extracts inhibi-
ted Mycobacterium tuberculosis, also
strains resistant to streptomycin and
p-aminosalicylate. Essential oil is an-
Agrimonia eupatoria auct non L.
tibacterial, active against Bacillus sub-
Synonym A. pilosa Hook.f. non tilis.
Ledeb. The ethanolic extracts of the herb
A. pilosa Ledeb. var. nepalensis (D. are used for their antiviral proper-
Don) Nakai ties. (Natural Medicines Comprehen-
Family Rosacae. sive Database, .)
Coumarins interact with anticoagu-
Habitat The Himalayas from lants, and drugs that increase the risk
Kashmir to West Bengal at – of bleeding Furanocoumarin content
, m, and in Arunachal Pradesh, increase photosensitivity. (Sharon M.
Nagaland and Meghalaya. Herr.)
English Agrimony, Stickle Wort.
Agropyron repens Beauv.
Action Astringent, anti- Synonym Triticum repens L.
inﬂammatory, hepatic, cholagogue, Family Gramineae; Poaceae.
diuretic, mild haemostatic, an- Habitat The western Himalayas and
tibacterial. Used for irritations and Kashmir at altitudes between ,
infections of the intestinal tract, and , m.
gallbladder diseases, hyperacidity,
colic, urinary disorders (bed- English Couch grass, dog grass,
wetting, incontinence), sluggish wheat grass.
liver, mucus membrane inﬂam- Action Demulcent (used in
mations; externally for ulcerated cystitis, nephritis), aperient,
Ailanthus glandulosa Desf. 27
diuretic and urinary antiseptic,
Action Bark—bitter, astringent,
febrifuge, anthelminitic, antispas-
Key application In irrigation modic, expectorant (used in asthma,
therapy for inﬂammatory diseases bronchitis). Also used for dysentery
of the urinary tract and for the as a substitute for Holarrhena
prevention of kidney gravel. antidysenterica.
(German Commission E, The British Bark and leaves—used as tonic in de-
Herbal Pharmacopoeia.) It is bility, especially after childbirth.
contraindicated in oedema due to Leaves—used as adulterant for Ad-
cardiac or renal insuﬃciency. hatoda zeylanica leaves.
Along with other therapeutic appli-
The juice of rhizomes is used for cys-
cations, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia
titis, nephritis, scirrhous liver; decoc-
of India indicates the use of stembark
tion for tonsils and as an adjuvant for
in high fevers and giddiness.
cancer; also used for gout and rheuma-
The bark contains several quassi-
tism, and chronic skin disorders.
noids including ailanthone derivatives.
The rhizome contains triticin, a car-
They exhibit antitumour activity
bohydrate allied to starch, a fruc-
against P- lymphocytic leukaemia
tosan polysaccharide, inositol, manni-
and are cytotoxic against KB test sys-
tol; volatile oil up to about .%, con-
sisting mainly of agropyrene; vanillin
glucoside; mucilage, gum, large quan- Dosage Stembark—– g (API
tities of silica; iron, minerals, vita- Vol. III.) Decoction—– ml.
mins, K salt. Agropyrene is reported (CCRAS.)
to have broad antibiotic properties. Ex-
tracts show uric acid solvent proper-
ties. Agropyrene is antifungal.
Ailanthus glandulosa Desf.
Synonym A. altissima (Mill.)
Ailanthus excelsa Roxb. Swingle
Habitat Native of China and Japan.
Habitat Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Found in the hills of northern India
Gujarat, Orissa and southern India. up to an altitude of , m.
English Tree of Heaven, Maharukh. English Tree of Heaven, Ailanto.
Ayurvedic Aralu, Katvanga, Ayurvedic Aralu (related sp.).
Dirghavranta, Puutivrksha, Bhallu- Action Bark—astringent, anti-
ka. (Mahaanimba is a synonym of spasmodic, parasiticidal, narcotic,
Melia azedarach Linn.) cardiac depressant (exercises power-
Siddha Perru, Perumaruttu, ful depressing inﬂuence on nervous
Peruppi. system similar to that of tobacco).