Saturday, 19 October 2013

Medicinal Plants

INTRODUCTION
India has 15 Agroclimatic zones and 17000-18000 species of flowering plants of which 6000-7000 are estimated to have medicinal usage in folk and documented systems of medicine, like Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy.  About 960 species of medicinal plants are estimated to be in trade of which 178 species have annual consumption levels in excess of 100 metric tones.

Medicinal plants are not only a major resource base for the traditional medicine & herbal industry but also provide livelihood and health security to a large segment of Indian population.  The domestic trade of the AYUSH industry is of the order of Rs. 80 to 90 billion (1US$ = Rs.50).  The Indian medicinal plants and their products also account of exports in the range of Rs. 10 billion. 

There is global resurgence in traditional and alternative health care systems resulting in world herbal trade which stands at US$ 120 billion and is expected to reach US$ 7 trillion by 2050.  Indian share in the world trade, at present, however, is quite low.

The National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) set-up in November 2000 by the Government of India has the primary mandate of coordinating all matters relating to medicinal plants and support policies and programmes for growth of trade, export, conservation and cultivation.  The Board is located in the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & Homeopathy (AYUSH) of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
 

SOME MEDICINAL PLANTS AND THERE USES.Common name: Chameleon Plant, Toningkhok (Manipuri) 
Botanical name: Houttuynia cordata    Family: Saururaceae (lizard-tail family)

Chameleon Plant is a perennial ground cover plant. It is been marketed as a creeping ornamental garden plant, which has heart shaped leaves up to 75 mm long and almost as wide. The leaves are comprised of a mixture of colors from green through yellow to red, the brighter colors being more prominent when grown in full sunlight. The leaves are opposite along thin erect stems which arise from slender rhizomes. The minute flowers are densely clustered on short spikes. At the base of each spike are four white petal-like parts. The leaves of Chameleon Plant are heart-shaped, usually green, but take on various colors like variegated cream, bronze, scarlet, and have a peppery scent when crushed. The leaves make a marvelous flavoring in salads. In Manipur, people love it and consume it in various ways, as salad, also in pakodasCommon name: Shiny Bush, Slate pencil plant, pepper elder, rat's ear, shiny bush, silverbush •Malayalam: Mashitandu chedi • Assamese: Pononoa • Sanskrit: Toyakandha, Varshabhoo 
Botanical name: Peperomia pellucida    Family: Piperaceae (Pepper family)
Synonyms: Peperomia exigua, Peperomia translucens, Piper pellicudum

Shiny bush is a common fleshy annual herb, growing by roadside and in wasteland. Stems are translucent pale green, erect or ascending, usually 15-45 cm long, internodes usually 3-8 cm long, hairless. Fleshy leaves are heart shaped, shiny light green, 1.5-4 cm long, 1-3.3 cm wide. It has very small bi-sexual flowers growing in the form of cord-like spikes, 3-6 cm long, arising from the leaf axils. The fruits are also very small, round to oblong, ridged, first green later black. They have one single seed. Shiny bush has a mustard like odor.The plant can be utilized as a vegetable and in salads. Shiny Bush is native to south America, but widely naturalized and cultivated. 
Common name: Tailed Pepper, java pepper, cubeb • Hindi: कबाब चीनी Kabab-chini, kabachini, शीतल चीनी Sheetal-chini • Kannada: Balmenasu, Gandha menasu • Malayalam: Val-milaku • Marathi: Mothi, Pimpli • Oriya: Sugandhamaricha • Sanskrit: Renuka, cinatiksna, Chinorana, Kakkola • Tamil: valmilaku, kanakamilaku, takkolam • Telugu: halava-miriyalu, toka-miriyalu • Urdu: Kabab-chini, Shital-chini 
Botanical name: Piper cubeba    Family: Piperaceae (Pepper family)

Tailed pepper is a plant cultivated for its fruit and essential oil. It is mostly grown in Java and Sumatra, hence sometimes called Java pepper. It is a perennial plant, with a climbing stem, round branches, about as thick as a goose-quill, ash-colored, and rooting at the joints. The leaves are from 4-6.5 inches long, 1.5-2 inches broad, ovate-oblong, long pointed, and very smooth. Flowers are arranged in narrow spikes at the end of the branches. Fruit, a berry rather longer than that of black pepper. Tailed pepper is native to SE Asia, introduced in India by Arabian traders.
Medicinal uses:  Sanskrit texts included cubeb in various remedies. Charaka and Sushruta prescribed a cubeb paste as a mouthwash, and the use of dried cubebs internally for oral and dental diseases, loss of voice, halitosis, fevers, and cough. Unani physicians use a paste of the cubeb berries externally on male and female genitals to intensify sexual pleasure during coitus. Due to this attributed property, cubeb was called "Habb-ul-Uruus".
Identification credit: Vijayadas D.
Common name: South-Indian Uvaria • Kannada: bugadee balli, bugadee hoo, gunavaara • Malayalam: Narumpanal, Kureel • Marathi: kala-apkara • Sanskrit: Neelavalli, Valeeshakhota • Tamil: puliccan, pulikkan 
Botanical name:  Uvaria narum    Family: Annonaceae (Sugar-apple family)

South-Indian Uvaria is a large woody stellately pubescent straggling shrub with dark bluish green leaves. Leaves are oblong - lanceolate , pointed or long-pointed, hairless on both sides, stalks short, less than 6 mm. Crushed leaves smell like cinnamon. Flowers are reddish, solitary, at branch ends or leaf-opposed, 2.5 cm in diameter. Stamens have anthers concealed by the overlapping connectives. Carpels are numerous , scarlet-red; seeds chestnut brown. South-Indian Uvaria is found in Western ghats from Maharashtra southwards up to an altitude of 1,200 m.
Medicinal uses:  Root and leaves-used in intermittent fevers, biliousness, jaundice; also in rheumatic affections; bruised in salt water, used in skin diseases. A decoction of the root bark is given to women to control fits at the time of delivery.
Identification credit: Asokan Mash

Common name: Sugar Apple, Custard apple • Hindi: Sharifa शरीफ़ा , Sitaphal सीताफल • Manipuri: Sitaphal • Assamese: Katal • Tamil: சீதாபழம் Sitapalam 
Botanical name: Annona squamosa     Family: Annonaceae (sugar apple family)

A small tropical tree, indigenous to the Amazon rainforest, growing up to 20' tall. The leaves are thin, oblong while the flowers are greenish - yellow. Flowers are oblong, 1 to 1 1/2 in long, never fully open, with 1 in long, drooping stalks, and 3 fleshy outer petals, yellow-green on the outside and pale-yellow inside with a purple or dark-red spot at the base. The avoid or conical fruit, with a purple knobby skin, is very sweet and is eaten fresh or can be used for shakes. The fruit is juicy and creamy - white; it may contain up to 40 black seeds. These seeds are poisonous. From delicious fruits of Sitaphal, jelly, jam, conserves, sharbets, syrup, tart and fermented drinks are prepared. The peelings and pulps contain oil that is useful in flavouring.
Medicinal uses:  The bark and leaves contain annonaine, an alkaloid. In tropical 
Common name: Himalayan Marsh Orchid, Marsh Orchis, Spotted Heart Orchid • Kumaon: Hatajari •Kashmiri: Salem Panja • Ladakhi: ཨམབོལཀཔཨ Ambolakpa • Urdu: Salap • Nepali: पाँच आँवले Panch aonle 
Botanical name:  Dactylorhiza hatagirea    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Orchis latifolia var. indica

Himalayan Marsh Orchid is a medicinal herb which is now considered critically endangered. It is a perennial herb with erect, leafy, stout and hollow stem. Leaves are oblong-lance-shaped, with sheathing base. Pink purple flowers are borne in an upright spike. Flowers are purple and the bracts green, narrowly lance-shaped, lower longer than the flowers, upper slightly shorter. Flowers are about 1.8 cm long, including the curved spur. Sepals and petals are nearly equal. Three of them form a hood, and the two side sepals spread outwards. The lip is rounded and shallowly 3-lobed, spotted dark purple. Marsh Orchis is found in shrubberies, open slopes and marshes, in the Himalayas, from Pakistan to SE Tibet, at altitudes of 2800-4000 m. Flowering: June-July. Roots are tuberous, divided into 2 or 3 lobes. 

Common name: Fiji Arrowroot, batflower, East Indian arrowroot, Polynesian arrowroot, Tahiti arrowroot • Hindi: बाघ मूंछ Bagh-moochh, देवकन्द devkanda • Marathi: देवकंद devkanda • Tamil: சேனை cenai, ககனம் kakanam, காறாக்கருணை kattu-k-karunai • Telugu: అడవిదుంప adavidumpa 
Botanical name: Tacca leontopetaloides    Family: Dioscoreaceae (Yam family)
Synonyms: Tacca hawaiiensis, Tacca involucrata, Tacca pinnatifida

Fiji Arrowroot is a perennial herb naturally distributed from western Africa through southeast Asia to northern Australia. The leaf's upper surface has depressed veins, and the under surface is shiny with bold yellow veins. Greenish purple flowers are borne on tall stalks in clusters, with long trailing whisker-like bracts. The plant is usually dormant for part of the year and dies down to the ground. Later, new leaves will arise from the round underground tuber. The tubers are hard and potato-like, with a brown skin and white interior. The tubers of Polynesian arrowroot contain starch that was an important food source for many Pacific Island cultures, primarily for the inhabitants of low islands and atolls. Polynesian arrowroot was prepared into a flour to make a variety of puddings. 

Common name: Aloe vera, Medicinal aloe, Burn plant • Hindi: Gheekumari घीकुमारी • Marathi: Khorpad • Tamil: கதலை Kathalai • Malayalam: Chotthu kathalai 
Botanical name: Aloe vera    Family: Asphodelaceae (Aloe family)
Synonyms: Aloe barbadensis, Aloe indica, Aloe vulgaris

Aloe, a popular houseplant, has a long history as a multipurpose folk remedy. Commonly known as Aloe vera, the plant can be snapped off and placed on cuts and burns for immediate relief. Aloe vera is a clump forming succulent whose fleshy gray-green leaves are arranged in a vase shaped rosette atop a very short stem. The leaves are up to 18 in long and 2 in wide at the base, slightly grooved on top, and terminating in a sharp point. The leaves have small grayish teeth on the margins. The main rosette gets up to about 2 ft high, and the plant continually produces little offset rosettes. In winter and spring, medicinal aloe bears small tubular yellow flowers on branched stalks up to 3 ft tall. The real Aloe vera has yellow flowers, but many of the clones available have orange flowers. Although Aloe Vera is a member of the Lily family, it is very-cactus like in its characteristics. 

Common name: Crowfoot Grass, beach wiregrass, coast button grass, comb fringe grass, Duck grass, Durban crowfoot, Egyptian fingergrass, Egyptian grass, finger comb grass, four-finger grass • Hindi: मकड़ा Makra • Manipuri:Pungphai 
Botanical name: Dactyloctenium aegyptium    Family: Poaceae (Grass family)
Synonyms: Eleusine aegyptiaca

Crowfoot Grass is a slender to moderately robust, spreading annual herb, with wiry stems, that bend and root at the lower nodes, with tips that may rise to about 2 ft in height. It is a very common weed of open spaces and wasteland. Leaves are typically grass-like,2-30 cm long, 2-9 mm wide, with blades and sheaths that are without hair. Leaf margins have long, stiff hairs. Flowers arise in 1-7 spikes, 1-6.2 cm long, 3-7 mm wide, at the tip of stems. Seed head resembles a crow's foot, hence the common name. Crowfoot Grass is native to Africa, but naturalized world-wide. 


SHAILESH KR SHUKLA 
directoratace@gmail.com


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