COMMONLY AVAILABLE MEDICINAL PLANTS
1. Acalypha indica
It belongs to Euphorbiaceae. The vernacular name of A. indica in
tamil is kuppaimeni, poonamayakki and its trade name is Indian Acalypha.
It is a common herb growing upto 75 cm tall with ovate leaves. Flowersare green, unisexual found in catkin inflorescence.
The paste obtained from the leaves of this plant is applied to burns.
The juice extracted from the leaves, mixed with lime and applied on skin to cure diseases caused by ringworms.
Fresh juice of leaves mixed with oil and salt is used for Rheumatoid arthritis and to cure scabies. Powdered leaves are used to cure bedsores and infected wounds.
The active medicinal compounds like Acalyphine and Triacetoneamine are extracted from this plant. They contain cyanogenic glucoside and alkaloids.
2. Aegle marmelos
It belongs to Rutaceae. The vernacular name of A. marmelos in
tamil, is vilvam. It’s trade name is baer fruit. It is an aromatic tree
growing 6 to 7.5 metres tall with long branches. Bark is grey with peeling type.
Leaves are trifoliate or pentafoliate. Leaflets are ovate. Flowers
are sweet scented with greenish white in colour and are borne on axillary panicles. Marmelosin, coumarin and triterpenoids are responsible for medicinal activity.
The unripe fruit is used to treat problems of stomach indigestion. It
kills intestinal parasites. It is used also to cure chronic diarrhoea and
dysentery. It is used as a tonic for the betterment of heart and brain.
3. Cissus quadrangularis
It belongs to Vitaceae. The vernacular name of C. quadrangularis in
tamil is as pirandai and its trade name is ‘Hadjor’ – bone joiner. It is a common shrub with tendrils. Its stem is angular, winged and contracted at nodes.
Leaves are simple, ovate or kidney shaped and thick leathery.
Coiled tendrils are found opposite to the leaves. Steroids like prescene and tetracyclic triterpenoids are the active chemicals present in this plant.
The paste obtained from the powdered stem and root of this plant is
used in bone fractures. Whole plant is useful to treat asthma and stomach troubles.
Stem is useful in the treatment of piles and its juice is used to
treat bleeding of nose.
4. Mimosa pudica
It belongs to Mimosaceae. The vernacular name of M. pudica in
tamil is ‘Thottal chinungi or Thottal surungi’. Its common english name is Touch-Me-Not plant.
It is a small herb with prickles which are erect or curved. Leaflets are arranged in two rows containing 15 to 20 pairs. Leaves are sensitive to touch. Flowers are pink and found in axillary heads.
A decoction of the root obtained from this plant is used to relieve
asthma and diarrhoea. This plant is also useful for curing piles, minor skin wounds and whooping cough. Mimosine, an alkaloid is extracted from this plant.
5. Solanum nigrum
It belongs to Solanaceae. The vernacular name of S. nigrum in tamil
is manithakkali or manathakkali. Its trade name is black night shade. It is an annual, erect, much branched and unarmed herb growing upto one metre tall. Leaves are ovate without hairs.
Flowers white borne on extra axillary cymes. Fruits are globose and black coloured berry. The extract of this herb is effective in the treatment of liver disorders like cirrhosis of liver.
This plant also cures fever, dysentery and promotes urination. Active medicinal compounds like solanin and saponin are
extracted from this plant.