Milkweed

Botanical Name: Calotropis gigantea/Asclepias syrica or Asclepias Gigantea
Family:Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Calotropis
Species: C. gigantea
Common Names: Milkweed, Rui (madar) In India it is called Akand,Gurakand,Akanda,Swe-Takand in English it is called Bowstring Hemp, Madar,Gigantic Swallowwort and Milkwed.

Habitat :Throughout india on plains on wastelands. A common shurb of wasteland and rode side. the leaves are thick, opposite, decussate in arrangement and coated with white powder. flowers are in umble and blue in colour.

It grows throughout most of the United States; this species is not found in the Western states, but similar milkweeds are available: found in old fields, roadsides, meadows, waste places and disturbed habitats.

Originnative to the United States and Canada

Description:
The common milkweed is thick-stemmed and upright.  It grows to be 3-5 feet tall.  Its leaves are elliptical, and opposite; they are velvety on their upper surface, and downy underneath.  They are 4-9 inches long and quite wide.

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The pinkish-purple flower buds look like loose broccoli; the flower itself is large and made up of individual florets gathered in an umbrella shaped globe that droops from the stem.  The stem is hairy.  The seed pods are the most recognizable feature of the common milkweed; they are green, elliptical shaped and about 1-4 inches in length with a pointed tip; inside, they contain myriad seeds with silky parachute-like attachments.  Another easily recognizable characteristic of the common milkweed is the profuse, milky white sap that flows from any broken part.

Common milkweed is a member of the Asclepiadaceae, or milkweed, family.  Its relatives include other milkweeds such as swamp milkweed, the butterfly weed, and showy milkweed.  The butterfly weed and Western states versions of milkweed are toxic.

In lore, legend and life: In World War II, children in the United States were encouraged to collect milkweed pods and turn them in to the government, where the fluffy silk was used to stuff lifevests and flying suits.  The silk was especially good because of its exceptional buoyancy and lightweight. Also in World War II, because of the shortage of natural rubber, scientists in the United States tried to turn common milkweed’s latex into a rubber like substitute.

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Monarch butterflies are particularly attracted to the flowers of the common milkweed and other milkweed relatives.

In Hindu mythology, relatives of the common milkweed were considered to be the king of plants; it was believed that the creating god was under the influence of milkweed juice when he created the universe.
Click to see :->Scarlet Milkweed 

Active constituents:- beta carotene, vitamin C, latex, alkaloids, asclepiadin, volatile oils

Medicinal uses :-
Dry leaf powder used for treating wounds and boils. leaves found to be effective on elephantiasis.
flowers along with jaggery are useful against cough and improving appetite.
the mixture of latex, turmeric and sesame oil, useful in treating scabies.Leaves and flowers used for worshiping lord Hanuman. position : Very common.

Common milkweed has been used traditionally a tea prepared from its root as a diuretic for kidney stones, a laxative, and an expectorant.  It has been used to treat asthma and bronchitis and it induces sweating.  The sap has been used for chewing gum, which is considered very dangerous because of the presence of cardioactive compounds in the plant. The sap has also been used as a topical remedy for worts, ringworm and moles.  Some Native Americans used milkweed as a contraceptive. It was also a folk remedy for cancer. Today, milkweed has limited medicinal use; other milkweed species, such as the swamp milkweed, have more widespread use. Parts of the milkweed plant can be eaten, but the similarity of this plant to toxic look-alikes would serve as a caution against this practice. It is used by some as an emetic, a potion to sooth the nerves, and as a stomach tonic.  It is also believed to kill parasitic worms.

Click to see it’s different Ayurvedic medicinal uses :-.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein ,  is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://green-source.blogspot.com/2009/06/rui-madar-calotropis-gigantea-milkweed.html
http://www.woodrow.org/teachers/bi/2000/Ethnobotany/milkweed.html

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