Herbs & Plants

Desmodium gangeticum

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Botanical Name: Desmodium gangeticum
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Desmodium
Species: D. gangeticum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Vernacular Name: Salpani, Salparni(in Bengali)
In Sanskrit:Anshumati, Dhruva, Dirghamoola, Pivari, Shalaparni

Habitat:Desmodium gangeticum is very common weed in Malesia, mainly found in anthropogenic habitats in the lowlands, under everwet or seasonal conditions. In Indo-China it is found in savannahs and deforested terrains, in hedges and along forest paths, at elevations up to 1,900 m.
It grows in forest, roadside shrubberies, waste places.

Desmodium gangeticum is a very variable perennial plant. Usually much-branched, it can be erect or prostrate with stems that can range from herbaceous to woody and persistant. It can be just a few centimetres tall, or can occasionally reach up to 2 metres tall and look somewhat tree-like.


Stem with appressed hairs. Leaves 1-foliolate, stip., ovate or oblong-ovate, 4-9 cm long,
acute. Flowers white or violet, in racemes, bracteates. Pod 6-8 joined, with hooked hairs.
Flowering and fruiting: July October.

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of the leaves is used against stones in the gall bladder, kidneys or bladder
The leaves are applied as a poultice to the head as a treatment for headache.

The roots are considered to be alterative, astringent, bitter tonic, diuretic, expectorant and febrifuge. A decoction of the root is employed to treat kidney problems, oedema, swellings, chronic fever, coughs, biliousness, diarrhoea and dysentery; or as a sedative for children.
The roots are applied to the gums as a treatment for toothache. A decoction is used externally to clean wounds and ulcers.

Roots used to treat chronic fever, chronic affection of the chest and lungs, piles,
asthma, bronchitis, vomiting and nausea. Decoction of whole plant is given to treat erysipelas (An acute febrile
disease associated with intense skin inflammation caused by a haemolytic streptococcus) and general debility.

Other Uses:
The fibrous stems are reported to be useful for paper production.

Because of the abundant small uncinate hairs on most species, the seedpods cling most tenaciously to clothing, to any part of the human body, and also to the feathers and hair of various animals, thus ensuring a wide dispersal of the plants. The plant has often escaped from cultivation and is classified as an invasive weed in some areas.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed develops a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 – 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen – if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.

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


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