Botanical Name: Aristolochia bractiata
Species: A. bracteolata
*Aristolochia abyssinica Klotzch
*Aristolochia bracteata Retz.
*Aristolochia crenata Ehreb. ex Duch
*Aristolochia kotschyi Hoscht. ex A.rich
*Aristolochia mauritiana Pers.
*Einomeia bracteata (Retz.) Raf
Common Names: Worm killer
Habitat: Aristolochia bracteolata grows in subsaharan regions from Mali to Somalia through to the Arabian peninsula and India. The plant grows at elevations of 50-740m above sea level and can be found on the banks of rivers, bushland, desert grasslands. It grows in sandy or lava soils.
Aristolochia bracteolata is a climbing or prostrate perennial herb with an unpleasant smell, stems 10–60 cm tall from an underground rhizome. The leaves are ovate 1.5–8 X 1.5–7 cm with a petiole 0.5 cm–4.5 cm long. Flowers are dark purple, 0.5–5 cm tubular, with trumpet shaped mouth. Capsules are oblong-ellipsoid, 1.5–2.5 cm. Aristolochia bracteolata has been observed to have 2–3 flowers per leaf axil in Somalia, however outside Somalia the plant seems to have solitary flowers.
A plant of the drier tropics and subtropics, usually growing where there is a distinct dry season.
The flowers of many species in this genus form an intricate trap for pollinating insects. The insects are tempted to an area of the flower where they are unable to grip and they slide down into the utricle – downward pointing hairs prevent them climbing out. The trap helps to ensure the fertilization of the flowers and the insects are eventually released.
Propagation: Through seeds.
Medicinal Uses: Aristolochia bracteolata has been used in traditional medicine in Nigeria, India, and Ethiopia as an infusion of dried leaves to treat intestinal worms, skin itch, or insect bites.
The whole plant is very bitter and has abortifacient, alterative, anthelmintic, antiperiodic, emmenagogue and purgative properties. It should be used with great caution since the plant can be toxic to mammals.
The stem and the root contain the alkaloid aristolochic acid.
The dried, powdered root has been shown to increase the contractions of the uterus during labour. It has been used as a substitute for ergot.
The dried and powdered leaves, mixed with oil or blood, are emetic. They are used to treat breast diseases and arealso applied topically to kill lice and ticks.
The leaves and roots are used to rid the body of Guinea worm (a parasitic infection caused by a nematode).
The powdered roots are combined with caster oil (from Ricinus communis) and used in the treatment of colic, amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, intermittent fever and worms.
Externally, its juice is applied to foul and neglected ulcers to destroy insect larvae. It is also used to treat scorpion bites.
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.