Botanical Name: Justicia gendarussa
Species: J. gendarussa
Synonyms: Gendarussa vulgaris Nees
Common Names: Willow-leaved justicia , Kala adulasa; Sanskrit: Kasanah, ,Lapsulis in Creole Seychelles.
Habitat: Justicia gendarussa is native of China and distributed in Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia. It grows on the beds of streams in moister areas of the Himalayas.
Justicia gendarussa is an erect, branched shrub . It is a dicotyledonous plant that can reach heights up to 1.5 m. Its leaves are lanceolate, 4–14 cm long and 1-2.5 cm wide. The color of the leaves can be white, green or grey and hairy on both sides. They are bitter, acrid and thermogenic. The rather small flowers grow as 4–12 cm long spikes at the end of branches or in leaf axils. The color of the flowers is white or pink with purple spots. The flowers are hermaphrodite and the bark has a dark purple. The capsule of J. gendarussa is about 1.2 cm long and smooth. The plant contains a wide range of biologically active compounds like flavonoids, alkaloids, steroids and phenolic compounds.
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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
It might succeed outdoors in the mildest areas. One report says that it should be grown in a warm greenhouse and treated like a Fuchsia.
Through seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when large enough to handle and grow on in the greenhouse for at least the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts and give some protection over the winter.
Justicia gendarussa was proved to contain several phytochemicals, which are natural secondary plant compounds. Overall in the plant, roots, stem and leaves, following phytochemicals were found: alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins and phenols. The ingredients of the plant may vary depending on the age, physiological stage of the organ parts or the geographic region of cultivation.
The plant was proved to have both anti-microbial and anti-fungal action on selected pathogen strains, and therefore this plant can be used to develop herbal drugs.
Justicia gendarussa leaf extract was proven to potentially become a male, non-hormonally contraceptive method due to its competitive and reversible inhibition of the spermatozoan hyaluronidase enzyme. The plant is already used as traditional contraceptive method in Indonesia.
The plant compound Patentiflorin A contained in Justicia gendarussa has shown to have a positive activity against several HIV strains, higher than the clinically used first anti-HIV drug, zidovudine AZ
Further, extracts of the leaves have an anti-inflammatory effect. This has been demonstrated especially in mice, specific for the carrageenan-induced paw edema.
The juice of the leaves can be drizzled into the ear for earache. To treat external edema, an oil made from the leaves can be used.
Justicia gendarussa can be considered as a potential phytoremediator. It can absorb high amounts of aluminium, iron and copper in leaves, roots and stems. The problem is that when the plant is used as a phytoremediator, it can no longer be used for medicinal use.
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.