Herbs & Plants

Cissus quadrangularis

Botanical Name: Cissus quadrangularis
Family: Vitaceae
Order: Vitales
Genus: Cissus
Species: C. quadrangularis

*Cissus bifida Schumach. & Thonn.
*Cissus edulis Dalzell
*Cissus fischeri Gilg
*Cissus quadrangula L.
*Cissus quadrangula Salisb.
*Cissus succulenta (Galpin) Burtt-Davy
*Cissus tetragona Harv.
*Cissus tetraptera Hook.f.

Common Names: Veldt grape, Devil’s backbone, Adamant creeper, Asthisamharaka or Asthisamhara, Hadjod and pirandai.

Habitat: Cissus quadrangularis is native to tropical Asia, Arabia and much of Africa. It grows on
grassland with scattered Combretum etc; termite mounds; riverine thicket; coastal forest edges; sandy banks of rivers; outwash gully in dense mixed thicket; at elevations from near sea level to 2,250 metres in Africa.

Cissus quadrangularis is an evergreen climber growing to 5 m (16 ft) by .5 m (1.6 ft) at a fast rate and has quadrangular-sectioned branches with internodes 8–10 cm (3–4 in) long and 1.2–1.5 cm (0.5–0.6 in) wide. Along each angle is a leathery edge. Toothed trilobe leaves 2–5 cm (0.8–2.0 in) wide appear at the nodes. Each has a tendril emerging from the opposite side of the node. Racemes of small white, yellowish, or greenish flowers; globular berries are red when ripe.


Cultivation: Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Propagation: Layers very easily. Easily grown from stem cuttings.

Edible Uses:
Young green stems – cooked. Usually fried or curried. The leaves and young shoots are used in the preparation of poppadoms and curries. Fruit. The ash of the plant is used as a substitute for baking powder.

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the plant is antifungal and anthelmintic. The pulped stem is given in the treatment of asthma; is used as an alterative in cases of amenorrhoea; and is given in the treatment of haemorrhoids. The leaves or young stems are analgesic and also speed the rate of healing. They are crushed and applied as a poultice to ease the pain of broken bones; for the maturation of boils; to cure wounds and burns; to ease the pain of rheumatic joints; and also as a treatment for saddle sores on horses. The powdered dry roots are used for treating indigestion. The powdered root is considered to be a specific in the treatment of fractured bones.

Other Uses:
Other uses rating: Low (2/5). Agroforestry Uses: The plant is sometimes grown to stabilize sand dunes. The plant can be grown to form a hedge. The stems and roots yield a strong fibre.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Nerium odoratum

Botaniical Name: Nerium odoratum
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Apocynoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Tribe: Nerieae
Genus: Nerium
Species:N. oleander

*Oleander Medik.
*Nerion Tourn. …
*Nerion oleandrum St. …
*Nerium carneum Dum. …
*Nerium flavescens Spin.

Common Names: Oleander or Nerium

Habitat: Nerium odoratum is native to Mediterranean Basin. It grows typically around stream beds in river valleys, where it can alternatively tolerate long seasons of drought and inundation from winter rains. Nerium odoratum is planted in many subtropical and tropical areas of the world.

Nerium oleander is an evergreen shrub or small tree with thin, erect branches; it can grow to a height of 4 – 8 metres. It is tolerant to both drought and inundation, but not to prolonged frost. White, pink or red five-lobed flowers grow in clusters year-round, peaking during the summer. The fruit is a long narrow pair of follicles, which splits open at maturity to release numerous downy seeds.
A very poisonous plant it is sometimes gathered from the wild for medicinal and other uses. It is often cultivated as an ornamental plant, where it can be grown as a hedge.


Nerium oleander is native to semi-arid , warm temperate to subtropical regions from the Mediterranean through southern Asia to India. It can be cultivated in the drier regions of tropical to warm temperate climates. The plant is not very cold-hardy, being able to tolerate short periods with temperatures down to around -5 to -8°c when fully dormant, so long as the soil is well-drained.
Requires a position in full sun. Prefers a heavy soil. Prefers a light soil according to another report. Prefers a fertile well-drained soil. Lime tolerant. Plants are very tolerant of heat and also of drought once they are established. Grows well in maritime gardens, tolerating salt-laden winds and saline soils.
Widely cultivated as an ornamental in the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate regions, Nerium oleander has often escaped from cultivation. In some countries it has become naturalized and in some of these it is declared invasive.
A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties.
The flowers have a soft sweet perfume.
Plants can flower freely all year round in some areas.
Plants can be shy to flower in cooler regions when the plant is grown outdoors.

Through Seed – sow in pots in a nursery. Do not use seed from pods infected with the bacterial disease ‘oleander knot’. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the nursery until 15cm tall or more
Cuttings of half-ripe side shoots in a frame. Good percentage.
Cuttings of mature leading shoots.

Medicinal Uses:
Oleander is a very poisonous plant, containing a powerful cardiac toxin, and should only be used with extreme caution.

The leaves and the flowers are cardiotonic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant and sternutatory. A decoction of the leaves has been applied externally in the treatment of scabies and parasitic skin worms, and to reduce swellings.

The root is powerfully resolvent. Because of its poisonous nature it is only used externally. It is beaten into a paste with water and applied to chancres and ulcers on the penis.

An oil prepared from the root bark is used in the treatment of leprosy and skin diseases of a scaly nature.

Oleandrin (neriolin), a cardiotonic glucosides extracled from the leaves, has a salutary effect when used in the treatment of heart failure. It is more quickly absorbed by mouth and is less cumulative than digitoxin.

The whole plant is said to have anticancer properties.

Other Uses:
The plant is commonly used for informal hedging in the Mediterranean.
The plants have an extensive root system and are often used to stabilize soil in warmer areas.

The plant is used as a rat poison, a parasiticide and an insecticide. The pounded leaves and bark are used as an insecticide.
An aqueous maceration of the pounded seeds can be used as an insecticide.

A green dye is obtained from the flowers.

The leaves contain small amounts of latex that can be used to make rubber, though the amount is too small for commercial utilization.
A sticky lates exudes if the stems are cut.

Known Hazards: The whole plant is very poisonous. Skin contact with the plant can cause irritation whilst ingestion of only one leaf has led to death in children. Death has been known to follow the use of the wood of this plant as a meat skewer.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Evolvulus alsinoides

Botanical Name: Evolvulus alsinoides
Family: Convolvulaceae
Order: Solanales
Genus: Evolvulus
Species: E. alsinoides

Common Names: Dwarf morning-glory and Slender dwarf morning-glory.
*Hindi name: Phooli, Sharikha-pushpi
*Ayurvedic name: Vishnugandhi, Shankhapushpi
*Unani name: Sankhaholi
*English name: English Speed-wheel
*Trade name: Shankhapuspi

Habitat:Evolvulus alsinoides is native to tropical and warm-temperate regions of Australasia, Indomalaya, Polynesia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas.
The species inhabits a wide range of habitats, from marshland and wet forests to deserts. A number of varieties and subspecies are recognised. It may become a weed in some situations. It is one of the plants included in Dasapushpam, the ten sacred flowers of Kerala.

Evolvulus alsinoides is a herbaceous plant, annual or perennial, with more or less numerous, prostrate or ascending stems, slender, with appressed and spreading hairs. The leaves, petiolate or subsessile, are 0.7 to 2.5 cm long and 5 to 10 mm long.

The flowers are isolated or grouped in pauciflorous cymes, borne by filiform peduncles, 2.5 to 3.5 cm long. The calyx is formed by villous, lanceolate sepals 3 to 4 mm long. The rounded corolla, with pentameric symmetry, blue in color, rarely white, is 7 to 10 mm in diameter. The stamens, with filiform filaments, are united at the base of the corolla tube. The ovary, glabrous, is surmounted by two free styles. The fruit is a globular capsule, with four valves, generally containing four seeds that are black and smooth.


Cultivation: The plant prefers shady and humid climatic conditions. Growth is slow and becomes restricted when the environmental conditions become unfavourable.

Propagation: Through Seeds : Collected during October-November from natural habitats.

Medicinal Uses:
The whole bitter plant is used extensively as an alterative, anthelminthic, antidiarrhoeal, bitter, febrifuge, tonic and vermifuge. It is taken in an infusion to cure bowel complaints, for which it is said to be a sovereign remedy – especially for dysentery. Combined with cumin and milk, it is used as a treatment for fevers, nervous debility, loss of memory, and also for syphilis, scrofula, etc. A decoction is taken as a remedy for gonorrhoea.
An infusion of the plant is applied as a treatment for syphilis, scrofula, snake bites. An infusion prepared with oil is applied to promote hair growth.

The powdered leaves are applied topically to treat sores. The mashed leaves are applied as a poultice on enlarged glands in the neck.
The leaves are made into cigarettes, which are smoked to relieve bronchitis and asthma.

The plant is reported to contain flavonols and saponins.
Cultured tissues of the plant accumulate ergot alkaloids: amides of the indole derivative D-lysergic acid, which is biosynthetically derived from the amino acid tryptophan. Although the best known source of the ergot alkaloids is the sclerotium of the fungus Claviceps purpurea or related fungi, several lysergic acid alkaloids have also been isolated from members of the family Convolvulaceae.
The ethanol extract of the whole plant shows anti-ulcer and anticatatonic activity.

Other Uses:
The fragrant smoke from burning leaves is used to perfume houses.

A water extract of the corolla inhibited spore germination and mycelial growth of the fungi Alternaria brassicae, Alternaria brassicicola and Fusarium oxysporum.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Leucus aspera

Botanical Name:Leucus aspera
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridiplantae
Infrakingdom: Streptophyta
Superdivision: Embryophyta
Division: Tracheophyta
Species :Leucas aspera

Common name : Although Leucus aspera has many different common names depending on the region in which it is located, it is most commonly known as Thumbai or Thumba..
Hindi: Chhota halkusa

Habitat:Leucus aspera grows in :Africa – Mauritius; E. Asia – China, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines to New Guinea. It is Found in various habitats, from seasonal to perhumid areas, mostly grassy plains, as a weed in arable crops, open dry sandy soils, waste places, teak forest, railway embankments, dunes, locally often common; at elevations up to 500 metre.

Description :
A herbaceous, much-branched, erect or diffuse annual, up to 60 cm in height.
Leaves subsessile, linear or narrowly oblong-lanceolate, entire or crenate. Flowers small, white,
in dense terminal or auxiliary whorls; nutlets small, oblong, smooth, brown.


Found wild mainly in sunny positions and in a range of soils, especially sandy and well-drained. The plant shows a high tolerance to copper and zinc concentrations in polluted soil. The plant is often found as a weed in sunflower and rice crops in India.

Propagation: Through seeds.

Edible Uses: Leaves are cooked and eaten as a pot herb.

Medicinal Uses:
Eating the plant (as a pot herb) is believed to increase resistance to disease.
The leaf sap is used to treat sores of the eyes and nose.
The juice of the plant is used in the treatment of fevers, coughs and colds.
The bruised leaves are considered to be active against bites of poisonous insects and snakes.

The crushed plant is applied hot as a poultice on to wounds, sores.

In general, the crushed leaves of Leucas species are applied to wounds, sores, especially those of the eyes and nose, chronic skin diseases, such as psoriasis and scabies. The crushed leaves are also used to treat mild fevers, colds, rheumatism and snake bites, and as a decoction against roundworm, mainly for children.

Other Uses: The smoke of dried leaves is used as an insecticide and repellent.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Mukia maderaspatana

Botanical Name: Mukia maderaspatana
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales
Genus: Mukia
Species: M. maderaspatana

Synonyms: Cucumis maderaspatanus L

Common Names: Marathi: Chirati, Bilavi.
Hindi: Aganaki, Agumaki, Bilari.
English: Madras pea pumpkin, Rough bryony.

Habiitat:Mukia maderaspatana is widespread throughout the tropics of Africa, through Asia to Australia. It grows on open, not forested, localities. Flood-plain and valley grasslands, riverine margins and damper places in woodland and wooded grasslands at elevations of 300 – 1,250 metres.

Mukia maderaspatana is an annual plant, trailing along the ground or scrambling into other plants where it supports itself by means of tendrils. It produces stems up to about 4 metres long.
The plant is often gathered from the wild for local medicinal use.


Spacing Requirements: Create 12-inch diameter hills spaced 6 feet apart. Plant 6–8 seeds per hill. Seeds should be planted between ½” to one-inch deep. Time to Germination: Seeds will germinate in 4 to–7 days.

Propagation: Through seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of young shoots and leaves is used as an aperient, especially for children, and is also taken to treat vertigo and biliousness. The sap is given to small children in the treatment of amoebiasis.
The leaf-sap is used as a wound-dressing. A poultice of the leaves is used in the treatment of burns. The dried, powdered leaves are dusted over scabies. The ash of the plant is mixed in castor oil and rubbed over scarifications and the temples to relieve for headache.

The seeds are diaphoretic. They are chewed to cause perspiration.

The fruit is used as a vermifuge.

The root is chewed to relieve facial neuralgia, toothache, etc. A decoction is used in the treatment of flatulence.

Known Hazards:
Grazing animals eat the leaves, but the fruit is believed to be deadly poisonous to cattle. In India cattle are said to like the plant but that the fruits destroy their eyes.

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.