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History

The leaves, bark and seeds of the plant seem to have been long in use among the Hindus; on account of their mucilaginous and diuretic properties. Reference to it are also found in Arabic and Persian books.


Habitat

The plant grows as a weed, and is found abundantly in wastelands from the seashore to 1,200 meters high in India and in the sub-Himalayan tracts.


Morphology Description (Habit)

It is a herbaceous or shrubby, softly tomentose plant. Stem is round, often tinged with purple color. The leaves are petiolate, ovate to orbicular-cordate, acuminate and toothed. Flowers are borne solitary in long, jointed and axillary pedicels. Calyx lobes divided in the middle, ovate and apiculate. Corolla is yellow or orange-yellow and opens in the evening. Carpels are 15-20 in number. Fruits are hispid, scarcely longer than the calyx and the awns are erect. Seeds are three to five, kidney-shaped, dark brown or black, tubercled or with minutely stellate hairs. The plant is variable and divided into many subspecies, but these subspecies are not distinguished for economic or medicinal purposes1.


Principal Constituents

Alantolactone, isoalantolactone2 and gallic acid from the roots3 were isolated.


Pharmacology

Helenin (a mixture of alantolactone and isoalantolactone, q.v.) shows antibacterial, antifungal activities4. Gallic acid showed analgesic activity in animal models5.

Toxicology

It is not a poisonous plant and there are no reports of any adverse effects.

Indications

It is tonic and rejuvenating. It is used as an expectorant, cholagogue, as an antiseptic in urinary tract infections and as a drug stimulating intestinal secretion. An infusion of the root is prescribed in fevers as a cooling medicine, and is considered useful in strangury and hematuria.

Product Range

Diabecon.

References
  1. Bot. Surv. India, 1970, 12, 276.
  2. Phytochemistry, 1989, Vol. 28, pp. 3225.
  3. Indian Drugs, 1989, Vol. 26, pp. 333.
  4. Harborneet. al., 1999, Phytochemical Dictionary, Taylor and Francis Ltd., London.
  5. Indian Drugs, 1989, Vol. 26, pp. 333.