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A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF MEDICINAL PLANTS OF INDIA

NUDRAT.Z. SAYED AND USHA MUKUNDAN


Chapter Outline:
1. Introduction
1.1 Brief History:
1.2 Medicinal Plants and their Uses in Present Age:
1.3 Medicinal plants and Modern Drugs:
1.4 Distribution of Medicinal Plants:
1.5 Trade:
2. India and its medicinal wealth.
2.1 Indian Floral Elements
2.2 Distribution of Medicinal plants in India
3. Medicinal Plants of India.
3.1 Brief Overview:
3.2 Brief description:
4. Some therapeutic actions, mode of action and some plants that possess these
actions.
5. Current Status of Medicinal Plants In India.
6. Trade of Medicinal plants in India.
7. Conclusion.
8. Reference.
____________________________________________________________________

1. Introduction:
“There is no plant in this Universe which is non medicinal and which cannot be made use
of for many purpose and by many modes.” This definition rightly suggests that in
principle all plants have a potential medicinal value. Medicinal plants have been
considered as important therapeutic aid for alleviating ailments of humankind. Search for
eternal health and longevity and to seek remedy to relieve pain and discomfort prompted
the early man to explore his immediate natural surrounding to develop a variety of
therapeutic agents using natural resources.

1.1 Brief History:


Hundreds if not thousands of indigenous plants have been used by man from prehistoric
times on all continents for relieving suffering and curing ailments. There are evidences
that suggest that Neanderthals, living 60,000 years ago in present day Iraq used Althea
rosea which is still in ethnomedical use around the world today. The practice of organized
herbal medicine dates back to the earliest periods of known human history. Medicinal
plants have been used in treatment of diseases in almost all ancient civilizations, from
3700 B.C. Egypt followed by the Chinese, the Greeks and Romans. The Petric collection
from Kahun in Egypt (1880 B.C.), Atharvaveda (1200 B.C.) from India and the Avesta (6
A.D) from Persia show that the early medicine was based mainly on religion and magic
but also included a growing use of herbs.
In spite of tremendous development in the field of allopathy medicinal plants and their
derivatives still remain one of the major sources of drugs in modern and traditional
systems throughout the world playing a major role in medicinal therapy.
1.2 Medicinal Plants and their Uses in Present Age:
The WHO estimates that 80% of people living in developing countries rely almost
exclusively on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs. Medicinal plants
form the back bone of traditional medicine and hence more than 3300 million people
utilize medicinal plants on a regular basis. Demand for medicinal plants is increasing due
to growing recognisation of natural products being non toxic, having no side effects.
Furthermore an increasing reliance on the use of medicinal plants in the industrialized
societies has been traced to the extraction and development of several drugs and
chemotherapeutics from the plants as well as from traditionally used rural remedies.
Moreover in these societies herbal remedies have become more popular in the treatment
of minor ailments on account of the increasing cost of personal health maintenance.

1.3 Medicinal plants and Modern Drugs:


Inspite of rapid development in methods of organic synthesis in laboratories, medicinal
plants continue to play a significant role in modern medicine due to their inherent distinct
chemical and biological properties. In nature a plant is able to synthesize complex
molecules, namely alkaloids, terpenoids, tannins, saponins, glycocides etc collectively
called secondary metabolites, from simple ones through highly specific reaction
mechanisms that they use for defense and communication. It is difficult and expensive to
duplicate such synthesis in laboratory. The compounds synthesized by the plants play an
important role as medicinal and pharmaceutical agents not only as purified isolates and
extractives but also as lead compounds for synthetic optimization. As botanist Walter
Lewis PhD and microbiologist Memory Elvin Lewis, PhD put it in their book Medical
Botany: “Nature is still mankind’s greatest chemist and many compounds that remain
undiscovered in plants are beyond the imagination of even our best scientists”. Apart
from being the sources for new drug the plants continue to play an important role in
modern therapy.
Plants seem to have served as model in drug development due to several reasons the main
reason being their capability to synthesize complex compounds (secondary metabolites).
Many secondary metabolites extracted from plants are useful in studying biological
systems and disease processes. At least 25% of all prescription contains active principles
extracted from higher plants which have persisted for at least the last 25 years.
Biologically active substances derived from plants may have low pharmacological
properties or they may be toxic if directly used however they can serve as templates for
synthetic modification. Medicinal plants are an integral component of research
developments in the pharmaceutical industry and drug development, not only when plant
constituents are used directly as therapeutic agents but also when they are used as basic
material for the synthesis of drugs or as models for pharmacologically active compounds.
In 1985, Farnsworth identified 119 secondary metabolites isolated from higher plants that
were being used globally as drugs.These 119 useful drugs are still obtained commercially
for the most part by extraction from only about 90 species of plants. About 75% of these
drugs have the same or related uses as the plant from which they were discovered.
The scope of herbal medicines ranges from mild acting medicinal plants such as
chamomile and peppermint, to very potent ones such as foxglove. In between these two
poles lies a wide spectrum of plant medicine with significant medical application.
1.4 Distribution of Medicinal Plants:
In terms of life form medicinal plants are equally distributed across habits viz trees,
shrubs and herbs. Roughly one third of the known medicinal plants are trees and equal
proportion is shrubs and the remaining one third comprises of herbs epiphytes, grasses
and climbers. Very small proportions of the medicinal plants are lower plants like lichens,
ferns, and algae. The majority of medicinal plants are higher flowering plants. The major
families in which medicinal plants occur are Fabaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Asteraceae,
Poaceae, Rubiaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Apiaceae, Convolvulaceae, Malvaceae, and
Solanaceae.

1.5 Trade:
The industrial uses of medicinal plants are many ranging from traditional medicines,
herbal teas and health foods as nutriceuticals to galenicals, phytopharmaceuticals and
industrially produced pharmaceuticals.
Medicinal plants also constitute a source of valuable foreign exchange for most
developing countries as they are a ready source of drugs such as quinine and reserpine, of
galenicals like tincture and of intermediates in the production of semi synthetic drugs.

2. India and its medicinal wealth:


India is well known as an Emporium of medicinal plants. Knowledge of medicinal use of
plants in India is amassed over millennia by tribals. For thousands of years Indian plants
have been attracting attention of foreign countries. People from countries like China,
Cambodia, Indonesia and Baghdad used to come to ancient universities of India like
Takshila (700BC) and Nalanda (500BC) to learn health science of India. Dioscorides
mentions many plants including datura smoke for treating asthma, nux vomica for
paralysis and indigestion and croton as purgatives.
It is evident that the Indian people have a tremendous passion for medicinal plants and
use them for a wide range of health related applications from common cold to memory
improvement and treatment of poisonous snake bites to a cure for muscular dystrophy
and the enhancement of body’s general immunity. There are estimated to be around
25,000 effective plant based formulations available in the indigenous medical text used in
folk medicine and known to rural communities all over India. Medicinal plants provide
raw material for use in all indigenous systems of medicine in India namely Ayurveda,
Unani, Siddha, and Tibetan medicines.

2.1 Indian Floral Elements:


India is a treasure chest of biodiversity which host a large variety of plants and has been
identified as one of the eight important Vavilorian centers of origin and crop diversity.
Wide variation in climatic, meteorological and topographical conditions prevailing in
India due to its vastness makes it the repository of perhaps the most varied and luxuriant
flora growing anywhere on the surface of earth. Indian flora is not only rich but very
cosmopolitan. There is naturally a preponderance of genera and species of the adjacent
countries. Chinese, Malayan and Burmese floral elements are seen in the eastern region
of the country while European and Middle Eastern flora occur in the north western parts.
African, Australian and American elements occur in some part or the other. In the alpine
regions of the Himalayas Tibetan and Siberian flora flourish while Chinese and Japanese
flora occur in its temperate belts.

2.2 Distribution of Medicinal plants in India:


Medicinal plants represent not only a valuable part of India’s biodiversity but also a
source of great knowledge. The WHO has listed 21,000 plants that are used as medicine
around the world. India has a rich medicinal plant flora of some 2500 species and out of
these 150 species are used commercially on a fairly large scale.
India has 16 agro climatic zones and medicinal plants are distributed across diverse
habitats and landscapes. Nearly 70 % of India’s medicinal plants are found in the tropical
areas mostly in the various forest types across the Western and Eastern ghats, the
Vindhyas, Chota Nagpur plateau, Aravalis and Himalayas. Nearly 30 % of medicinal
plants occur in temperate and alpine region which include plants of high medicinal
values. A small number of medicinal plants are found in aquatic habitats and mangroves.
The percentage of medicinal plants occurring in dry and moist deciduous regions is larger
as compared to evergreen or temperate regions. Ved et. al (2001) give an estimated
number of medicinal plants found in different biogeographic regions of India. According
to them Trans Himalayan region have 700 species, Himalayan 2500 species, Dessert 500
species, Semi arid region have 1000 species, Western Ghats have 2000species, Deccan
Peninsula 3000 species, Gangetic Plains have 1000 species, North East India has 2000
species, Islands show around 1000 species and Coasts have around 500 species.
Analyses of habit of medicinal plants indicate that they are distributed across various
habitats. One third is trees and the other one third is shrubs and the remaining one third
herbs, grasses and climbers. A very small proportion of medicinal plants are lower plants
like lichens, ferns, algae etc. Majority of medicinal plants are higher flowering plants. Of
the 386 families and 2200 genera in which medicinal plants are recorded the families
Asteraceae, Euphorbiaceae, Lamiaceae, Fabaceae, Rubiaceae, Poaceae, Acanthaceae,
Rosaceae and Apiaceae share the larger proportion of medicinal plant species with the
highest number of species being under Asteraceae.

3. Medicinal Plants of India:

3.1 Brief Overview:


India has an impressive medicinal flora and a large number of plants are endemic to the
country.Towering above all is Azadirachta indica, whose all parts are used as medicine to
treat an array of disorders. The whole plant of Acalypha is a drug against bronchitis,
asthma, rheumatism and pneumonia. The dried stems of Ephedra and dried leaves of
Datura provide anti-asthmatic medicines.Ocimum sanctum, Piper nigrum, Adhatoda
vasika, Glycyrrhiza glabra and Alpinia galanga are used to combat cough. The aerial
parts of Lobelia are a good respiration stimulant. Roots of Solanum xanthocarpum helps
in cases of chest pain and congestion. The leaves of Atropa belladonna provide a drug
against whooping cough, spasms and asthma. Oil of Gaultheria fragrantissima and the
dried roots of Withania somnifera are beneficial in treating rheumatism.The mucilage of
Aegle marmelos fruit, dried barks of Alstonia scholaris and Holarrhena antidysentrica,
and the gum of Butea are used in cases of diarrhea and dysentery, while a drug made
from the entire plant of Perguleria is effective for infantile diarrhea. The hairy substance
on Mallotus phillepinensis fruit and dried Embelia ribes fruits are used to make
preparations to kill tapeworms. Indian gentian plant components and the rhizomes of
Acorus calamus remove flatulence. Cassia pulp is a good laxative, while kaladana seeds
give rise to a remedy for constipation. Cinnamon bark preparations prevent/ control
vomiting. The dried roots of Rauvolfia serpentina and Catharanthus have a good action
against high blood pressure. The seeds of Psoralea, leaves and stems of Centella and the
oil of Hydnocarpus have been used in the treatment of leprosy and leucoderma. The bark
leaves, and flowers of Madhuca give rise to itch relieving preparations. Emblica
officinalis, Terminalia bellarica and Terminalia chebula are endowed with excellent tonic
characteristics. Amla has been hailed as a nugget of Vitamin C. A preparation from fresh
air dried leaves of Symploccus racemosa is used in treating eye diseases. Tribulus
terrestris is indicated in urinary disorders while rhizomes of Valeriana officinale are used
against hysterical fits. Withania somnifera is used as a general restorative for
consumption, debility and sexual weakness.The bamboo has on the inside of its stem a
white powdery deposit that has marked decongestant properties, particularly useful as
local application in tonsillitis.The large handsome evergreen Cinnamomum camphora is
the traditional source of camphor. It is used extensively in medicine as it can liquefy
obstinate body secretion and cause them to flow. Commiphora mukul produces resin with
marked anti-inflammatory properties. Asafoetida, a resin collected from roots of Ferula
foetida is used to relieve colic and abdominal distension. Valeriana wallichii has long
been used as a sedative and antispasmodic. Berberis aristata is used to control various
types of inflammation and is also used as a remedy against jaundice. Leaves of Lawsonia
inermis has the property to soothe rashes particularly eczema. Vetiveria zizannioides
purifies blood, reduces fever, and acts as soothing agent in vomiting and diarrhea.
Trigonella foenum-graceum is highly effective as tonic for digestive, respiratory and
nervous systems.It is also beneficial in diabetes and high blood pressure. Crocus sativa
relieves respiratory congestion and is an antioxidant. Moringa oleifera provide relief
from high blood pressure and tones up heart and circulatory systems. The ripe fruits of
Tamarindus indicus stimulate the appetite and digestion.
The range of plants used in traditional medicinal preparation is so vast and diverse that
one may rightly wonder if there is such a thing as a non medicinal plant.

3.2 Brief description:


India is tenth among plant rich countries of the world and fourth among the Asian
countries.In India about 2,500 plant species belonging to more than 1000 genera are used
in indigenous system of medicine.Medicinal properties of some of the plants are briefly
described below.

Achillea millefolium Linn.


Achillea millefolia is used to curb discharges of blood from the nose. The plant is highly
astringent, and hence dries and heals up wounds. It is useful in treatment of piles. It
improves the flow of blood and acts as an antiseptic in urinary infections. It has long been
taken as a strengthening bitter tonic. Achillea millefolia helps recovery from colds and flu
and is beneficial for hay fever. It is also helpful for menstrual problems and circulatory
disorders.
Aconitum heterophyllum Wall.
Root is bitter, tonic, digestive, alleviates dysentery and bilious complaints, good in
periodic and intermittent fevers as a tonic, useful in diarrhoea and vomiting in children,
causes constipation when taken in large doses. The dried root is analgesic,
antiinflammatory, antiperiodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, antipyretic, and
tonic. It is used in India in the treatment of dyspepsia, diarrhoea and coughs. Aconitum
heterophyllum appeared to stimulate phagocytic function while inhibiting the humoral
component of the immune system.

Acorus calamus Linn.


The oil of Acorus calamus has been found to possess an antibacterial activity against
organism responsible for digestive and throat infections. Asarone derived from the plant
was found to exhibit in vitro nematocidal activity against Toxocara canis. It is a memory
enhancer. It is recommended in the treatment of anorexia nervosa and loss of appetite.
Acorus calamus is highly valued as a rejuvenator of the brain and nervous
system.It aids digestion, helps in curing gastritis, peptic ulcer, hyperacidity,
posseses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and is beneficial in
rheumatic pain and neuralgia, sinusitis.

Adathoda vasica Nees.


Leaves collected during the flowering of the plant are medicinally important. It is
expectorant, antispasmodic and bronchodilator. It is also used in the treatment of cough,
wounds, bronchitis and menstrual disorders. It is a natural pain-killer,
antiinflammatory, antihistaminic, and has uterine stimulant activity. It is also
an antiallergic agent.

Adonis aestivalis Linn.


Antioxidant, Adonis acts very much like digitalis and strophanthus. It stimulates the
muscles of the heart, thereby increasing cardiac contractility, and causes contraction of
the smaller arteries throughout the whole body, thus increasing arterial tension. It
diminishes the frequency of the pulse and regulates the heart-beat. The remedy acts
quickly, even quicker than digitalis, and is well tolerated. Diuresis is increased, probably
by its action on the renal circulation.Homoeopathic physicians speak highly of this drug
in heart disease, and kidney affections. It is recommended in endocardial inflammation,
with valvulitis. It is adapted to those cases where the cardiac muscles are laboring to
overcome valvular obstruction, or when there is danger of dilatation of the heart from
weakening of the muscular tissues. It is valuable in secondary heart trouble, resulting
from Bright's disease, being indicated by an irregular and intermitting pulse, showing
weakened heart action, with venous stasis and dropsy. It is valuable in cardiac dropsy. In
chronic albuminuria, with scanty, light-colored urine and delirium, it benefited greatly.

Allium sativa Linn.


Garlic has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years.
During World Wars I & II soldiers were given garlic to prevent gangrene and today garlic
is used to help in prevention of atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and to reduce cold,
cough and bronchitis. Allium sativa contains more than 100 biologically useful secondary
metabolites which include alliin, alliinase, allicin, S-allyl-cysteine, diallyldisulphide,
diallyltrisulphide and methylallyltrisulphide. Garlic has antioxidant properties and recent
studies have revealed that this property is due to presence of bioflavonoids quercetin and
cyaniding.Garlic also contain a rich content of selenium which is a cellular antioxidant.
Diallyltrisulphide, diallyldisulphide, S-allyl-cysteine, found in Allium sativa have
anticarcinogenic properties. Garlic has been traditionally used as dietary supplement for
diabetes. Extract of garlic inhibits growth of several species of bacteria including
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organism responsible for tuberculosis.

Aloe vera Linn.


Aloe is found in semi wild state in all parts of India and has been in use for over 7000
years. Aloe gel is anti-fugal, anti-inflammatory, and is extremely effective in treating
several skin disorders. It is an effective moisturizer and helps in anti-ageing and softening
the skin. Aloe removes dead skin cells and stimulates formation of new cells, tightening
of the skin and making skin to look young. Other medicinal uses include treating
radiation ulcers, peptic ulcers, thermal burns, wounds, pimples, freckles, spots, dandruff,
split ends, menstrual problems, constipation, urine disorders and improving digestion.

Angelica glauca Edgew.


Angelica is used for asthma, bronchitis, anaemia, coughs, indigestion, arthritis and colds.
It is also beneficial in psychogenic asthma, digestive disorders, loss of appetite, frontal
headaches, neuralgia, sinusitis, and rhinitis.It possesses antispasmodic diuretic,
hepatoprotective, antimicrobial, analgesic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anticholes-
terolemic, and antitumor-promoting activity. It is a circulatory stimulant, useful in
female ailments, painful and irregular menstruation, anemia, abdominal pain, angina
pectoris, and gastric ulcer healing asthma. It is immuno-modulatory and has antioxidant
properties.

Arctium lappa Linn.


Arctuim lappa, commonly known as burdock, is one of the foremost detoxifying herbs in
herbal medicine. The plant is antibacterial, antifungal, carminative and possesses
antioxidant properties that may protect body cells from damage caused by oxidation, both
orally and topically, burdock root preparations have mild antibacterial, antifungal,
soothing, mucilaginous properties effects, which may help to relieve skin conditions such
as acne, athlete's foot, dandruff, diaper rash, dry skin, eczema, burns, bruises and others.
It is used in the treatment of herpes, impetigo, ringworm, boils, bites etc. The
antibacterial chemicals in burdock leaves appear to be effective against different types of
bacteria than the chemicals in the roots. The roots of one-year old plants are harvested in
mid-summer and dried. They are alterative, aperient, blood purifier, cholagogue,
depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic and stomachic.The seed is alterative, antiphlogistic,
depurative, diaphoretic and diuretic. Recent research has shown that seed extracts lower
blood sugar levels. The seed is harvested in the summer and dried for later use. The
crushed seed is poulticed onto bruises. The leaves are poulticed onto burns, ulcers and
sores
Artemisia annua Linn.
This plant is known as a potent anti malarial. Artemisinin, the active constituent of the
plant, reacts with the high iron concentrations found in the malaria parasite. When
artemisinin comes into contact with iron, a chemical reaction ensues, spawning charged
atoms that chemists call free radicals. The free radicals attack cell membranes, breaking
them apart and killing the single-cell parasite. Artemisia annua is also used as a cooling
and detoxifying herb. Apart being a remedy for malaria it is anti-parasitic, anti-protozoal,
anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, immune regulator, and anti-coagulant

Artemisia nilagirica (Clarke) Pamp.


The herb is considered to be emmenagogue, anthelmintic and stomachic. A paste made of
the leaves is applied twice a day for sprains and for longer periods in the case of
rheumatoid arthritis. The warm leaf is tied around the chest to alleviate coughs, colds and
fever. The oil of A. nilagirlca has been reported to exhibit biological properties. The
essential oil of Artemisia nilagirica was found to possess complete antidermatophytic
activity by the poisoned food technique. The minimum inhibitory concentration of the oil
was found to be 200 ppm. It was fungistatic in nature and had a broad fungitoxic
spectrum. An ointment of the essential oil prepared in polyethylene glycol showed
pronounced efficacy as a herbal antifungal agent against dermatomycosis induced in
guinea-pigs within 14 days of application.

Azadirachta indica A. Juss.


It is one of the oldest medicinal plants in the world and has been used in indigenous
medicinal systems for thousand of years. It possesses properties of antiseptic, moisturizer
and emollient and hence used in treatment of many skin disorders. Root bark and young
fruits are astringent, tonic and antiperiodic. The roots are used in treatment of syphilis
and intestinal disorders. Leaves are anthelmenthic and are also used as remedy for
headaches, hysteria, glandular swelling and menstrual disorder.Leaves also exhibit
hypoglycaemic activity. The oil of neem is local stimulant, antibacterial and an
insecticide. It also has emmenagouge properties.

Bacopa monnieri (Linn.) Wettst.


Bacopa monnieri is a small, creeping herb that contains the alkaloids brahmine and
herpestine.The entire plant constitutes the well-known drug Brahmi.The drug is
astringent, bitter and cooling. Bacopa monnieri is a well known memory enhancer which
sharpens dull memory and improves intelligence. It is used in Ayurveda for the treatment
of asthma, hoarseness, insanity, and epilepsy. It is a potent nerve tonic, cardiotonic,
diuretic, aphrodisiac and aperient. It is anti anxiety agent having adaptogenic effect.It is
also used in diabetes, anorexia, rheumatism, bronchitis and anaemia. It is also capable of
imparting youthful vitality and longevity. It also calms restlessness in children and is used
in several mental disorders.
Barleria prionitis Linn.
The whole plant, leaves, and roots are used for a variety of purposes in traditional Indian
medicine.A mouth wash made from root tissue is used to relieve toothache and treat
bleeding gums. Leaves are used to promote healing of wounds and to relieve joint pains
and toothache. The whole plant extract contains iridoid glycosides, barlerin, and
verbascoside, which have shown potent activity against respiratory syncytial virus in
vitro and may account for the plant’s use in treating fever and several respiratory diseases
in herbal medicine. Extract of the plant have also shown to effectively suppress the fungi
Trichophyton mentagrophytes in vitro due to its antiseptic properties extracts of the plant
are incorporated in herbal cosmetics and hair products to promote skin and scalp health.

Berberis aristata DC.


Commonly known as barberry, it has played a prominent role in herbal healing for more
than 2,500 years. Berberine, berberine chloride and palmative chloride are its principal
constituents. Barberry is one of the best remedies for correcting liver function and
promoting the flow of bile. The roots possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory
activities. It is used in inflammation of the gall-bladder or in the presence of gall stones.
Berberis aristata is given in jaundice that occurs due to a congested state of the liver.It
acts as a bitter tonic with mild laxative effectsand hence it is used to strengthen and
cleanse the system. The herb is believed to have the ability to reduce an enlarged spleen.
It acts against malaria. Barberry tends to dilate the blood vessels, thereby lowering blood
pressure. The fresh juice of the fruit is also said to strengthen the gums and relieve
pyorrhea when brushed on or applied directly to the gums.It is used as a blood purifier
and as antidiabetic.

Bergenia ciliate. Sternb.


Commonly known as Pashanbheda, roots and rhizomes are bitter, astringent; tonic widely
used against kidney stone problems.It is used in treatment of a chronic bronchitis. The
antilithic property of the crude extract has been investigated by several workers. There is
significant CNS depressant activity in the crude extract. In ayurvedic practice,
Pashanabheda, as its name suggests, is used as a litholytic agent for urinary calculi. The
alcoholic extract displays marked anti-bradykinin activity although it does not affect the
action of 5-HT and acetylcholine on isolated guinea pig ileum. It has been shown to
potentiate the action of adrenaline on guinea-pig trachea and ileal muscle. The alcoholic
extract has a marked anti-inflammatory effect, on the response, to various forms of
experimental injury. The anti-inflammatory effect of the extract, like its diuretic effect, is
reduced when higher doses of the drug are employed. There is also a mention of antiviral
activity against influenza-A virus.It is also used in the treatment of dysuria and renal
failure, cystitis and crystalluria. Its anti-inflammatory property finds a use in the
treatment of abscesses and cutaneous infections. It is also used in the treatment of
dysentery and diarrhoea. It also possesses antibacterial activities.

Biophytum sensitivum (Linn) DC.


Biophytum sensitivum, an annual herb is used in traditional medicine for the treatment of
hyperglycemic patients. The effect of the leaf extract of the plant was studied on glucose
homeostasis in rabbits.The study indicated that the hypoglycemic response of
B.sensitivum may be mediated through stimulating the synthesis/release of insulin from
the beta cells of Langerhans. Biophytum sensitivum is known as a diuretic, and is
considered alterant and antiasthmatic. It is used for urinary complaints, and is useful in
diseases arising from impurity in blood and bile.

Boswellia serrata Roxb.


The resin of Boswellia serrata is used as an anti-inflammatory agent when applied
externally. Internally, besides being antiarthritic, it has expectorant effect and improves
immunity and hence has immunomodulating properties. One of the principal constituents
in the gum resin is boswellic acid which exhibits anti-inflammatory activity. The gum
resin is used as an ointment for sores and has anti-inflammatory, antiatherosclerotic and
antiarthritic activities. The nonphenolic fraction of the gum resin had marked sedative
and analgesic action.

Casearia esculenta Roxb.


The root and the root bark of Casearia esculenta, an indigenous plant in South India, are
extensively used in the indigenous system of medicine as an antidiabetic due to their
hypoglycemic activity. The roots are especially efficacious in milder chronic diabetic
cases. The root contains leucopelargonidin, arabinose, dulcitol, beta -sitosterol and
another sterol, and two resinous substances having hypoglycemic activity have also been
reported. Studies have shown that it lowers blood glucose level under normal and glucose
load conditions, and in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes in rats. The study also
indicates that C. esculenta root extract at doses of 200 and 300 mg/kg restored all the
antioxidant parameters to near normal value.

Calendula officinalis Linn.


The ligulate florets constitute the drug which is reported to possess stimulant, bitter,
tonic, sudorific, febrifuge, carminative, anti-emetic and anthelmintic properties.It has
been used traditionally for treatment of wounds, sores and other skin problems. Recent
research indicates that water and alcoholic extracts exhibited significant healing and
tissue regeneration in wounds. The flowers contain calenduline, and oleanolic acid
glycoside and sterol glycosides. They also contain alpha- and beta-amyrin, taraxasterol, y
- taraxasterol, lupeol, brein, faradiol, arnidiol, erythrodiol, calenduladiol, coflodiol
(ursadiol) and manilladiol.Essential oil of Calendula officinalis has a strong bacteriostatic
activity inhibiting the growth of various strains including Staphylococcus aureus, Sarcina
citre, S. rosa, S. beige, Bacillus subtilis, B. anthracis and Salmonella enteritdiis. It
increases the flow of bile from 20%- 50% making it a herb of modest to good
cholagouge.

Catharanthus roseus (Linn) G.Don.


Catharanthus roseus is traditionally used in folk medicine to treat diabetes and high
blood pressure. As antidiabetic remedy it is believed to promote insulin production or to
increase the body’s utilization of sugars from food. More than 70 dimeric indole alkaloids
including vinblastine, vincristine, alstonine, ajmalicine and reserpine has been isolated
from this plant. Out of all the alkaloids isolated from Catharanthus roseus, vinblastine
and vincristine are most potent ones. Vinblastine is used in the treatment of Hodgkin’s
disease, non Hodgkin’s lymphoma and cancer of kidney and testis. Vincristine is usually
used in combination with other anticancer agents to treat acute lymphocytic leukemia,
Wilm;s tumour, neuroblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, lymphoma and
cancer of breast, lungs, bladder and the cervix.

Centella asiatica (Linn.) Urban.


Centella asiatica is a useful treatment for various brain disorders from poor memory to
cognitive disability. The plant contains glycosides indocentelloside, brahmoside,
brahminoside, asiaticoside, thankuniside and isothankuniside. It is exceptionally high in
B- complex vitamins, especially in B1, B2 and B6, all of which are essential for the
correct function of the nervous systems. The root system of Centella asiatica is high in
amino acids theonine, histidine and lysine all of which have been shown to be efficacious
in the treatment of psoriasis. Centella can be considered an adjunct in the treatment of
immunodeficiency and autoimmune diseases. Hyperglycemic and hypercholesterolemic
effects have been reported for asiaticoside in humans.Asiaticoside is also reported to be
active against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Bacillus leper and Entamoeba histolytica. In
Ayurveda, the plant is used for the treatment of leprosy and skin diseases, as an antidote
to cholera, and in bronchitis, asthma, gastric trouble, catarrh, leucorrhea, kidney troubles,
urethritis and dropsy. The plant also has tranquilizing, anabolic, antiprotozoal and
spasmolyticproperties.

Celastrus paniculata Willd.


Celastrus paniculata is widely used as emetic, diaphoretic, febrifuge and nervine tonic.
The seeds are antirheumatic and are popular for sharpening effect on the memory. It has
shown good results in treating mental depression, hastening the process of learning and
memory enhancement in experimental animals. The drug is used in the traditional system
of medicine as a sedative. The reported constituents are Mal III A, Mal III B,
triterpenoids zeylasterone, and seylasteral. Its therapeutic uses include treating anxiety
and beri-beri. Alcoholic extract has anti-inflammatory and sedative properties. An herbal
extract of the crude drug was tested for its adaptogenic properties, on mice. It showed
significant CNS depressant effect and a clear synergism with pentobarbital. It also gave
excellent results in hysteria without any side effect. Leaves are emmenogouge and the
bark is abortifacient. It is also used in treatment of sores, ulcers and gout.

Cinnamomum camphora (Linn.)Presl.


Camphor is obtained as colorless or white crystals, granules or crystalline masses, or
colorless to white translucent, tough masses.Camphor is used in medicine internally as a
nervine depressant in hysteria, nervousness and neuralgia. Camphor acts as a carminative,
reflex expectorant and reflex stimulant of the heart, circulation and respiration. Camphor
has also been used in epilepsy, chorea and convulsions and as an aphrodisiac. The oil
extract has a peculiar fragrance and locally it is an irritant.It numbs the peripheral sensory
nerves and is slightly antiseptic and hence it externally used as counter irritant in
rheumatism and in inflammatory conditions.
Coleus forskohlii Brig.
Forskolin, the active constituent of the plant is a labdane diterpenoid isolated mainly from
the roots of Coleus forskohlii. It increases the levels of a fundamental natural compound
known as cyclic AMP. Cyclic AMP plays a major role in many cellular functions, and
some drugs that affect it relax the muscles around the bronchial tubes. Forskolin has been
found to stabilize the cells that release histamine and other inflammatory compounds.
This suggests that Coleus forskohlii may be a useful treatment for asthma, eczema, and
other allergic conditions. Studies have also found that forskolin relaxes smooth muscle
tissue and hence Coleus forskohlii has been suggested as a treatment for asthma,
dysmenorrhea, angina, irritable bowel syndrome, bladder infections, and hypertension.
Coleus forskohlii has also been proposed as a treatment for psoriasis, because that disease
appears to be at least partly related to low levels of cyclic AMP in skin cells.   A tiny
double-blind study indicated that forskolin taken by inhalation may be as effective as
standard asthma inhalers, and forskolin eyedrops appear to improve glaucoma.Coleus oil
was found to be very effective in inhibiting the growth of skin pathogens including
Propionibacterium acnes Staphylococcus aureus, and Staphylococcus epidermis a
bacterial strain occurring in a variety of opportunistic bacterial skin infections and in
acne. Additionally, Coleus oil was found to inhibit the yeast culture Candida albicans.

Commiphora mukul Engl.


Guggul, the sticky gum resin from the Commiphora mukul, plays a major role in the
traditional herbal medicine of India. The primary chemical constituents of Guggul
include phytosterols, gugulipids, and guggulsterones. The gum resin showed different
pharmacological properties, uses and clinical application. It is astringent, expectorant,
aphrodisiac, demulcent, carminative, alterative, antispasmodic and emmenagogue. It is
useful in infertility, arthritis, leprosy, impotence, sterility, in liver disorders and
hemiplegia. Guggul exhibits a cholesterol lowering ability unlike any other natural
substance. In human trials, using gugulipid, the cholesterol levels dropped 14 to 27
percent in a 4 to 12 week period while the triglyceride levels dropped from 22 to 30
percent. Guggul has great effect in preventing heart atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the
arteries. Guggul helps reduce high cholesterol, because it lowers harmful low-density
lipoproteins while elevating the beneficial high-density lipoproteins. It helps prevent
blood platelet aggregation and breaks up already formed blood clots. Thus, it helps
prevent heart disease and stroke. It is also widely promoted as a weight loss agent that
supposedly enhances thyroid function. Guggul lipid stimulates the activity of white blood
cells in the body, contributing to the build-up of the immune system and also helps
eliminate and expel dead tissues, wastes, and toxins from the body. Guggul has been
known to relieve coughing and lung congestion, soothe mucous membranes and alleviate
other respiratory problems. Guggul may also be used to treat arthritis and reduce
inflammation of the joints. A small controlled trial compared oral gugulipid against
tetracycline for the treatment of acne, and reported equivalent results.

Coptis teeta Wall.


It is a bitter tonic and is used to boost appetite, restore digestive power, removes
flatulence and other visceral obstructions. It is useful in jaundice, debilitating diseases
and convalescence after fever. It is also used in catarrhal and rheumatic conjunctivitis.
The root is a pungent, very bitter, cooling herb that controls bacterial and viral infections,
relaxes spasms, lowers fevers and stimulates the circulation. It is locally analgesic and
anaesthetic with alterative, ophthalmic and pectoral activity. The root contains several
compounds that are effective in inhibiting various bacteria and they are a safe and
effective treatment for many ailments, such as some forms of dysentery that are caused
by bacteria.

Coscinium fenestratum Colebr.
Coscinium fenestratum is used to cure stomatitis and eye diseases. A weak infusion of the 
stem   is   used   as   a   lotion   for   foul   ulcers   with   great   success.Coscinium   fenestratum 
possesses antiseptic properties. It has been used also as a yellow dye.  A 50% ethanol
extract of Coscinium fenestratum stem material (AECF) has been found to possess
hypotensive action in anaesthetised dogs, rats and guinea pigs in a dose-related pattern.
Antioxidant effect of methanol extract of Coscinium fenestratum stem powder was
examined using carbon tetrachloride-intoxicated rat liver as the experimental model. The
decreased activities of antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase, catalase,
glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase in carbon tetrachloride-intoxicated rats,
and its retrieval towards near-normalcy in the methanol extract co-administered animals
revealed the effectiveness of Coscinium fenestratum in combating oxidative stress due to
hepatic damage. The leaves, flowers and other parts of the creeper are used as a
traditional ayurvedic skin care treatment to enhance the complexion of the skin

Crataegus oxycantha Linn.


Crataegus oxyacantha has a long history in both folk medicine and clinical medicine as a
heart tonic. The herb is typically used to improve cardiovascular function, as it increases
the supply of blood to the heart muscle, resulting in enhanced circulation throughout the
body. It has shown to have positive effects upon stabilizing angina pectoris, as well as
aiding recovery from heart attacks. The leaves, flowers, and berries of Crataegus
oxyacantha contain a variety of bioflavonoid-like complexes that appear to be primarily
responsible for the cardiac actions of the plant. Crataegus oxyacantha seems to inhibit
angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and reduce production of the potent blood vessel-
constricting substance angiotensin II. This reduces resistance in arteries and improves
extremity circulation. The bioflavonoids in Crataegus oxyacantha are potent
antioxidants. The skin of berries, leaf, and flower of Crataegus oxyacantha are all
naturally rich sources of a potent antioxidant called oligomeric proanthocyanadins
(OPC). These naturally occurring antioxidant flavonoids are tissue specific for
strengthening the walls of arteries and thereby reducing the risk of recurring aneurysms
and hemorrhagic strokes. In addition to antioxidant protection, OPCs also support
collagen and help maintain elastin throughout the entire body. By maintaining healthy
levels of structural collagen and elastin, our bodies are able to continue to function more
efficiently and maintain their youthful strength and flexibility longer. OPCs attach to
"reactive sites" on collagen molecules and protect them from free radical attack. This is
one of the reasons they are so protective and so valuable for the circulatory system
Flowers and berries are astringent and useful in decoction to cure sore throats. It is a
useful diuretic in dropsy and kidney troubles.
Curcuma aromatica Salisb.
It is a perennial herb, cultivated throughout India. The drug is stimulant, tonic, and
carminative. It protects skin from pollution, wrinkles, and bacteria. It imparts resistance
against allergies of throat, nose and tracheobronchial passage. It is commonly used in
skincare and treats pimples, acne, black heads. It helps prevent and slower the growth of
superfluous hair.

Curcuma longa Linn.


Traditionally turmeric is used in treatments of gastrointestinal disorders, colic,
hemorrhage, hematuria, menstrual disorders and jaundice. Turmeric contains several
water and fat soluble antioxidant compounds of which curcumin was found to be most
effective. Curcumin inhibits production of nitrosamine that enhances natural antioxidant
functions of the body. The hepatoprotective effect of turmeric may stem from its potent
antioxidant effects. In addition to its antioxidant effects curcumin has been shown to
enhance liver detoxification by increasing the activity of glutathione S- transferase an
enzyme which conjugates glutathione with a wide variety of toxins to facilitate their
removal from the body. Curcumin is used to treat squamous cell carcinoma of the skin
and ulcerating oral cancer. It inhibits the growth of cancer by preventing production of
harmful eicosanoid such as PGE- 2. Both, the volatile oil and curcumin exhibit powerful
anti- inflammatory effects.

Cuscuta reflexa Roxb.


Cuscuta reflexa is used indigenously in Indian system of medicine in the remedy for
various ailments. The plant is acrid, bitter, astringent to bowels, aphrodisiac, alternative
tonic, useful in diseases of eye and heart, and in biliousness. The herb has a bitter sharp
taste, is an expectorant, carminative, tonic anthelmenthic, purgative, diaphoretic, diuretic,
purifies blood and cleanses the body, lessens inflammation, useful in jaundice, pains in
the muscles and the joints, headache, paralysis, and diseases of spleen. The seed are
sedative, diuretic and is useful in diseases of liver and spleen, chronic fever and gripping.

Cyperus rotundus Linn.


Cyperus rotundus is an alterative, general and nervine tonic, carminative and liver
stimulant.The tubers of Cyperus rotundus contain an essential oil that contains pinenes
and cineole and is used as hair wash and for treating hair and scalp disorders. It dilates
the small capillaries and acts on the sebaceous glands at the root of the hair and hence
stimulates them. The tubers are diaphoretic and astringent. They are also credited with
diuretic, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, carminative, stomachic, emmenagogue and
stimulant properties. Cyperus rotundus is also widely used for skin care.

Delphinium denudatum Wallich.


The roots are alterative, bitter, stimulant and tonic. Delphinium denudatum popularly
known as `Jadwar', have been reported to possess anticonvulsant properties in the Unani
medicine system. The roots of Delphinium denudatum have yielded a new diterpenoid
alkaloid, 8-acetylheterophyllisine, in addition to the known alkaloids vilmorrianone,
panicutine, denudatine, isotalatizidine, and condelphine, as well as 3-hydroxy-2-methyl-
4H-pyran-4-one.Some of the compounds have shown antifungal activity against a
number of human pathogenic fungi. The roots are used by traditional healers for the
treatment of various ailments such as epilepsy, paralysis, cholera, jaundice and cardiac
diseases. A study was undertaken to investigate the de-addiction properties of
Delphinium denudatum in morphine dependent rats. It was observed that administration
of D. denudatum Wall. extract caused significant reduction in counted as well as checked
signs of morphine withdrawal. The aqueous extract of the plant showed strong anti-
convulsant action in in vivo and in vitro studies. In in vivo experiments the essential oil
showed strong action in maximal electroshock test (MEST), subcutaneous
pentylenetetrazole test (sc PTZ) and subcutaneous bicuculline (sc BIC) test at doses of
600 mg/kg. Since the essential oil exhibited strong anticonvulsant activity in MES, scPTZ
and scBIC tests as well as inhibited SRF, it suggests presence of anticonvulsant
compounds that may be effective in therapy of generalized tonic-clonic and partial
seizures as well as absence and myoclonic seizures.

Didymocarpus pedicellata R.Br.


The essential oil from the leaves contains didymocarpene as its chief constituent. The
leaves are used in indigenous medicine as a cure for stones in the kidney and bladder.

Dioscorea deltoidea Wallich.


Dioscorea root has been found to contain phytosteroids such as diosgenin and saponin.
The roots of this species contain an average of 4.8% diosgenin. Dioscorea deltoidea is
known as a tonic herb that supports spleen, lung, and kidney. Diosgenin, has anti-fatigue,
anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, hypocholesterolemic, and estrogenic effects. Dioscorea is
antispasmodic, and could be helpful for nausea of pregnant women (morning sickness),
spasmodic hiccough and asthma. Dioscorea deltoidea is widely used in modern medicine
in order to manufacture progesterone and other steroid drugs. It is also used as contra-
ceptives and in the treatment of various disorders of the genitary organs as well as in a
host of other diseases.

Eclipta alba Hassk.


Eclipta alba is used for treatment of hepatosplenomegaly, elephantiasis, gastropathies,
anorexia, helminthiasis, wounds, ulcer, hypertension, pruitis, odontalgia, otalgia and
edema. It is used in the treatment of obstinate skin disorders and in diseases of eyes and
head. The alkaloid 25-beta-hydroxyverazine derived from methyl extract of Eclipta alba
showed significant activity against Candida albicans. Another alkaloid ecliptalbine had an
antifungal activity comparable to verazine when tested against three yeast strains. An
ethanol / water extract of Eclipta alba significantly counteracted CCL4 induced
hepatotoxicity restoring hepatic lysosomal acid phosphatase and alkaline phosphatase.
This indicates that the hepatoprotective activity of Eclipta alba functions by regulating
the level of hepatic microsomal drug metabolizing enzymes. An oil prepared using
Eclipta alba may be used as an anti inflammatory and vulnerary in cases of psoriasis and
eczema and finds special application when applied on the head to improve memory and
mental functions. Wedelolactone and demethylwedelolactone from Eclipta alba
(Bhringraja) have potent trypsin inhibitory effect.
Emblica officinalis Gaertn.
It is one of the most important plants of Ayurvedic materia medica. Amla is an excellent
antioxidant and is used to treat cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and insulin resistance
and diseases of microcirculation such as macular degeneration. Though amla is one of the
highest naturally occurring sources of vitamin C, its antioxidant effect have also been
attributed to the tannoid complexes. Aqueous and ethanolic extracts have been found to
be both antifungal and antimicrobial without any indication of toxicity. Amla also finds
use in anorexia, anemia, biliousness dyspepsia and jaundice. It is also known to cure
alopecia and adds luster and strength to hairs. Amla form an important component in the
treatment of hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Ephedra gerardiana Wall.


Ephedra gerardiana is a source for the drug ‘Ephedrine’ that is treasured for treating
allergy, asthma, cold, cough, diarrhea, fevers, hayfever, headache, malaria, and
rheumatism. Infusions prevented low blood pressure in flu and pneumonia. The total
crude alkaloid extract of ephedra (containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine) has been
shown to be more effective in treating cold and flu symptoms than the equivalent
combination of synthetic ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.

Fritillaria roylei Hook. f.

The bulb is antiasthmatic, antirheumatic, febrifuge, galactogogue, haemostatic,


ophthalmic and oxytocic. It is boiled with orange peel and used in the treatment of TB
and asthma.

Garcinia cambogea Desr.

The tree is valued for its dried rind which is rich in acids and possesses marked antiseptic
properties. It contains tartaric acid, reducing sugars, and phosphoric acid (as calcium
triphosphate). It limits the synthesis of fatty acids in the muscles and liver lipogenesis
(production of fat) by inhibiting the enzyme ATP-citrate lyase. The fruits contain about
30% acids (calculated as citric acid) on the dry basis which is essentially (-)-hydroxy-
citric acid. A decoction of the fruit rind is given in rheumatism and bowel complaints.
The resin possesses purgative properties.

Gaultheria fragrantissima Wall.

The volatile oil obtained by the steam distillation of the leaves of G. fragrantissima is
identical to Wintergreen oil, obtained from G. procumbens. The principal constituent of
the oil is methyl salicylate. It is stimulant, carminative and antiseptic. It is applied
externally in the form of liniment or ointment in rheumatism, sciatica and neuralgia. It is
a diuretic, stimulant, and emenagogue. It is very useful in gout and stiffness due to old
age. It also revitalizes and gives energy following muscular pains.

Gentiana kurroo Royle.


Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive
disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the
bitterest compounds known. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic
disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite.
It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder
and digestive system and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to
prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic,
bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant and stomachic. It is taken
internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and
anorexia.

Geum urbanum Linn.


Geum urbanum possesses astringent, styptic and tonic properties. As an astringent, it is
useful for diarrhea. It is considered useful in dysenteries, leucorrhoea, sore throat, chills,
catarrh, intermittent fevers, chronic and passive haemorrhages, gastric irritation and
headache. The principal active constituent is a volatile oil, which is mainly composed of
eugenol. It also contains a glycoside, gein, geum-bitter, tannic acid, gum and resin. It
promotes appetite and acts as a tonic during convalescence. Geum urbanum acts as a
purifier and removes obstructions of the liver An infusion is considered an excellent
cordial sudorific at the commencement of chills and catarrh, cutting short the paroxysm,
and the continued use of it has restorative power in weakness, debility, etc. The infusion
is also used in some skin affections. When used externally as a wash, it will remove
spots, freckles or eruptions from the face. On account of its stomachic properties,
chewing of the root has been recommended for foul breath.

Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.


Glycyrrhiza glabra is part of both Western and Eastern herbal traditions. Traditional uses
include treatment of peptic ulcers, asthma, pharyngitis, malaria, abdominal pain and
infections. The traditional medicinal properties include demulcent, expectorant,
antitussive and mild laxative activity. The primary active constituent of Glycyrrhiza is the
triterpene glycoside glycyrrhizin. Glycyrrhiza has been shown to have a direct
hepatoprotective effect. Glycyrrhiza flavonoids provided protection to hepatocytes
exposed to carbon tetra chloride and galactosamine. The researchers pointed to the anti-
lipid peroxidation effect of Glycyrrhiza as the central mechanism contributing to its
protective action against carbon tetrachloride induced hepatotoxicity. Glycyrrhiza has
also been shown to have a significant free radical quenching effect. Recent studies have
brought to light the ability of Glycyrrhiza to enhance the detoxification of medications
and toxins. Glycyrrhiza exerts antiviral activity in vitro towards a number of viruses
including hepatitis A, varicella zoster, HIV, herpes simplex type I, Newcastle disease and
vesicular stomatitis viruses. It modulates the immune system and has shown remarkable
immuno-stimulant properties. It has an antioxidant activity. It is a mild anti-inflammatory
for arthritis and rheumatism and is used to treat gastric, duodenal and esophageal
ulceration or inflammation, heartburn and mouth ulcers. The plant contains
phytoestrogens in the form of isoflavones such as formononetin; glabrone, neoliquiritin
and hispaglabridin A & B. It alleviates irritable conditions of the mucus membrane, and
strengthens the immune system and provides resistance in recurring infections.
Gymnema sylvestris R.Br. ex Schultz.

Gymnema has the property of destroying sugar and hence it is very useful in diabetes.Its
principal constituent is gymnemic acid which has anti-diabetic properties. The leaves
when chewed have the property of paralysing the sense of taste for sweet and bitter
substances for a few hours. The leaf extracts contain gymnemic acid which is said to
inhibit hyperglycemia. It abolishes the taste of sugar and is believed to neutralize
excessive sugar present in the body in diabetes mellitus. It has also been shown to have a
regenerative effect on pancreatic beta cells and is insulinotropic. The plant is stomachic,
stimulant, laxative, diuretic and useful in cough. In Ayurveda this plant is mentioned as
bitter, acrid, cooling tonic, alterative, anthelmentic, alexiteric and useful in respiratory
troubles, heart diseases, piles, leukoderma and urinary discharges.

Gynocardia odorata R.Br.


The oil from the seeds is employed internally and externally in the treatment of skin
diseases, scrofula, rheumatism, eczema, also in leprosy, as a counterirritant for bruises,
sprains, etc., and sometimes applied to open wounds and sores.

Hemidesmus indicus R.Br.


This plant has a reputation of being a tonic, alterative, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic
and depurative. It is employed in nutritional disorders, chronic rheumatism, gravel, and
other urinary disorders, syphilis, scrofula and skin infections. It helps in fighting against
syphilis by stimulating the defence mechanism of the body. It has also been used
successfully in the treatment of psoariasis. It also shows inhibitory effect on the growth
of Escherichia coli.

Hedychium spicatum Buch. Ham. Ex Smith.


In preliminary pharmacological studies the drug is found to have a vasodilatory effect on
coronary vessels, mild hypotensive property and a non-specific antispasmodic effect on
smooth muscles. Studies on the essential oil of the rhizomes of Hedychium spicatum
reveal that these oils possess a mild tranquilizing effect of short duration. The crude
ethanolic extract of rhizomes possesses anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity. The root
stalk is useful in local inflammations, nausea, asthma, bronchitis, hiccups and in pain.
The rhizome of the plant is said to be carminative, stimulant and a tonic. It has been
described as useful, especially as an antiasthmatic agent. Clinical trials have been
conducted in tropical eosinophilia, with promising results

Hippophae rhamnoides: Linn.


Commonly known as Seabuckthorn, it contains 190 bio-active components. The oil is the
best single source known to man for Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Beta-carotene, unsaturated
fatty acids, essential amino acids and flavonoids. Traditionally used to stimulate
digestion, seabuckthorn provides nutritional support for the circulatory system over
longer use, due to the presence of sea buckthorn flavonoids. The berries have proven to
be among the most nutritious fruits known. Seabuckthorn is being increasingly used in
making fruit juices, singly or mixed with other fruits, because of its reputed health
benefits. The freshly pressed juice is used in the treatment of colds and exhaustion. High-
quality medical oil is made from the fruit of sea buckthorn and used in the treatment of
cardiac disorders. Seabuckthorn is an excellent source of plant based polyunsaturated
(essential) fatty acids for maintaining good health, normal growth and development. Its
seed oil naturally provides a 1:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. Seabuckthorn contains
more linolenic acid per equal serving size than any other oil. Seabuckthorn is also an
excellent source of oleic acid, an essential fatty acid known to help reduce blood
cholesterol levels. These essential fatty acids are important in the prevention of heart
disease, cancer and maintaining an overall healthy immune system.

Inula racemosa Hook. f.


The rhizome is said to have a sweet, bitter and acrid taste with a neutral potency. It is
used in the treatment of contagious fevers and pain in the upper body, especially between
the neck and the shoulders. In ayurvedic practice, it is mainly used as an expectorant and
bronchodilator. It has been used in the treatment of tuberculosis and topically in the
treatment of skin diseases. The plant extract showed potent anti-inflammatory,
antipyretic and antispasmodic effect against bronchial spasm induced by histamine, 5-
hydroxytryptamine, and various plant pollens. The essential oil of I.racemosa was tested
for antibacterial and anti- fungal activity. It is moderately effective against S. aureus, Ps
aeruginosa, B.subtillis and mildly against E. coli and B. anthracis. Alantolactone and
isoalantolactone exhibited antidermatophytic activity. Antifungal activity of these two
compounds against two ring- worm fungi was comparable to that of Nystatin but inferior
to that of Amphotericin B. Inula is also used for angina pectoris, heart disease, ischemic
heart diseases. When combined with Commiphora mukul it lowers diastolic blood
pressure, improves liver conditions, decreases cholesterol, and is beneficial in respiratory
tract conditions, asthma, bronchial disease, chest (precordial) pain, chronic bronchitis
with cardiac complications, cough, and dyspnea.

Juniperus communis Linn.


Juniper is given as a diuretic, stomachic and carminative in indigestion, flatulence, and
diseases of the kidney and bladder. The chief use of Juniper is as an adjuvant to diuretics
in dropsy depending on condition of heart, liver or kidney. It is used in chest complaints,
leucorrhoea, blenorrhoea, scrofula etc. Juniper has antiseptic properties hence used in
dental disorders, acne and oily skin seborrhea of scalp. Juniper oil relaxes body and is
used in neuralgia, sciatica and rheumatism. Steam inhalation with juniper leaves relieves
cold and cough.

Kaempferia galanga Linn.


The rhizome of Kaempferia galanga is considered a stimulant and is believed to prevent
wind and colic, food poisoning, tetanus, mouth ulcers, coughs and colds.Kaempferia
galanga rhizome contains about 1.5 to 2% essential oil, whose main components are
ethyl cinnamate (25%), ethyl p-methoxycinnamate (30%) and p-methoxycinnamic acid.
Kaempferia galanga is a good natural source of a biologically active easter compound
ethyl p-methoxycinnamate. The juice of the plant is an ingredient in some tonics used in
the preparation of gargles, and administered with honey as a remedy for coughs and
bronchial infections. The leaves are used in lotions, as well as poultices for sore eyes,
sore throat, swellings, rheumatism and fevers. A decoction of the rhizomes is used for
dyspepsia, headache and malaria. It is also used as a wash for dandruff. The rhizomes of
Kaempferia galanga are widely used in the ayurvedic system of medicine in the
treatment of various inflammatory diseases, diabetes mellitus and obesity. The oral
administration of the extracts (20 mg/day) of K.galanga effectively lowered the serum
and tissue levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids and significantly
increased the serum levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL) in high cholesterol fed
white wistar rats over a period of 4 weeks. The results are indicative of this plant in
various lipid disorders especially atherosclerosis. Rhizomes of K.galanga is valued
traditionally for their skin protectant action pertaining to their action against ultraviolet
rays and function as a ‘booster' that augments the activity of conventional sunscreens The
antifungal action of ethyl p-methoxycinnamate is reported in the literature . A natural
extract obtained from the roots of Kaempferia galanga has antimicrobial action and
tyrosinase inhibitory functions, suggesting its multifaceted benefits in acne fighting
formulations.

Marsdenia roylei Wight


An aqueous extract of the roots is given as an antidote to snake bite. The aqueous extract
of the plant is also used in the treatment of spermatorrhoea. A paste made of the roots is
applied to boils and blisters. An aqueous extract of the leaves is used as an antidote to
rabies.

Mesua ferrea Linn.


Various parts of this plant are used in the treatment of rheumatism, skin diseases,
dysentery and bleeding piles etc. in the Indian system of medicines. Studies have
revealed that the principle active constituent of Mesua ferrea, xanthones produce
significant CNS depresent effect at a dose of 200mg/ kg. Signs of CNS depression are
characterized by sedation, decreased spontaneous motor activity and potentiation of
pentobarbitone sleeping time in mice and rats. This supports the CNS calming effect of
Mesua ferrea.

Meconopsis aculeata Royle.


Commonly known as Himalayan Blue Poppy, the whole plant is useful against renal colic
and backache. The roots contain narcotic principles and are used as an analgesic, in
healing broken bones and in the treatment of inflammation from fractures.

Nardostachys jatamansi DC.


Nardostachys jatamansi has tonic, antispasmodic and stimulant properties. It is used in
treatment of certain types of fits, convulsions and palpitation of heart. It is beneficial in
treating chronic fever, spleen disorders, pathogenic disorders, and it subsides swelling. It
is also used as a laxative and for promoting urination menstruation and digestion.
Jatamansin from Nardostachys jatamansi (Jatamansi) has shown tranquillizing activity.

Nothopodytes foetida (Wight) Sleumer.


The wood extract of this tree is used in the treatment of cancer. The active principle of the
wood camptothecin is known as a potent drug that breaks single strand DNA in the
mammalian systems and is found to be useful in the treatment of tumors. Camptothecin is
also known to inhibit retroviruses such as HIV. Derivatives of camptothecin such as 18-
OH camptothecin, 11-OH camptothecin, and 10-OH camptothecin have been found to
possess a strong antileukaemic activity. It is believed that camptothecin is the third most
important alkaloid sought after by the pharmaceutical companies around the world.
Successive petroleum ether, chloroform and methanol extracts of Nothopodytes foetida
leaves and stem were tested for their antibacterial activity. The methanol fractions were
found to be most effective against all the tested organisms.

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis Linn.


Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for treatment of sciatica,
arthritis, fevers, and various painful conditions. Water soluble portion of alcoholic
extract, at 4mg/kg and 8mg/kg, exhibited significant tranquilizing activity in mice and
rats. The extract produced general depression of spontaneous motor activity and
significantly increased pentobarbitone sleeping time. These activities are common to
major tranquilizing agents and thus it supports the usage of this plant as tranquilizer.

Oenothera bienni Linn.


This plant finds use in a variety of disorders such as premenstrual syndrome, benign
breast diseases, obesity, multiple sclerosis, mental disorders, rheumatism, etc. It
facilitates cholesterol reduction, blood pressure regulation. Oenothera bienni is high in
gamma-linolenic acid that is readily converted in the body to prostaglandin E1, therefore
it is employed in various treatments. Traditionally it is used as an astringent, antibiotic,
mucilaginous, expectorant, antitissive, and digestive stimulant. Evening Primrose oil has
been successfully used in patients with atopic eczema. Evening Primrose has some
antitubercular as well as antimicrobial properties.

Ocimum sanctum Linn.


This plant has been used for medicinal purposes since time immemorial. The juice of
leaves is used in catarrh and bronchitis and applied to the skin in ring worm and other
cutaneous diseases. It has antibacterial, antifungal and anti-stress properties. It is used in
treatment of several skin diseases. An infusion of the leaves is given to the children in
gastric disorders. A decoction of the root is given as diaphoretic in malarial fever. It
drives away mosquitoes.

Piper nigrum Linn.


It is an aromatic, stimulant, carminative, and is said to possess febrifuge properties. Due
to its stimulant action it is useful in atonic dyspepsia and constipation. It is also used in
flatulence, nausea, diarrhoea and cholera. It has antiseptic effect on the digestive tract and
the circulatory system. The essential oil eases rheumatic pain and toothache. It is antibac-
terial and reduces fever.

Podophyllum hexandrum Royle.


This plant has very high content of podophyllotoxin lignans which have shown antitumor
activities and anti HIV properties. Podophyllin arrests multiplication of cancerous cells
by breaking down the microtubules into smaller subunits thus inhibiting the cell division.
Podophyllotoxin, the active principle of podophyllin is used in treatment of Hodgkin’s
disease, non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukaemia, bronchogenic carcinoma and cancer of
the ovary and testis. Podophyllum is a source of anticancer drug like etopside and
teniposide.

Polygonum recumbens Royle


A paste made of the whole plant is applied in the treatment of various skin diseases. A
decoction of the plant is given orally as a blood purifier.

Polygonum hydropiper Linn.


Polygonum hydropiper commonly known as smartweed is valued especially for its
astringent properties that make it useful in treating bleeding, skin problems, diarrhoea etc.
The leaves are anti-inflammatory, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic,
emmenagogue, stimulant, stomachic, and styptic. They contain rutin, which helps
strengthen fragile capillaries and thus helps prevent bleeding. The seed is carminative,
diuretic and stimulant. The whole plant, either on its own or mixed with other herbs, is
decocted and used in the treatment of a wide range of ailments including diarrhoea,
dyspepsia, itching skin, excessive menstrual bleeding and haemorrhoids. A poultice of the
plant is used in treating swollen and inflamed areas. A homeopathic remedy is made from
the leaves. It is used in the treatment of piles, menstrual pains and other menstrual
complaints. Research indicates that smartweed extracts have hemostatic properties, and
that they lower the blood pressure. Studies on animals have also shown that the plant
does indeed have contraceptive effects, as people have claimed. Polygonum hydropiper is
astringent, diaphoretic, and diuretic. It is effective as an extract against coughs and colds,
and crushing the fresh herb, and using it as a plaster for congestion is common practice.
The juice of the plant, mixed with a bit of water, is effective on sores that have developed
pus. Ten flavonoid compounds were isolated from the dried leaves of Polygonum
hydropiper L. Evaluation of the antioxidative activity, conducted in vitro, by using
electron spin resonance (ESR) and ultraviolet visible (UV-vis) spectrophotometric assays,
showed that these isolated flavonoids possess strong antioxidative capabilities.

Prinsepia utilis Royle


Roots are used for supparating the boils for promotion of healing. The seed oil is
externally applied for extended period to relieve the symptoms of rheumatism and gout.

Psoralea corylifolia Linn.


This plant finds use in treating psoariasis, leprosy, leucoderma and several other skin
diseases. It is capable of stimulating the cells by penetrating through the epidermis to the
lymphatic cells and entering into the subcapillary areas under the skin. The seeds impart
vigour and vitality, improve digestive power and receptive power of the mind, improve
texture and complexion of skin and help growth of hair. Psoralea corylifolia tones the
liver, spleen and pancreas. It is used to prevent frequent or involuntary urination, cold and
painful extremities, and difficult breathing. It also finds use in treatment of impotency.

Pueraria tuberosa D.C


Pueraria tuberosa is an excellent antioxidant.It possesses antimutagenic, hypoglycemic,
hypolipidemic, and antidiabetic properties.It is an excellent hepatoprotective, promotes
elimination of acetaldehyde from the blood, has antithrombotic and, antiallergic activity.
Pueraria tuberosa has been thoroughly investigated for its contraceptive potency in
various animals viz. rats, mice and hamsters. The studies on its biological properties
suggest that all the fractions of P. tuberosa possess significant estrogenic activity. In
addition to this activity, the crude powder also shows significant progestational and mild
antiprogestational activity whereas ethanolic and butanolic extracts show significant
progestational activity. Petroleum ether and benzene extracts show only the estrogenic
activity

Rauvolfia serpentina Benth. ex. Kurz.


The principal use of Rauvolfia serpentina today is in the treatment of mild essential
hypertension. It is also used as a tranquillizer for nervous and mental disorders such as
insanity and schizophrenia.Rauvolfia serpentina is used as a tonic in states of asthenia, a
cardiotonic and antipyretic. It is used against snake and insect bites, for constipation, liver
diseases, flatulence, insomnia, and rheumatism. Major alkaloids present in Rauvolfia
serpentina probably lower high blood pressure by depleting tissue stores of
catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine) from peripheral sites. By contrast, their
sedative and tranquillizing properties are thought to be related to depletion of
catecholamines and serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) from the brain. Following
absorption from the gastrointestinal tract the active alkaloids concentrate in tissues with
high lipid content. They pass the blood–brain barrier and the placenta. The active
alkaloids are metabolized in the liver to inactive compounds that are excreted primarily in
the urine. Unchanged alkaloids are excreted primarily in the faeces. The extract of
Rauvolfia serpentina showed a good antibacterial activity against gram negative
organisms, which may be due to the presence of alkaloid.

Rheum emodi Wall. ex. Meissen.


Rhein, physcion, aloe-emodin and chrysophanol isolated from Rheum emodi rhizomes
exhibited antifungal activity against Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans,
Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Aspergillus fumigatus

Rheum spiciforme Royle.


Commonly known as Himalayan Rhubarb, dried rhizomes and roots are purgative,
astringent and tonic useful against rheumatism.

Rhododendron anthopogon D.D.


The stems and leaves of Rhododendron anthopogon have a sweet, bitter and astringent
taste and they promote heat. They are antitussive, diaphoretic and digestive and are used
to treat lack of appetite, coughing and various skin disorders. The flowers of R.
anthopogon are antitussive, febrifuge and tonic hence used in the treatment of
inflammations, lung disorders and general weakening of the body.

Rubia cordifolia Linn.


The roots of Rubia cordifolia is widely used in treating pimples, reducing wrinkles,
improving complexion, treating burns, healing injuries, lessening inflammation. The
fruits are used to treat liver disorders. Rubidianin, an anthraquinone isolated from
alcoholic extract of Rubia cordifolia has demonstrated significant antioxidant activity as
it prevented lipid peroxidation induced by ferrous sulphate and t-butylhydroperoxide. The
drug depicted activity in dose-dependent manner. The anti-oxidant activity of rubidianin
was found to be better than mannitol, vitamin e and p-benzoquinone. The roots of Rubia
cordifolia are valued in the Ayurveda in the maintenance of general health and normal
blood circulation. It is commonly used in the treatment of skin disorders of many
varieties, menstrual disorders, renal stone, urinary disorders, and blood detoxification.
Dried root of Rubia cordifolia is also used in amenorrhoea, paralysis, jaundice and
visceral and urinary obstructions. An infusion of the root has also been prescribed in
women after delivery to clear the uterine channels.

Ruta graveolens Linn.


In ancient Greece and Egypt, Ruta graveolens was employed to stimulate menstrual
bleeding, to induce abortion and to strengthen the eyesight. The rutin contained in the
plant helps to strengthen fragile blood vessels and alleviates varicose veins.Ruta
graveolens is also used due to its antispasmodic properties, especially in the digestive
system where it eases griping and bowel tension. The easing of spasms gives it a role in
the stopping of spasmodic coughs. The plant has also been used to treat conditions as
varied as hysteria, epilepsy, vertigo, colic, intestinal worms, poisoning and eye problems.
The latter use is well founded, as an infusion used as eyewash brings quick relief to
strained and tired eyes, and reputedly improves the eyesight. It increases peripheral blood
circulation and relieves eye tension.

Salacia reticulata Wight.


The roots and stems of Salacia reticulata exhibits hypoglycaemic activity, and hence used
in diabetes. In addition to its antidiabetic property it is antirheumaticand is also used in
skin diseases. It has significant inhibitory action on alpha-glycosidase, inhibits lipase,
inhibits aldose reductase is hepatoprotective and has antioxidant activity. It is also used as
antiobesity. The antiobesity effects of the hot water–soluble extract (SRHW) from the
roots of S. reticulate was studied using obese rat models. In conclusion, polyphenolic
compounds may be involved in the antiobesity effects of SRHW in rats through inhibition
of fat metabolizing enzymes (PL, LPL and GPDH) and enhanced lipolysis.

Santalum album Linn.


Sandal has a calming effect slowing heart rate and promoting contentment and relaxation.
The essential oil of Sandal is a very popular remedy for afflictions of urinary tract such as
cystitis, gonorrhoea, and pyelitis. It also finds use in irritating cough and bronchitis.
Sandal is a cooling agent, stimulant and blood purifier. It protects the skin from sun rays,
acts as anti-ageing agent and is extremely effective on pimples, prickly heat, skin
eruptions, itching, rashes, freckles and swellings. Internally sandal is used in the
treatment of gastric irritability, dysentery, thirst and heat stroke.

Saraca asoka (Roxb.) De Willde.


The bark of Saraca asoka is extremely useful in uterine affections especially menorrhagia
due to uterine fibroids and other causes. Ashoka also has an astringent but stimulating
effect on the endometrium and the ovarian tissues. Its effect on the ovarian tissue may
produce an estrogen like activity that enhances the repair of the endometrium and stops
the bleeding. It is useful in many gynecological problems such as uterine bleeding
associated with fibroids and the treatment of leucorrhoea. Ashoka has been efficacious in
regularizing menstrual disturbances without producing any side effects. In metrorrhagia,
in addition to decreasing the uterine bleeding it regularizes the interval between two
cycles. Ashoka also provides immense relief from painful menses and the premenstrual
synodrome. A. Saraca is also considered beneficial in the treatment of dyspepsia and
indigestion, thirst, burning sensation, blood disorders, fractures, tumors, colic and
menstrual cramps. Topically it is used for treating bites, ulceration and skin discoloration.

Saussurea lappa C.B. Clarke.


This plant possesses the property of relaxing involuntary muscles. It is beneficial in
bronchial asthma, cough, rheumatism and skin disorders. It is useful in the treatment of
stress related and blood disorders, pulmonary diseases and amenorrhea. Alkaloids from
Saussurea lappa have a strong inhibitory effect on histamine-induced bronchospasm and
intestinal spasm in guinea pigs. Chemical extracts from this herb have antispasmodic,
bronchodilatory, and blood pressure-lowering effects. Saussurea is beneficial in the
treatment of respiratory disorders like bronchitis, asthma and cough, especially
controlling attacks of bronchial asthma. The combined action of the essential oil and the
alkaloid in the root restrict the paroxysms. The alkaloid saussurine has a depressant
action on the vagus centre in the medulla, which supplies motor nerve fibre, as well as on
the involuntary muscle fibers of the bronchioles and gastrointestinal tract. It produces a
slight but persistent rise in blood pressure and increases the force of contraction and
amplitude of the ventricles. The essential oil not only relaxes the bronchial muscle, but
also has a marked expectorant action which relieves turgescene of the mucosa. It
strengthens functioning of the stomach and promotes its action. It is helpful in arresting
secretion or bleeding. The essential oil has antiseptic and disinfectant properties. It
relaxes the involuntary muscle tissues and serves as a cardiac stimulant. It relieves
flatulence and is a diuretic. This powerful aromatic stimulant is also useful in cholera.
The essential oil in the herb produces reflex inhibition by its stimulating properties. It
helps in controlling the disease. It is an irritant and has a strong penetrating and persistent
odour and taste. The depressant action of the drug on the brain helps in relieving the
spasm. Saussurea is useful for severe ulceration. The herb prevents premature greying of
hair. The dried and powdered root can be used as hair wash.

Sida cordifolia Linn.


Sida cordifolia has an affinity for diseases of the nervous system and can be used in a
wide variety of conditions. It is useful as a soothing diuretic and is anti-spasmodic. Sida
cordifolia may be used internally as a demulcent in chronic bronchitis, tracheitis, cystitis
and bleeding haemorrhoids as it is mucilaginous and cooling. It contains small amounts
of ephedrine making it a mild bronchodilator with vasoconstrictive properties. Ethyl
acetate extract of the root and aerial parts showed comparable antiinflammatory activity
with indomethacin in experimental animals. A methanol extract of the root was found to
possess significant hypoglycaemic activity.

Silybum marianum Gaertn.


Silybum marianum is very effective in both acute and chronic liver disorders ranging
from viral hepatitis to cirrhosis. Bioflavanoids found in Silybum marianum such as
silymarin and silybin are known to protect liver tissues. Silybum increases protein
synthesis in liver cells by increasing the activity of ribosomal RNA via the nucleolar
polymerase A. Silymarin induces an alteration of liver cellular membranes to stop
absorption of many toxins. Silybin induces new DNA and ribosomal RNA synthesis. It
protects the body against liver cancer by accelerating regeneration of liver cells. Silybum
extract has been shown to reduce the effects of many toxins on liver. It is also known to
protect the kidneys, brains, and other tissues from toxic chemicals. Silybum marianum
also exhibit antioxidant properties.

Spilanthes acmella (Linn.)Murr.


Spilanthes acmella (Linn.)Murr. a medicinal plant of family Asteraceae, known as para-
cress or tooth-ache plant. It has long been used as traditional medicine for local
anesthetic, antibacterial, antiviral, antihypertensive and diuretic actions. This plant owes
its activity to the antiseptic alkaloid Spilanthol, as well as immune stimulating and saliva
stimulating alkylamides. Spilanthol is effective at extremely low concentrations against
blood parasites, and is a poison to most invertebrates while remaining harmless to warm
blooded creatures. This is the explanation for its utility against blood parasites,
specifically malarial spirochetes, either as a prophylactic or as a treatment for malarial
paroxysms.The herb is also a strong anti-bacterial. Studies show strong in-vitro activity
of Spilanthes extracts against such common pathogens as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella
pneumoniae, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella gallinarum and
Staphylococcus albus. Spilanthes also inhibits the fungal organism Candida albicans,
which is responsible for the nearly epidemic condition known as candidiasis. The internal
use of this herb stimulates an increased rate of phagocytosis, increased production of
white blood cells and an increased production of antiviral interferon. Given the obvious
sialagogue (saliva-inducing) effects, it is clear that there is stimulation of not only the
parotid glands, but also of the interrelated lymphatic system. Spilanthes acmella is used
for enhancing the immune system's resistance to infections. It stimulates wound healing,
protects the individual from colds and flu. It decreases allergic symptoms. It is indicated
for swollen glands, gum disease and all manner of acute bacterial, viral and fungal
infections. On preliminary phytochemical screening the aqueous extract Spilanthes
acmella (SPA) of was found to contain flavonoid compounds. Flavonoids are known to
target prostaglandins which are involved in the late phase of acute inflammation and pain
perception. Hence, the presence of flavonoids may be contributory to the anti-
inflammatory and analgesic activities of aqueous SPA. Further studies may reveal the
exact mechanisms of action responsible for the analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities
of SPA.

Swertia chirata Buch-Ham.


Swertia chirata is a traditional Ayurvedic herb. Swerchirin, a xanthone from Swertia
chirayita has antidiabetic activity. Researchers compared the effects of mode of action of
three different hypoglycemic agents; centipiperalon, tolbutamide and swerchinin in
normal as well as diabetic rats. Except in rats with severe pancreatic damage, swerchinin
showed better glucose lowering effect compared to tolbutamide. A strongly bitter tonic it
is an excellent remedy for a weak stomach, especially when this gives rise to nausea,
indigestion and bloating, and it has also been shown to protect the liver. The plant has an
interesting chemistry, similar in many respects to Gentiana lutea, a widely used
restorative tonic of the digestive system. It also contains xanthones, which are reputedly
effective against malaria and tuberculosis, and also amarogentin, a glycoside that may
protect the liver against carbon tetrachloride poisoning. Amarogentin also has anti-
leishmanial activity. The whole plant is an extremely bitter tonic digestive herb that
lowers fevers and is a stimulant. The herb has a beneficial effect on the liver, promoting
the flow of bile; it also cures constipation and is useful for treating dyspepsia. The plant is
harvested when the seed is setting and then dried for later use.

Symplocos racemosa Roxb.


It has the properties of mild astringent, cholagouge, antidiarrhoeal, antidysentric, aperient
and cooling. Symplocos racemosa is commonly recommended in menorragia due to
relaxation of uterine tissue as it has specific action on relaxed mucous membranes. It is
considered cooling and mild astringent. Symplocos racemosa is used in diarrhoea, for
wound healing and to stop haemorrhage. It is also commonly used in bowel complaints.
Antimicrobial and pharmacological actions of some fractions obtained from the bark of
S. racemosa have been investigated. A crystalline fraction is found to inhibit the growth
of Staphylococci, E. coli, enteric and dysenteric group of organisms. The alcoholic
fraction also reduced the frequency and intensity of the contractions in vitro of both
pregnant and non pregnant uteri of some species of animals, prolong the quiescent period
and antagonised acetylcholine induced contraction. It was also a spasmogen on the
various parts of the gastrointestinal tract and could be antagonised by atropine. The plant
and its formulations are used in diarrhoea, for wound healing and to stop haemorrhage. It
is also used in skin and eye infections. It is widely used in oral hygiene, bleeding gums,
and bleeding teeth as it strengthens gums and teeth. It is also used in treating skin rashes
and amoebiasis.

Taraxacum officinale Weber.


Taraxacum root acts by straining and filtering toxins & wastes from the bloodstream. It
exhibits hypoglycemic effects in experimental animals, and its beneficial effects on liver
complaints have been well documented by both Asian practitioners and American
physicians. It stimulates bile production, and helps the body get rid of excess water
produced by the diseased liver. Dandelion extracts are said to also benefit the spleen, and
improve the health of the pancreas. Dandelion root exhibited the potential for fighting
cancer. This herb has been shown to uniformly remedy chronic liver congestion, and has
also been used in medical practice to successfully treat hepatitis, swelling of the liver,
jaundice, and dyspepsia with deficient bile secretion.
Taxus baccata Linn.
In Unani system of medicine, the extract from the bark and leaves of T. baccata was the
source of a drug Zarnab, used for the treatment of various disorders. The paste prepared
from its bark is applied as a plaster on fractured bone. It is also applied externally on the
forehead to provide relief from headache. The extract from the bark and leaves is also
used for the treatment of various diseases like bronchitis asthma, poisonous insect bites
and also as an aphrodisiac. It is used to treat fever and relieve muscular pain.

Terminalia arjuna (Roxb) Arn & Wight.


The drug, commonly called Arjuna, comprises of bark of the tree. It is the best ayurvedic
remedy for improving the health of the heart. Arjuna has been used for thousand of years
for all heart conditions without any side effects. Regular use of Arjuna strengthen the
heart to its optimum condition Arjuna with potent antioxidant constituents improve
endothelial dysfunction in smokers. It also treats fractures, pimples, acne, freckles, and
non healing wounds.

Terminalia bellarica Roxb.


Terminalia bellarica is a stimulating astringent. The mature dried fruits are effective in
the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery and parasites. A decoction of fruits may be taken
internally and can be used externally as eyewash in the treatment of ophthalmological
disorders. It also promotes eyesight and hair growth. Fresh fruit is diuretic, digestive,
expectorant, antipyretic and antiemetic. Pulp of fresh fruit is astringent, lithotriptic and
anthelmentic. Dried fruit is constipating.

Terminalia chebula Retz.


Terminalia chebula improves digestion, promotes the absorption of nutrients and
regulates colon function. It is most useful in prolapsed organs as it improves the strength
and tone of the supporting musculature. It has a tonic effect on the central nervous
system. In treatment of piles and vaginal discharge a decoction of Terminalia chebula is
used as antiseptic and astringent wash. A fine paste of powder may be applied on burns
and scalds. Terminalia chebula is reported to have potent and broad spectrum activity
against human pathogenic Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. Gallic acid and its
ethyl ester, isolated from the plant displayed potent antimicrobial activity against several
bacteria including methicillin resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus. A water extract
of this plant was found to possess antifungal activity. Terminalia chebula is reported to
significantly reduce serum cholesterol, aortic sudanophilia and the cholesterol contents of
the liver and aorta in cholesterol fed rabbits.

Thalictrum foliolosumDC.
The root is antiperiodic, diuretic, febrifuge, ophthalmic, purgative, salve, stomachic and
tonic. It is considered to be a good remedy for atonic dyspepsia and is also useful in
convalescence after acute diseases and as an application for ophthalmia

Tinospora cordifolia Meirs.


Commonly known as gulvel this plant is one of the best rejuvenating plant. It is well
known for its anti-inflammatory, antacid, antipyretic, tonic and neuroendocrine immune
modulating effects. It promotes the qualitative nourishment of all tissues and is used for
treatment of chronic inflammation of respiratory and urinary systems, general weakness
and chronic skin disorder. It also cures jaundice, thirst, burning sensation, diabetes, and
neurological diseases. It possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties. Externally it is
used in rheumatism.

Tribulus terrestris Linn.


Tribulus terrestris is an outstanding remedy in urinogenital disease promoting urine flow,
soothing the mucosa and aiding in the excretion of stones and calculi. Both the plant and
the seeds are used for treatment of spermatorrhoea, impotency, phosphaturia, dysuria,
gonorrhea, gleets, chronic cystitis, renal calculi incontinence, gout, post partum
hemorrhage and to ensure fecundity. Saponin present in Tribulus terrestris dilates the
coronary artery and improves coronary circulation. The plant contains harmine alkaloids
that are most likely to be responsible for its sedative properties. Ash of the whole plant is
used for topical application in rheumatoid arthritis.

Trifolium pretense Linn.


Trifolium pretense is one of the most useful remedies for children with skin problems. It
is useful for the treatment of chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It
possesses expectorant and anti-spasmodic action hence given in the treatment of coughs
and bronchitis, especially in whooping cough. It purifies blood, it also can be used for
treating cancerous growths and leprosy. Trifolium pretense helps to calm coughs, reduce
skin inflammations, and improve general health. Primary chemical constituents of Red
Clover include phenolic glycosides (salicylic acid), essential oil (methyl salicylate),
sitosterol, genistiene, flavonoids, salicylates, coumarins, cyanogenic glycosides, silica,
choline, and lecithin. Red Clover, as it is commonly known, also contains vitamin A,
vitamin C, B-complex, calcium, chromium, iron, and magnesium. Red Clover also
increases the production of mucus and urine flow helping relieve irritation and
inflammation of the urinary tract. As a digestive aid, Red Clover stimulates the
production of digestive fluids and bile. It also relieves constipation and helps soothe
inflammation of the bowel, stomach and intestines. Red Clover contains easily
absorbable calcium & magnesium which tones and relaxes the nervous system, relieves
tension due to stress and the associated headaches. It contains stilbene which stimulates
eostrogenic activity, thus increasing fertility. It also supports the uterus with its vitamin
content, and the high protein content nourishes the whole body. There is also an
alkalizing effect which improves the vaginal and uterine acid/alkaline balance.

Urginea indica (Roxb) Kunth.


Urginea indica commonly known as squill was valued as a medicine in early classic
times and has ever since been employed by physicians, being official in all
pharmacopoeias. Squill has diuretic property and is frequently employed in dropsy,
whether due to chronic disease of the kidneys or to the renal congestion consequent to
chronic cardiac disease. Its diuretic action is attributed to a direct stimulant effect upon
the kidney. Squill stimulates the bronchial mucous membrane and is given in bronchitis
after subsidence of the acute inflammation and is considered most useful in chronic
bronchitis, catarrhal affections and asthma. It is largely used for its stimulating,
expectorant and diuretic properties. It is also a cardiac tonic, acting in a similar manner to
digitalis, slowing and strengthening the pulse, though more irritating to the gastro-
intestinal mucous membrane. It is also used as antidiabetic, and treatment of
asthma, pneumonia, and whooping cough.

Valeriana officinales Linn.


The medicinal properties of valerian were well known at least since Roman times. This
plant is a well known CNS depressant. Root of Valeriana officinales is a general
tranquilizer used for relieving nervous tension, insomnia and headaches. The volatile oils
and valeri acid may be responsible for the plant’s sedative effect. It is believed that
valerian works in ways similar to the prescription drugs in the benzodiazepine class by
increasing the body's supply of a neurotransmitter known as gamma aminobutyric acid
(GABA). Both valerian and benzodiazepine drugs may increase GABA production,
decrease its re-absorption, and/or interfere with its break down. Unlike benzodiazepines,
though, valerian may not have as much residual "hangover" effect on physical or mental
functioning. Valerian as it is commonly known possesses antispasmodic properties and
hence it decreases muscular spasm, is useful in cases of nervous digestion, bowel
syndrome, stomach and menstrual cramps. Valerian is also hypotensive, antibacterial,
antidiuretic, hepatoprotective, tonic, nervine and carminative. Valerian helps relieve
stress and has become an increasingly popular remedy in recent decades. It is a safe, non-
addictive relaxant that reduces nervous tension and anxiety and promotes restful sleep
hence relieves anxiety. Inhaling the vapor from the warm water is thought to help relieve
nervousness and induce sleepiness. Similarly, shredded valerian root may be put into
simmering water so the steam can be inhaled as a relaxant

Valeriana wallichii DC.

Valeriana wallichii is prescribed as a remedy for hysteria, hypochondriasis, nervous


unrest and emotional troubles. It is also used as a carminative and forms an ingredient of
a number of Ayurvedic recipes. The drug contains a group of iridoid or monoterpenic
derivatives, known as valepotriates which are useful as tranquilizers and sedatives. An
iridoid ester glycoside designated as valerosidatum (isovaleryl glucoside) has also been
isolated. The essential oil of the root and rhizome has anti-bacterial property.

Vetiveria zizanioides (Linn.) Nash.


Vetiveria zizanioides is sedative hence is useful in insomnia, nervousness and tight
muscles. It relieves aches and pains in the muscles, decreases stiffness, for arthritis,
rheumatism, and sprains. Vetiveria zizanioides strengthens the nervous system, reduces
anxiety, stress, tension, depression. It has a balancing effect, helps to stabilize energy, to
concentrate, organize scattered thoughts and overcome intellectual fatigue. It is an
antiseptic, balances the production of sebum, helps to moisturize the skin, soothes
irritation and inflammation, and helps wounds to heal. It is an antispasmodic, aphrodisiac,
detoxifying, and nervine. It stimulates production of red corpuscles. Vetiveria zizanioides
is panacea for stress and tension. It may have a healing effect on acne and support the
skin generally. The commercial oil of Vetiver is reported to be used as a carminative in
flatulence, colic and obstinate vomiting. It is regarded as a stimulant, diaphoretic,
refrigerant and antibacterial and when applied externally, it removes excess heat from the
body and gives a cooling effect. A decoction of the leaves is recommended as a
diaphoretic.
Viola odarata Linn.
This herb is well known for its medicinal values since olden times and is used for several
diseases. The herb is valued as an expectorant, diaphoretic, antipyretic and diuretic, and
as a laxative in bilious affections. It is used for catarrhal and pulmonary troubles and for
calculous affections. It has a long history of use as a cough remedy and for treatment of
bronchitis. The flowers contain violin and the leaves contain an essential oil, an alkaloid,
coloring matter, friedelin, ß-sitosterol and a straight-chain alcohol. The flowers are used
in bilious affections, epilepsy, nervous disorders, prolapsed rectum and the uterus, and
inflammatory swellings. The flowers are popularly used for the treatment of cough, sore
throat, kidney disorder, liver disorder, and infantile afflictions. Viola odarata is also used
for treating skin conditions like eczema, as anti-rheumatic, anti-inflammatory, and
astringent.

Vitex negundo Linn.


The root is reported to be tonic, febrifuge, diuretic, and expectorant. The root is also used
in a great variety of diseases such as dyspepsia, colic, rheumatism, worms, boils, and
leprosy. Internally leaves are alterative, aromatic, bitter vermifuge and anodyne. Leaves
are externally antiparasitic and powerfully discutient. They are applied to rheumatic
swellings of the joints and in sprains. It can be applied locally in rheumatic arthritis and
sprains. The leaves are also reported to be used for coughs and asthma. The juice of the
leaves is used for the treatment of fetid discharges. They show anti-inflammatory,
antibacterial, antifungal and analgesic activities. It is useful in the treatment of superficial
bruises, injuries, sores and skin infections. Flowers are cool and astringent. It is used for
syphilis, veneral diseases and other syphilitic skin diseases. It is also given in catarrhal
fever with heaviness of head & dullness of hearing. The flowers are also used in diarrhea,
cholera, fever, and diseases of the liver, and are also recommended as a cardiac tonic.
Fruit is nervine cephalic and emmenagogue. The seeds make a cooling medicine for skin
diseases and leprosy, and for inflammation of the mouth.

Withania somnifera Dunal


Withania is often considered the Indian equivalent to Ginseng however unlike Ginseng; it
has a sedative effect rather than stimulant action on the central nervous system making it
a superior medicine for exhaustion with nervous irritability. Withania is widely used in
any debility, emaciation or consumptive condition in both adults and children. Withania
roots exhibit hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic effects. It provides
immunity to body by bringing about an increase in hemoglobin concentration, red blood
cell count, white blood cell count, platelet count and body weight, as well as increased
hemolytic antibody responses towards human erythrocytes. It is also known to posses
anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is known to enhance memory. It contains
withanolides which possess immunomodulatory activity. Withaferin A & withanolide D
found in Withania somnifera are known to inhibit growth of cancer. Studies have revealed
that Withania somnifera enhances the therapeutic effect of radiotherapy.

Zanthoxylum armatum DC.


The aqueous extract of tender leaves and seeds is used for treating toothache and as a
mouth wash in oral hygiene. A decoction of the seeds is used as a blood purifier. The
stem is used as a tooth brush.

4. Some therapeutic actions, mode of action and some plants that possess these
actions:

4.1 Immunomodulator:
The immune system, resulting from millions of years of evolution, provides protection
against microbial infections and the body’s own damaged or cancerous cells. It is
composed of the innate and the adaptive immune responses. The innate immune response
involves processes that occur almost immediately after exposure to a foreign
microorganism, and is now known to exhibit a degree of specificity. The adaptive
immune response is triggered within a few hours to a few days, and provides exquisite
specificity and a long-lasting protection through specialist memory cells.
An immunomodulator is any substance that helps to regulate the immune system. This
"regulation" is a normalisation process, so that an immunomodulator helps to optimise
immune response. Immunomodulators do not tend to boost immunity, but to normalize it.
Part of their benefit appears to be their ability to naturally increase the body's production
of messenger molecules, such as cytokines, which mediate and regulate the immune
system making the immune system more efficient.
Some plants with properties of Immunomodulator:
Aconitum heterophyllum, Acorus calamus, Ailanthus exelsa, Asparagus racemosa,
Azadirachta indica, Bacopa monnieri, Berberis aristata, Chonemorpha macrophylla,
Citrullus coclcynthis, Cloedendron serratum, Crataeva nurvala, Curcuma longa, Cyclea
peltata, Cyperus rotundus, Eclipta alba, Embelia ribes, Emblica officinalis, Hemidesmus
indica, Holarrhena antidysentrica, Ichnocarpus frutescens, Picrorhiza kurroa, Piper
longum, Plumbago indica, Psoralia corylifolia, Pterospermum marsupium, Rubia
cordifolia, Santalum album, Saussurea lappa, Solanum surattense, Terminalia bellarica,
Terminalia chebula, Tinospora cordifolia, Tragia involucrata, Vertiveria zizanioides,
Zingiber officinale.

4.2 Antioxidant:
Antioxidants are substances that may protect cells from damage caused by unstable
molecules known as free radicals. Exposure to various environmental factors lead to
formation of free radicals, which are actually electrically charged oxygen molecules.
These electrically charged oxygen molecules take up electrons from other molecules
causing an array of disorders. Antioxidant interact with these free radicals and stabilizes
them and thereby prevents them from damaging the cells. Some antioxidants stimulate
the immune system and increase the activity of detoxifying enzymes in the liver.
Some plants with properties of antioxidant:
Allium sativa, Beta vulgaris, Bixa orellana, Brassica oleracea, Celastrus paniculata,
Citrus aurantifolia, Crocus sativa, Curcuma longa, Emblica officinalis, Hemidesmus
indicus, Hippophae rhamnoides, Lycopersicon esculentum, Momordica charantia,
Murraya koenigii, Picrorhiza kurroa, Plumbago zeylanica, Syzygium cumini, Trigonella
foenum-graceum, Withania somnifera.
4.3 Astringent:
Astringents are any of a group of medicines that shrink mucous membranes and stop or
slow secretion of blood, mucous, or other fluids from human body. Astringents decrease
fluids by narrowing small blood vessels, drawing water away from organ, or coagulating
the superficial layers of organ into a crust. They usually contain tannins that precipitate
the proteins when they come into contact with it. Thus, in a remedy, they will tend tone
up the mucous membranes and reduce secretions and discharge, and have an anti-
catarrhal effect. Astringents are also anti-haemorrhagic and will form an eschar (scab)
over a wound so preventing the entry of bacteria. Sometimes they will act on tissues with
which there is no direct contact.
Some plants with properties of astringent:
Abrus precatorius, Acacia catechu, Aerva lantana, Allophyllus serratus, Anogeissus
latifolia, Blumea lacera, Boswellia serrata, Bauhinia variegata, Callicarpa macrophylla,
Calycopteris floribunda, Canthium parviflorum, Catuneregam spinosa, Costus speciosus,
Crataeva magna, Crotolaria retusa, Dalbergia sisso, Ficus hispida, Ficus microcarpa,
Flacourtia jangomas, Garcinia morella, Gossypium arboretum, Ipomoea mauritiana,
Jasminum arborescens, Jasminum auriculatum, Kyllinga nemoralis, Limonia acidissima,
Premna corymbosa, Pseudarthria viscida, Sapindus lauriflorus, Symclocos chinensis,
Symplocos racemosa, Syzygium cumini, Toddalia asiatica, Verbena officinalis, Vitex
trifolia, Zanthoxylum rhetsa.

4.4 Depurative:
A depurative is effective in blood purification and detoxification. They assist the body in
ridding itself of viral and bacterial toxins that the body has stored over the years. The
blood performs many vital functions which sometimes become over-taxed during acute &
chronic cellular disease. Likewise, many ailments and diseases are the direct result of
impurities & toxins within the blood. The blood is, therefore, a target for effective
medicinal intervention. Depurative changes the properties of the blood from an
"unhealthy state" to a "healthy" one. It filters out the toxins and wastes, kills microbial
organisms present in the blood, adjusts and balances vital salts, furnishes nutrients, and
strengthened and enhances important plasma substances.
Some plants with properties of depurative:
Albizzia lebbeck, Andrographis paniculata, Anogeissus latifolia, Aphanamixis
polystachya, Aristolochia indica, Artemesia nilagirica, Asclepias curassavica,
Buchanania lanzan, Calotropis gigantean, Cassia auriculata, Chonemorpha fragrans,
Cocculus hirsutus, Coscimum fenestratum, Gloriosa superba, Hemidesmus indicus,
Homonoia riparia, Hydnocarpus laurifolia, Kirganelia reticulata, Melia azedarach,
Murraya koenigii, Pterocarpus santalinus, Pterospermum canascens, Rhinacanthus
nasuta, Ricinus communis, Samadera indica, Schrebera swietenioides, Swertia
angustifolia, Thespesia populnea, Vetiveria zizanioides, Woodfordia fruiticosa.

4.5 Memory Enhancers:


Certain types of mental decline result from exposure to toxins and from allergies, stress
or low nutrient levels in the tissues, which appear to contribute to brain inflammation,
scarring and cognitive function impairment. Memory is only one aspect of cognitive
functioning. Cognitive functioning refers to the collection of brain functions that
constitute our intellectual ability. Included in this are higher order sensory and motor
processing, attention and concentration, language function, and executive functions.
Executive functions refer to the ability to plan a task, execute the task according to your
plan, and also the ability to change execution of the task after having acquired relevant
new information
Some memory enhancers reduce the age-related decline of neurotransmitters and
receptors. Through these actions they may improve cognitive function and reduce central
nervous system degeneration. Certain other memory enhancers appear to interact
strongly, promoting cognitive performance, slowing vascular dementia and improving
late-life brain function. Some memory enhancers have been shown to enhance the actions
of acetylcholine through cholinergic activity.
Some plants with properties of memory enhancers:
Anisomeles malabarica, Argyreia nervosa, Bacopa monnieri, Canscora decussata,
Celastrus paniculata, Centella asiatica, Cucumis trigonus, Cyperus rotundus, Embelia
ribes, Evolvulus alsinoides, Habenaria edgeworthii, Lawsonia inermis, Nardostachys
grandiflora, Sphaeranthus indicus.

4.6 General tonic:


The term "general tonic" refers to a substance or medication that increases the tone of a
tissue or an organ. They increase the vigor and tone of the system by improving the
appetite, favoring digestion and assimilation, and adding strength to the circulatory
system. Sometimes tonics are also taken to be herbs that have a nourishing and
supportive effect.
Some plants with properties of general tonic:
Aconitum heterophyllum, Asparagus racemosa, Betula utilis, Biophytum sensitivum,
Buchanania lanzan, Butea monosperma, Calamus rotang, Canscora decussate, Canthium
parviflorum, Cassia occidentale, Celastrus paniculata, Cichorium intybus, Commiphora
mukul, Coptis teeta, Costus speciosus, Crataeva magna, Cressa cretica, Curculigo
orchioides, Delphinium denudatum, Emblica officinalis, Habenaria edgeworthi,
Ichnocarpus frutenscens, Pyrethrum radix, Samadera indica.

4.7 Aphrodisiac:
Since the beginning of time people have searched high and low for substances they could
use to stimulate and heighten sexual desire in themselves and others. Various food have
gained notoriety for being sexual stimulants however there is very little scientific
evidence in their support An aphrodisiac is defined as any food or drug that arouses
sexual instinct, enhances sexual vitality, and helps to overcome sexual dysfunction
naturally. Herbs have become increasingly fashionable for use as aphrodisiac and unlike
substances like the Spanish Fly and Chan Su, it does not hurt to try and find out if they if
they actually possess the said property. Most of the herbs are not only said to increase
libido but they are quite healthy to eat. In fact some say that the true reason people
believe these foods are aphrodisiacs is because healthy eating promotes better physical
condition and, in turn, better sexual performance.

Some plants with Aphrodisiac properties:


Abelmoschus moschata, Adenanthera pavonia, Argyeria nervosa, Boerrhavia diffusa,
Bombax ceiba, Buchanania lanzan, Butea monosperma, Ceiba pentandra, Coccinia
grandis, Commiphora mukul, Cordia dichotoma, Curculigo orchiodes, Dioscorea alata,
Euphorbia thymifolia, Evolvulus alsinoides, Ficus arnotiiana, Ficus religiosa, Habenaria
edgeworthii, Hygrophila auriculata, Ichnocarpus frutenscens, Jasminum grandiflorum,
Jatropha curcus, Loranthus falcatus, Madhuca longifolia, Manilkara hexandra, Morus
alba, Mucuna pruriens, Pandanus odaratissimus, Polygonatum cirrhifolium, Peuraria
tuberose, Saussurea lappa, Vigna pilosa.

4.8 Contraceptive:
The primary mechanism of action of contraceptives is the inhibition of ovulation. The
release of an egg, which commonly occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle, is
prevented by them. Two hormones produced by the pituitary, a gland located at the base
of the brain, coordinate the development and release of an egg from the ovary. One is
follicle stimulating hormone, abbreviated FSH, and the other is luteinizing hormone, or
LH. A surge in both of these hormones ordinarily occurs in the middle of a woman's
menstrual cycle. The surge in LH is the trigger for ovulation. Oral contraceptives inhibit
the production of both FSH and LH and consequently prevent ovulation. The
contraceptive action of one group of contraceptives occurs primarily at the level of the
pituitary and the hypothalamus. They interrupt the usual hormonal messages sent from
the brain to the ovary that lead to ovulation.
Some plants with properties of contraceptive:
Abrus precatorius, Ageratum conyzoides, Anthocephalus cadamba, Berberis aristata,
Butea monosperma, Caesalpinia bonduc, Carum carvi, Cissampelos parriera, Cucumis
sativa, Curcuma longa, Curcuma zedoaria, Embelia ribes, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis,
Holerrhena antidysentrica, Mentha arvensis, Martynia annua, Mesua ferrea, Michelia
champaca, Mimusops elengi, Mimusops hexandra, Nigella sativa, Piper nigrum,
Plumbago zeylanica, Ricinus communis, Salmalia malabarica, Santalum album,
Syzygium cumini, Zizyphus jujuba, Valeriana wallichii

4.9 Emmenagouge:
Emmenagouge stimulates the uterine muscular fibers and promotes menstrual flow. If
used in higher doses they can act as abortifacients. Some of the emmemnagouge acts as
tonic in gynaecological disorders
Some plants with Emmenagouge properties:
Arctium minus, Artemisia maritime, Aristolochia bracteolata, Artemisia niligirica,
Barringtonia acutangula, Boswellia serrata, Capparis deciduas, Cardiospermum
halicacabum, Carthamus tinctorius, Celastrus paniculata, Cichorium intybus,
Commiphora mukul, Cyperus rotundus, Delphinium denudatum, Euphorbia thymifolia,
Gossipium arboretum, Melia azaderach, Moringa oleifera, Mucuna pruriens,
Origanum vulgare, Polygonum hydropiper, Prunus ceracoides, Salacia reticulate,
Urtica dioca.

4.10 Abortifacient:
Abortifacient are substances that causes or induces abortion. The mode of action alters
the endometrium so the uterus is not receptive to implantation of the fertilized egg. The
developing embryo travels through the fallopian tube, reaches the uterus where it would
normally be nourished and protected until birth. The uterus gets chemically altered so that
there is no nourishment for the developing embryo and hence the embryo is aborted.
They may have other benefits such as regulation of menstrual cycle.
Some plants with Abortifacient properties:
Abrus precatorius, Ageratum conyzoides, Cassia fistula, Cassia occidentalis,
Catunaregam spinosa, Celastrus paniculata, Dalbergia sissoo, Derris brevipes,
Garcinia morella, Gloriosa superba, Helotriopium indicum, Lawsonia inermis, Moringa
oleifera, Nigella sativa, Pandanus odaratissimus, Plumbago indica, Sapindus
lauriflorus, Trichosanthes tricus .

4.11 Galactagouge:
Galactagouge promotes the flow of milk in nursing mothers. Although their exact mode
of action is unclear and probably diverse, some are known to act by inhibiting dopamine
release, allowing for the unopposed secretion of prolactin.
Some plants with Galactagouge properties:
Alternenthera sessilis, Amaranthus spinosus, Barringtonia acutangula, Coccinia grandis,
Cyperus rotundus, Ficus hispida, Gmelina arborea, Holostemma ada-kodienk, Ipomoea
mauritiana, Jatropha curcus, Lilium polyphyllum, Limnophila aromatica, Nigella sativa,
Noelamarkia cadamba, Polygonatum cirrifolium, Premna corymbosa, Pueraria tuberose,
Ricinus communis, Saussurea lappa.

4.12 Cosmetics and Toiletry:


Herbs and spices have been used for enhancement and maintenance of human beauty
since time immemorial. Sandalwood, turmeric, henna and natural oils have found use in a
wide variety of beauty treatments. Elaborate herbal beauty treatments are carried out to
heighten sensual appeal and maintain general hygiene. A large number of cosmetics and
toiletry formulation have been developed based on herbs.
Some of the plants used in beauty care:
Acacia concinnia, Acorus calamus, Allium sativa, Aloe vera, Alpinia galanga,
Azadirachta indica, Bacopa monneiri, Barleria prionitis, Bixa orellana, , Cedrus
deodara, Centella asiatica, Cichorium intybus, Crocus sativa, Curcuma longa, Cyperus
rotundus, Eclipta alba, Emblica officinalis, Euphorbia hirta, Glycyrrhiza glabra,
Hibiscus rosa sinensis, Lawsonia inermis, Mesua ferrea, Moringa oliefera, Ocimum
sanctum, Pongamia pinnata, Rubia cordifolia, Salvadora persica, Sapindus trifoliatus,
Sesamum indicum, Syzyguim aromaticum, Terminalia bellarica, Terminalia chebula,
Vitex negundo.

4.13 Antiperiodic:
These are agents, which prevent or check the return of diseases which recur periodically.
Very little is known of their mode of action however it is possible that they have a toxic
action upon the microbes in the blood, which are supposed to cause the disease. The
typical antiperiodic, quinine, has, however, a decided effect upon the heart and brain, as
well as other parts of the nervous system.
Achyranthus aspera, Aconitum heterophyllum, Andrographis paniculata, Aesculus
hippocastanum, Aristolochia bracteolate, Cassia fistula, Cassia tora, Crataeva magna,
Cyperus rotundus, Enicostemma axillare, Gymnema sylvestris, Holarrhena
antidysentrica, Melia azedarach, Picrorhiza scrophula, Tinospora cordifolia, Tragia
involucrata, Vernonia cinerea.

4.14 Antiinflammatory:
Inflammation is a process that is accompanied by local liberation of chemical mediators
like histamines, 5 – hydroxytryptamine, bradykinin and eicosanoids. They are formed in
almost every tissue in the body. Inhibition of their biosynthesis is the main stay of anti-
inflammatory therapy. Antiinflammatory drugs are used in a variety of conditions
including arthritis, muscle and ligament pains, pains after operations, headaches,
migraines, and some other types of pains. Antiinflammatory agents do not alter the course
of painful conditions however they ease symptoms of pain and stiffness.
Plants used as remedy:
Acacia catechu, Aglaia roxburghiana, Allophyllus serratus, Anogeissus latifolia,
Aristolochia bracteolate, Artemesia nilagirica, Baliospermum montanum, Bauhinia
variegate, Berberis asiatica, Blumea lacera, Buchanania lanzan, Caesalpinia bonduc,
Cassia fistula, Cassia occidentalis, Catunaregam spinosa, Celastrus paniculata,
Cinnamomum camphora, Commiphora mukul, Crinum asiaticum, Cyclea peltata,
Cyperus rotundus, Dalbergia sissoo, Delphinium denudatum, Desmodium gangeticum,
Enicostemma axillare, Erythrina indica, Ficus hispida, Flacourtia jangomas, Gentiana
kurroo, Gossypium arboretum, Holoptelea integrifolia, Hydnocarpus laurifolia,
Hygrophilla auriculata, Hyoscyamus niger, Inula racemosa, Lagenaria siceraria,
Moringa oleifera, Nigella sativa, Nyctanthes arbotristis, Oxalis corniculata, Pedalium
murex, Picrorhiza scrophula, Plumbago indica, Pterocarpus marsupium, Pterocarpus
santalinus, Rubia cordifolia, Salacia reticulata.

4.15 Antispasmodic:
Antispasmodic drugs also known as anticholinergics relieve cramps, reduce
uncontrollable movements, prevent bladder spasm, relax the lung airways and dry the
nose and chest. They are used to treat stomach cramps, Parkinson’s disease, colds,
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and urinary incontinence and muscle spasms from
cerebral palsy. Antispasmodics prevent the entry of choline in the nerve terminal by
hemicholinium and triethylcholine. It also prevents the entry of acetylcholine into the
synaptic vesicles by vesamicol. It prevents the release of acetylcholine by ecocytosis and
blocks the cholinergic receptors.
Plants used as remedy:
Abelmoschus moschatus, Adhatoda vasica, Ailanthus exelsa, Anthemis nobilis, Cassia
occidentalis, Cissampelos parreira, Commiphora mukul, Ferula asafoetida, Hyocyamus
niger, Mentha piperita, Mimosa pudica, Mirabilis jalapa, Phyllanthus niruri, Scoparia
dulcis, Tinospora cordifolia, Withania somnifera, Vetiveria zizanioides.

4.16 Antipyretic (Febrifuge):


Body temperature is regulated by a centre in the hypothalamus. Disturbances in this
region lead to a rise in the body temperature and manifestation of pyrexia (fever). In fever
there is an increase in formation of various cytokines which in turn increase the synthesis
of PGE2 in circumventricular organs in and near the preoptic hypothalamic area. This
ultimately results in elevation of body temperature by promotion of heat generation and
suppression of heat loss. Antipyretic agents inhibit the synthesis of PGE 2 thereby
preventing rise in body temperature. Normal body temperature is not affected by
antipyretic agents.
Plants used as remedy:
Aconitum falconeri, Acacia catechu, Adenanthera pavonia, Alstonia scholaris,
Alternenthera sessilis, Alangium salvifolium, Amaranthus spinosus, Andrographis
paniculata, Anisomeles malabarica, Aristolochia indica, Artemisia nilagirica,
Barringtonia acutangula, Blumea lacera, Boerrhavia diffusa, Boswellia serrata,
Caesalpinia bonduc, Careya arborea, Carrissa carandas, Cassia fistula, Cassia
occidentalis, Ceiba pentandra, Celastrus paniculata, Centella asiatica, Chonemorpha
fragrans, Cichorium intybus, Citrullus colocynthis, Coccinia hirsutus, Coptis teeta,
Costus speciosus, Crinum asiaticum, Curculigo orchiodes, Cyperus rotundus, Dalbergia
sissoo, Gloriosa superba, Leucas aspera, Murraya koenigii, Naregamia alata, Nelumbo
nucifera, Operculina turpethum, Pergularia daemia, Prunus ceracoides, Samadera
indica, Saussurea lappa, Sida cordifolia, Tephrosia purpurea.

4.17 Antimicrobial:
Antimicrobial destroy disease causing microorganism with minimal damage to host
tissues. They act against bacteria, viruses, fungi and other invading organisms to
inactivate or destroy them. This may be a direct effect on the microbe or it may be
indirect, by way of stimulating or modifying the immune response. Broad spectrum
antimicrobials act on a large number of microbes whereas narrow spectrum
antimicrobials are selective in action acting on specific organisms
Plants used as remedy:
Allium sativa, Aquilaria agallocha, Bixa orellana, Cassia occidentalis, Chukrasia
tabularis, Jatropha gossipifolia, Mirabilis jalapa, Momordica charantia, Nyctanthes
arbor-tristis, Vitex negundo.

4.17 Antimalarial:
Malaria is one of the most significant and fifth largest killer infectious diseases of the
world. It is a protozoal disease caused by Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae,
Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium falciparum. The effectiveness of drug in malaria
depends upon the efficacy of the particular drug in a particular parasite species and the
stage in the life cycle of the parasite. Antimalarial drugs, if used appropriately, can cure
malarial infection completely and suppress symptoms in individuals exposed to infection
in endemic areas. Certain antimalarial inhibit the growth of the parasite in the pre-
erythrocytic stages which prevents malarial fever and further transmission to mosquitoes.
Second group of drug eliminates all the remaining parasites in the body after the primary
infection is effectively treated. Third group of antimalarial drug kill the asexual
erythrocytic stage of the malarial parasites and thus terminate the clinical attacks of the
disease. Fourth group of antimalarial destroys the sexual stages of the parasite in blood
thereby prevent the transmission of the parasite to the mosquito. The fifth group prevents
further development of the malarial oocysts and sporozoites in the infected mosquito.
Plants used as remedy:
Adina cordifolia, Allium cepa, Alnus serrulata Alstonia scholaris, Andira inermis,
Anthemis nobilis, Argemone mexicana, Artemisia annua, Asplenium lunulatum,
Azadirachta indica, Bauhinia malabarica, Bixa orellana, Heliotropium indicum,
Naregamia alata, Ocimum americanum, Phyllanthus niruri, Plectranthus amboinicus,
Schleichera oleosa, Scoparia dulcis, Sterospermum colais, Strychnos nux-vomica,
Swertia chirayata, Taraxacum officinale, Vitex negundo.

4.18 Antibacterial:
Antibacterial drugs either kill the bacteria directly or prevent them from multiplying so
that the body’s immune system can destroy the invading bacteria. Antibacterial drugs act
by interfering with some specific characteristics of bacteria. Bacterial cells possess rigid
cell wall which maintains its shape. Certain antibacterial injury the wall or inhibits its
formation leading to lysis of the bacterial cell thereby causing the death of the organism.
One group of antibacterial inhibit cell membrane function by altering the permeability
that results in leakage of intracellular macromolecules and ions leading to cell damage
and cell death. A number of antibacterial inhibit protein synthesis through an action on
ribosomes in the bacterial cells. Some antibacterial bind strongly to DNA dependant RNA
polymerase of bacteria inhibiting RNA synthesis thus inhibiting bacterial growth.
Plants used as remedy:
Ageratum conyzoides, Artemisia pallens, Azadirachta indica, Betula utilis, Caesalpinnia
bonducella, Capparis deciduas, Cassia siamea, Chukrasia tabularis, Cryptostegia
grandiflora, Embelia tsjeriam-cottem, Euphorbia thymifolia, Ficus religiosa, Garcinia
morella, Lantana camara, Leucas aspera, Momordica charantia, Morus alba, Nigella
sativa, Nyctanthes arbotristis, Ocimum canum, Oxalis corniculata, Portulaca oleracea,
Premna corymbosa, Solanum indicum, Solanum nigrum, Toddalia asiatica,Urtica dioica,
Vateria indica, Vernonia cinerea, Woddfordia fruticosa.

4.19 Antifungal:
Fungal infections can have effects ranging from an irritating patch of itchy skin to a life
threatening condition. In general fungal infections can be divided into topical
(superficial) infection affecting the skin, nails, hair or mucous membranes and systematic
infections affecting deeper tissues and organs. Widespread use of immunosuppressive
chemotherapy, broad spectrum antibiotics, corticosteroids, implants and the emergence of
AIDS, compromise the host defense mechanism allowing infection by saprophytic fungi.
Mild infections are usually susceptible to topical therapy, however severe or resistant
infections may require systemic treatment. Certain antifungal bind with high affinity to
ergosterol present in fungal membranes resulting in certain alterations in the fungal
membrane with formation of microspores. Through these pores vital macromolecules and
ions are lost leading to irreversible damage. Another group of antifungal inhibits DNA
synthesis of the fungus exerting antifungal effect.
Plants used as remedy:
Abroma augusta, Aglaia roxburghiana, Alpinia galangal, Amamirta cocculus, Artemisia
niligarica, Artemisia pallens, Asclepias curassavica, Azadirachta indica, Bacopa
monnieri, Berberis aristata, Caesulia axillaries, Calotropis procera, Chukrasia tabularis,
Lippia alba, Psoralea coryfolia, Moringa oleifera, Nelumbo nucifera, Syzygium
travancorium, Tinospora cordifolia, Vernonia cinerea.
4.20 Antiviral:
Viruses are the smallest microorganism infecting human beings. Virus invades the cell
and is dependant on the cell’s metabolic for its requirements and hence it is difficult to
control or inhibit them. There are two types of viruses- DNA viruses that cause smallpox,
chicken pox, herpes, glandular fever and RNA viruses that cause influenza, measles,
mumps etc. Antiviral drugs interfere with the life cycle of a virus by preventing its
penetration into a host cell or by blocking the synthesis of new virus. Some antiviral
stimulate the immune system so that the body can fight the viral infection itself.
Plants used as remedy:
Aloe barbedensis, Andrographis paniculata, Arctium lappa, Barleria prionitis,
Calophyllum inophyllum, Cassia fistula. Melia azadirach, Momordica charantia,
Phyllanthus amaras, Phyllanthus niruri, Rheum officinalis, Santalum album,
Sarcostemma acidum, Scoparia dulcis, Terminalia chebula.

4.21 Antiseptic:
Since time immemorial chemical substances were used to control the infection in wounds
and spread of contagious diseases. Antiseptic agents kill or inhibit the growth of
microorganisms on the external surfaces of the body. They are toxic both to the
microorganism and the host and hence are used topically. There is a great variation in the
ability of antiseptics to destroy microorganisms and in their effect on living tissue
Antiseptics are potent germicidal usually with broad spectrum activity. There is also a
great difference in the time required for different antiseptics to work.
Plants used as remedy:
Acacia catechu, Anthemis nobilis, Bixa orellana, Cassia occidentalis, Catunaregam
spinosa, Cinnamomum camphora Commiphora mukul, Garcinia cambogia, Homonoia
riparia, Indigofera tinctoria, Inula racemosa, Jasminum grandiflora, Limnophila
aromatica, Mangifera indica, Melia azaderach, Mentha arvensis, Nardostachys
grandiflora, Pandanus odaratissimus, Phylanthus amaras, Pterocarpus santalinus,
Oxalis corniculata, Rhinacanthus nasuta, Rubia cordifolia, Sassurea lappa, Scoparia
dulcis, Semecarpus anacardium, Solanum nigrum, Streblus asper, Vitex negundo,
Zanonia indica, Zanthoxylum armatum, Zizyphus oenoplia.

4.22 Expectorant:
Cough is one of the most common symptoms of respiratory diseases. It is a protective
reflex and helps in clearing the airway of unwanted matter from upper respiratory tract.
Cough reflex is elicited on stimulation of receptors in the mucosa of airway. The cough
receptors are stimulated by inflammation, secretion, foreign bodies, chemical substances
and intrabronchial tumours. Expectorants augment the output of the respiratory tract and
facilitate the excretion of mucous from the lungs and the throat.
Plants used as remedy:
Acalypha indica, Achyranthes aspera, Aconitum heterophyllum, Albizzia lebbeck, Betula
utilis, Boerrhavia diffusa, Caesalpinna bonduc, Calamus rotang, Capparis deciduas,
Catunaregam spinosa, Cinnamomum camphora, Clerodendron serrata, Commiphora
mukul, Coptis teeta, Crinum asiaticum, Cuscuta reflexa, Gardenia gummifera, Grewia
tiliefolia, Helicteris isora, Hiptage benghalensis, Inula racemosa, Lagenaria siceraria,
Lilium polyphyllum, Naregamia alata, Plumbago indica, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia
paniculata, Tylophora indica.

4.23 Anthelmentic:
Parasitic infections impose a substantial health problem and economic burden in under
developed countries. Anthelmentic are used in eradicating a number of helminthic
parasites in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals. There are two categories of
anthelmentics – 1) vermicide which destroys the parasite without causing their expulsion
from the bowels and hence a laxative or a cathartic has to be used to expel the dead
parasite.2) vermifuge which expels the parasite from the bowel. Anthelmentics inhibits
cytoplasmic microtubule synthesis in nematodes and impair their glucose uptake and
secretion of acetylcholinesterase. As a result the parasites are immobilized and die slowly.
Plants used as remedy:
Alangium salvifolium, Aristolochia bracteolate, Barrintonia acutangula, Canscora
decussate, Careya arborea, Cissampelos pareira, Cleome viscose, Cordia dichotoma,
Cressa cretica, Cucumis trigonus, Embelia ribes, Leucas aspera, Mallotus philipinensis,
Morus alba, Operculina turpethum, Ophiorrhiza mungos, Phyla nodiflora, Piper longum,
Sarcostemma kleinii, Sesbania grandiflora, Shorea robusta, Solanum surattense,
Sphaeranthus indicus, Tamarindus indicus, Tephrosia purpurea, Tinospora cordifolia,
Vernonia anthelmentica, Vernonia cinerea, Vitex negundo, Zizyphus oenoplia.

4.24 Hepatoprotective:
Liver breaks down and neutralizes an array of toxic that enters our body. Natural
substances like hormones are also broken down by the liver. Hepatitis and cirrhosis are
two diseases that can badly damage the liver. Hepatitis is an inflammation of liver caused
by certain viruses. Cirrhosis changes the structure of the liver and hence it fails to
function properly leading to retention of toxins in the blood. Therapeutic agents used in
liver disorders promote the production of bile in the liver and promotes the release of bile
from the gall bladder into the duodenum. Agents that stimulate the production and flow
of bile often considered alternatives, and because bile promotes peristalsis, the net effect
of is usually a laxative effect. Hepatics are often liver trophorestoratives, acting to
strengthen the liver, aid in pelvic decongestion, and generally improve digestion and
elimination.
Plants used as remedy:
Andrographis paniculata, Adhatoda vasica, Aloe barbadensis, Alpinia galangal, Alstonia
scholaris, Bixa orellana, Blumea lacera, Boerrhavia diffusa, Caesalpinnia bonduc,
Capparis spinosa, Cassia fistula, Cassia tora, Cichorum intybus, Commiphora mukul,
Cucumis trigonus, Curcuma longa, Cyperus rotundus, Eclipta alba, Enicostemma
axillare, Flacourtia jangomas, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Mirabilis jalapa, Picrorhiza kurooa,
Podophyllum hexandrum, Phyllanthus amarus, Phyllanthus niruri, Semecarpus
anacardium, Silybum marianum, Sphaeranthus indicus, Solanum nigrum, Solena
amplexicaulis, Strychnos potatorum, Swertia chirata, Symplocos racemosus, Taraxacum
officinale, Trifolium pratense, Valeriana wallichii, Terminalia arjuna, Terminalia
chebula, Trigonella foenum-graecum, Wedelia chinensis, Wrightia tinctoria.

4.25 Antijaundice:
Jaundice or Hepatitis A is an acute infectious disease caused by Hepatitis A virus (HAV).
Jaundice means the yellow appearance of the skin and whites of the eyes that occurs
when the blood contains an excess of the pigment called bilirubin. Bilirubin is a natural
product arising from the normal breakdown of red blood cells in the body and is excreted
in the bile, through the actions of the liver. Although jaundice is most often the result of a
disorder affecting the liver it can be caused by a variety of other conditions affecting for
example the blood or spleen
The red blood cells in our circulation carry oxygen to all parts of the body and have a life
span of about 120 days. At the end of their life they are broken down and removed from
the circulation by special cells called phagocytes, which are found within the bone
marrow, spleen and liver. Following breakdown of the red cells some of their component
parts such as amino acids and iron can be re-used by the body. Other components such as
bilirubin need to be removed Bilirubin released from old red cells, passes through the
bloodstream to the liver, where the liver cells process it. These cells carry out many
complex chemical functions and also produce the liquid bile, which is the 'vehicle' by
which the cells discharge their output to the bile duct system. Bile (and therefore
bilirubin) then passes out through the small and large intestines and is excreted in the
stool (faeces).Therefore, any failure of the bilirubin removal pathway will lead to a build-
up of bilirubin in the blood. When this happens the individual's skin turns yellow, causing
jaundice. The balance between manufacture and breakdown of red cells is normally
precisely balanced and equal but there are several conditions in which the rate of
breakdown increases. If the amount of bilirubin thus released exceeds the liver's capacity
to remove it, then jaundice will develop.
The commonest cause is a viral infection of the liver cells known as Hepatitis. Many
different types of infection including glandular fever (mononucleosis) can also be
responsible for this. Alcohol abuse and subsequent scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) can
cause significant cell damage leading to jaundice.
The disease is heralded by non specific symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, fatigue,
generalized weakness, followed by anorexia, nausea, vomiting and dark urine.
Plants used as remedy:
Abrus precatorius, Aloe vera, Asplenium lunulatum, Azadirachta indica, Baliospermum
montana, Berbaris aristata; Bixa orellana, Boerrhavia difusa, Chonemorpha fragrans,
Cichorium intybus, Citrullus colcynthis, Coscinium fenestratum, Curculigo orchioides,
Curcuma longa, Embelia ribes, Emblica officinalis, Hedyotis corymbosa, Hibiscus
vitifolius, Holarrhena antidysenterica, Hygrophila auriculata, Lagenaria siceraria,
Leucas aspera, Mahonia leshchenaultia, Matricaria chamomilla, Mimosa pudica,
Nigella sativa, Operculina turpethum Phyllanthus niruri, Picrorhiza kurooa, Picrorhiza
scrophula, Podophyllum emodi, Portulaca oleracea, Rubia cordifolia; Santalum album,
Sphaeranthus indicus, Tamarindus indicus, Taraxacum officinale, Tephrosia purpurea,
Terminalia chebula, Thalictrum foliolosum, Tinospora cordifolia, Trichosanthes lobata,
Tylophora indica, Uvaria narum, Valeriana jatamansi, Verbena officinalis.

4.26 Anticancer:
Cancer is commonly defined as an uncontrolled growth of cells, with loss of
differentiation and commonly, with metastasis, spread of the cancer to other tissues and
organs. Cancer is malignant growth. Cancer treatment involves surgery, radiation and
drugs, singly or in combination. Majority of anticancer drugs act by interfering with
cancerous cell growth, however these drugs commonly affect not only the cancerous cells
but other cells that reproduce quickly like the cancer cells. Therapeutic effect of
anticancer herbs is executed by inhibiting the cancer activating enzymes, stimulating
DNA repair mechanism, promoting production of protective enzymes, inducing
antioxidant action and by enhancing activity of the immune cells. Certain biological
response modifiers derived from herbs are known to inhibit growth of cancer by
modulating the activity of specific hormones and enzymes. Some herbs reduce toxic side
effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Plant used as remedy:
Abrus precatorius, Aloe vera, Arctium lappa, Asclepias curassavica, Berberis aristata,
Betula utilis, Catharanthus roseus, Curcuma longa, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Heliotropium
indicum, Jatropha curcus, Kaempferia rotunda, Morus alba, Nothopodytes foetida,
Podophyllum hexandrum, Rhinacanthus nasuta, Rhuem officinale, Semecarpus
anacardium, Silybum marianum, Stillingia sylvatica, Taxus wallichiana, Tiliacora
racemosa, Trifolium pratense, Urtica dioca, Vernonia cinerea, Viola odorata, Vitex
trifolia, Viscum album, Withania somnifera.

4.27 Antitumor:
Tumors are benign growth that remain encapsulated and grow within a well defined area.
Tumors may be fatal if untreated as they may exert pressure on essential organs.
Antitumor agents work in the same way as anticancer agents.
Plant used as remedy:
Ageratum conyzoides, Anthemis nobilis, Asclepias currassavica, Azadirachta indica,
Bambusa arundinacea, Cassia auriculata, Catharanthus roseus, Cayratia carnosa, Ceiba
pentandra, Citrullus colocynthis, Excoecaria agallocha, Ficus racemosa, Flacourtia
jangomas, Garcinia indica, Kaempferia rotunda, Messua ferrea, Mirabilis jalapa,
Momordica charantia, Moringa oleifera, Mucuna pruriens, Phyllanthus niruri,
Tamarindus indicus, Urtica dioca, Withania somnifera, Zanthoxylum armatum.

4.28 Antiulcer:
Ulcer is caused by peptic ulceration that involves the stomach, duodenum, and lower
oseophagus. Ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori infections and are treated with a
combination treatment that incorporates antibiotic therapy with gastric acid suppression.
Antiulcer drugs are a class of drugs used to treat ulcers in the stomach and the upper part
of the small intestine. The objectives of antiulcers are relief of pain, promotion of ulcer
healing and prevention of recurrence and complication. The agents used for treatment of
ulcers are: (i) acid neutralizing agents that are basic in nature and neutralize acid in the
lumen. (ii) proton pump inhibitor that block the secretion of gastric acid by the gastric
parietal cells inhibiting the secretion of gastric acid. (iii) ulcer insulators does not inhibit
gastric acid but rather react with the existing stomach acid to form a thick coating that
covers the surface of an ulcer protecting the open area from further damage.
Plants used as remedy:
Achyranthes aspera, Aegle marmelos, Amaranthus hybridus, Azadirachta indica,
Baliospermum montanum, Berberis aristata, Boswellia serrata, Calophyllum inophyllum,
Cassia occidentalis, Coscinium fenestratum, Datura metal, Datura stramonuim,
Emblica officinalis, Ficus hispida, Ficus microcarpa, Garcinia indica, Gentiana kurroo,
Gloriosa superba, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Gymnema sylvestre, Hemidesmus indicus,
Holarrhena antidysenterica, Hypericum perforatum, Maytenus aquifolium, Mesua ferrea,
Morinda tomentose, Phyla nodiflora, Plumbago zeylanica, Polygonatum cirrhifolium,
Pueraria tuberosa, Rubia cordifolia, Santalum album, Saraca asoca, Sarcostigma kleinii,
Schliechera oleosa, Semecarpus anacardium, Shorea robusta, Solanum nigrum, Streblus
asper, Strychnos potatorum, Symplocos racemosus, Syzygium cumini, Terminalia arjuna,
Terminalia chebula, Terminalia crenulata, Terminalia paniculata, Tribulus terrestris,
Tylophora indica, Valeriana jatamansi, Verbena officinalis.

4.29 Antidiabetic:
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia resulting from
defects in insulin secretion, insulin action or both. The lock and key binding of insulin to
the insulin receptors fails to initiate the intercellular signaling cascade that results both in
glycosis and in synthesis of the carbohydrate reserve molecule glycogen from glucose. To
compensate this down regulating of signaling pathway the body secretes greater amount
of insulin. As a result of this over burdening the insulin secreting cells of the pancreas
eventually become exhausted and cease to function. Anti-diabetics function in different
ways. They may be substances that stimulate secretion of insulin, may be insulin
sensitizers, biguanides, inhibitors of carbohydrate absorption and inhibitors of fat
absorption.
Plants used as remedy:
Abroma augusta, Achyranthes aspera, Aconitum falconeri, Aconitum heterophyllum;
Adiantum incisum, Aegle marmelos, Ageratum conyzoides, Azadirachta indica, Bixa
orellana, Butea monosperma, Chonemorpha fragrans, Chlorophytum arundinaceum,
Cichorium intybus, Citrullus colocynthis, Coccinia indica, Cocculus hirsutus,
Commiphora wightii, Desmodium gangeticum, Emblica officinalis, Ficus racemosa,
Flacourtia jangomas, Gymnema sylvestre, Helicteris isora, Hemidesmus indicus,
Hibiscus vitifolius, Madhuca indica, Mirabilis jalapa, Picrorhiza scrophula, Pilocarpus
jaborandi, Phyllanthus niruri, Polygala arvensis, Pongamia pinnata, Portulaca
oleracea, Pterocarpus marsupium, Premna corymbosa, Pseudarthria viscida, Rotula
aquatica, Rubia cordifolia, Salacia reticulata, Syzygium cumini, Syzygium jambos,
Terminalia arjuna, Terminalia chebula.

4.30 Diuretic:
Diuresis means increase in urine volume with loss of solute and water. Agents that
increase the rate of the urine formation are called diuretics. The primary function of these
drugs is maintenance of normal volume and composition of the body fluid hence they act
on the kidney. Most of the diuretics act mainly by blocking tubular reabsorption of
sodium at a particular site along the nephrons. Diuretics are mainly used in strangury that
may be caused by edema due to cardiac failure, renal diseases and cirrhosis of liver an in
the treatment of hypertension. They are usually combined with a demulcent to sooth any
irritation due to acids or gravel. Diuretic can also be used in the treatment of backache,
prostatitis, sciatic, kidney stones, bladder ache, gonorrhea, and water retention
Plants used as remedy:
Abutilon indicum, Aconitum atrox, Amaranthus spinosus, Ammania baccifera, Biophytum
sensitivum, Blumea fistulosa, Boerrhavia diffusa, Calophyllum inophyllum, Canthium
parviflorum, Cardiospermum halicacabum, Cayratia carnosa, Curculigo orchiodes,
Diospyros malabarica, Dolichos biflorus, Erythrina indica, Flacourtia indica, Haldinia
cordifolia, Heliotropium indicum, Ipomoea sepiaria, Merremia emarginata, Nelumbo
nucifera, Pedalium murex, Phyllanthus amarus, Polygonatum verticillatum, Portulaca
oleracea, Prunus cerasoides, Rotula aquatica, Salvadora persica, Securinega
leucopyrus, Tragia involucrate, Tribulus terrestris, Terminalia paniculata, Thespesia
populnea, Tragia involucrata, Trigonella foenum-graecum, Woodfordia fruticosa,
Zanthoxylum armatum .

4.31 Antihypertension:
Hypertension is defined as elevation of arterial blood pressure. Hypertension is a major
factor for coronary artery disease and the most important risk factor for stroke.
Hypertension is a multifactorial disease and is categorized as primary and secondary.
Primary hypertension can be hereditary or can be caused by increased fluid volume, renal
Na+ transport deficiency, increased vascular tone and thickness, sympathetic nervous
system hyperactivity, chronic stress, obesity, excess or deficiency of minerals, alcohol
etc. Secondary hypertension may be caused by renal, endocrine and neurological
abnormalities, drug induced and cardiovascular structural defects. Untreated hypertension
generally has no symptoms hence it’s a silent killer.
Plants used as remedy:
Achillea millefolium, Allium sativa, Anona reticulate, Asparagus racemosa, Bixa
orellana, Celastrus paniculata, Cissampelos parreira, Coleus forskohlii, Commiphora
mukul, Cyperus rotundus, Dolichos biflorus, Emblica officinalis, Evolvulus alsinoides,
Hemidesmus indicus, Inula racemosa, Mangifera indica, Momordica charantia,
Phyllanthus niruri, Rauvolfia serpentina, Solanum surattense, Solanum xanthocarpum,
Terminalia arjuna, Tribulus terrestris, Withania somnifera, Wrightia tinctoria.

4.32 Cardioprotective:
Almost anything that causes the heart to increase its workload for a prolonged period or
produces anatomic damage that makes it more difficult for the heart to function leads to
cardiac disorder. Cardiac disorders manifest itself in various forms. Primary heart muscle
diseases and coronary artery disease causes diminishing of the force of contraction of the
ventricles. Mechanical failure in the filling the ventricles during diastole occur due to
narrowing of the mitral valve opening and accumulation of fluid in the pericardium.
Narrowing and obstruction of aortic valve and incomplete closure of aortic valve causes
overload of the ventricles during systole. These causes dilation of the ventricles, increase
in the mass of cardiac muscle, increase in the activity of sympathetic nervous system and
activation of renin- angiotensin system.
Cardiac glycosides causes increase in the force and velocity of cardiac contractions and
decrease in the heart rate which results in increased cardiac out put and increased renal
perfusion therefore increased fluid elimination. Vasodilators decreases preload through
venodilation and decreases after load through arteriolar dilation. Angiotensin converting
enzyme inhibitors leads to (i) decreased peripheral resistance which in turn decreases
afterload, (ii) decreased salt and water retention leading to decreased preload (iii)
increased kinin activity which leads to increased vasodilation and (iv) decreased
sympathetic activity by decreased angiotensin mediated norpinephrine release.
Plants used as remedy:
Abelmoschus moschatus, Adonis aestivalis, Alpinia galangal, Alstonia scholaris,
Argyreia nervosa, Aristolochia indica, Boerrhavia diffusa, Buchanania lanzan, Cassia
tora, Celastrus paniculata, Centella asiatica, Cichorium intybus, Cinnamomum
camphora, Cissampelos pareira, Cleome viscose, Coleus forskohlii, Crataegus
oxyacantha, Delphinium denudatum, Desmodium gangeticum, Gardenia gummifera,
Hiptage benghalensis, Hyoscyamus niger, Jasminum auriculatum, Limonia acidissima,
Nelumbo nucifera, Nepeta hindustana, Oroxylum indicum, Phoenix pulsilla, Premna
corymbosa, Sassurea lappa, Semecarpus anacardium, Solanum surattense, Taraxacum
officinalis, Valeriana officinalis, Vetiveria zizannioides, Vitex negundo.

4.33 Purgative:
A substance used to cleanse or purge especially causing the immediate evacuation of the
bowel. Purgatives cause massive, explosive bowel movements. This function is
frequently accompanied by severe cramps and abdominal pain, and can be harmful to the
patient. Purgatives are to be used with extreme caution. These are usually combined with
carminatives to reduce griping. They produce evacuation of the contents of the intestinal
canal by increasing secretion along the tract, by exciting peristaltic action.
Plants used as remedy:
Alangium salvifolium, Aristolochia indica, Asclepias curassavica, Baliospermum
montanum, Baringtonia acutangula, Cassia fistula, Cassia occidentalis, Cordia
dichotoma, Ficus religiosa, Hydnocarpus laurifolia, Lagenaria siceraria, Michelia
champaca, Mimusops elengi, Operculina turpethum, Pergularia daemia, Salvadora
persica, Samadera indica, Schleichera oleosa, Schrebera swietenoides, Thalictrum
foliolosum, Tylophora indica, Ricinus communis, Zanthoxylum rhetsa.

4.34 Laxative:
Laxatives promote bowel action by stimulating evacuation of the bowels. Laxatives can
cause retention of fluid in the colonic content by inhibit electrolyte and water absorption
from the colon by direct or indirect mechanism. Laxative may enhance the motility of the
colon. They also cause looseness or relaxation of intestinal muscles. A laxative can cause
cramping hence should be used with care. Usually they can be used in short term along
with long term diet and lifestyle correction.
Plants used as remedy:
Abutilon indicum, Andrographis paniculata, Carthamus tinctorius, Cassia fistula, Cassia
tora, Cissus quadrangularis, Euphorbia thymifolia, Ficus hispida, Homonoia riparia,
Phoenix pulsilla, Picrorhiza kurooa, Picrorhiza scrophula, Pueraria tuberosa, Solanum
nigrum, Tamarindus indicus, Trichosanthes lobata.

4.35 Carminative:
These herbs have a settling effect on the gut wall and ease pains. They contain volatile
oils which stimulate the expulsion from the gastrointestinal tract. Carminatives also
increase the tone of the musculature and stimulate peristalsis.
Plants used as remedy:
Abies spectabilis, Acorus calamus, Ageratum conyzoides, Aquilaria agallocha, Betula
utilis, Cedrus deodara, Citrullus colocynthis, Chonemorpha fragrans, Colchicum
luteumew, Curcuma zedoaria, Cyperus rotundus, Ferula asafetida, Leucas aspera,
Merremia emarginata, Nepeta hindustana, Nigella sativa, Pedalium murex, Piper
brachystachyum, Plumbago indica, Oroxylum indicum, Saussurea lappa, Solanum
indicum Solena amplexicaulis, Trichosanthes tricus.

4.36 Digestive:
It is agents that stimulates or strengthen the activity of the stomach. They effect solution
(digestion) of food in the alimentary canal. They can be used as tonic to improve the
appetite and digestive processes.
Plants used as remedy:
Allophyllus serratus, Andrographis paniculata, Artemisia niligirica, Blumea lacera,
Callicarpa macrophylla, Capparis decidua, Celastrus paniculata, Cleome viscosa,
Delphinium denudatum, Embelia ribes, Enicostemma axillare, Flacourtia indica,
Gentiana kurooa, Hedyotis corymbosa, Limnophila aromatica, Moringa oleifera,
Nardostachys jatamansi, Prunus cerasoides, Pseudarthria viscida, Saussurea lappa,
Schrebera swieteniodes, Semecarpus anacardium, Solanum indicum, Solanum nigrum
Taraxacum officinale, Vigna radiate var sublobata.

4.37 Stomachic:
These are those herbs that stimulate and strengthen the functions of the stomach. They
promote and improve digestion and appetite and are usually bitter in flavor. They also
check fermentation and dispel accumulation of flatus.
Plants used as remedy:
Achyranthes aspera, Aconitum heterophyllum, Aegle marmelos, Angelica glauca,
Buchanania lanzan, Carissa carandas, Crataeva nurvala, Coscinum fenestratum,
Gmelina arborea, Hedychium spicatum, Mangifera indica, Mesua ferrea, Murraya
paniculata, Phyla nodiflora, Phyllanthus amaras, Phyllanthus niruri, Portulaca
oleracea, Ocimum sanctum, Ophiorrhiza mungos, Salacia reticulata, Sida cordifolia,
Spondias pinnata, Solanum xanthocarpum, Stereospermum colais, Swertia chirayata,
Tagetes minuta, Valeriana officinalis, Zanthoxylum rhetsa.

4.38 Acne:
Acne is a skin problem that consists of mild to severe outbreaks of pimples and cysts -
mainly on the face, but also on the back, arms and chest. Acne can cause a number of
different types of spots. They may be blackheads that are caused by a blockage of the
pores, which get their dark color through excess skin pigment or whiteheads that occur
near the surface of the skin when excess sebum gets trapped inside the follicle. In more
severe "inflammatory acne", cysts develop beneath the skin's surface. These acne cysts
can rupture, spreading the infection into nearby skin tissue. This can result in scarring.
Anti-acne can be an antibiotic which will kill the germs or it may be an agent that will
dry out the skin and encourage it to shed the surface layer of dead skin. Medication may
have the property to reduce the amount of oil being produced or to reduce the amount of
androgen in the body.
Plants used as remedy:
Arctium lappa, Artemisia pallens, Azadirachta indica, Betula utilis, Capparis deciduas,
Cassia siamea, Cinnamomum camphora, Curcuma aromatica, Curcuma longa, Ocimum
sanctum, Plumbago zeylanica, Pterocarpus santalinus, Santalum album, Saponaria
officinalis, Taraxacum officinale, Viola tricolor.

4.39 Psoriasis:

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition. In simple terms, it is only an acceleration of the


usual replacement processes of the skin. Normally a skin cell matures in 21 to 28 days
during its passage to the surface where a constant invisible shedding of dead cells, as
scales, takes place. Psoriatic cells, however, are believed to turn over in two to three days
and in such profusion that even live cells reach the surface and accumulate with the dead
cells in visible layers. It appears as raised red patches of skin covered with silvery scales.
It can occur on any part of the body although elbows, knees and the scalp are usual sites.
There is often accompanying irritation. Some parts of the body do not have this typical
scale. These are areas where two skin surfaces come together as in the natural skin
creases and folds e.g. the groin and genital area and underneath women breasts. Psoriasis,
in these areas can look bright red and shiny rather than scaly. There are a variety of
topical treatments available i.e. creams and ointments that are applied to the skin. When
used properly they can be most effective and have minimal side effects. Whatever
treatment you use it is also vitally important to use a moisturiser to make the skin more
comfortable.

Plants used as remedy:

Amaranthus spinosus, Andira inermis, Anacardium occidentale, Cassia alata, Carica


papaya, Centella asiatica, Curcuma longa, Hydrocotyle asiatica, Psoralea corilifolia,
Santalum album, Saponaria officinalis, Withania somnifera.

4.40 Eczema:

Eczema is a group of skin conditions that cause skin to become irritated. There are many
forms of eczema, but atopic eczema is the most common form however may be caused by
a difference in the way a person's immune system reacts to things. Skin allergies may be
involved in some forms of eczema. Eczema usually breaks out where the elbow bends;
on the backs of the knees, ankles, and wrists; and on the face, neck, and upper chest -
although any part of the body can be affected. At first your skin may feel hot and itchy.
Then, if you scratch, your skin may become red, inflamed, or blistered.

Plants used as remedy:

Amaranthus spinosus, Anthemis nobilis, Arctium lappa, Aristolochia bracteolata,


Azadirachta indica, Cassia alata, Celosia argentea, Curcuma longa, Eclipta alba,
Saponaria officinalis, Scoparia dulcis, Viola odarata, Viola tricolor.
The depth of study of plants is clearly reflected in their manifold applications. It is not
uncommon to see several hundred applications of a particular plant used or in various
formulations for different purposes.

5. Current Status Of Medicinal Plants In India:


At present, it is feared that 15-20 percent of the total flora of India may fall under one of
the IUCN categories of threatened, rare or endangered. At least 120 medicinal species
have been officially classified as endangered. In spite of this, 70 percent of the critically
endangered plants of India have been reported to be part of active trade. According to a
study done by the EXIM Bank; around 95% of the medicinal plants used by the Indian
Industry are collected from the wild. An estimate suggests that over half a million tons of
raw material is collected from the forest every year. Less than 20 species are under
commercial cultivation. Over 70 % of the plant collection involves destructive
harvesting.
Indian medicinal plants that are listed under CITES are: Saussurea costus, Rauvolfia
serpentina, Podophyllum hexandrum, Dioscorea deltoidea, Euphorbia spp, Pterocarpus
santalinus, Taxus wallichiana, Picrorhiza kurrooa, Aquilaria malaccensis, Nardostachys
jatamansi.
The Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt of India, in 1992 prepared a “Negative List”
of 56 species and banned their export. In 2000 the “Negative List” was appended with a
list of 114 species for regulating their wild harvest, by requiring legal procurement
certificate from the concerned forest officer to accompany the export consignment. Given
below are some plants that are included in the list of critically endangered and vulnerable
species: Aconitum spp, Colchicum luteum, Commiphora wightii, Coptis teeta, Drosera
spp, Gentiana kuroo, Gloriosa superba, Iphignia indica, Meconopsis betonicifolia,
Nardostachys spp, Rheum emodi, Berberis aristata, Artemisai spp, Coscinium
fenestratum, Costus speciosa, Didymocarpus pedicellata, Ephedra spp, Gynocardia
odorata, Hydnocarpus spp, Hyoscymus niger, Strychnos potatorum, Swertia chirata,
Urginea spp, Rauvolfia serpentina, Ceropegia spp, Podophyllum hexandrum, Dioscorea
deltoidea, Pterocarpus santalinus, Taxus wallichiana, Aquillaria malaccensis, Angelica
glauca, Arnobia benthamii, Adhatoda beddomeii, Ampelocissus indica, Berberis
kashmirana, Berberis lycium, Bunium persicum, Dipterocarpus indicus, Dysoxylum
malabaricum, Eulophia cullenii, Garcinia travancorica, Gymnema khandalensis,
Gymnema montana, Hedychium coronarium, Hedychium spicatum, Humboldtia
vahliana, Hydnocarpus alpina, Inula racemosa, Ilex khasiana, Kaempferia galanga,
Meconopsis aculeata, Madhuca longifolia, Panax pseudo ginseng, Picrorhiza kurrooa,
Piper barberi, Rheum nobile, Saussurea gossypiphora, Saussurea obvallata, Saussurea
simpsoniana, Salacia oblonga, Salacia reticulata, Syzygium travancoricum, Trichopus
zeylanicus, Trichosanthes anamalaiensis, Valeriana jatamansi.

Trade of Medicinal plants in India:


The market in medicinal plants in India is very large and complex. In recent years the
growing demand for herbal products has lead to a quantum jump in the volumes of plant
material traded across countries. According to data compiled by the International Trade
Centre, Geneva, India is ranked second amongst the exporting countries with an annual
export of 326,000 tonnes with a value of Rs 45.95 million during 1992-95. Recently the
economic value of medicinal plant related trade in India is of the order of Rs 5.5 billion
per year. Thus India earns a substantial foreign exchange from supplying raw drugs to the
international market. India is a major exporter of raw plants and processed plant based
drugs. Exports of crude drugs from India in 1994-95 were valued at US$ 53,219 million.
Important crude drugs included Plantago ovata, Panax spp, Cassia spp, Catharanthus
roseus.
In addition to the international trade, there is a substantial volume of internal trade in
medicinal plants in India. The domestic market of Indian System of Medicine and
Homeopathy is of the order of Rs 4000 crores (2000) which is expanding day by day. The
Ayurveda drug market alone is of the order of Rs 3500 crores (2000). Besides this there is
also a growing demand for natural products including items of pharmaceuticals, food
supplements and cosmetics in both domestic and international markets. Presently India’s
export from medicinal plants is 446 crores (2000) which is predicted to be around Rs
3000 crores annually by 2005.
The EXIM bank of India, in its report (1997) has reported the value of medicinal plants
related trade in India of the order of 5.5 billion US dollars and is growing rapidly.
According to WHO the international market of herbal products is estimated to be USD 62
billion which is poised to grow to USD 5 trillion by the year 2050. India’s share in the
global export market of medicinal plants related trade is just 0.5%. India with its
diversified biodiversity has a tremendous potential to emerge as a major player in the
global herbal product based medicines.

7. Conclusion:
Varied climatic and topographical conditions prevailing in India has bestowed upon it a
rich and diverse flora which is responsible for the richness and uniqueness of medicinal
plants. Numerous wild plants growing in Indian forest are used as folklore medicines to
prevent or cure several diseases. Medicinal plants have a potential in today’s synthetic
era, as a number of synthetic drugs are becoming resistant. A number of novel plant
derived substances have entered into Western drug market. Clinical plant based research
has made particularly rewarding progress in the important fields of anticancer and
antimalarial. Medicinal plants are important for pharmacological research and drug
development, not only when plant constituents are used directly as therapeutic agents but
also when they are used as basic material for the synthesis of drugs or as model for
pharmacologically active compounds. According to one estimate only 20% of the plant
flora has been studied and 60%of synthetic medicines owe their origin to plants. Ancient
knowledge coupled with scientific principles can come to the forefront and provide us
with powerful remedies to eradicate the diseases.
Exploration for forest based plant products for new pharmaceuticals and the demand for
medicinal plants are increasing in both developing and developed countries. In addition
to purified plant derived drugs there is an enormous market for crude herbal medicines.
As a result there is resurgence in the trade of herbal medicines. India, with its floral
diversity, stands next to China in global trade of medicinal plants as it shares along with
China 40% of the world biodiversity. Thus there is an enormous scope for India to
emerge as a major player in the global market of plant based medicines.
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