Amazing Medicinal Flowers

30 01 2010
Bird’s Head Birthwort   
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Bird's Head Birthwort 

 
Common name: Bird’s Head Birthwort
Botanical name: Aristolochia ornithocephala    Family: Aristolochiaceae (Birthwort family)


Bird’s Head Birthwort is an climbing shrub with large alternate, long stalked leaves which are heart-shaped to kidney-shaped. Stipules are prominently leaf-like. The flowers are singly borne on stalks 8-10 inches long. The flower tube is divided into three parts. The lower pouch-like part contains the style and stamens. The tube is suddenly inflated in the upper quarter into the so-called bird’s head. Two expansions are attached to the head which may be termed the beak and the lip. The lip is 6 x 4 inches. Bird’s Head Birthwort is native to Brazil, but now cultivated widely. It flowers in the rainy season.
Holostemma Creeper   
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Holostemma Creeper 

Common name: Holostemma Creeper • Hindi: Chhirvel • Marathi: Dudruli, Shidodi • Tamil: Palay kirai • Malayalam: Ada kodien • Telugu: Palagurugu • Sanskrit: Jivanti, Arkapushpi
Botanical name: Holostemma ada-kodien    Family: Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family)
Synonyms: Holostemma annulare


Holostemma Creeper is a handsome, extensive, laticiferous, twining shrub with large conspicuous flowers. The bark is deeply cracked. The leaves are ovate to heart-shaped, 5-12 × 2-8 cm, coriaceous, acute, smooth above, and finely pubescent. The flowers are greenish-yellow in color, purplish crimson inside, in lateral cymes. The petals are thick, typical of the milkweed family. Flowers are very fragrant. The central crown is edible. The fruits follicles sub-woody, 6-9 cm long, tapering and green. The roots are pretty long up to a meter or more in length, thick, cylindrical and irregularly twisted. It grows over hedges and in open forests especially on the lower slopes of hills. But its occurance has diminished very much within this range of distribution and hence it is considered endangered. Flowering: April-September.
Medicinal uses: Mainly the roots and the whole plant are used for medicinal purposes. Externally the paste of its leaves and roots alleviate oedema due to vitiation of pitta dosa. The herb is beneficial for external use in various skin diseases, wounds and inflammation of the skin.
Snow Lotus   
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Snow Lotus
Common name: Snow Lotus
Botanical name: Saussurea tridactyla    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)


Snow Lotus was discovered by Bower at an elevation of 19,000 ft. In parts of Sikkim, where Himalayan conditions of climate prevail, we have a completely different class of flora. This where plants like the Snow lotus are found. The snow lotus is a high altitude plant (over 12,000 feet above sea level) with brilliant white flowers appearing over dark green leaves which grow through the rocks of mountain peaks. The flowers form in a dense head of small capitula, often completely surrounded in dense white to purple woolly hairs; the individual florets are also white to purple. The wool is densest in the high altitude species, and aid in thermoregulation of the flowers, minimising frost damage at night, and also preventing ultraviolet light damage from the intense high altitude sunlight. The term Snow Lotus is also used for related species S. involucrata and S. laniceps.
Medicinal uses: The whole plant is harvested in July and August to yield the herb that is used as a tonic for weakness, a therapy for menstrual disorders, and a remedy for arthritis. Due to the harsh environment of the snow lotus and the strong demand for its use in traditional herbalism, the snow lotus has become quite rare. Snow Lotus is native to the Himalayas.
Elephant Foot   
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Elephant Foot 
Common name: Elephant Foot, Prickly-leaved elephant’s foot, Bull’s Tongue, Ironweed • Hindi: Samdudri, बन तम्बाखू Ban-tambakhu • Marathi: हस्तीपात Hastipata • Tamil: Anashovadi • Malayalam: Anayatiyan • Telugu: Enugabira • Kannada: Hakkarike • Bengali: হস্ী পদ Hasti pod • Sanskrit: गोजिह्वा Gojivha
Botanical name: Elephantopus scaber    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)


Elephant Foot is a rather coarse, rigid, erect, hairy herb 30 to 60 cm high. Stems forked, and stiff. Leaves are mostly in basal rosette and oblong-ovate to oblong-lancelike, 10-25 cm in length and often very much notched on the margins. Those on the stem few and much smaller. Purple flowers are 8-10 mm long. Each head comprises about 4 flowers. Flowering heads borne in clusters at the end of the branches and usually enclosed by 3 leaf-like bracts which are ovate to oblong-ovate, 1 to 1.5 cm long, and heart-shaped at the base. The flowering heads many-crowded in each cluster. Fruits are achenes, ribbed. Pappus from 4 to 6 mm long with rigid ristles.
Medicinal uses: Roots and leaves are used as emollient for dysuria, diarrhoea, dysentery, swellings and stomach pain. Root is prescribed to prevent vomiting. Powdered with pepper it is applied for tooth-ache. Leaves are used in applications for eczema and ulcers.
Hatchet Cactus   
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Hatchet Cactus 
Common name: Hatchet Cactus, Peyotillo, Woodlouse cactus
Botanical name: Pelecyphora aselliformis    Family: Cactaceae (Cactus family)
Synonyms: Mammillaria aselliformis, Anhalonium aselliforme, Ariocarpus aselliformis


Native to Mexico, Hatchet Cactus is a cylindric cactus with flattened elongated tubercles, arranged in spirals, and 40-60 spines. It presents a heavy and fleshy root and grayish green stem, globular when young but becoming cylindrical soon, of about 10 cm high and between 5 and 6 cm. wide. The areolas are woolly at first and present a great amount of small, non sharp spines, joined together with the base with the tip free. The flowers appear on apex, between the wool of the young areolas. They measure about 3 cm. wide and are violet. It is a very rare plant, since it grows very slowly and send offsets after many years only. Flowering: February-October.
Medicinal uses: Hatchet Cactus is a well known medicinal peyote sold in the markets of San Luís Potosí, Mexico, and is used as a remedy for fevers and rheumatic pains. Extracts have also been shown to have antibiotic activity.
Dwarf Rhododendron   
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Dwarf Rhododendron
Common name: Dwarf Rhododendron, Talis (Hindi), Talisri (Hindi)
Botanical name: Rhododendron anthopogon    Family: Ericaceae (Rhododendron family)


This is probably one of the smallest of rhododendrons. Grows to no more that 2-3 ft high. The white or yellow flowers, tinged with pink, grow in small compact clusters of 4-6 and each flower is 2 cm across. The dark green oval leaves are strongly aromatic and densely scaly underneath. The leaves are mixed with Juniper and used as incense in Buddhist monastries as well as in Hindu religious ceremonies.
Medicinal uses: In Nepal, Dwarf Rhododendron is used in making an essential oil. Anthopogon oil, as it is usually referred to in Nepal, is obtained by steam distillation of the aerial part of this shrub. It is a fluid liquid of pale yellow colour and sweet-herbal, faintly balsamic aroma. Rhododendron can be used in gouty rheumatic conditions. The essential oil is a stimulant and affects fibrous tissue, bones and nervous system.
Pink Catmint   
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Pink Catmint 
Common name: Catnip, Pink Catmint
Botanical name: Nepeta spp.      Family: Lamiaceae (mint family)


Pink Catmint, a cousine of the better known Nepeta cataria, is a 50–100 cm tall herb resembling mint in appearance, with hairy green leaves; the flowers are pinkish white, with purple throat. The genus is native to Europe, Asia and Africa, with the highest species diversity in the Mediterranean region east to China. Most of the species are herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annuals. They have sturdy stems with opposite heart-shaped, green to greyish-green leaves. The flowers are white, blue, pink or lilac and occur in several clusters toward the tip of the stems. Before the introduction of Chinese tea, catmint was used to make tea by the British. Catnip and catmints are mainly known for, and named after, the effects they have on cats, particularly domestic cats. Catnip contains nepetalactone, a terpene, that is thought to mimic feline sex pheromones. Cats detect it through their vomeronasal organs. When cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they will rub in it, roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr.
Medicinal uses: Due to the fact that catnip promotes sweating when used as an herbal tea, it was used for the treatment of nervousness, colds, influenza, and fevers during the Middle Ages. Catnip has also been alleged to aid with flatulence, diarrhea, colic, and other childhood diseases, as well as preventing miscarriages, premature births, and morning sickness.
Love in a Mist   
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Love in a Mist 
Common name: Love-in-a-mist, Stinking passionflower • Hindi: झुमका लता Jhumka lata • Bengali: Jhumka lota • Marathi: वेल घाणी Vel-ghani • Kannada: Kukkiballi • Malayalam: ), Poochapalam • Telugu: Tellajumiki
Botanical name: Passiflora foetida    Family: Passifloraceae (passion flower family)


Love-in-a-mist is a creeping vine which has an edible fruit and leaves that have a mildly rank aroma. It is native to northern South America and the West Indies. The stems are thin, wiry and woody, covered with sticky yellow hairs. The leaves are three- to five-lobed and viscid-hairy. They give off an unpleasant odour when crushed. The flowers are white to pale cream coloured, about 5-6 cm diameter. The fruit is globose, 2-3 cm diameter, yellowish-orange to red when ripe, and has numerous black seeds embedded in the pulp; the fruit are eaten and the seeds dispersed by birds. The bracts of this plant serve as insect traps, but it is as yet unknown whether the plant digests and gains nourishment from the trapped insects or if it merely uses the bracts as a defensive mechanism to protect its flowers and fruit. This is still an issue of debate and research among carnivorous plant enthusiasts.
Medicinal uses: This species can be helpful in treating digestive problems, including dyspepsia and diarrhea; or used as an astringent and expectorant for nervous conditions and spasms.
Desert Hyacinth   
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Desert Hyacinth


Desert hyacinth is all-flower bearing parasite plant, growing on roots of desert shrubs. It is a rare and endangered species. Most pereferred host for this parasite is Salvadora persica. Desert hyacinth is unable to synthesise chlorophyll directly and therefore has no green colouration. It is a widely distributed annual that produces a dense pyramid spike of bright yellow flowers topped by maroon-tinted buds. Its many tiny seeds may remain dormant for years until the roots of its host plant are close enough to trigger germination. The plant is able to tolerate saline environments and is most found in arid regions of Rajasthan, Punjab and Pakistan.
Medicinal uses: In Taiwan, Desert hyacinth is traditionally used as a tonic drug for deficiency of the kidney characterized by impotence, cold sensation in the loins and knees, female sterility, and constipation due to dryness of the bowel in the senile.
Chir Pine   
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Chir Pine 
Common name: Chir pine, Himalayan longleaf pine, Chir चीड (Hindi), Wuchan (Manipuri)
Botanical name: Pinus roxburghii     Family: Pinaceae (pine family)
Synonyms: Pinus longifolia


Among the principal pines found in India, chir pine is the most important. Native to the Himalayas, it is good as a street tree too. This is one of the least exacting of the Himalayan trees growing sometimes on bare rocks where only a few species are capable of existing. It is a resinous tree capable of yielding resin continuously provided rill method of tapping is adopted. Erect, round-headed evergreen tree with one or more trunks. Grows at moderate rate to 30 ft., with spread of 20 ft at maturity. The bark is red-brown, thick and deeply fissured at the base of the trunk, thinner and flaky in the upper crown. The leaves are needle-like, in fascicles of three, very slender, 20-35 cm long, and distinctly yellowish green. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by wind. The cones are ovoid conic, 12-24 cm long and 5-8 cm broad at the base when closed, green at first, ripening glossy chestnut-brown when 24 months old. They open slowly over the next year or so.
Medicinal uses: The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. It is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections. It is also very beneficial to the respiratory system and so is useful in treating diseases of the mucous membranes and respiratory complaints such as coughs, colds, influenza and TB. Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers. The wood is diaphoretic and stimulant. It is useful in treating burning of the body, cough, fainting and ulcers
Nettle Leaved Lindenbergia   
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Nettle Leaved Lindenbergia 
Common name: Nettle Leaved Lindenbergia • Hindi: पीली बूटी Pili-buti • Bangali: বসন্তী Basanti
Botanical name: Lindenbergia indica    Family: Scrophulariaceae (Dog flower family)
Synonyms: Lindenbergia urticifolia


Nettle Leaved Lindenbergia is a perennial herb from the Himalayas, about 6” in height and grows on bare rocks. It has much branched, hairy stems, rooting from lower nodes. Leaves have coarsely toothed margins, and are covered with spint hair, making them look like stinging nettle leaves. Yellow flowers solitary or in terminal spikes or racemes. The petal structure is basically 2-lipped, tube tubular – the lower lip is larger and is distinctly 3-lobed. The genus occurs mostly in India with few species in tropical Africa and Malaysia.
Lavang Lata   
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Lavang Lata
Common name: Lavang Lata, Indian lavanga • Hindi: लवंग लता Lavang Lata • Manipuri: লৱংগ লতা Lavang Lata • Kannada: jeeanthi balli, jeevani, kakkola, lavangalathe • Bengali: লবংগ লতা Lavang Lata • Assamese: লৱংগ লতা Lavang Lata • Sanskrit: Lavanga lata, dhankshika, dhira, dhmanksholi, गंधकोकिला gandhakokila, vayastha, lavali, kakoli, kayasthika
Botanical name: Luvunga scandens    Family: Rutaceae (Citrus family)
Synonyms: Limonia scandens


Lavang Lata is a strong woody climber with recurved spines, native to North-East India. It belongs to the family of lemon and orange. Unfortunately, it has now become a rare and endangered species. Leaves are compound, with 3 leaflets which are lancelike and leathery. Leaf stalks are chanelled. Peduncles carrying 4-12 pretty large, white, fragrant flowers, arise from leaf axils. Flowers are shaped like the flowers of most citrus plants. Fruit is oblong, 2.5 x 2 cm in size, yellowish, with smooth aromatic peel and resinous, fragrant pulp. The fruit has 1-3 ovoid seeds. This evergreen plant is sometimes grown for ornamental purposes. Flowering: March-April.
Medicinal uses: Dried fruits are used in making medicinal oil. Roots and fruits are employed for treating scorpion-stings.
Ashwagandha   
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Ashwagandha 
Common name: Winter Cherry • Hindi: Ashwagandha अश्वगंधा, Rasbhari • Kannada: Kanchuki • Marathi: Ghoda, Tilli • Gujarati: Ghodaasun • Telugu: Vajigandha • Malayalam: Amukkuram • Tamil: Amukkuram
Botanical name: Withania somnifera    Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)


Ashwagandha, is native to drier parts of India. It is a perennial herb that reaches about 6 feet in nature. In the greenhouse they flower in the late fall and winter. Orange fruits in persistent papery calyxes follow the small greenish flowers. Ashwagandha is propagated by division, cuttings or seed. Seed is the best way to propagate them. Seed sown on moist sand will germinate in 14-21 days at 20° C. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this flowers.
Medicinal uses: Ashwagandha has been a prized top notch adaptogenic tonic in India for 3000 – 4000 years. The plants contain the alkaloids withanine and somniferine, which are used to treat nervous disorders, intestinal infections and leprosy. All plant parts are used including the roots, bark, leaves, fruit and seed.
Turmeric   
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Turmeric 
Common name: Turmeric • Assamese: হালধি, Halodhi • Bengali: হলুদ Halud • Gujarati: હળદર Haldar • Hindi: हल्दी Haldi • Kannada: Arishina, Arisina • Malayalam: മഞ്ഞള്‍, Manjal • Marathi: हळद Halad • Nepali: हल्दी Haldi • Oriya: Haladi • Sanskrit: Haridra, Marmarii • Tamil: மஞ்சள் Manjal • Telugu: హరిద్ర, Haridra • Urdu: Haldi, ہلدی
Botanical name: Curcuma longa    Family: Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)


Turmeric is a rhizomatous herb, native to tropical South Asia. Turmeric is a very important spice in India, which produces nearly the whole world’s crop and uses 80% of it. The plant grows to a height of 3-5 ft. It has oblong, pointed leaves and bears funnel-shaped yellow flowers, peeping out of large bracts. The rhizome is the portion of the plant used medicinally. It is usually boiled, cleaned, and dried, yielding a yellow powder. Dried Turmeric root is the source of the spice turmeric, the ingredient that gives curry powder its characteristic yellow color. Turmeric is used extensively in foods for both its flavor and color. Turmeric has a long tradition of use in the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of medicine.
Shell Ginger   
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Shell Ginger 
Common name: Shell Ginger, Light galangal, Pink porcelain lily • Manipuri: Kanghoo • Bengali: Punnag champa
Botanical name: Alpinia zerumbet    Family: Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)


Native to India, Shell ginger is a tall and dramatic landscape or container plant. The leaves are about 2 ft long and 6 in across and strikingly variegated with irregular stripes of green and yellow in some varieties. The habit is upright and does not require staking as do some other members of the ginger family. The flowers are white, tipped in pink, and borne in long pendant arches. In some varieties, there is no pink in the tip. The individual flowers are reminiscent of small seashells, which accounts for the common name “shell ginger”.Typically, shell ginger grows to about 6 ft, but it can grow up to 12 ft high.
Medicinal uses: In Manipur, fresh rhizome is applied to ringworms and other skin diseases. Rhizomes are stimulant, carminative; used in rheumatism and bronchial catarrh.
Henbane   
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Henbane

Common name: Henbane, Stinking nightshade • Hindi: Khurasani ajwain • Sanskrit: Parseek yawani • Nepali: र्खुसानी ज्वाँनु Khursani jwanu
Botanical name: Hyoscyamus niger    Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)


Henbane is a robust, leafy plant, growing to 1 m tall. The plant is coarsely hairy, sticky and stinks. Basal leaves are elliptic, irregularly lobed, stalked. Stem leaves are stalkless. Flowers are cup-shaped, 2-3 cm across, dull yellow, prominently netted with purple veins, and have a dark purple center. Sepal cup is funnel shaped with triangular pointed sepals. Sepals enlarge and become papery in fruit, and encircle the capsule. Henbane is found in the Himalayas at altitudes of 2100-3300 m. Flowering: May-September.
Medicinal uses: Henbane is used in Homoepathic medicine.
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