Aloe Vera/ Ghritkumari (Hindi)
Common name: Aloe vera,
Hindi: Gheekumari / Ghritkumari
Aloe vera is a popular medicinal planty in India, and it plays a very important part in the Indian traditional medicine. Commonly known as Ghritkumari, the Aloe vera leaf can be snapped off, and the inner pulpy material of the leaf can be placed on cuts and burns for immediate relief.
Aloe vera is a clump forming succulent whose fleshy gray-green leaves are arranged in a vase shaped rosette atop a very short stem. The leaves are long and wide. The leaves have small teeth on the edges. Aloe vera bears small tubular yellow flowers during winter and spring. The real Aloe vera flowers are yellow in colour, but the clones have orange flowers. Although Aloe Vera belongs to the Lily family, but it is cactus like in its appearance. Due to its positive and smooth effects on the skin and the body it is called ghee kunvar or ghrit kumaari.
Medicinal value: Aloe Vera contains over 20 minerals, essential for the human body. Aloe Vera has Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E.
Uses of Aloe vera –
- believed to help in sustaining youth
- pulp of the leaf is applied on the burns for immediate relief
- smoothens the texture of the facial skin if applied
- improves the digestive system
- leaf pulps are also as natural hair conditioner
Common name: Amaltas
Local name– Indian Laburnum, Golden shower tree.
Botanical name: Cassia fistula
Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar)
Commonly known as Amaltaas in India this native tree bears one of the most beautiful flowers of all tropical trees. Dring the month of March the tree sheds its leaves and bursts into a mass of yellow gold flowers.
Medicinal uses: The sweet blackish pulp of the seedpod is used as a mild laxative.
Common name: Arjun
Hindi : Arjun
Botanical name: Terminalia arjuna
Native to India, this tree has mention in Indian mythology. and its many uses. Arjuna is an evergreen tree, with drooping branches. This tree is used in traditional indian, tribal, Ayurvedic and Yunani systems of medicine.
Medicinal value: Every part of the tree is useful and has medicinal properties.
Medicinal uses- It is useful in-
- heart diseases
- urinary discharges
- excessive prespiration
Common name: Bhringaraj
Local name: Trailing eclipta, false daisy
Hindi name: Bhringaraj, Kesharaj
Botanical name: Eclipta prostrata/erecta
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Bhringraj has not only medicinal values, it also plays an important role in the Hindu rituals. Bhringaraj was used by Hindus in their Shradh, the ceremony for paying respect to a recently deceased person. This plant is one of the Hindu’s “Ten Auspicious Flowers” This plant grows abundantly in the tropics and is used in Ayurvedic and traditional Tribal medicine.
Medicinal values: It is considered a good drug in hepatotoxicity. Bhringraj is mainly used in hair oils, used alongwith Brahmi (Centela asiatica) and Amla (Phyllanthus emblica)
- It is used to prevent miscarriage.
- It is also used to get relief in the cases of post-delivery uterine pain.
- The juice of the leaves is given to infants with castor oil and honey for expulsion of worms.
- For the relief in piles
- The minced pulp of fresh plants has anti-inflammatory effect and is applied on insect bites, stings, swellings and other skin diseases.
Common name: Arni (Hindi)
Botanical name: Clerodendrum phlomidis
This medicinal plant grows in the arid plains, low hills and also in the deserts of India. The flowers of this shrub is creamy-white or pale yellowish. This plant is also found in the neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Burma which have similar weather conditions like India.
- Syrup made with its root is considered a tonic and given in convalescence of measles.
- Syphilitic complaints are treated by Juice of its leaves.
- The root is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea.
- This plant is also useful in stomach troubles.
Brahmi, Indian pennywort
Common name: Water Hyssop, Indian pennywort
Hindi name- Brahmi
Botanical name: Bacopa monnieri
Brahmi is a creeping herb which grows in the wetlands and muddy shores. Each and every part of this plant is used as medicine. The leaves are thick and succulent. It bears small white flowers with four or five petals. It is a popular aquarium plant as it is able to grow in water. It is commonly found in marshy areas throughout India, China, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. This is a popular medicinal plant known for its antioxidant properties.
Medicinal values: It has antioxidant properties.
- In Ayurvedic medicine, brahmi is used to reduce oxidation of fats in the blood stream, and it helps prevent the cardiovascular diseases.
- It has been used since ages to help benefit epilepsy.
- It is believed to increase memory capacity and concentration, and reduce anxiety.
- According to tribal medicinal system it is useful in ulcers, tumours, ascites, enlargement of spleen, indigestion, inflammations, leprosy and anaemia etc.
- This plant also treats scabies, leucoderma & syphilis.
- It is useful in diarrhea, fevers.
- Known as blood purifier it is beneficial in theh treatment of pimples and acne.
Castor Oil Plant
Common name: Castor bean, Castor oil plant
Hindi name: Arandi
Botanical name: Ricinus communis
The castor bean plant is a tropical shrub or small tree. The seeds of castor bean or castor oil plant are poisonous to people. The toxic proteins in the plant can cause death if consumed. The castor oil is extracted from the beans, this oil is used in local medical therapy.
Medicinal values: It contains some toxic proteins
- In Tribal herbal medicine leaves of this plant are warmed, crushed and applied to annus as a remedy for bleeding piles.
- Oil extracted from its bean is purgative.
- Leaf-paste is applied on sores, gout or rheumatic swellings.
- Leaves are crushed, heated, and applied to a woman’s breasts to improve secretion of milk.
Common name: Chir pine, Himalayan longleaf pine,
Hindi name: Cheed
Botanical name: Pinus roxburghii
Chir pine is the native to the Himalayas. It also grows on bare Himalayan rocky hills where other species and plant find it difficult to survive. It yields resin throughout the year if the rill method of tapping is adopted. Its bark is red-brown and the leaves are needle-like, yellowish green in colour. The individual flowers are either male or female. But both sexes can be found on the same plant, and they are pollinated by wind.
Medicinal values: The resin of this tree is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge.
- It is a valuable remedy in the kidney and bladder complaints.
- It is used as steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections.
- It is beneficial to respiratory complaints such as coughs, colds, influenza and TB.
- Beneficial for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc
- The bark and leaves are used as herbal steam baths and inhalers.
Common name: Winter Cherry
Hindi name: Ashwagandha, Rasbhari
Botanical name: Withania somnifera
Ashwagandha is a name derived from the sanskrit language. It means one which smells like horse. This is a perennial herb and is native to comparatively drier parts of India. This plant bears small greenish flowers and orange fruits. Ashwagandha is propagated by cuttings or seed.
Medicinal values: It has alkaloids withanine and somniferine
- Ashwagandha has been an adaptogenic tonic in India since time immemorial.
- This plant is used to treat nervous disorders.
- It also cures intestinal infections
- Using various parts of this plant some tribal medicine experts also claim to cure leprosy.
- All plant parts are used including the roots, bark, leaves, fruit and seed.