Aristolochia indica

Aristolochia indica L. (Aristolochiaceae)

(2n = 12)

English name: Indian birthwort.

Sanskrit name: Ishvari.

Vernacular names: Ben and Hin : Isharmul; Mal: Isvaramuli; Mar: Sapasan; Tel: Eswaramuli.

Trade name: Iswarmul.

Traditional use: Root: tonic, stimulant, emetic, emmenagogue, in fever, in powder form is given with honey for leucoderma; Root-decoction: in impotency; Crushed root: applied on itching; Juice of leaf: in snake bite, used for cough; Seed: inflammations, biliousness and dry cough.

UNANI: a constituent of 'Majnoon-e-Flasfa'.

Modern use: Plant: used as abortifacient; EtOH (50%) extract: diuretic and anti­inflammatory; Dried stem and root: used as drug, which should be used in minimal doses; the drug promotes digestion and controls menstruation; in higher doses, it may prove lethal, it is used as a stimulant, tonic and for fevers; in moderate doses, it is used as a gastric stimulant and in dyspepsia; Root: considered as a stimulant, tonic and emmenagogue and also used in intermittent fever and in bowl troubles of children; shows antifertility activity in experimental animals.

Phytography : Twining herb, semiwoody, having more or less swollen nodes; leaves cordate or ovate, exstipulate; flowers irregular, often offensively smelling, perianth globose with a purple dilated and trumpet-shaped mouth with a strap-shaped brown purple appendage or lip behind; fruit a subglobose capsule.

Phenology: Flowering: June to October; Fruiting: November to March.

Distribution: Found throughout the subcontinent, mainly in the plains and lower hilly regions from Nepal to Bangladesh.

Ecology and cultivation: Found in open scrub jungles; wild.

Chemical contents: Root: a crystalline substance-probably a glucoside, a micro-crys­talline principle glucosidic in nature named isoaristolochic acid, allantoin, 0.05% carbonyl compounds and a small amount of an oil, with the odour of isovanillin, ishwarone, ishwarane, aristolochene.