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Indian Medicinal Plants/Natural Order Anonaceæ


33. Uvaria narum, Wall., i. 50.

Vern.:—Narum-panel (Malay). Rheede.

Habitat:—Forests of the Western Peninsula; and in the Central Provinces of India; Ceylon ascending to 4000 ft.—Widely diffused in Southern India.

A woody climber; twigs glabrous. Leaves 4—6 in., oblong, acuminate, very shortly stalked, glabrous. Flowers solitary, 1-1½ in. diam. Buds globose, stellate-tomentose. Sepals distinct, or nearly so, rounded, apiculate. Petals connate at base, broadly ovate, acute, incurved, densely pubescent. Ripe carpels very numerous, pendulous on slender stalks, 1 in. long, oblong—ovoid, 1-1½ in., smooth, bright scarlet-crimson. Colour of flowers yellowish—green.

Part used:—The root.

Uses:—The oil obtained from the roots by distillation, as well as the root, are used medicinally in various diseases. The root is fragrant and aromatic, and the bruised leaves smell like cinnamon. (Rheede).



34. Anona squamosa, Linn., i. 78, Roxb. 453.

Vern.:—Atá, kátál (Ass.); Maudar gom (Santal); Sirpha (Mal).; Sita-palam or Sita-pázham (Tam.); Sitapandn (Tel.); Sharifah, át or áta, Sitáphal, (H. Deck. Guj. Mar.); Atá, lemá (B.).

Habitat:—Introduced from the West Indies, and naturalized throughout India.

A small tree wholly glabrous. Bark thin, grey. Wood soft, close-grained, greyish-white. Leaves 2-3 by ¾-l½ in., membranous, oblong or oblong-lanceolate, obtuse or acuminate, glaucous and pubescent when young; base acute, pellucid-dotted, with a peculiar smell. Flowers solitary or in pair, 1 in. long, pubescent on pedicels as long as the flowers. Exterior Petals 3, narrow-oblong, lanceolate, triquetrous, thick and fleshy, 3; interior minute or wanting. Sepals small. Stamens indefinite, crowded round a hemispherical torus. Connective overlapping the anthers. Carpels many, subconnate, style oblong. Ovule, 1, erect. Ripe carpels confluent into a many-celled ovoid or globose many-seeded fruit. Fruit fleshy, areolate, 2-4 in. diam, juicy with the pleasant and agreeable odour of the English Heliotrope. Seeds oblong, brownish-black.

This is the genuine Custard Apple of India.

A native of the West Indies, naturalized in India, especially the Western Peninsula, and the Dekkan, Bijapur; in the Madras Presidency in the Krishna district. Wild in the old Forts of the Dekkan, cultivated as far as Gurdaspur in the Punjab.

Parts used:—The fruit (both ripe and unripe); leaves, seeds. roots.

Uses:—The ripe fruit is medicinally considered a maturant, and when bruised and mixed with salt, is applied to malignant tumours to hasten suppuration, The seeds contain an acrid principle fatal to insects, and the dried unripe fruit, powdered and mixed with gram flour, is used to destroy vermin. An infusion of the leaves is considered efficacious in prolapsus ani of children. The root is considered a drastic purgative; natives administer it in acute dysentery. It is also employed internally in depression of spirits and spinal diseases. (T. N. Mukerji.) The seeds are a powerful irritant of the conjunctiva. Lt. Col. Kirtikar, while in charge of the Thana Central Prison, came across a case in which a Life-Convict used the seed powder in destroying the cornea of both eyes to produce blindness for the purpose of avoiding being sent to the Andamans to undergo his sentence there.

The bruised leaves with salt make a cataplasm to induce suppuration (Atkinson).

35. A. reticulata, Linn,, i. 78; Roxb. 453.

Vern:—Louná, Rám-phal (H.); Noná (Beng); Gom (Santal); Rám-phal (Bomb. Deck., Mar., Guj., Kan.); Rámsitá or rámsitu-plam (Tam.); Rámá-pandu, rámáphalam or rámá-chandar pandu(Tel.).

English Names:—The Bullock's Heart, or true Custard Apple of the West Indies.

Habitat:—A small tree, naturalised in India, occurring in Bengal, Burma and South India.

A large tree often growing 20-40 ft. Leaves oblong or oblong-lanceolate, quite glabrous, smooth or roughish beneath; 5-8 by 1½-2 in., base acute; petiole ½ in. Flowers 2-3 together on lateral peduncles. Sepals 3, small, valvate. Petals 3, narrow, oblong, thick. Fruit subglobose, roughish outside with pentagonal areoles; tawny-coloured when ripe.

Much cultivated in the Bombay gardens. A native of the West Indies quite naturalized.

Parts used:—Bark and fruit.

Uses:—The bark is said to be a powerful astringent, and to be much used as a tonic by the Malays and Chinese. The fruit is reported to be used in the West Indies and by the natives of America, as an anti-dysenteric and vermifuge. (Watt's Dictionary, Vol: I. p. 259).

36. Bocagea Dalzelii, Hk. f. and Thoms, H.F.BR.I., I. 92.

Syn.—Sageræa laurina, Dalz.

Vern.— Sajeri. Kochrik. Harkinjal (Marâthi). Audi (Bombay).

Habitat.—Forests of the Konkan and Travancore.

A middle-sized, evergreen, glabrescent tree. Leaves shining, coriaceous, thick, 5-9 by 1½-2 in., narrow, oblong, acute or obtuse; base rounded or acute. Petiole ¼ in. Flowers white, 2-sexual, ¼-⅓ in. diam; crowded in fascicles of 1-15 on woody tubercles. Pedicels ¼-⅓ in. Bracteoles several, scaly basal. Sepals orbicular, distinct, slightly imbricate; outer petals ½ in. broad, ovate, larger but not twice the size of the inner. Stamens 12-18; anther-cells contiguous, outer stamens sometimes without anthers. Ripe Carpels nearly sessile, 1 in. diam., globose, glabrous usually containing about 2 matured seeds.

Uses.—In the Konkan the leaves are used for fomentation by the natives. They have a pungent, astringent and bitter taste. (Dym. Pharm. Ind. Vol. I. P. 46).

37. Polyalthia longifolia, Benth and Hk. f. H.F.BR.I., I. 62. Roxb 455.

Syn.—Gualteria longifolia, Wall.

Vern.—Asok; Debdari, Devadârû, Deodar (H). Devdarû; Devada (B). Devdârû (Uriya). Asok, Asoka, Asopular, Asûpâl (Bomb); Ashopulo (Guj); Devadârû, Asoka, Asokam (Tel) Assothi (Tam); Asoka, putrajiva (Kam); in Ceylon Tamil it is Mara-illupai.

Habitat.—Cultivated throughout India, as an avenue tree in Tanjore and the Western Peninsula. Common in Ceylon and in Bombay Gardens. It is also found as a roadside tree in Bombay, much used in decorations of houses on festive occasions.

A large erect tree, very handsome with shining wavy-margined leaves on slender long branchlets. Bark thick, rather smooth, young parts glabrous. Wood yellowish-white, rather soft, medullary rays conspicuous. Leaves long, 6-9 in. shortly stalked, oblong or ovate-oblong, very gradually tapering into long attenuate apex, acute or rounded base, finely undulate, glabrous, thin, pellucid-dotted. Flowers greenish-yellow in axillary umbels on very short racemes mostly from the old wood, 3-10 or more together. Pedicels 1 in. or more long, slender, pubescent, with a hairy bractlet half way up. Sepals ovate-triangular, obtuse, tomentose. Petals ½ in. or more, lanceolate, linear, tapering, undulate, pubescent, the inner rather broader. Carpels about 8, ovoid, 1 in. long, glabrous, on stalks ½ in. long.

Use.—It is used as a febrifuge in the Balasore District of Orissa (Sir W. W. Hunter).

PLATE No. 28.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 28 - Uvaria narum.png
Uvaria narum, wall.