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Indian Medicinal Plants/Natural Order Ranunculaceæ




1. Clematis Nepaulensis, D.C., I. 2.

Syn.:—C. montana, Don.

Vern.:—Pawanne, birri, wandak. (Pb.) Ghantiali (Kumaon).

Habitat:—Temperate Himalaya, from Garhwal to Bhotan.

A slender, nearly glabrous climber. Leaves ternately divided, common petiole 1-1 1/2 in. Leaflets 1-2 in. elliptic—lanceolate, sometimes very narrow, entire, toothed or 3-lobed, 3-nerved; lateral oblique, half as long as, or shorter than, the terminal leaflet or lobe which is 2-3 by 1/3 - 1/2 in. Flowers many, pedicels 1-2 in. long with 2 hyaline bracts joined into a cup, pubescent above the cup. Bud sessile in the cup. Sepals 4, erect, cream-coloured, oblong, silky outside. Filaments glabrous, tapering from a broad flat base; anthers short. Achenes flat, margined, hairy; style 1 1/2 in. long, long in fruit.

Parts used:—The leaves.

Medicinal Properties and Uses:—In Kanawar, the leaves are said to act deleteriously on the skin. (Stewart).

The leaves and stems, since they contain an acrid principle which acts deleteriously on the skin, may be used for purposes of vesication.

N.B.—It is not improbable that C. Napaulensis, D.C. and C. barbellata, Edgew, and some other species of clematis are used for the same purpose as C. Nepaulensis, D.C. There is very little difference in the appearance of these species, and so they are very easily mistaken one for the other.

2. C. triloba, Heyne., I. 3.

Sansk.:—Laghu karni.

Vern:—Moravela, Morvel, Moriel, rânjâi (Bomb.).

Habitat:—Mâwal district mountains of the Deccan, and W. Concan.

An extensive climber. Leaves 1-2 in., silky small simple or one-ternate, entire or 1-3-toothed or lobed, elliptic-ovate or cordate, 3-nerved. Panicle many-flowered. Lower bracts leafy. Flowers 1 1/2-2 in. diam., white. Sepals spreading from the base, 4-6, membranous, oblong, silky outside. Filaments glabrous, narrow-linear, connective of anthers not produced. Petals O. Stamens many. Carpels many, with a pendulous ovule. Fruit—a head of achenes, with a long feathery style.

Parts used:—The leaves.

Medicinal Properties and Uses:—The juice of the leaves, combined with that of the leaves of Holarrhena antidysenterica, is dropped into the eye for the relief of pain in staphyloma; about 2 drops being used. Vaidya Rugnathji of Junagad says the whole plant is a purgative.

It is said to be used as a remedy in leprosy, blood diseases and fever by Sanskrit authors. (S. Arjun).

3. C. Gouriana, Roxb., I. 4. Roxb, 457.

Vern.:—Morvel, rânjâi (Bomb.), Marâthi; Belkun, Belkangau (N. W.).

Habitat:—In the hilly districts, from the Western Himalaya to the Eastern Peninsula, Ceylon, and the Western Peninsula.

An extensive woody climber. Stem thick, striate. Branches widespread, purple, pubescent when young. Leaves pinnate or bipinnate or biternate. Petiole and rachis elongated. Leaflets stalked, unequal, 2-3 1/2 in. long, ovate, or oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, shining above, entirely or distantly toothed, cordate or rounded at base, rather coriaceous shining, wholly glabrous above, slightly pubescent beneath. Flowers yellowish or greenish white, 3/4 in. diam., small in dense axillary panicles. Sepals ovate or oblong, revolute, puberulous, 1/5 - 1/4 in., margins tomentose. Filaments narrow-linear. Achenes hairy, lanceolate, Style 1 1/2 - 2 in. long, narrow oblong, in fruit very slender, hairy.

Medicinal Properties and Uses:— The leaves of the fresh stems, if bruised and applied to the skin, cause vesication. They abound in an acrid poisonous principle. Watt. ii. 369.

4. Anemone obtusiloba, Don., I. 8.

Syn. Anemone discolor, Royle.

Vern.:—Rattanjog, Padar (Pb.). Kakriya (Kumaon).

Habitat:—Temperate and Alpine Himalaya, from Kashmir to Sikkim; altitude 9-15,000 ft.

A perennial herb, densely tufted, glabrate, or softly hairy.

Rootstock woody, fibrous, clothed with old root-sheaths. Radical leaves, many stalked, suborbicular, deeply cordate; Segments broad, cuneate, variously cut and lobed, rarely shortly petiolate. Scapes 6-12 in., 1-3—flowered; invol. leaves 3-fid. Flowers white purplish or golden; pedicels long, slender. Sepals silky outside, generally lead-coloured near the claw. Achenes strigose, rarely glabrous. Very variable in size, hairiness and colour of flower.

Parts used:—The root and seeds.

Medicinal Properties and Uses:—In Hazara the pounded root, which is acrid, is mixed with milk and given internally for contusions. In Bessahir it is said to be used as a blister, but to be apt to produce sores and scars (Stewart). The seeds, if given internally, produce vomiting and purging. The oil extracted from them is used in rheumatism. (Watt).

Anemonin is found in this plant.—It occurs in many of the Ranunculaceæ; it is a toxic substance, and produces paralysis of the central nervous system. The compound has the formula C15 H12 O6, and is deposited in rhombic crystals melting at 152°. It is volatile with steam, and, on exposure to air at ordinary temperatures, is slowly converted into anemonic acid; the oxidation proceeds more quickly if platinum black, hydrogen peroxide, or barium peroxide is employed. J. Ch. S. 1893 AI. 727.

(2) But in J. Ch. S. 1896 AI. 623, the formula given for Anemonin is C10H8O4. It is also stated there that it yields methyl and ethyl derivatives, which are apparently ethereal salts, showing that it is the anhydride of a dicarboxylic acid. Dimethylanemonin, C8H8(C00Me)2, melts at 109-110°, methylanemonin at 174-176°, diethyl anemonin at 47°, and ethylanemonin at 168-170°. (3) The said dicarboxylic acid is a ketonic acid. (4) By oxidation, anemonin yields succinic and oxalic acids. (5) By hydrolysis of the dialkylic salts before mentioned with alkali and amorphous acid, C10H8O4 + 2H2O is formed, but hydrolysis of them with HCl yields a crystalline acid, C10H8O4 + H2O. The amorphous acid gives coloured, the crystalline acid colourless, salts. (6) Anemonin is a saturated compound, for by reduction it yields a saturated hydroxy-acid, and absorbs neither chlorine (Hübl's solution) nor bromine.

5. Thalictrum foliolosum, D.C., I. 14.

Vern.:—Pinjari; Shuprak (root-pili-jari) (H.); Pila-jari, pengla jari, barmat (root-mamira) (Kumaon); Gurbiani, pashmaran, phalijori, Chitra-mul, Keraita, Mamira (Pb.); Chaitra (Kashmir); Mamiran (Bombay).

Habitat:—Temperate Himalaya; Khasia hills.

A tall perennial rigid herb. Stem 4-8 ft. glabrous. Leaves exstipulate, pinnately- decompound; petiole sheaths auricled. Leaflets 1/6 - 1/4 in. rarely 1 in., orbicular. Panicles much branched, bracts small. Flowers polygamous, white, pale green, dingy purple. Sepals 4-5. Petals 0. Stamens many, filaments filiform; anthers beaked. Ovule 1, pendulous. Achenes usually 2-5, small, oblong, acute at both ends, sharply ribbed.

Parts used:—The root.

Uses:—It has been found useful as a tonic. "I administered it in the form of a tincture to some extent when at the European General Hospital, Bombay, and found it a good bitter tonic, comparable with gentian." (Dymock.).

The root is largely used as an anjan, or application for ophthalmia in Afghanistan and throughout India.

In the Punjab, the root is used as a purgative and diuretic. (Baden Powell).

The bruised root having been given to large dogs in the quantity of 10 grs. to 2 ounces, no particular effects were observed.

"It has been used in the Hospital of the Medical College in several cases of ague, and as a tonic in the convalescence from acute diseases.

"5 grs. of the powder, or 2 grs. of the watery extract, given thrice daily, have in some cases prevented, and in several moderated, the accession of fever, and at the same time acted gently on the bowels. The only sensation experienced was warmth at the epigastrium, and a general comfortable feeling.

"Another species of Thalictrum (flavum) is common in France, where it is termed 'the poor man's rhubarb,' as a substitute for which medicine it is generally employed. The Indian species is easily procurable from the hills, though not known in the bazars of the lower provinces.

"It deserves extensive trial, and promises to succeed well as a febrifuge of some power, and a tonic aperient of peculiar value.

"Dose of the powder.— 5 to 10 grs. as a tonic and aperient, in the interval of intermittent fevers, and in convalescence from acute diseases." (O'Shaughnessy).

"It lessens the intensity of fever, and acts gently on the bowels; thus it is a good substitute for rhubarb. As collyrium, it clears the sight. The snuff prepared from it clears the brain. It relieves toothache." (R. N. Khory).

6. Ranunculus scleratus, Linn., I. 19.

Syn.:—R. Indicus, Roxb. 458.

Vern.:—Kaf-es-saba(Arab.); Kabikaj (Pers.). Polica (Tirhut); Shim (Kumaon).

Habitat:—River banks in Bengal and Northern India; marshes of Peshawar; warm valleys of the Himalaya; unknown south of the Nerbudda.

An annual glabrous, erect yellow-green herb.

Stem usually 6-12 in., sometimes 1-3 ft., succulent, hollow. Radical leaves 1/2 - 1 3/4 in. across, long-stalked, deeply 3-lobed, segments lobed, obtusely toothed, near the top. Stem leaves shortly stalked, 3-parted, segments narrow, lobed and toothed. Flowers 1/4 - 1/3 in. diam., numerous, petals pale-yellow. Sepals reflexed. Receptacle oblong, hairy. Achenes glabrous, in oblong heads, ultimately becoming cylindrical and longer.

Parts used:—The whole plant.

Uses:—It was formerly used in Europe by professional beggars to produce or maintain blisters or open sores intended to excite sympathy. Roxburgh remarks that it has no native name, and that its properties are apparently unknown. It certainly possesses a very powerful principle, and one would expect to find it taking a place in the practice of herbalism. Water distilled from a decoction retains its acrid character, and, if this be allowed to slowly evaporate, it leaves behind a quantity of highly insoluble crystals of a very inflammable character.

The fresh plant is poisonous, and produces violent effect if taken internally. The bruised leaves form an application to raise blisters, and may also be used to keep open sores caused by vesication, or by other means (Murray).

7. Caltha palustris, Linn., I. 21.

Vern.:—Mamiri, baringû (Pb.).

Eng.:—The marsh marigold.

Habitat:—Marshes of the Western temperate Himalaya, from Kashmir to Nepal, altitude 8-10,000 feet Simla, common on marshy grounds of Chor.

A glabrous perennial herb. Rootstock thick, creeping. Stems 6-18 in. often tufted, erect, robust. Leaves shining, chiefly radical, 2-5 in. across, long-stalked, orbicular or kidney-shaped, deeply serrate; teeth small, close, regular. Stem-leaves alternate, smaller, the upper sessile, embracing the stem like an involucre. Flowers regular, few, 1-2 in. diam., terminal. Sepals 5-6, petal-like, bright yellow, oval or oblong-obtuse, imbricate. Petals none. Stamens many. Carpels many, sessile, many ovuled, Style short, curved

Fruit a head of narrow, flattened, many-seeded follicles, beaked with the persistent styles.

Use:—In Hazara, the root is considered poisonous. (Stewart).

8. Coptis teeta, Wall., I. 23.

Vern.:—Tita(Ass); Mahmira (Sind); Mamira (H.).

Habitat:—Met with in Mishmi mountains, east of Assam, in temperate regions.

Small stemless herbs.

Rootstock horizontal, perennial, golden yellow, woody, densely fibrous, very bitter. Leaves ternatisect, glabrous, petioles 6-12 in.; leaflets 2-3 in., ovate-lanceolate, pinnatifid, lobes incised, terminal largest. Scape equalling the leaves. Flowers 1-3—pedicelled, regular, small, white on slender leafless scapes. Bracts leafy. Sepals 5-6, 1/2 in. oblong—lanceolate, acute. Petals 5-6, narrow, ligulate, obtuse, 2/3 shorter than the sepals. Carpels pedicelled, spreading. Ocules many. Follicles many-seeded. Seeds with a black crustaceous testa. Mishmi nuts, Bengal.

Part used:—The root.

Use:—It is a bitter tonic, useful in fevers and atonic dyspepsia.

9. Delphinium denudatum, Wall. h.f. br. i., I. 25.

Vern.:—Nirbisi, judwâr (H.); Nilobikh (Nepal); Munila (Simla).

Habitat:—West temperate Himalaya, from Kashmir to Knmaon, in grassy places.

Glabrous or slightly downy herbs. Stems 2-3 ft. branched. Radical—leaves 2-6 in. across, orbicular, long-stalked, divided nearly to the base, segments 5-9, narrow, pinnately lobed, often toothed; stem-leaves few, shortly stalked, upper sessile, more or less deeply 3-lobed, lobes narrow, mostly entire. Flowers few, scattered, 1 - 1 1/2 in. long, spur cylindric, nearly straight. Sepals spreading, varying from deep-blue to faded grey. Petals blue, the lateral ones 2-lobed, hairy (Collett). Anterior petals deeply 2-fid, hairy on both surfaces. Follicles 3, inflated, glabrous or sparsely hairy. (Hk. f. and Thoms.).

Use:—The root is used in Bashahr for toothache and also as an adulterant for aconite (Stewart).

An alkaloid, introduced into commerce under the name of delphocurarine (Merck) has been extracted from the roots of a number of Delphiniums by means of an 80 per cent. solution of alcohol containing tartaric acid. Delphocurarine consists, in reality, of a mixture of bases, and behaves physiologically like curare (compare Lohmann, Pflüger's Archiv 1902, XCII, 398). It forms a white, amorphous powder which has a very bitter taste and an alkaline reaction, and is readily soluble in dilute acids. A small quantity of crystalline compound, C23H33O7N, has been isolated from delphocurarine by means of ether and a mixture of light petroleum; it crystallises in needles, melts at 184°-185°, is rather readily soluble in alcohol, ether, chloroform, or benzene, but only sparingly so in light petroleum, and contains 18 per cent. of methoxyl. The platinum and gold salts form pale reddish yellow powders, the former containing Pt. 13·69 percent, and the latter Au 23·29.

J. Ch. S. 1903, AI. 650.

10. D. cæruleum, Jacq., I. 25.

Vern.:—Dakhanga (Pb.).

Habitat:—Alpine Himalaya, from Kumaon to Sikkim.

An erect herb. Stem 3-12 in., much-branched from the base, leafy, spreading. Leaves suborbicular, 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 in. diam., 5-7 lobed, lobes cuncate—oblong, incised or pinnatifid, segments linear. Radical leaves divided to the base. Flowers solitary in long branches or few in a loose raceme, pale blue, hairy. Sepals shorter than the nearly straight spur. Spur subulate. Anterior petals obovate or obcordate, a little hairy. Follicles 5, hairy.

Use:—The root is applied to kill the maggots in the wounds of goats. (Stewart.)

11. D. Brunoinanum, Royle., I. 27.

Vern.:—Nepari (Kumaon); Kasturi (Garhwal); Sapfulu (Ravi); laskar, spet, panni supalû, ruskar, liokpa (Sutlej); Ladara (Ladakh); Mûndwâl (Pangi).

Habitat:—Alpine, West Tibet.

An erect herb. Stem glabrous or downy below, glandular pubescent above, 6-12 in., simple below, leafy. Leaves 5-fid to the middle, lobes sharply cut or toothed, 3-4 in, diam. lobes cuneate-ovate, petioles very long. Inflorescence corymbose; corymbs sometimes compound. Flowers large, pale blue, hairy; tracts 3-5—partite, upper simple, oblong or linear, Sepals connivent, 1 in., membranous, orbicular, veined; longer than the conic and inflated spur. Follicles 5-6, 3/4 in., viscidly pubescent.

Uses:—The juice of the leaves of this plant is used in Kurram to destroy ticks in animals, but chiefly when they affect sheep. In Leh it is considered so poisonous that the dew from the leaves falling on grass is said to poison cattle and horses. (Aitchison).

"It is remarkable for the very powerful odour of musk, which is not peculiar to this species of the genus, but exists in other high alpine species, which form a peculiar group, with large half-closed membranaceous flowers, whence the mountaineers erroneously suppose that the musk-deer feed upon them, and thereby communicate the peculiar odour to their glandular secretions. The D. Moschatum, Munro is now, by Hooker and Thomson, rightly referred to the present plant."

Some other species of Delphinium are also used medicinally, or their roots are employed to adulterate Aconites. Thus Delphinium Cashmirianum, Royle, (h., I. 26), Fig:— Royle III. t. 12, found in West Tibet and Tibetan Himalaya, from Kumaon to Kashmir, and called in Punjabi Amlin, is used to adulterate Aconites; since, according to Atkinson, the cylindrical tuberous roots of this plant are absolutely identical with the ordinary nirbisi roots.


There are about 24 Indian species of Aconite which may be classified as (a) non-poisonous and (b) poisonous. The poisonous properties are due to the roots containing bikhaconitine, pseudo-aconitine, or indaconitine.

The non-poisonous Aconites, the active principles of which are either Atisine or Palmatisine, are (i) A. heterophyllum, Wall.; (ii) A. palmatum; (iii) A. rotundifolium; (iv) A. violaceum.

The poisonous aconites are (i) A. falconeri, (ii) A. laciniatum; (iii) A. lethale; (iv) A. spicatum; (v) A. deinorrhizum; (vi) A. Balfourii; (vii) A. Chasmanthum; (viii) A. soongaricum.

12. Aconitum lycotonum, Linn. h. f. br. i., I. 28.

Vern.:—Bika (H); Khanik-El-Zeb(Arab.).

Habitat:—Himalaya, from Chitral to Kumaon, mostly in forests, locally abundant, from 5,000—12,000 ft. Kashmir.

Root perennial, elongate, more or less cylindric, ultimately breaking up into separate or anastomosing strands. Stem erect, simple, 3-6 ft., glabrous or pubescent, much branched. Leaves palmately deeply 5-9-lobed, 6-10 in. diam., lobes cuneate-ovate; lower leaves long-petioled, upper sessile. Racemes branched, long, tomentose, bracts minute. Flowers pale yellow or dull purple, variable in size; helmet with a short beak and long cylindrical dorsal prominence. Follicles 3, spreading; testa plaited.

Uses:—This species also yields much of the aconite of European commerce.

Dr. Stapf writes:—The root does not appear to be used medicinally, and its chemistry is unknown. Dr. Jowett's notes quoted by Dr. Watt, in Agric. Ledger 1902, No. 3, p. 89, refer to the chemistry of the European A. Lycotonum.

13. A. palmatum, Don. D. Prodr. h. f. br. i., I. 28.

Vern.:—Bikhma, Vakhama (Bomb.); Vakhamo (Guzr). Bishawa (H.)

Habitat:—Alpine Himalaya of Nepal, Sikkim and the adjoining part of South Tibet, from 10,000-16,000 feet.

Roots biennial, paired, tuberous; daughter-tuber shortly conic to long-cylindric, often irregularly shaped, 4 to more than 10 cm. long, 0·75-3 cm. thick, simple or branched, sometimes flexuous or twisted, bearing root-fibres, some of which are thread-like from the base and break off easily, while others are much thickened at the base or thick-cylindric, light-brown, smooth, fracture more or less horny and brownish in the thickest part of full-grown samples, almost farinaceous and white towards the tips and in the root-branches, cambium discontinuous, forming isolated strands of very varying shape and size, cylindric or tangentially flattened or crescent-shaped in cross-section, taste purely and persistently bitter; mother-tubers similar, but smaller, shrunk more or less hollow, and brown internally. Innovation-bud, short, conic from broad base. Stem erect, sometimes shortly flexuous in the upper part, simple or nearly so, inclusive of the inflorescence, 2-4 ft. high, stout, hollow, shining, glabrous. Leaves scattered, rather distant, up to 10, rarely more, the lowest usually withered at the time of flowering, quite glabrous, or the uppermost finely pubescent on the nerves below; petioles slender, 4-10 cm. long; blade orbicular-cordate to reniform with a very wide sinus (1-2 cm. deep), 6-10 cm. high from the sinus to the tip, 7-15 cm. across 5-or the uppermost 3-palmati-partite to 4/5 or 3/4, rarely more (to 8/9 in the inner incisions), divisions obovate-cuneate to broadly lanceolate-cuneate or the outermost trapezoid, 3-lobed to about the middle or the outermost 2-lobed, intermediate lobe often elongated like others, acutely inciso-dentate or apiculately crenate. Inflorescence:—A very loose leafy panicle or raceme, 10-20 cm. long, glabrous, or pubescent in the upper part; rhachis rather slender; floral leaves, like the preceding canline leaves, passing into the ovate or deltoid, dentate, shortly petioled bracts; bracteoles similar to bracts, but smaller, and sparingly dentate or entire, above the middle of the pedicels or even close to the flower; pedicels slender, curved, ascending, ultimately more erect, the lower up to 10 cm. long. Sepals bluish, or variegated white and blue, glabrous at least outside; uppermost helmet-shaped, helmet obliquely semi-orbicular (from the side) or more depressed and gaping very shortly or obscurely beaked, 20-24 mm. high, 18-24 mm. long from tip to the base, 10-12 mm. wide (seen from the side), lateral margin very slightly concave or almost straight, lateral sepals contiguous with the helmet, obliquely orbicular-quadrate, not clawed, 18-20 mm. long; lower sepals obliquely oblong or elliptic—obtuse to acute, 12-15 mm. long. Nectaries glabrous, extinguisher-shaped; claw erect, or the upper-end more or less leaning forward, 16-18 mm. long; hood sub-cylindric, 4-8 mm. long, oblique to almost horizontal, top gibbous posteriorly, honey-gland occupying the gibbosity or the whole top, lip extremely short, crenulate, very broad. Filaments glabrous, 8 mm. long, narrowly winged to or beyond the middle, wings gradually alternated. Carpels 5, subcontiguous in the flower, but soon diverging, narrowly oblong, gradually passing into the short style, quite glabrous. Follicles subcontiguous or somewhat diverging in the upper part, oblong, obliquely truncate, 2·5-3 cm. long, 5-6 mm. broad, loosely reticulate. Seeds blackish, obovoid, about 3 mm. long, round in cross-section, obscurely winged along the rhaphe, transversely lamellate, lamellæ dark, undulate.

Uses:—Nothing definite is as yet known of the medicinal properties of this root. It is believed to be non-poisonous as well as tonic and antiperiodic.

It has also earned some repute in the treatment of cholera (Sakharam Arjun).

From the roots of this, an alkaloid, named Palmatisine has been isolated at the Imperial Institute, which crystallises well, and in some respects resembles atisine. J. Ch. S. 1905T, 1655.

14. A. ferox, Wall. h. f. br. i., I. 28.

Habitat:—Temperate, sub-Alpine Himalaya, from Sikkim to Garhwal.

Sanskrit:—Visha (Poison); Vatsanâbha (resembling the navel of children).

Vern.:—Bish, bachnak, mitha zahar; Singyabish; telyabish (H.); Kat bish, Mitha bish, Sringibish, (Beng.); Bachnâg (Mar.); Vashanavi (Tam.); Vasanabhi, nabhi (Tel.); Vatsanabhi (Mal.); Vasanabhi (Kan.), Shingadio-Vachnâg (Guz.).

Roots:—biennial, paired, tuberous; daughter-tuber ovoid-oblong to ellipsoid, 2·5-4 cm. long, about 1-1·5 cm. thick, with a few filiform root-fibres, dark-brown externally, fracture scarcely farinaceous, yellowish, taste rather indifferent, followed by a strong tingling sensation, cambium continuous, forming in cross-section a slightly sinuous ring; mother-tuber much shrunk and wrinkled, with numerous root-fibres, outer sieve-strands, surrounded by a mantle of sclerenchymatic cells. Innovation bud conic, 4-5 mm. long; scales ovate, prominently finely nerved, persistent. Stem erect, with or without a slender hypogæous base (up to 3 cm. long) which emits numerous fine roots near the upper end, simple erect, 40-90 cm. high, rather slender, covered with short spreading yellow hairs in the upper part, glabrous below, hollow. Leaves scattered, distant, excepting the lowest 2 or 3 which are usually delayed at the time of the flowering, up to 7, glabrous, or the uppermost very sparingly hairy; petioles slender, the lower up to 25 cm. long and much dilated at the base, uppermost very short; blade orbicular-cordate to reniform in outline with a rather wide sinus (up to 8 cm. deep) up to 11 cm. high from the sinus to the tip, up to 20 cm. across, 5-pedati-partite to the very base or almost so in the inner, and to 5/9 - 9/10 in the outer incisions, divisions deltoid from a cuneate base on the outermost trapezoid, intermediate division 3-lobed to the middle, middle lobe elongate, pinnate-laciniate to inciso-dentate, ultimate segments or teeth acute or very acute, inner lateral divisions similar, but less symmetric, outermost 2-lobed or 2-partite, all laciniæ, more or less linear-lanceolate and divaricate, the outermost overlapping and thus closing the sinus; uppermost blades, sessile or subsessile, much smaller or dissected. Inflorescence a loose raceme 10-25 cm. long, often with slender, erect, few-flowered additional branches from the leafy base; rhachis slender, densely yellow-pubescent to sub-tomentose; floral leaves like the preceding leaves, but much reduced, passing upwards into trifid or entire and linear-lanceolate bracts; bracteoles at or below the middle, resembling reduced bracts, very often suppressed; pedicels slender, erect, the lowest at length up to 7 cm. long. Sepals blue, hairy; uppermost helmet-shaped, helmet semi-orbicular in profile, shortly beaked 20-24 mm. high, 17-20 mm. from tip to base, 7-9 mm. wide; lateral sepals slightly contiguous with the helmet, oblique, orbicular-obovate, broadly clawed, 16 mm. long, 14 mm. broad; lower sepals deflexed, oblong subacute, 10 mm. long. Nectaries glabrous; claw erect; hood oblique to subhorizontal, oblong, gibbous on the back; lip deflexed, lanceolate, acute, entire. Filaments glabrous, about 7 mm. long, narrowly winged, wings gradually alternate. Carpels 5, conniving and contiguous, tomentose, gradually passing into the style. Follicles oblong, obliquely subtruncate, 15-20 mm. long, 4-5 mm. broad, dorsally sub-convex, loosely tomentose or at length almost glabrous, conspicuously reticulate. Seeds obovoid or obpyramidal, 2·6-3 mm. long, winged along the raphe, transversely lamellate on the faces, lamellæ undulate.

Habitat:—Alpine Himalaya of Nepal.

Part used:—The root.

Uses:—This drug is officinal in both the British and Indian Pharmacopœias.

Extremely poisonous as the name indicates. It is very probably, says Stapf, the source or one of the sources of the "Bish Bikh" or "Hodoya Bish" of Hamilton.

"A few years ago I took the white variety, Bachnâg, myself in small quantities, and found that its internal use is not attended with more danger than that of the European aconite root (Aconitum Napellus). Since that period, I have employed it very extensively in my practice, and do not hesitate in saying that it is one of the most useful medicines in India. Its beneficial influence over diabetes is very remarkable, the immoderate flow of urine beginning to diminish from the very day of its use, with a proportionate decrease in the saccharine matter. Its control over spermatorrhœa and incontinence of urine is equally great. It has lately been found useful in some cases of paralysis and leprosy. The advantages of this drug over all other varieties of the Indian aconite root are that it is not only much milder, but also more certain and uniform in its actions." (Mohideen Sheriff).

15. A. Napellus, Linn., I. 28.

Vern.:—Dudhiabish; Katbish; Mithâ-Zahar; Tilia cachang; Mohri (Kashmir and Panjab Himalayan names). The root in Kashmir is called Ban-bal-nâg, Vasa nabhi (Tel.); Dudhio Vachanâg (Guz.).

Habitat:—Temperate, Alpine Himalaya, from 10,000 feet to the highest limit of vegetation in the N.-W. Provinces.

An annual erect herb, starting from an elongated tuberous conical rootstock. Root 2-4 in. long, and sometimes as much as an inch in thickness. This root tapers off in a long tail, while numerous branching rootlets spring from its side. If dug up in the summer, it will be found that a second and a younger root (occasionally a third) is attached to it, near its summit, by a very short branch and is growing out of it on one side. This second root has a bud at the top which is destined to produce the stem of the next season. It attains its maximum development at the latter part of the year, the parent root, meanwhile, becoming shrivelled and decayed. The dried root is more or less conical or tapering, enlarged, knotty at the summit, which is crowned with the base of the stem. It is from 2-3 or 4 inches long, and at the top from 1/2 — 1 in. thick. A transverse section of a sound root shows a pure white central portion (pith) which is many-sided and has at each of its projecting angles a thin fibro-vascular bundle. (Flückiger and Hanbury). Stem:—Stiff upright herbaceous, simple, 3-4 ft. high, clothed at its upper half with spreading dark-green leaves, which are paler on their underside; glabrous or slightly pubescent, often decumbent. Leaves 3-5 or more inches long, nearly half consisting of the channelled petiole, palmati-partite; very variable in size. The blade which has a roundish outline, is divided down to the petiole into three principal segments, of which the lateral are sub-divided into two or even three, the lowest being smaller and less regular than the others. The segments, which are trifid, are finally cut into 2 or 5 strap-shaped pointed lobes. The leaves are usually glabrous and are deeply impressed on their upper side by veins which run with but few branchings to the tip of every lobe. The uppermost leaves are more simple than the lower, and gradually pass into the bracts of the beautiful raceme of dull blue helmet-shaped flowers which crown the stem. The taste of the leaves is at first mawkish, but afterwards persistently burning. The taste of the fresh root has a sharp odour of radish which disappears in drying. Its taste which is at first sweetish soon becomes alarmingly acrid, accompanied with a sensation of tingling and numbness. (Flück. and Hanb.). Flowers 3/4 - 1 in., long. "Bright or dull greenish blue" (Hk. f., and Thoms.). Sepals 5, petaloid, posterior (helmet) vaulted, the rest flat. Petals 2-5, two posterior clawed; limb hooded and enclosed in the helmet. Helmet shallow, tapering to a slender beak, 3 times as long as high. Racemes:—Simple, few- or many-flowered, or sparingly compound. Bracts entire or trifid. Stamens many. Follicles 3-5 in. in Indian forms; hairy, sessile. Seeds many. Testa smooth. This is a very variable plant.

"Recent investigations into the Chemistry of the Indian Aconites, and my own examination of a great mass of herbarium material, many times richer than that which was at the disposal of the authors of the Flora Indica, as well as histological studies concerning the root-tubers of the Indian Aconites, have convinced me that the European Aconitum Napellus does not occur in India, either in its typical form or what we might be justified in calling varieties of it." (Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta, Vol X, p. 121. 'The Aconites of India' by Dr Otto Stapf).

Part used:—The root.

Use:—Its febrifuge and tonic properties are mentioned in all works on Materia Medica.

16. A. heterophyllum. Wall. I. 29.

Syn.:—A. cordatum, Royle.

Sanskrit:—Sanskrit writers describe two varieties of this root:—(1) white and (2) black. The synonyms of the white variety are:—Ativisha (very poisonous); Sukla Kanda (white root); Visha (poisonous); Prativisha (Counter-poison or antidote). The Synonyms of the second variety are:—Shyâma Kanda (black root); Sitashringi (white-horned); Bhangura (frail); Upavishanika (the horns or rootlets turned upwards).

Vern:—Atis (H.); Ati-vadayam (Tam.); Ati-vasa (Tel.); Mohand-i-gujsafed; hong-i-Safed (Kashmir) A'is (Bhotie) Sukhihari, Chitijari; Patris or Patis; bonga (Pb.); Atavishni-Kali; Ativish or Ativakh (Guz.); Ativish (Mar.).

Habitat:—Common in the Subalpine and Alpine Zone of the Himalaya, from the Indus to Kumaon, from 6,000 to 15,000 ft.

Stem:—Erect, leafy, 1-3 ft., simple or branched from the base, glabrous below, puberulous above. Leaves 2-4 in. broad ovate or orbicular. Cordate, acute or obtuse; cauline sharply toothed, the lowest long-petioled and not amplexicaul. Racemes often panicled, many-flowered. Bracts sharply toothed, upper 3-fid or entire. Flowers more than 1 in. long, bright blue, greenish blue, with purple veins. Helmet half as high as long, shortly beaked. Follicles 5, downy. Testa smooth.

The roots contain an alkaloid, atisine, C22H31NO2, {Alder Wright) or C46H74N2O5 (Broughton). (See Sohn., p. 4,) and Aconitic acid, C6H6O6.

In Dymock's Mat. Medica. of W. I., (2nd edition, p. 7), it is said:—"The English notices of this are to be found in Hindu works on Materia Medica, Shârangdhar and Chakradatt, where it is recommended as a remedy in fevers, diarrhœa, dyspepsia and cough, also as an alexipharmic." "The author of the Makhzan-ul-Adwiya says it is aphrodisiacal and tonic, checks diarrhœa and removes corrupt bile." Up to very recently, English physicians in India administered it as an antiperiodic in doses of about 30 grains, every 6 or 4 hours. Dr. M. Sheriff considers that the ordinary doses are only useful as a tonic, and that 2 drams or more should be given as an antiperiodic. Probably, says Dr. Dymock, the native estimate of the drug, as given above from the Makhzan, is not far from truth, viz., that it is tonic and digestive and often useful in dyspepsia with diarrhœa (Pharmacographia Indica, Vol. I., p. 16, 1890, Bombay). Dr. Tribhuvandas M. Shah of Junagadh says it is anthelmintic and antifebrile, in doses of 10-30 grains. It can be given to children in fevers.

The alkaloid Atisine of Broughton, from experiments made on rabbits, appears to be non-poisonous. (Dymock). Dr. Dymock says that Atis is an ingredient in Bâl-Goli, a pill given to infants to keep them quiet, which contains thirty-one drugs, of which three are narcotics, viz., Bhang, opium and Datura, and the remainder bitters, aromatics. (Ph. Indica, p. 15, Vol. I.)

Part used:—The root.

Use:—The root is officinal in the Indian Pharmacopœia. Tonic and antiperiodic properties are attributed to it.

17. A. Soongaricum, Stapf.

Stapf writes:—"Of all the Indian species of Aconitum which I have seen, this comes nearest to the A. Napellus of Europe; and if that species is taken in a broad sense, A. Soongaricum might perhaps be included in it as a variety, the principal differences being in the small size and shape of the tubers and the peculiar long-beaked helmet. The long, linear, usually entire laciniæ of the leaves also are unusual in A. Napellus; still they occur occasionally. The fruits and seeds may possibly, when known, add other distinctive characters." (1. c. p., 142.)

Vernacular name—unknown.

Habitat:—Alpine region of the mountain ranges of Gilgit and Turkestan.

Roots:—Biennial, paired; tuberous: daughter-tuber conic, slender, 2-2·5 cm. long 0·7 cm. thick, with very few root-fibres, brown externally, fracture horny, brown, taste faintly sweetish bitter, followed by a very slight tingling sensation, cambium continuous, forming a scarcely sinuous ring in cross-section; mother-tuber similar, more or less shrunk. Innovation-bud conic, about 5 mm. long; scales scarious, soon decaying or sprouting. Stem erect, simple, moderately robust, quite glabrous, rarely slightly pubescent in the upper part, up to 7 dm. high. Leaves scattered, lowest usually decayed at the time of flowering, intermediate remote, upper more approximate, glabrous; petioles more or less widened at the base; lower up to 12 cm. long, upper 1-2 cm. long; blades more or less cordate-orbicular or reniform in outline, with a wide or narrow sinus, 2-3 cm. deep; 5-9 cm. from the sinus to the tip, 8-12 cm. across, 5-partite to the very base or in the outer incisions almost to the base; inner 3 divisions similar, rhomboid in outline from a narrow cuneate base, 2·5—3·5 cm. wide, 3-lobed to or beyond the middle or pinnate-laciniate, lobes or laciniæ broad-linear, obtuse to shortly acute 1·5-3 cm. long, 3-5 mm. broad, entire or the larger with 1-2 coarse teeth or linear lobules, outer divisions 2-fid beyond the middle, inner segment 2-3-lobed, outer often entire, linear. Inflorescence an erect dense or somewhat loose, terminal raceme 6-18 cm. long, or with additional branches from the upper leaves, glabrous or sparingly softly pubescent; lower bracts foliaceous, 3-partite, with mostly entire long linear segments, considerably exceeding the pedicels, intermediate linear, entire, up to 2-5 cm. long, upper filiform, short; pedicels slender, erect or often adpressed to the rhachis, lower 1·5—2·5 cm. long; bracteoles linear, above the middle of the pedicel, sometimes close to the flower. Sepals blue, pubescent, ciliate; uppermost helmet-shaped; helmet clawed, equally curved on the back and in front (seen in profile), descending into a long slender beak, lateral margin deeply concave, 16-18 mm. high, 12-15 mm. from the tip to the base, 5-6 mm. wide at the top; lateral sepals oblique, obovate-orbicular, shortly clawed 13-17 mm. long, not contiguous with the helmet; lower deflexed, sub-horizontal, elliptic to oblong, obtuse or sub-obtuse, 10-15 mm. long. Nectaries glabrous; claw slender up to 12 mm. long; hood erect, 5 mm. long, top gibbous at the back; lip oblong-ovate, crenulate, as long as the hood. Filaments glabrous or sparingly hairy in the upper part, 7-8 mm. long, winged below, wings gradually or abruptly contracted. Carpels 3 lanceolate-oblong, gradually passing into the style, somewhat diverging, glabrous or almost so. Mature Follicles and seeds unknown. Young follicle distinctly diverging, inserted on the enlarging torus.

Use.—"The root does not appear to find its way to the bazars of India. This species has not as yet been chemically investigated, and it is just possible that it may be found to contain aconitine." —(Watt).

18. A. Chasmanthum, Stapf. Annals Royal Bot. Gard. Calcutta, Vol. X. pt. II., p. 142.

Vern.—Mohri (Jhelum Basin); Piun (Jhelum Basin); Ban-bal-nag (Kashmir.)

Habitat:—Subalpine and Alpine zone of the Western Himalaya from Chitral and Hazara to Kashmir, between 7,000 and 12,000 ft.

Roots:—Biennial, paired, tuberous; daughter-tuber conic to conic-cylindric from a broad base, 2·5-3·7 (rarely 5) cm., 12-18 mm. thick, bearing more or less numerous root-fibres, leaving behind the indurated bases when breaking off, bark brown to blackish brown, smooth or wrinkled when dry, fracture cartilaginous, hard, white within the cambium ring, brownish without; taste slightly bitter, followed by a very persistent strong tingling sensation, cambium continuous, forming a wide central strand, sinuous in cross-section; mother-tuber shrunk, deeply grooved and wrinkled, black outside, brown right through. Innovation-bud conic, short from a very broad base. Stem erect, simple, inclusive of the inflorescence, 60-120 cm. high, rather stout, crispo-pubescent above, glabrous below, or almost glabrous all along. Leaves numerous, usually more distant in the lower part and crowded in the upper, or more equally distributed, the lowest on petioles up to 7·5 cm. long, the upper shortly petioled or subsessile, passing into the floral leaves, quite glabrous, somewhat fleshy, lower and intermediate blades orbicular, reniform in outline, 4-6 cm. high, 5-9 cm. across, 3-palmati-partite almost to the very base, intermediate segment obovate-cuneate, long attenuated at the base, 3-lobed to the middle or beyond, lobes liciniate, or the middle lobe pinnati-partite, ultimate liciniæ linear, acute to very acute, lateral segments deeply 2-partite and liciniate with the inner division, similar to the intermediate segment and the outer 2-lobed and smaller, uppermost lobes similar to the preceding, but smaller, relatively longer and more sparingly divided. Inflorescence a long, narrow, stiff, dense or loose raceme, often over 30 cm. long, often leafy below, and sometimes with slender, erect additional branches from the base, crispo-pubescent; rhach is stout; floral leaves like the preceding leaves, but still less divided or entire, passing into the linear to filiform bracts; bracteoles, if any, small; pedicels slender, the lowest at length 2·5-3·5 cm. long and adpressed to the rhachis when mature. Sepals blue or whitish and variegated with blue, crispo-pubescent or almost glabrous; uppermost helmet-shaped, helmet more or less depressed into a distinct and often long and slender beak. 15-10 mm. high, 12-18 mm. long, from the tip to the base, 5-7 mm. wide (seen from the side), lateral margin conspicuously concave, lateral sepals not contiguous with the helmet, except near the base, obliquely suborbicular or almost square, shortly or obscurely clawed, 12-15 mm.long and broad, lower sepals oblong, obtuse, 9-12 mm.long. Nectaries extinguisher-shaped glabrous, claw 5-6 mm. long, leaning forward in the upper part; hood short, wide, very obtuse, top slightly gibbous on the back, honey-gland occupying the whole top or the gibbosity. Filaments glabrous or very sparingly hairy, winged; wings gradually or abruptly attenuated. Carpels 5, glabrous, rarely or sparingly hairy on the back, conniving abruptly, contracted into the short style, back convex. Follicles oblong, truncate, 10-16 mm. long, contiguous or with slightly divergent tips, glabrous. Seeds brown obovoid to obpyramidal, 3·5 mm. long, equally 3-winged, wings thin, faces smooth.

Properties and uses.—The root contains, according to Professor Dunstan, aconitine, but in very small proportions. It seems that it is sometimes used in Northern India as a substitute for the imported tuber of Aconitum Napellus (Wall).

Aconitum Chasmanthum, Stapf.—This was for sometime supposed to be the European Aconitum Napellus, but is now known to be a distinct species.

The plant is known as 'Mohri.'

The alkaloid which has been obtained from the plant proves to be exceptionally interesting, since it represents a compound intermediate between the aconitine of the European Aconitum Napellus and the pseudo-aconitine of the Indian Aconitum ferox. This alkaloid is named indaconitine.

Properties.—Indaconitine is soluble in acetone, chloroform, alcohol, or ether, but practically insoluble in light petroleum or water.

By the addition of light petroleum to a solution of the base in alcohol, chloroform, or ether, well defined crystals may be readily obtained.

A peculiar property of indaconitine which sharply distinguishes it from aconitine is its capability of crystallising in several forms from the same solvent. The crystalline form appears to depend on the purity of the substance and on the strength of the solution. By rapid crystallisation, the base is deposited from ether in rosettes of needles, but if allowed to crystallise slowly, or if the substance is not quite pure, it is obtained as transparent, hexagonal prisms or large, irregular masses. If a somewhat concentrated solution is decanted from a flask, the indaconitine crystallises on the sides, either in a characteristic fern-like form or in thin, circular layers of silky needles.

Indaconitine crystallises uncombined with its solvent.

The melting point of indaconitine, if immersed in the bath at 150° and the temperature slowly raised, is 202-203°. Crystallographically, indaconitine very closely resembles aconitine, and on further investigation may prove to be isomorphous.

Composition.—C34H47O10N, requires C=64·86; H=7·47, and N=2·22 per cent.

Physiological action.—This differs in degree only, and not in kind, from that of aconitine and pseudo-aconitine. As in the case of other "aconitines," the toxic action of indaconitine is virtually abolished by the removal of the acetyl group, which occurs in the formation of indbenzaconine, an alkaloid which is scarcely poisonous.

19. A. rotundifolium, Ver. and Kir.

Syn:—A. napellus, var. multifidum, Duthie.

A. napellus, var. rotundifolium. Hk. f. and Th.

Habitat:—Alpine zone of Turkistan to the North- Western Himalaya, and the Safed Koh of Indo-Afghan frontier.

Roots:—Biennial, paired, tuberous; daughter-tuber short, or long, conic or subcylindric, 1-2·5 cm. long. 6-8 mm. thick, bearing long fine root—fibres breaking off easily; bark very thin, whitish to brown, smooth, fracture pure white, farinaceous; taste slightly bitter, almost indifferent; cambium discontinuous, forming 4-5 isolated, very slender cylindric strands arranged in a ring; mother-tuber more or less shrunk, wrinkled, dark brown to almost black, brownish internally. Stem erect or ascending from a short (1·5 cm.) hypogæous base, simple, 15-40 cm. high, terete, slender, crispo-pubescent in upper part, glabrous below. Leaves mostly basal, 4-5 rarely 8, gathered in a loose rosette above the hypogæous part of the stem, coëtanous with the flowers, somewhat fleshy, glabrous or scantily pubescent on long (4-13 cm.) petioles which are dilated and more or less sheathing at the base; 1-2 or rarely more, higher up on the stem or very short petioles; lower blade, orbicular-cordate or almost reniform in outline, with a narrow sinus (0·7-2 cm. deep), 1-3·5 cm. high from the sinus to the tip. 2-6 cm. across, 5-7-palmati-partite to 4/5 - 7/8 in the inner, to 2/3 or less in the outer incisions, divisions broadly ovate-cuneate, 3- or (the outermost) 2-lobed to or beyond the middle, lobes narrow, sparingly crenate or inciso-crenate, crenae subobtuse, calloso-apiculate; cauline blades similar to the lower, but smaller, less divided, with narrower and longer lobes and more pubescent. Inflorescence a short (up to 8-9 cm.), few-flowered, usually loose raceme, or with a few slender, few-flowered, additional branches from the uppermost of the much reduced leaves, crispo-pubescent to tomentose; lowest bracts 5-3-partite, very narrow divisions, or like the upper entire, linear, as long as or longer than the pedicels, uppermost much reduced or suppressed; bracteoles, if present, minute; pedicels slender, lowest up to 2 cm. long, upper much shorter, erect in the mature state, more or less adpressed to the rhachis. Sepals pale or purplish blue or white or variegated, with saturated veins, more or less pubescent, overlapping at the base only in the fully open flowers; uppermost navicular, more or less beaked, obliquely erect, 12-20 mm. high, 15-25 mm. long (from the beak to the base), 4-7 mm. broad, obliquely clawed; lateral sepals oblique, broadly obovate or suborbicular, about 15 mm. long, 10-13 mm. broad; not or obscurely clawed, lower sepals deflexed, elliptic-oblong, or elliptic-obtuse, about 8 mm. long. Nectaries glabrous, extinguisher-shaped; claw very slender, 12-15 mm. long, leaning forward in the upper part, hood horizontal, or more or less deflexed, saccate, very obscure, top often widened and gibbous in front, lip 2-lobed, lobes often narrow and rather long. Filaments glabrous, very rarely with a few minute hairs, winged to the middle, wings gradually alternated or running into minute teeth. Carpels usually 5 (4 or 6), contiguous, oblong, abruptly contracted into the style, softly villous. Follicles contiguous or almost so, oblong, truncate at the top, 9-13 mm. long, softly hairy. Seeds brown, obpyramidal, 3-angled, obliquely truncate at the top, 2·5-3 mm. long, angles unequally winged, wings hollow, faces smooth.

General Properties:—On the authority of Col. Monro, the roots of the Alpine form, it appears, are eaten by the hillmen of Kanawar as a pleasant tonic, under the name of Atees (Stapf).

20. A. deinorrhizum, Stapf. sp. nov.

Fig.:—Stapf. Annals Roy. Bot. Gard. Calcutta, Vol. X, pt. ii, t 103.

Habitat:—Alpine Himalaya of Bashahr.

Vernacular name—mohra, maura bikh.

Roots:—Biennial, tuberous, paired; daughter-tuber conical, rather elongated, up to 6·5 cm. long, and at the upper end up to 18 mm. thick, with very few filiform root-fibres, brown externally, fracture scarcely farinaceous, whitish, taste indifferent, followed by a strong tingling sensation, cambium discontinuous, broken into strands, arranged in a ring, the smaller circular in cross-section, the larger tangentially flattened; mother-tuber similar, more or less shrunk, wrinkled, with long filiform root-fibres. Innovation-bud a very low, broad, obtuse cone; scales very broad with a clasping base, decaying after sprouting. Stem several feet high, erect, straight, simple, terete, sparingly and finely crispo-pubescent in the upper part, otherwise glabrous, shining, or in young plants sparingly pubescent all along. Leaves up to 10 or 12, scattered, lower usually decayed at the time of flowering, the upper 6-8 rather distant, sparingly hairy when young, especially towards the margins and on the nerves below, soon glabrescent; petioles slender, mostly 5-7 cm. long, dilated at the base; blade reniform or ovate-reniform in outline, with a very wide sinus or an almost truncate base, 5-pedati-partite almost to the base (to 15/16 - 19/20 in the inner, to 3/4 - 7/8 in the outer, incisions), inner divisions subequal or intermediate, distinctly longer, rhombic from a cuneate base, up to 8 cm. (or the intermediate to 10 cm. long), 5-6·5 cm. broad, 3-lobed to the middle, intermediate lobe much longer than the lateral, lobes deeply laciniate, laciniæ linear or broad-lanceolate, entire or sparingly inciso-dentate, shortly acute or subobtuse, outer divisions asymmetric, usually to or beyond the middle, otherwise similar to the inner, but smaller. Inflorescence straight, racemose, simple or sometimes with an additional branchlet from near its base, 30-40 cm. long, narrow, not very dense, greyish, crispo-pubescent; lowest bracts similar to the preceding leaves, or like the rest much reduced, coarsely and sparingly dentate, the uppermost very small; pedicels erect, slender, lower up to 6·5 cm. long, upper much shorter; bracteoles linear, up to 4 mm. long, or on the lower pedicels broader and sparingly dentate. Sepals blue, crispo-puberulous; uppermost helmet-shaped, helmet more or less oblique, depressed, 15-20 mm, high, 17-22 mm. from the tip to the base, about 7 mm. wide (in profile), slightly concave towards the base in front and produced into a short beak and broadly clawed; lateral oblique, sub-orbicular, scarcely unguiculate, ciliate, 14-18 mm. long; lower oblong, 10 mm. long, obtuse, deflexed. Nectaries hispidulous all over; claw almost straight, 12-13 mm. long; hood leaning forward, gibbous near the top on the back, 5 mm. long, lip short, broad, emarginate, reflexed. Filaments hairy in the upper part, 8-10 mm. long, winged beyond the middle, wings abruptly contracted. Carpels 3, oblong, conniving in the flower, then sub-divaricate, adpressedly greyish-pubescent, contracted into the rather long style, Follicles unknown. Seeds obconic, 3 mm. long, terete with numerous small, short transverse lamellæ.

Properties and uses.—Watt quotes in Agric. Ledg., G. G. Minniken as saying that in Bashahr the poisonous aconites are collectively called Mohra. The poisonous principle of this aconite is pseudo-aconite.

21. A. Balfourii, Stapf, sp. nov.

Vernacular names:—Gobriya (Darma); Gobari (West Nepal); Banwa (British Garhwal).

Habitat:—Subalpine and Alpine Himalaya, from British Garhwal to Nepal.

Roots biennial, paired or ternate, tuberous; daughter-tubers sometimes paired or divided from the base, conic or elongate, conico-cylindric, 3-7 cm. long, 1-2 cm. thick with a few root-fibres which are either slender-filiform or conspicuously thickened (up to 5 mm. diam.) at the base, externally greyish-brown, fracture white, almost horny, taste rather indifferent, followed by a tingling sensation; cambium discontinuous, broken up into strands arranged in a ring, the smaller circular in transverse section, the larger tangentially flattened to horse-shoe-shaped; mother-tubers, with often numerous root-fibres much shrunk, grooved and wrinkled with conical stumps (root-fibre bases), collapsed. Innovation-bud a much depressed, broad, obtuse cone or hemisphere, scales broad with a clasping base usually decaying after sprouting. Stem erect, several feet high, straight, robust, simple, terete, delicately pubescent in the upper part, otherwise usually quite glabrous. Leaves scattered, 6-10, the lowest decayed at the time of flowering, intermediate and upper leaves rather distant, pubescent when young, at length glabrous, with the exception of the nerves below, lower petioles up to 7·5 cm. long, intermediate and upper much shorter, somewhat dilated at the base; blades dark-green above, paler below, orbicular or ovate-cordate or subreniform, with narrow or wide sinus, 1-2 cm. deep, 7-9 cm. from the sinus to the tip, 10-12 cm. across, 3-partite to 7/8, intermediate division rhomboid-ovate from a broad cuneate base, 3-lobed to the middle, middle lobe much larger than the lateral, lateral divisions trapezoid, very unequally 2-lobed to the middle, all the lobes coarsely inciso-crenate or dentate, crense, spiculate or acute. Inflorescence straight, racemose narrow, up to 30 cm. long, many-flowered, rather dense, yellowish-tomentellous, and slightly viscous; lowest bracts resembling the preceding leaves, following ovate or lanceolate, inciso-dentate, or dentate, uppermost often entire; pedicels erect or the lower ascending, lowest up to 5 cm., upper 2·5 cm. long; bracteoles, if any, inciso-dentate, or dentate, small. Sepals blue, pubescent; uppermost helmet-shaped, helmet oblique, sub-semi-orbicular in profile, slightly concave in front and shortly beaked, about 20 mm. high and 20 mm. from tip to base, 10-13 mm. wide, very shortly and broadly clawed, lateral sepals sub-oblique or orbicular or slightly broader than long, up to 16 mm. long, obscurely clawed; lower sepals elliptic or broad-oblong, obtuse, 12-14 mm. long. Nectaries glabrous, claw erect, or slightly curved, 12-13 mm. long; hood leaning forward, rather crenulate. Filaments hispidulous in the upper part or almost glabrous, 6 mm. long, broadly winged to beyond the middle, wings gradually or abruptly running out. Carpels 5, oblong, yellowish-tomentose, conniving in the flower, then slightly divergent. Follicles oblong, slightly divergent above, otherwise contiguous, loosely hairy, or glabrate, 12 mm. long, 4-5 mm. broad. Seeds obpyramidal, trigonous, 3-3·5 mm. long, dark-brown, broadly winged along the rhaphe, faces with narrow transverse lamellæ giving out towards the back.

Properties and uses:—Gobriya is quoted by Duthie as the name of one of the nine poisonous aconites of the Râlam Valley. A sample of tubers from Dudatoli was examined by Prof. Dunstan, with the result that the daughter-tubers contained nearly 1 per cent and the mother-tubers 0·5 per cent of pseudo- aconitine.

22. A Falconeri, Stapf., sp. nov.

Vernacular names:—Bis, Bikh, Meetha-tellia, (Royle) in an incomplete manuscript catalogue (of Himalayan plants) at Kew.

Habitat:—Subalpine and Alpine Zone of the Himalaya of Garhwal.

Roots biennial, paired, tuberous, daughter-tuber conic to cylindric from a broad, truncate base, up to 8 cm. long, to 2 cm. thick, entire or divided, bearing more or less numerous filiform fibrous root-fibres, externally brown, fracture white, slightly farinaceous or horny, taste somewhat bitter, followed by a strong burning and tingling sensation, cambium continuous, forming in transverse section a slightly sinuous ring; mother-tuber similar, much shrunk and wrinkled. Innovation-bud very short and broad, conic, bud-scales very short, broad and clasping, soon decaying after sprouting. Stem erect, simple, up to 1 m. high, moderately stout, finely pubescent or sub-glabrous in the upper part, quite glabrous below. Leaves scattered, 10 or more, if many, the upper sometimes rather crowded, the intermediate usually very distant, the lowest decayed at the time of flowering; petioles slender, lowest up to 12cm. long, upper much shorter, uppermost very short; blades rather thin, very sparingly and finely pubescent or glabrous, with the exception of the nerves at the base below, lower and intermediate rotundate-cordate to reniform in outline, with a very wide and open sinus, 1-3 cm. deep, 6-10 cm. high, from the sinus to the tip, 12-15 cm, across, 5—sub-pedati-partite to 6/7 or more in the inner, to 3/4 or more in the outer incisions, inner divisions rhomboid-cuneate, 3-lobed to the middle, with the inner lobe elongated and pinnati-laciniate, outer divisions much smaller, trapezoid, 2-lobed, all the lobes and laciniæ broadly inciso-dentate, teeth usually triangular, upper blades very similar, but smaller and less deeply divided or 3-partite, with intermediate division much longer than lateral. Inflorescence an erect stiff, usually dense raceme, about 15-20 cm. long, rarely lax and with slender few-flowered ascending additional branches from below, finely adpressedly pubescent or rarely with short spreading hairs; axis rather slender, lowest bracts 3-partite, upper ovate to deltoid, all acutely and coarsely dentate; braeteoles usually present, resembling the upper bracts, but much smaller; pedicels slender, erect, often almost adpressed to the axis, lowest up to 4 cm. long, the upper much shorter. Sepals blue, with very dark tips (in the dry state), pubescent; uppermost helmet-shaped, helmet obliquely semi-orbicular in profile, very shortly beaked, 16-22 mm. high, 18-22 mm. long, from the tip to the base, 8-9 mm. wide; lateral sepals oblique, suborbicular or ovate-orbicular, 14-18 mm. long, lower sepals oblong-elliptic, obtuse 8-10 mm. long. Nectaries extinguisher-shaped, claw erect, 13-15 mm. long, minutely hispid, hood leaning forwards or almost horizontal, slightly constricted or obscurely gibbous on the back, close to the top, lip spathulate, broad, crenulate. Carpels 5, obliquely oblong, conniving in the flower, soon slightly divergent, gradually passing into rather long style, quite glabrous and black when dry, or sometimes more or less very minutely silky-pubescent. Follicles erect and contiguous or slightly diverging upwards, oblong rounded at the top, 14-18 mm. long, 4-5 mm. broad, glabrous, faintly reticulate. Seeds brown, obconic. 3-4 mm. long, winged (often broadly) along the rhaphe, with undulate, hyaline, rather wide and distant transverse lamellæ.

Variety, Latilobium, Stapf.

Roots up to 12 cm. long, and 2·5 cm. thick, with few fibres. Upper leaf-blades 3-partite to 5/6; up to 6·5 cm. high, 10 cm. across, divisions broadly deltoid or the outer trapezoid up to 4·5 cm. broad, shortly 3-or (the outer) 2-lobed, lobes coarsely crenate or dentate. Inflorescence tomentose, with spreading hairs. Carpels quite glabrous.

Properties and uses:—Evidently poisonous.

23. A. spicatum, Stapf., sp. nov.

Ann. Roy. Bot. Gard. Calc, Vol. X., pp. 165-166.

Vernacular names:—Bikh, Kalo Bikhoma Donghi; Guiong Mot and Shodduk Mot.

Habitat:—Alpine zone of the Himalaya of Sikkim and Chumbi.

Roots biennial, paired, tuberous, daughter- tuber conic or conic-oblong, often rather elongated, 10-20 cm. long, 1·8-3 cm. thick, simple or sometimes deeply divided, with filiform root-fibres, the bases of which are sometimes abruptly thickened and persist as conical ovoid stumps, brown or blackish externally, fracture horny, yellowish or brown in the dry state, taste slightly sweetish bitter, followed by a tingling sensation; cambium continuous, forming in cross-section a more or less sinuous ring; mother-tuber similar, shrunk and wrinkled. Innovation-bud a very broad, much depressed cone, with broad clasping scales, decaying soon after sprouting. Stem erect, up to 1·5 m. high, straight or slightly flexuous above, simple terete or sometimes slightly angular, robust, sometimes as much as 3 cm. in diam., adpressedly greyish-pubescent, with deflexed hairs, glabrescent or quite glabrous in the lower part, brown or almost black when dry. Lowest leaves 5-8, decayed at the time of flowering, their scars rather distant; intermediate and upper leaves as many as 12, approximate or congested, petioled; petioles 2·5-7·5 cm. long, dilated at the base, blades somewhat fleshy, more or less finely pubescent, or at length glabrous above orbicular-cordate or reniform or broadly ovate (particularly the upper), with a usually shallow sinus, 3-partite to 4/5 - 6/7 or the upper to 2/3, intermediate division rhomboid or ovate from a linear cuneate base, sometimes acuminate, 5-10 cm. long, 3-7·5 cm. broad, lateral divisions separated by a narrow sinus from the intermediate, broad-trapezoid, 2·5-7·5 cm. long, very unequally 2-3-partite to 2/3 - 5/6, all the divisions much inciso-dentate or laciniate, with acute dentate laciniæ. Inflorescence stiff, racemose or often panicled, narrow, many-flowered, dense, rarely loose and subflexuous, more or less tomentose, with spreading or deflexed hairs; lower bracts like the preceding leaves, but smaller, more elongate and less dissected, longer than the pedicels, intermediate and upper lanceolate or oblong, sparingly dentate or entire, often over 2 cm. long, pedicels erect, rather stout, lower over 2-5 cm. long, upper much shorter; bracteoles, if any, herbaceous, rather broad and dentate, or narrow and entire to very narrow. Sepals of a saturated blue, more rarely pale or purplish blue, more or less pubescent to almost tomentose; uppermost helmet-shaped, helmet erect or slightly oblique, depressed, semi-orbicular in profile, almost equally curved in front and on the back, 20-24 mm. high, 20-24 mm. from the tip to the base, 12-15 mm. wide, produced into a very short beak, claw very short and broad; lateral sepals oblique, suborbicular, 12-18 mm. long, obscurely clawed; lower horizontal or deflexed, oblong, obtuse, 8-12 mm. long. Nectaries glabrous or scantily hispidulous, claw slightly curved or straight, 10-12, rarely 14 mm. long, hood much leaning forward or sub-horizontal, dorsally gibbous or almost spurred on the top, 6-8 mm. long, lip usually short, broad emarginate. Filaments glabrous or sparingly hispidulous in upper part, 7-8 mm. long, winged to or beyond the middle, wings gradually running out or suddenly contracted into small teeth. Carpels 5, oblong or ovoid, contracted into the slightly shorter style, densely tomentose. Follicles 5, oblong, somewhat turgid, contiguous, about 10 mm. long, 4-45 mm. broad, hairy. Seeds obpyramidal, about 4 mm. long, winged along the rhaphe, with undulate hyaline transverse lamellæ on on the faces.

Properties and uses:—This species is the principal source of the Bikh or Bish of the Calcutta market. An account of the mode of collecting the root in Sikkim may be found in Kanny Lal Dey's work on the 'Indigenous Drugs of India, (1896), where it is, however, introduced erroneously as A. Napellus. The poisonous principle is pseudoaconitine. The amount of pseudoaconitine found in the tubers of this species may, according to Prof. Dunstan, reach as much as 0·50 per cent (Stapf).

24. A. laciniatum, Stapf. sp. nov.

Vernacular name:—Kalo Bikhmo.

Habitat: — Subalpine and Alpine Himalaya of Sikkim and adjoining Tibet.

Roots' biennial, tuberous, paired; daughter-tuber conic-oblong, often rather drawn out into a slender point, 3·5-6 cm. long, about 1·5-2 cm. thick, simple or divided, with filiform root-fibres, which are generally not much thickened at the base, brown externally, fracture whitish or pale brownish, almost horny, taste indifferent or very slightly bitterish, followed by a tingling sensation; cambium continuous, forming a sinuous ring in cross-section; mother-tuber similar, usually much shrunk and thinner. Innovation-bud an acute cone, up to 1 cm. high, outermost scales are very short, clasping, soon decaying after sprouting. Stem erect, stiff or flexuous, 6 to 9 dm. high, simple terete, slender to rather robust, finely pubescent in the upper part, with adpressed reversed hairs, otherwise glabrascent or quite glabrous and shining, drying usually chestnut-brown. Leaves scattered; basal 5-6, rarely 8, decayed at the time of flowering, rather distant; intermediate and upper leaves up to 10, approximate or congested, petioled, petioles rather slender, 2·5-7·5 cm. long; blades somewhat fleshy, finely pubescent or almost glabrous, reniform, rarely cordate-orbicular in outline, with an usually wide and shallow sinus, 4-7, rarely to 10 cm., from the sinus to the tip, 7-12 cm. across, 5-pedati-partite almost to the base in the inner, to 3/4 - 5/6 in the outer incisions, inner divisions sub-equal, rhomboid from a narrow cuneate base up to 5 cm. wide, 3-lobed to the middle, lobes narrow, inciso-dentate or laciniate, lacinias lanceolate or linear, acute or acuminate, outermost divisions asymmetric, mostly unequally 2-lobed, otherwise similar to the inner, but smaller. Inflorescence racemose or usually loosely paniculate, few to many-flowered, finely greyish pubescent, with adpressed curved hairs; lower bracts similar to the preceding leaves, but smaller and less dissected, intermediate and upper lanceolate, sparingly laciniate or the uppermost entire and very narrow; pedicels ascending, slender, lowest 3·5-5 (rarely 7·5) cm. long, upper much shorter; bracteoles herbaceous, resembling the upper bracts. Sepals saturated red-purple or dark-red, finely pubescent; uppermost helmet-shaped, helmet erect or sub-erect, equally curved in front and on the back, or slightly concave in front, produced into a short lip or beak, about 20 mm. high and 20 mm. from the tip to the base, 9-13 mm. wide, claw broad, snort; lateral sepals oblique, sub-orbicular, ciliate, 14-16 mm. long, broadly and obscurely clawed; lower deflexed or sub-horizontal, oblong, obtuse, 12-14 mm. long. Nectaries hispidulous, at least below; claw slightly curved, about 12 mm. long; hood sub-erect or slightly leaning forward, 6 mm. long, gibbous or almost spurred on the back, close to the apex, lip short or elongate, rather broad, 2-lobed. Filaments hispidulous in the upper part, 7 mm. long, winged up to or beyond the middle, wings gradually or abruptly running out. Carpels 3, rarely 4 or 5, conniving in the flower, oblong, attenuate into a slender, finely curved style, densely and adpressedly pubescent. Follicles at first divergent, then conniving, contiguous, linear-oblong, more or less convex on the back, 18-25 mm. long, 5-6 mm. wide, finely pubescent. Seeds obpyramidal, 3-gonous, 3 mm. long, brown, broadly winged along the rhaphe, with transverse, undulate, hyaline lamellæ.

Properties and uses:—According to Rogers, it forms, together with Bikh (A. spicatum) the article known as "Nepal Aconite."

25. A. lethale, Griff.

Syn.:—A. palmatum, Don. h. f. br. i., I. 28.

Vernacular name:—Unknown.

Habitat:—Higher parts of Mishmi Mountains.

Roots (according to Griffith) fusiform, whitish or brown, bearing root-fibres. Stem branched, flexuous, slender, terete, glabrous on the uppermost part, pubescent from minute adpressed reversed hairs. Basal leaves unknown; intermediate and upper leaves scattered, petioled; petioles slender, up to 5 cm. long; blades shining, bright green above, pale below, glabrous or scantily pubescent in the nerves below, cordate, rotundate in outline, with a wide sinus or reniform, 3-partite to 5/6 (or the small leaves of the branches 5-lobed to the middle), intermediate divisions narrow, obovate-cuneate, almost 5 cm. long, up to 1·8 cm. broad, lateral divisions trapezoid, up to 3·5 cm. long, unequally divaricate-2-lobed to the middle, all coarsely dentate, teeth apiculate. Inflorescence slightly pubescent; panicle few-flowered, says Hooker. Flowers large, greenish-blue (Hooker); bracts foliaceous 3-lobed, lobes sparingly dentate; pedicels long, more or less red need, near the flower. Sepals slightly pubescent, uppermost helmet-shaped, helmet semi-orbicular elliptic in profile, 18-20 mm. high, 18-20 mm. from tip to base, 12 mm. broad, lateral oblique, orbicular-ovate, shortly and broadly clawed up to 16 mm. long, 10-12 mm. broad; lower deflexed, broad elliptic sub-obtuse, up to 16 mm. long. Nectaries glabrous, claw erect, oblong, shortly spurred from the top, 6 mm. long, lip broad, 2-lobed. Filaments glabrous, 8-9 mm. long, winged to or beyond the middle, wings gradually or suddenly contracted. Carpels 5, obliquely oblong, sparingly pubescent (Stapf). Follicles 1 - 1 1/2 in. long, glabrous (Hooker). Testa plaited (Hooker).

Properties and uses:—This is, according to Griffith, the source of the celebrated Bhi or Bis poison of the Mishmis.

The pharmacology of Indaconitine and Bikhaconitine.

Indaconitine, an alkaloid obtained from Aconitum Chasmanthum, yields, on partial hydrolysis, acetic acid and benzoyl-pseudoaconine; the latter substance splits up on further hydrolysis into benzoic acid and pseudoaconine.

Bikhaconitine, from A. Spicatum (A. ferox, var. Spicatum), yields, under the same conditions, acetic acid, veratric acid, and a pseudoaconine, identical with that obtained from indaconitine.

As regards physiological action, these two alkaloids show a qualitative agreement with aconitine, japaconitine, and pseudoaconitine.

Bikhaconitine has a more powerful toxic action on cats and rabbits than indaconitine; of the alkaloids so far examined, aconitine and indaconitine are about equally poisonous, japaconitine is rather more active than these, but not quite so toxic as bikhaconitine, whilst pseudoaconitine is the most active of the series. Bikhaconitine and indaconitine are equally toxic towards frogs. The greater toxic action of bikhaconitine towards warm-blooded animals is due to its more powerful depressing effect on the respiration; the respiratory activity of frogs is also diminished to a greater extent by the former alkaloid. The relative activity of the two alkaloids in abolishing the power possessed by nerve-muscle preparations of responding to stimuli, was investigated by immersing the tissues in dilute solutions of the hydrobromides, and it was found that in this respect indaconitine is slightly more active than bikhaconitine.

The pseudoaconines obtained from the two alkaloids appear to be identical in physiological action, and behave in all respects like the aconine and aconitine.

(J. Theodore Cash and Wydnham R. Dunstan, Proceedings Roy. Soc., 1905). J. Ch. S., Vol X C, pt . II., p. 41.

26. Actœa spicata. Linn. h. f. br. i., I. 29.

Habitat:—Temperate Himalaya 6,000—10,000 ft. Simla, in Narkunda forest; from Bhutan to Hazara. Shady ravines of Jaunsar and Tehri-Garhwal.

Part used:—The root.

A perennial, more or less pubescent herb, Stems 2-3 ft., erect, usually branched. Leaves 6-12 in., alternate pinnately compound, the pinnules often with 3 leaflets; leaflets ovate-lanceolate, pointed, often lobed, deeply and sharply toothed. Flowers regular, scarcely 1/4 in. diam., white, crowded in short terminal racemes lengthening in fruit. Sepals 4, petal-like, concave, soon falling off. Petals 4, shorter than the sepals, clawed. Stamens numerous, longer than the sepals, anthers small. Ovary solitary, many-ovuled, stigma sessile, flat. Fruit a black ovoid, glabrous berry containing numerous small seeds. (Collett). The Baneberry of Britain. Hooker, f. and Thomson say that the berry is black in the European and Himalayan forms, white and red in the American.

Uses:—Stewart remarks regarding this plant:—"I have found no trace of its being used or dreaded" by the hill people on the Panjab Himalaya. It would be interesting to know whether this is correct; for it is curious that so useful a plant should have escaped the notice of the natives of India. Canadian doctors administer the root in snake-bite; and it is said to be attended with much success in the treatment of nervous diseases, rheumatic fever, chorea and lumbago. The berries were formerly used internally for asthma and scrofula, and externally for skin complaints. Baneberry Root is largely exported into Europe and used to adulterate the root of Helleborus niger. Mr. Frederick Stearns describes the root as violently purgative. (Watt).

27. Cimicifuga fœtida, Linn., I. 30.

From Latin cimex, a bug; fugare to drive away.

Vern:—Jiunti (Pb.).

Habitat:—Temperate Himalaya, from Bhotan to Gores and Kashmir; altitude 7-12,000 ft. Patarnala forest, Simla.

A perennial, more or less pubescent herb. Stems 3-6 ft., erect, leafy, branched. Leaves 6-18 in., pinnately compound; leaflets 1-3 in., rarely more, ovate or lanceolate, deeply and sharply toothed, terminal leaflet 3-lobed. Flowers nearly regular, hardly 1/4 in. diam., white, crowded in short or long racemes, solitary in the axils of the upper leaves, and combined in a terminal, sometimes large and spreading panicle. Sepals and petals 5-7 (no clear distinction between them), imbricate, ovate, concave; one or two of the inner ones deeply 2-lobed, the tips white, broad, notched. Stamens numerous, ultimately longer than the sepals. Ovaries 2-5, rarely more, many-ovuled, style short, stigma pointed. Follicles 1/3 in. long, flat, tipped with the persistent style. Seeds 6-8 (Collett).

Part used:—The root.

Uses:—The root is said to be poisonous. In Siberia, it is used to drive away bugs and fleas. "Under the name of a nearly allied plant (Actæa spicata), I have already referred to this plant, and I have done so chiefly with the view of attracting attention to these useful, but apparently neglected plants." (Watt).

Garrod in his Materia Medica, calls Cimicifuga racemosa, Linn., the Black Snake Root, and remarks that it is a remedy much used in America. He gives the dose of the tincture as 30 to 40 minims. He remarks:—"Its use is said to have been attended with much success in rheumatic fever, in chorea, and in lumbago, and in some forms of puerperal hypochondriasis.

There seems every reason to expect that the Indian species, which differs from C. racemosa only very slightly, will be found to possess all its medicinal virtues. C. racemosa is chiefly prescribed in the form of tincture and employed in rheumatic affections, dropsy, the early stage of phthisis, and chronic bronchial diseases. Externally, a strong tincture has recently been used to reduce inflammations. See (Year-Book of Pharmacy, 1872). The root contains a resinous active principle which has been termed Cimicifugin or Macrotin. In its action this drug resembles hellibore on the one hand, and colchicum on the other. It is most useful in acute rheumatism, and a powder of the root is perhaps the best mode in which to give the drug, in doses of 20 to 30 grains. (Royle's Mat. Med. by Harley.)

A poultice prepared from the fresh leaves is used here, and said to be very useful in rheumatic affection of joints (Surgn. Meadows, Barisal).

28. Pæonia Emodi, Wall., I. 30.

Syn:—Pæonia officinalis, Hf. and T.

Vern.:—Ud-sálap (H.); Bhuma-madiya, yet ghás (Bhut.); Mamekh (Pb.); Chandra, (the plant); Sujumiya (the young edible shoot) N-W. P.

Habitat:—West Temperate Himalaya, from Kumaon to Hazara. 5,000 to 10,000. In the upper Tons valley.

A glabrous perennial herb. Stems 1-2 ft., leafy, erect. Leaves alternate, 6-12 in. long; leaflets 3, usually 3-parted, segments lanceolate, pointed, entire. Flowers few, showy 3-4 in. across, long-stalked, usually solitary in the axils of the upper leaves. Buds globose. Sepals 5, orbicular, concave, green, persistent the outer ones ending in a leaf-like point. Petals 5-10, broadly ovate, concave, red or white. Stamens many. Ovaries 1-3, densely hairy, many-ovuled, seated on a fleshy disk; style short, broad, recurved. Follicles ovoid, 1 in. Seeds few, large, (Collett).

Dr. Dymock observes:—"The tubers are of the female Pæony of Dioscorides. It seems therefore that the male plant is distinct, and is called P. Corallina; the female is called P. Officinalis. (Vide Pharmaco. Ind. Vol. I., P. 17). The flowers are often pinkish.

In the Botanical Maganize for July 1st, 1868 Dr. Hooker writes:—

"In the "Flora Indica" Dr. Thomson and I referred the Himalayan Peonies to forms of P. Officinalis,—a conclusion little acceptable to some botanists, and not at all to gardeners. On reviewing the subject á propos of the present plant, I see no reason to alter my opinion that, as compared with the species of many other genera, the Himalayan ones may well be referred to forms or varieties of the European; but as they differ greatly in habit, colour, and those qualities that render them worthy of cultivation, as well as in some other points of a little more moment. I here keep one at any rate distinct. This is the P. Emodi of Wallich, a common temperate Himalayan plant from Kumaon to Kashmir which is easily recognised by its slender habit, white, subpanicled flowers, and solitary tomentose carpel; in this respect alone, of a solitary tomentose carpel, it differs from P. Albiflora, Willd. of Siberia; and in the tomentose carpel alone from a Kashmir one-carpelled plant, hitherto not distinguished from this, and which, therefore, differs from P. albiflora in the solitary carpel alone."

"* * Dr. More F.L.S. says of it that it is the most distinct of all the herbaceous Peonies, several of the flowers expanding together on the same stem, and being always monogynous. It is more tender than any other herbaceous species, and appears above ground a month earlier than these do."

Parts used:—The tubers; flowers; seeds and root.

Uses:—The tubers of this plant are highly esteemed as a medicine for uterine diseases, colic, bilious obstructions, dropsy, epilepsy, convulsions and hysteria. Ud sálap is generally given to children as a blood-purifier. It was a common belief in ancient times, and it is so even now among the peasantry of Europe, that pæony root, if worn by children round their necks, has the power of preventing epileptic attacks. If taken in full doses (60 grains), the drug produces headache, noise in the ears, confused vision and vomiting. (Dymock.) The infusion of the dried flowers is highly valued as a remedy for diarrhœa. Seeds are emetic and cathartic. (Watt).

According to Dr. Bellew, the root is in Booner, given to cattle to render them prolific; and in combination with other drugs, as the bruised leaves of Melia, is a favourite remedy for bruises, sprains, etc.

PLATE No. 1.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 1 - Clematis napaulensis.png

PLATE No. 2.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 2 - Clematis triloba.png

PLATE No. 3.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 3 - Clematis gouriana.png


Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 3A - Clematis gouriana.png


Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 4 - Thaliotrum foliolosum.png

PLATE No. 5.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 5 - Ranunculus scleratus.png

A—Ranunculus scleratus, linn.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 5 - Caltha palustris.png

B—Caltha palustris, linn.

PLATE No. 6.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 6 - Coptis teeta.png

PLATE No. 7.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 7 - Delphinium denudatum.png


Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 7 - Delphinium brunonianum.png


PLATE No. 8.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 8 - Delphinium cæruleum.png

PLATE No. 9.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 9 - Aconitum napellus.png

PLATE No. 10.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 10 - Aconitum soongaricum.png

PLATE No. 11.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 11 - Aconitum chasmanthum.png

PLATE No. 12.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 12 - Aconitum rotundifolium.png

PLATE No. 13.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 13 - Anemone discolor & Aconitum heterophyllum.png


PLATE No. 14.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 14 - Aconitum palmatum.png

PLATE No. 15.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 15 - Aconitum deinorrhizum.png

PLATE No. 16.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 16 - Aconitum balfourii.png

PLATE No. 17.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 17 - Aconitum falconeri.png

PLATE No. 18.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 18 - Aconitum spicatum.png

PLATE No. 19.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 19 - Aconitum laciniatum.png

PLATE No. 20.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 20 - Aconitum ferox.png

PLATE No. 21.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 21 - Aconitum lethale.png

PLATE No. 22.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 22 - Cimicifuga fœtida.png


PLATE No. 23.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 23 - Pæonia emodi.png