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16
INDIAN MEDICINAL PLANTS.

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. h.f.br.i. 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