2126 J. Med. Plant. Res.than the opposite leaf. The primary opposite decussateorientation of leaves and branches is limited only to themost terminal shoots. The rootstock is stout, fusiform,woody, tapering, light yellow, brown or brownish grey incolour. The root is about 30 to 50 cm deep in soil. Thedistal part of shoot which bears the compositeinflorescence stalk usually dies out after fruiting and thustriggers the emergence of new branches during thesubsequent growing season.The cluster of monochasial cymes borne on pedunclesis terminal in position and limits the growth of axialshoots. The inflorescence buds are arranged in anumble. The flowers are small (2.5 to 3 mm) shortlystalked and light to dark pinkish in colour and herma-phrodite. The stamens are 3, pinkish, slightly exerted withtwo unequal lobes of anther. Ovarial part is about 0.5 to 1mm long, with glandular secreting trichomes. The pistilsmay be equal, larger or shorter than the stamens. Thepistils are light pink with a large flattened disc shapedstigma. The fruit is an achene, 3 to 4 mm long, detach-able, ovate, oblong, pubescent, five-ribbed and viscid onthe ribs (Fig. 1 A- F). The seed coat is so thin that theposition of embryo can be seen easily (Anonymous,1999; Chaudhary, 2010).Different parts of punarnava have almost similar taste,however red and white land races of
are bitterin taste. Edible parts of
are leaves, seeds androots. Leaves and seeds are cooked but sometimes itcan be ground into a powder and added to cereals whenmaking bread, cakes etc. while roots are rich in carbo-hydrate and protein used in baked form (Anonymous,1999).
has a long history of medicinal use inthe Ayurveda and Unani forms of medicine.
Differentplant parts used as an appetizer, alexiteric, eye tonic,flushing out the renal system, to treat seminal weaknessand blood pressure and so on. Seeds are used as tonic,expectorant, carminative lumbago, scabies, scorpion-sting, blood purifier, and useful in muscular pain. Its rootsare used in treating jaundice, ascites, anasarca, sentryurine, internal inflammations, asthma, piles, the plain juice used as an antidote for rat-poisoning (Gupta et al.,1962; Gaitonde et al., 1974; Nadkarni, 1976; Anand,1995; Mitra and Gupta, 1997; Mudgal, 1975; Shah et al.,1983; Jain and Khanna, 1989; Khare, 2004; Singh andDey, 2005).In Brazil the plant as a whole or its extracts is used foralbuminuria, beri-beri, bile insufficiency, cystitis, edema,gallstones, gonorrhea, guinea worms, hepatitis,hypertension, jaundice, kidney disorders, kidney stones,liver disorders, liver support, nephritis, renal disorders,sclerosis (liver), snakebite, spleen (enlarged), urinarydisorders, urinary retention and gallbladder problems(Cruz, 1995). In Guatemala it is used
for erysipelas,guinea worms (Taylor, 2005) while in Iran it is used
forabdominal pain, anemia, ascites, asthma, bloodpurification, cancer, cataracts, childbirth, cholera,constipation, cough, debility, digestive sluggishness,dropsy, dyspepsia, edema, eye problems, fever,gonorrhea, guinea worms, heart ailments, heart disease,hemorrhages (childbirth), hemorrhages (thoracic),hemorrhoids, inflammation (internal), internal parasites, jaundice, kidney disorders, kidney stones, lactation aid,liver disorders, liver support, menstrual disorders, renalinsufficiency, rheumatism, snakebite, spleen (enlarged),urinary disorders, weakness, and as a diuretic andexpectorant. In Iraq it is used
for oedema, gonorrhea,hives, intestinal gas, jaundice, joint pain, lumbago,nephritis, and as an appetite stimulant, diuretic andexpectorant. In Nigeria, it is used
for abscesses, asthma,boils, convulsions, epilepsy, fever, guinea worms, and asan expectorant and laxative. In West Africa it is used
forabortion, guinea worms, menstrual irregularities, and asan aphrodisiac. In tropical Africa the boiled roots areapplied to ulcers, abscesses and to assist in theextraction of Guinea worm. The boiled roots and leavesare considered expectorant and febrifuge, and in largedoses emetic. A decoction of the aerial parts is also takento treat gastro-intestinal pains, convulsions, intestinalworms and to regulate menstruation. In Mauritania theseeds are ground and made into cakes which are cookedand eaten as a remedy for dysentery. (Whitehouse, 1996;Burkill, 1997; Neuwinger, 2000; Database entry for ErvaTostao - Boerhaavia diffusa - htm; www. rain-tree.com;www.allayurveda.com/herb;
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF
contains a large number of compounds such asflavonoids, alkaloids, steroids, triterpenoids, lipids,lignins, carbohydrates, proteins, and glycoproteins.potassium nitrate (Chopra et al., 1923), hypoxanthine 9-L-arabinofuranoside (Ahmad and Hossain, 1968), ursolicacid (Mishra and Tiwari, 1971), Punarnavine (Surangeand Pendse, 1972), a glycoprotein (Verma and Awasthi,1979), punarnavoside (Jain and Khanna, 1989),boeravinone A-F (Lami et al., 1990,1992), liirodendrin(Aftab et al., 1996), caffeoyltartaric acid (Ferreres et al.,2005), boeravinone G and H (Borrelli et al., 2005),quercetin and kaempferol (Pereira et al., 2009). The herbcontains 15 amino acids such as argenine (total aminoacid in herb 0.47% and in root 0.75%), alanine(totalamino acid in herb 0.88% and in root 1.18%), asparticacid (total amino acid in herb 0.69% and in root 0.95%),methioine (total amino acid in herb 0.41% and in root0.45%), leucine (total amino acid in herb 0.67% and inroot 0.88%), phenylalanine (total amino acid inherb0.52% and in root 0.71%), proline (total amino acid in