(Last Updated on : 13/10/2010)
Musali is quite a common Indian medicinal plant, widely used in ayurveda. Musali carries the botanical name Curculigo malabarica Wight. This plant is commonly recognized as `sadamusli` in West Bengal, the people of Gujarat call the herb `kalimusli`, and the local people of Tamil Nadu call `nilappanaikkilhangu` and in Sanskrit it is called `musali`.
Musali, Indian medicinal plant is a small, perennial herb with a long, stout, cylindrical rootstock and copious fleshy root fibres. The leaves of the herb are aroused from the base. They are 15 centimetres to 45 centimetres long and 1.3 centimetres to 2.5 centimetres wide, are linear or linear-lanceolate, smooth or sparsely hairy, plicate, apex acute, and are often bearing bulbils. The flowers of musali are small, bright yellow in colour and star-shaped. The flowers generally blossom on very short flattened scapes (stalks) just above the ground, hidden in the leaf sheath. Being hypogeous, the fruits are 1.3 centimetres long, generally carrying one to four seeds and are oblong, black, shiny, deeply grooved with wavy lines. In central India the plant appears during the rainy season, and the flowers are essentially blossomed between June and August and dies down during the cold season.
In India, the herb musali grows in the subtropical Himalayas from Kumaon in Uttar Pradesh, eastwards to Assam and in western regions of peninsular India from Konkan in Maharashtra, southwards to an altitude of about 2400 metre, on marshy sites, in rock crevices and on lateritic soils.
Ayurveda considers the rhizome (tuberous root) of musali as a reputed rejuvenative drug. This herb is reckoned as bitter, sweet, demulcent, diuretic, tonic and aphrodisiac. It is used in the treatment of sprue, piles and blood disorders; sometimes as a tonic, and also in the form of a poultice for treating skin diseases and relieving itches. The powdered rhizome is often taken with milk to treat impotence and it proves to be effective. In Unani, this herb serves as an aphrodisiac and for treating diabetes, leucoderma and wasting diseases. The dried, powdered or fresh and crushed rhizome is applied to bring a healing effect in cuts and wounds. A decoction of the pounded rhizome along with crushed ajwain (fruits of Trachyspermum ammi: Umbelliferae) is supposedly given to the children suffering from unconsciousness. Among the Bondos of southern Orissa, the root paste, mixed with salt, is applied externally to relieve boils. In combination with aromatics and bitters musali also brings healing outcome to the patients who are suffering from piles, jaundice, asthma and diarrhoea. Among the tribal inhabitants of eastern Bihar, the dried, powdered tuber is given orally to promote the healing of leucorrhoea. It is also believed that the chewing of one tuber daily acts as the preventive of diarrhoea.