Heracleum rigens Wallichis is a South Indian medicinal plant, widespread in southern peninsular India, Western Ghats, interior districts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In Karnataka it is popularly called Gaalibeeja. Apart from these in Indian traditional sciences Heracleum rigens Wallichis is recognised by different names. For instance in Ayurveda it is known as Sukshma ela while in Siddha it is called Cittrelam.
This sub-erect hispid herb grows up to 1 m height with stout, aromatic roots. Lower leaves are pinnately compound and leaflets rounded at apex. The margins of Heracleum rigens Wallichis leaves are crenate-serrate and the upper leaves are simple. The white or yellow flowers of Heracleum rigens Wallichis grow in umbels numbering 10 to 30 in a single ray. The arrangement is of involucres that are composed of several linear-lanceolate hirsute and caducous bracts, and involucels of several bracteoles. The outer petals of Heracleum rigens Wallichis are sometimes larger than inner along with the calyx lobes.
The fruit or schizocarp of Gaalibeeja is elliptic to obovate, which are 8-10 mm in length and 5-7 mm width. The mericarps are seen with winged lateral ribs and filiform dorsal ribs. The seed oil of Heracleum rigens Wallichis is used to treat urinary disorders, wasting diseases, hyperacidity, pruritis, cardiac diseases, wounds, abdominal disorders and vomiting. This Indian medicinal plant is also used for treating stomach ache, constipation, headache, diarrhoea, gastric disorders and indigestion.
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(Last Updated on : 07-12-2013)