(Last Updated on : 10/12/2013)
Indrayava is a medicinal herb, commonly known as 'Indrajab' or 'Dudhi'. It carries the Botanical name of Chonemorpha antidvsenterica. This plant is also known as 'Kodaga' in Maharashtra, 'Kerwar' in Punjab, 'Kherwa' in Orissa. It is found profusely almost throughout tropical India to an altitude of 1000 metre, often forests especially in northern India in the sub-Himalayan tract. This is a very hardy species of plant and basically grows on deforested sites. It is also cultivated as a roadside and ornamental tree for its beautiful flowers. This is a useful species for reforestation of degraded lands.
Indrayava is a deciduous shrub or small tree up to 12 metre tall. The plant contains rough, pale brown or greenish bark that peels off in irregular flakes. The leaves are opposite, subsessile, elliptic or ovate-oblong, 10 centimetres 30 centimetres long and 5 centimetres to 12 centimetres wide, membranous, glabrous or pubescent. The flowers are white in colour and fragrant. This plant grows in profusion in terminal corymbose cymes 7.5 centimetres to 15 centimetres long; pedicels are slender; bracts are small, lanceolate, pubescent and ciliate. The calyx lobes are 2.5-3 mm long, oblong-lanceolate, acute and ciliate. The corolla tube is 8-13 mm long, throat is hairy inside, and lobes are about as long as the tube, oblong, rounded at apex, more or less pubescent. The fruits or follicles are parallel, cylindrical, 15 centimetres to 45 centimetres long and 0.5 centimetres to 1 centimetres in diameter, usually with long, white spots. The fruit contains 25 to 30 seeds, are light brown in colour, narrowly linear-oblong and are 0.8 centimetres to 1.3 centimetres long. This plant is generally found in northern and central India. The flowers blossom between February and July just before appearance of new leaves, and often again from September to November. The fruits get ripen in January-February.
In Ayurveda, Indrayava plant is the species which is most widely accepted as a source of the drug 'Kutajah'. The root bark and seeds of Indrajab plant are used to treat chronic dysentery and diarrhoea. The bark of the plant is also used in the compound preparations of 'Kutajabaleha' and 'Kutajaarista', the prescribed medicines for dysentery, liver ailments and uterine discharge. The powdered root works as a curative medicine for dysentery among the Bondos of southern Orissa. The tribal inhabitants of southern Bihar use the powdered bark as an anthelmintic. A paste prepared from the ground root in water is used as an external rub as a remedy for rheumatic pain, gout and paralysis by the Asurs in Bihar.
The seeds of Indrayava plant are considered as having astringent, febrifugal, anthelmintic, antiperiodic and carminative properties. The tribal inhabitants of western Maharashtra consume raw seeds as an antitetanic. The decoction of the seeds works as therapeutic for relieving chronic dysentery, bleeding piles, intestinal worms and fever. The powdered seeds are mixed with honey and this mixture is taken as a treatment for chronic chest complaints, asthma and to relieve colic pain. The seeds play a major role as an ingredient in Ayurvedic prescriptions for flatulence, jaundice, piles and worms.
The stem bark of Indrayava plant has astringent, ant dysenteric, anthelmintic, stomachic, febrifugal and tonic properties. It is used for the treatment of amoebic dysentery and diarrhoea, usually administered as a decoction. The bark of Indrayava is used alone in the form of a decoction or in combination with other astringent drugs in the treatment of piles, dyspepsia, colic and in other symptoms. This decoction also serves as a remedy for skin and spleen diseases. The Agaris and Bhils of Maharashtra, to treat asthma, use the powdered bark. The Santhalis in southern Bihar use the decoction of the stem bark of Indrayava orally to treat coughs and colds. The Gonds of Uttar Pradesh often use the powdered stem bark as a treatment for swelling of the body, and its decoction for relief of malarial fever. A hot decoction of the bark is used as a gargle to relieve toothache.
The leaves of the Indrayava plant are used as therapeutic of chronic bronchitis and for relieving boils and ulcers. A powder prepared from the roots and leaves is used to stop hemorrhages after childbirth and to control nosebleeds. The people of Rajasthan consume the flowers as a cooked vegetable to relieve coughs and colds. The inhabitants of Orissa use the latex of the plant externally to treat eczema and other skin diseases.