(Last Updated on : 07-12-2013)
Botanically known as Sarcostemma acidum, Soumya is widely distributed in the dry and rocky habitats of India. These Indian medicinal plants are found abundantly in the regions of Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala upto an elevation of 900 metres. Soumya has several common names like Soma and Somlata in Bengali and Hindi, Somvel in Gujarati, and Soma, Somavalli and Soumya in Sanskrit; Hambu Kalli, Somalata, Soma Lathe, Vasukani in Kannada; Somam, Somavalli, Vayastha in Malayalam; Ransher, Somvel in Marathi; Borohwi, Notasiju, Somo-lata in Oriya; Kodikkalli, Kondapala, Somam in Tamil and Jigatsumoodoo, Kondapala, Pal-Makashtamu, Somalata in Telugu.
Soumya medicinal plant is a leafless jointed shrub. It is about 1 m tall with green irregular branches. The flowers of this plant are white or pale greenish-white with a fragrant smell. The fruits or follicles of this medicinal plant are thinly coriaceous, straight and tapering at both ends. These are 10 cms to 12 cms long which contain flat and ovate seeds in it.
A number of medicines are prepared from Soumya plant parts for the treatment of different diseases. In some parts of India, a dilute extract of the whole plant is used internally to cure rheumatic pains whereas in some other parts of India an aqueous extract of the stem is given orally for the treatment of bone fractures. The dried stem is also used as an emetic. An infusion of the roots is reportedly given to persons bitten by rabid dogs. The stem of Soumya plants is sometimes used as for the treatment of dyspnoea disease in Ayurveda. Apart from this medicinal plant it is also used for the treatment of cardiac diseases, fever, cold, oedema, mental disorders and as a rejuvenator. However, this is a very strong drug and should be used only under the supervision of doctors.
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