(Last Updated on : 18/01/2014)
Sugandhi plants are usually found in the regions of open deciduous and scrub forests, hedges and on degraded sites from the upper Gangetic plains
of northern India eastwards to Assam
and southwards through peninsular India. Botanical name of this medicinal plant is Hemidesmus indicus
. Sugandhi plant has a number of common names, such as in Bengali
it is known as Anantamul and Anatomul, in English it is known as False Sarsaparilla and Indian Sarsaparilla, in Urdu
it is popular as Aushbah and Aushba-hemaghrabi. In Sanskrit
, too, this medicinal plant has several common names, like Ananta
Morphology of Sugandhi
Sugandhi plant is a slender, twining or prostrate perennial shrub with cylindrical stems. These plants are thickened at the nodes and bear aromatic roots. Leaves of this Indian medicinal plant are simple, opposite or whorled with a short-petiole and are variable in shape. They are 3 to 10 centimetres long and 0.3 to 3.8 centimetres wide, rounded, leathery and dark green in colour. The flowers are small usually of 0.6 to 0.8 centimetres in diameter. These are greenish-yellow to its outside and purple to the inner side and are shorter than the leaves. The fruits of Sugandhi are purple in colour. These are 10 to 12 centimetres long and 0.5 to 0.6 centimetres wide containing numerous black, flattened ovate-oblong seeds with a silvery-white coma.
Medicinal Uses of Sugandhi
Sugandhi plants are important for its medicinal values. The root and root bark of this plant are considered as tonic, alterative, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic and blood-purifying. They are used for the preparation of several well known Ayurvedic medicines for the treatment of bowel complaints, elephantiasis, fever
, nausea, syphilis
and vomiting. The medicines prepared from these plants are also prescribed for anorexia, dyspepsia
, chronic rheumatism, skin diseases, gravel and several other urinary diseases
. It is also effective as anti-miscarriage, diuretic, anti-inflammatory and vulnerary. It also cleanses the blood toxins and soothes skin irritations and rashes.
In some parts of India, the root paste of Sugandhi is applied to the forehead to reduce fever whereas in some other regions people apply the crushed root externally to get relief from itching. Its decoction is used to control excessive menstrual flow
or mixed with mother's milk to check diarrhoea
in infants. The powdered root, mixed with the stem bark of Svzvgium cumini
(Myrtaceae), is taken by several tribal inhabitants soon after childbirth to increase lactation. People in some other parts take the root extract with arrack for the same purpose. A hot infusion of the root bark with milk and sugar is given to children to cure chronic cough and diarrhoea. The plant extract is also useful in treating high blood pressure
, epileptic seizures
, asthma, bronchitis
and immune disorders. The roots of the plants help in relieving stress by rendering a sensation of tranquillity and relaxation.