Etymology of Cow-Foot Leaf Plant
The plant is called so owing to its hoof-shaped large leaves. However, some varieties of the plant are also known as "monkey's hand".
Anatomy of Cow-Foot Leaf Plant
Cow-Foot Leaf plant grows to a height of about 1 to 2 meters. It has membranaceous leaves having prominent glandular black or brown dots on them. These are broadly ovate to suborbicular-ovate in shape with a length of 17-37 centimetres and width of 15-32 centimetres. The leaves are multiplinerved and equilaterally deeply heart-shaped with a subpeltate base. They have pointed tips and ciliated margins. The surfaces of the leaves are also hairy. Stalks of the leaves are quite long, about 11.5-27.5 centimetres, and more or less hairy. The plants have numerous inflorescences with stalked flowers known as spikes. These spikes are axillary, umbellate and hermaphroditic in nature. Rachis or the main axis of the plant is smooth. Bracts are peltate and stalked and have a length of about 1 millimetre. Fruit of the plant is obovoid-trigonous with a width of 0.5 millimetre diameter and 0.75-1 millimetre long. It is glandular in shape with umbonate and truncate apex. Stigmas of Cow-Foot Leaf plant are cuspidate. Stamens have short stalks and are 0.2 millimetres long.
Medicinal Uses of Cow-Foot Leaf Plant
This Indian plant is used for a number of medicinal purposes. The leaves of Cow-Foot Leaf plant are used extensively to combat pain and inflammation. Thus, they prove very effective in relieving headache and soothing joint aches. They are also effective in curing muscle spasms and stomach pains. Fresh leaves of this plant are also applied in abscesses. The leaf juice when applied to eyes is also remedial for conjunctivitis. Diseases caused by tapeworms are also treated by Cow-Foot Leaf plant. The plants also act as antiscorbutic and diuretic. This leaf is also extensively used in Jamaica to fight pain and inflammation.