August 25, 2012

Medicinal Plant 5

YONGCHAK botanically known as Parkia roxburghii (F. mimosaceae) is a tropical tall tree. Fruits and pods are eaten as one of the favourite delicacies in Manipur either cooked/roasted/raw. The plant grows abundantly in the foothills of the state as well as in the backyard of houses in the valley. The leaves are bipinnate with numerous small curved leaflets and flowers in dense turbinate heads hanging on long peduncles. The fruit comprises bunches of green pods which may be upto 50cm in length. On maturation, the pods turn black and contain yellow dry powder pulp in which are embedded several black seeds. Pods and seeds are used for stomach disorders. The decoction of leaves is applied to cure sores and skin infections. The concoction made from bark is used to cure skin infection.
Parkia roxburghii
UMOROK (Capsicum chinense), the traditional crop of Manipur, is giving importance in the scientific community as it was reported in the recent past to be the hottest chilli in the world. Besides, Manipur, the crop is also traditionally cultivated in Nagaland which is known as ‘Naga King chilli’, in Assam popularly known as ‘Bhoot Jolokia’ and also in other North-eastern States of India. It is reported that the tremendous hot flavour of chillies is due to the presence of a group of seven closely related compounds called capsaicinoids, but capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) and dihydrocapsaicin are responsible for approx. 90% of the pungency. Capsaicin, the active component of chili peppers, has the ability to dilate blood vessels thus giving relief in chronic congestions. It also helps to cure cough and sore throat. It stimulates the secretion of saliva and gastric juice. Clinical reports also indicate that capsaicin can protect the mucous membrane of the intestine from mechanical and chemical damage. Use of chilli leaves for ailments such as boils, headache and night blindness have also been reported.
Capsicum chinense

August 23, 2012

Medicinal plants 4

PERUK (Indian Pennywort) botanically known as Centella asiatica of Apiaceae family is a slender creeping plant. It is little bitter in taste when boiled/steamed. Whole plant when boiled is used in popular cuisine known as ‘peruk kangsu’. The leaves are taken raw for its amazing medical properties. Since ancient times the plant is traditional used for various pathological disorders and in particular for the healing of wounds. It is also recommended in chronic diseases. Leaves have found application in clinical practice for dermatological disorders and in particular for improving the healing process of wounds, burns, skin and vein ulcers. Juice of aerial parts is used as a brain tonic; powder of aerial portion is taken to control high blood pressure; whole plant is used as diuretic; plant paste is applied as a poultice in case of bone fracture. Today preparations of C. asiatica leaves constitute the active principle of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products for the treatment of venous and skin disorders.
Centella asiatica
HAWAI MUBI (broad bean/fava bean) botanically known as Vicia faba (Fabaceae) is used as a vegetable. It grows in a long pod and is one of the important winter crops for human consumption in Manipur. The popular dishes of faba bean in Manipur include hawai mubi ‘kangsoi’ (stewed beans) and serves as an ideal culinary ingredient in ‘yongchak aloo eromba’. In literature, it is reported that feeding value of faba bean is high, and is considered in some areas to be superior to other legumes. The seedpods are diuretic, expectorant, or tonic. Studies reveal that fava beans are linked to Parkinson’s disease for it contains levodopa. Levodopa (L-Dopa) is the major ingredient for drugs used for treating Parkinson’s disease. It includes Sinemet, Madopar, Dopar and Larodopa. It is not just the beans itself that contains L-Dopa. As a matter of fact, the entire plant contains levodopa. It can be found in its stems, leaves, pod and even immature beans.
Vicia faba

IKAITHABI commonly known as Water mimosa (Neptunia oleracea) belonging to Mimisaceae) is a long-lived aquatic plant which is cultivated as a vegetable. It has mimosa-like leaves that close up when touched. It grows in shallow water and has thick taproot that becomes woody with age and produces stems up to 1.5 m long which may become detached. The older floating stems develop a thick spongy covering which aids with flotation and they also produce roots at their joints. The young stems are eaten raw as vegetable salad ‘singsu’ and shoots (after removing the spongy covering) are cooked for ‘eronba’. Fresh leaf juice is taken as refrigerant and astringent. Stem juice is poured into ear to get relief from earache. Eaten raw in dysentery and intestinal infections. Whole plant is used in syphilis, dipsia, burning sensation, diarrhoea, strangury and helminthiasis.
Neptunia oleracea