Habitat ► Indigenous to the northern parts of southern Europe, Central and East-Central Europe; cultivated in the United States. A related sp., Asarum himalaicum, synonym A. canadense, is reported from the eastern Himalayas.
English ► Asarbacca, Hazelwort, Wild Nard.
Unani ► Asaaroon, Subul-e-Barri, Naardeen-Barri.
Folk ► Tagar Ganthodaa.
Action ► Brain and nervine tonic, diuretic, deobstructant and anti-inflammatory; used in bronchial spasm and in preparations of cephalic snuffs.
The volatile oil (0.7-4%) consists of asarone up to 50%, asaraldehyde 2-3%, methyleugenol 15-20%, with bornyl acetate, terpenes and sesquiterpenes. Asarone and its beta-isomer is found to be carcinogenic in animals. The rhizome, in addition, contains caffeic acid derivatives and flavonoids.
A related sp., Asarum canadense L., indigenous to North America and China, contains a volatile oil (3.5-
Family ► Asclepiadaceae.
Habitat ► Naturalized in many parts of India as an ornamental.
English ► Curassavian Swallow-Wort, West Indian Ipecacuanha, Blood-Flower.
Ayurvedic ► Kaakanaasikaa (substitute).
Folk ► Kaakatundi (Kashmir).
Action ► Spasmogenic, cardiotonic, cytotoxic, antihaemorrhagic, styptic, antibacterial. Various plant parts, as also plant latex, are used against warts and cancer. Root—used as an astringent in piles. Leaves—juice, antidysenteric, also used against haemorrhages. Flowers—juice, styptic. Alcoholic extract of the plant—cardiotonic.
An alcoholic extract of the Indian plant has been reported to contain a number of cardenolides, including calactin, calotropin, calotropagenin, coroglaucigenin, uzarigenin, asclepin, its glucosides and uzarin. Asclepin, the chief active principle, is spasmogenic and a cardiac tonic, having longer duration of action than digoxin (96 h in cat, as opposed to the 72 h of digoxin). Calotropin exhibits cytotoxic activity.
68 Asparagus adscendens Roxb.
Pleurisy root of the U.S. is equated with Asclepias tuberosa. It is used for cold, flu and bronchitis in Western herbal medicine.
Toxic principles of the herb include galitoxin and similar resins, and glu-cofrugoside (cardenolide). Toxicity is reduced by drying.
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