Dictamnus albus Linn

Family ► Rutaceae.

Habitat ► Western Himalayas from Kashmir to Kunawar, common in Pangi.

English ► Gas Plant, Dittany, Burning Bush.

Action ► Root bark—used in nervous diseases, hysteria, intermittent fevers, urinogenital disorders, and amenorrhoea; a decoction for scabies and other skin affections. Toxic.

Dittany stimulates the muscles of the uterus, while its effect on the gastro-intestinal tract is antispasmod-ic, it relaxes the gut. (The plant is used in Greek folk medicine as anti-spasmodic.) The herb contains furo-quinoline alkaloids (including dictam-nine), furococumarins, limonoids, and flavonoids (including rutin).

Volatile oil contains estragol, anet-hole, and a toxic alkaloid dictamnine. Flowers yield 0.05% essential oil containing methylchavicol and anethole. Leaves yield 0.15% essential oil.

Synonym ► D. macrophylla auct. non-Wall. ex D. Don.

Family ► Gesneriaceae.

Habitat ► Sub-tropical Himalaya from Himachal Pradesh to Aruna-chal Pradesh at 500-2,500 m.

Ayurvedic ► Kshudra-Paashaana-bheda, Shilaa-valkaa, Shilaa-pushpa.

Action ► Leaf—antilithic. Used for stones in kidney and bladder.

The leaves contain a number of chal-cones, quinochalcones and flavanones. Pediflavone has also been isolated from young leaves.

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