English Desert Date

Balanophora involucrata Hook. f.

Ayurvedic ► Ingudi, Angaar Vrksha, Taapasadrum, Taapasa vrksha, Dirghkantaka.

Siddha/Tamil ► Nanjunda.

Folk ► Hingol, Hingota, Hingothaa.

Action ► Seed—expectorant, bechic. Oil—antibacterial, antifungal. Fruit—used in whooping cough; also in leucoderma and other skin diseases. Bark—spasmolytic.

The plant is reported to be a potential source of diosgenin (used in oral contraceptives). The fruit pulp contains steroidal saponins. The dios-genin content of the fruit varies from 0.3 to 3.8%. Aqueous extract of fruits showed spermicidal activity without local vaginal irritation in human up to 4%; sperms became sluggish on contact with the plant extract and then became immobile within 30 s; the effect was concentration-related.

Protracted administration of the fruit pulp extract produced hypergly-caemia-induced testicular dysfunction in dogs. An aqueous extract of meso-carp exhibited antidiabetic activity in streptozotocin-induced diabetes in mice.

The seed contains balanitins, which exhibit cytostatic activity.

Dosage ► Leaf, seed, bark, fruit— 50-100 ml decoction. (CCRAS.)

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