Family Gramineae Poaceae

Habitat ► The western Himalayas and Kashmir at altitudes between 2,700 and 3,600 m.

English ► Couch grass, dog grass, wheat grass.

Action ► Demulcent (used in cystitis, nephritis), aperient,

Ailanthus glandulosa Desf. 27

diuretic and urinary antiseptic, anticholesterolaemic.

Key application ► In irrigation therapy for inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract and for the prevention of kidney gravel. (German Commission E, The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.) It is contraindicated in oedema due to cardiac or renal insufficiency.

The juice of rhizomes is used for cystitis, nephritis, scirrhous liver; decoction for tonsils and as an adjuvant for cancer; also used for gout and rheumatism, and chronic skin disorders.

The rhizome contains triticin, a carbohydrate allied to starch, a fruc-tosan polysaccharide, inositol, manni-tol; volatile oil up to about 0.05%, consisting mainly of agropyrene; vanillin glucoside; mucilage, gum, large quantities of silica; iron, minerals, vitamins, K salt. Agropyrene is reported to have broad antibiotic properties. Extracts show uric acid solvent properties. Agropyrene is antifungal.

Action ► Bark—bitter, astringent, febrifuge, anthelminitic, antispas-modic, expectorant (used in asthma, bronchitis). Also used for dysentery as a substitute for Holarrhena antidysenterica.

Bark and leaves—used as tonic in debility, especially after childbirth. Leaves—used as adulterant for Ad-hatoda zeylanica leaves.

Along with other therapeutic applications, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India indicates the use of stembark in high fevers and giddiness.

The bark contains several quassi-noids including ailanthone derivatives. They exhibit antitumour activity against P-388 lymphocytic leukaemia and are cytotoxic against KB test system.

Dosage ► Stembark—1-3 g (API Vol. III.) Decoction—50-100 ml. (CCRAS.)

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