Gelidium amansii Kutz

Family ► Ericaceae.

Habitat ► Central and Eastern Himalayas, Khasi Hills, Western Ghats, the Nilgiris and Travancore.

English ► Fragrant Wintergreen, Indian Wintergreen. (Wintergreen oil is obtained from G. procumbens Linn., a native of America.)

Ayurvedic ► Gandhapuura, Gandha-puurna.

Siddha/Tamil ► Kolakkaai.

Action ► Leaves—stimulant, carminative, diuretic, antiseptic. Oil (in the form of liniment or ointment)— applied externally in rheumatism, sciatica and neuralgia. The plant is strongly irritant.

The leaves gave hyperoside (quer-cetin-3-galactoside), ursolic acid, beta-sitosterol and essential oil containing methyl salicylate as a major constituent. The yield of oil from Assam plants contains 99.14% methyl salicylate. Heptyl aldehyde, present in the low boiling fraction of the oil, brought

Family ► Gelidaceae, Rhodophyceae.

Habitat ► Indigenous to Japan.

English ► Agar Agar, Japanese Isinglass. (Dried mucilaginous extract.)

Action ► Bulk-laxative. Agar-Agar does not increase peristaltic action. Its action is similar to that of cellulose of vegetable foods which aids the regularity of the bowel movement. (Often made into an emulsion with liquid paraffin for use in constipation.)

Most agars consist of two major polygalactoses, the neutral agarose and the sulphonated polysaccharide agaropectin, with traces of amino acids and free sugars.

Agar contains a large amount of pectin which may precipitate when exposed to alcohol. (Sharon M Herr.)

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