Habitat Throughout India and the Andamans

Folk ► Meradu, Maraad, Negali (Maharashtra). Maraad (Nepal).

Action ► Root—antiasthmatic; used as a substitute for Senega obtained from the American plant Polygala senega. (In Chinese medicine Senega refers to P. tenuifolia Willd.)

Key application ► Senega Root— in productive cough, catarrh of the respiratory tract and chronic bronchitis. (German Commission E, ESCOP, WHO.)

Senega yielded lactonic lignans, their glycosides and flavonol glycosides. The root gave arctiin, afzelin,

Polygonatum cirrhifolium (Wall.) Royle.

myricitrin and rutin. A triterpenic saponin was also obtained from the plant. The root contains salicylic acid, methyl salicylate and senegin (a sapo-nin mixture).

Senega is used for chronic bronchitis, catarrh, asthma and croup, as an infusion.

Related species are: P. chinesis Linn., synonym P. glomerata Lour; P. tele-phioides Willd., synonym P. brachys-tachya DC. non-Bl., found throughout the plains of India. Both the plants are used as expectorant, antiasthmatic and anticatarrhal.

Toxic constituents of Polygala senega root are: triterpene saponins—6-16% senegasaponins A-D with agly-cone presenegenin or senegin. Sapo-nins irritate GI tract mucosa and cause reflex secretion of mucous in the bronchioles.

A French patent is used against graft rejection, eczema and multiple sclerosis as an anti-inflammatory drug.

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