Family ► Menispermaceae.
Habitat ► Indigenous to south-east tropical Africa. Imported into India.
English ► Calumba, Colombo.
Ayurvedic ► Kalambaka. (Coscinium fenestratum Colebr., known as False calumba, is used as a substitute for J. palmata.)
Jatropha glandulifera Roxb. 345
Siddha/Tamil ► Kolumbu.
Action ► Root—bitter tonic without astringency, carminative, gastric tonic, antiflatulent, hyptotensive, orexigenic, uterine stimulant, sedative. Used in anorexia, poor digestion, hypochlorhydria, amoebic dysentery and menstrual disorders. Antifungal.
Key application ► As appetite stimulant. (The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)
The root gave isoquinoline alkaloids 2-3%; palmatine, jaterorrhizine and its dimer bis-jateorrhizine, columbamine; bitters (including chasmanthin and palmanin). Volatile oil contains thymol.
The alkaloid jateorrhizine is sedative, hypotensive. Palmatine is a uterine stimulant.
As calumba contains very little volatile oil and no tannins, it is free from as-tringency which is common with other bitter herbs.
The root alkaloids exhibit narcotic properties and side effects similar to morphine. It is no longer used (in Western herbal) as a digestive aid, and is rarely used as an antidiarrhoeal agent. (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.)
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