Myrtus communis Linn

Family ► Myrsinaceae.

Habitat ► Outer Himalayas from Kashmir to Nepal and in Khasi Hills at 300-2,700 m.

Ayurvedic ► Vaayavidanga (substitute). (Embelia ribes is the authentic source of Vidanga.)

Folk ► Bebrang (Punjab), Kakhum, Shamshaad (according to Unani reference books, Shamshaad is obtained from a Pinaceae tree).

Action ► Fruit—anthelmintic (used for the expulsion of tape worms; also as a substitute for Emblia ribes); antispasmodic, purgative; used externally against ringworm and other skin affections. Aerial parts—antifertility, abortifacient. (According to Unani medicine, the fruits of Shamshaad show antifertility activity in females.)

Berries and seeds contain embelic acid and quercitol (1%). Embelin (3%)

Family ► Myrtaceae.

Habitat ► Cultivated in gardens of Northwestern India and Tamil Nadu.

English ► Myrtle, Clove Myrtle, Spanish Myrtle.

Folk ► Vilaayati Mehndi. Sutrasowa (Bengal). Kulinaval (Tamil Nadu).

Action ► Leaves—antiseptic, antimicrobial, antiparasitic. Used for acute and chronic respiratory tract infections, bladder conditions, urinary infections, and worm infestation.

Key application ► As a cough remedy. (German Commission E.)

The leaves contain tannins (pyrogal-lol derivative), flavonoids (including myricetin, about 90%, with kaempfer-ol and quercetin glycosides; volatile oil containing alpha-pinene, cineole, myrtenol, nerol, geraniol and dipen-tene.

Myxopyrum serratulum A. W. Hill. 431

Myrtol, a fraction of myrtenol, is absorbed in the intestines, stimulates the mucous membrance of the stomach and deodorizes the breath.

Berry exhibits anti-inflammatory activity. The aqueous and ethanolic extracts of the leaves and branches exhibit hypoglycaemic activity in rats.

The essential oil and myrtucommu-lone B, isolated from the plant, are antibacterial and antitubercular. (Clove myrtle is used in Homoeopathy for treating lung complication of pleuro-dynia and dry hollow cough.)

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