Unani Naagphani

Siddha/Tamil ► Sappathikalli, Nagathali.

Action ► Leaves—applied as poultice to allay inflammation and heat. Fruit—baked and given in whooping cough.

Dried or fresh flowers of cactus (opuntia series)—astringent and haemostatic. An infusion is given in irritable bowel, mucous colitis, and prostatitis. Ash of the aerial portion, mixed with sugar candy, is given for 21 days for birth control in tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh.

The Plant is recommended for growing in high pollution zones for abating sulphur dioxide pollution.

Pods contain a polysaccharide, ar-binogalactan. Betanin has been isolated from ripe fruits. Flowers contain the glycosides of isorhamnetin and quer-cetin, with smal amounts of the free flavonols.

Opuntia ficus-indica (Linn.) Mill., known as Prickly Pear or Indian Fig, is a spineless cactus, mostly cultivated in Indian gardens. Ripe fruits are nutritious. Flowers are astringent and reduce bleeding; used for diarrhoea and irritable bowel syndrome; also for enlarged prostate. The flower decoction exhibits a strong diuretic effect.

The cladodes are used as a topical anti-inflammatory remedy for oedemata and arthrosis, as regulators of smooth muscles in the treatment of whooping cough and as anti-infective agent.

The stem or their crude preparations showed hypoglycaemic effect in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mel-litus patients (irrespective of its being heated or blended during preparation).

Neobetanin (14,15-dehydro betanin) is the major constituent in the fruit.

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