Vaccaria pyramidata L Medik

Synonym ► Saponaria vaccaria L.

Family ► Caryophyllaceae.

Habitat ► Throughout India, as a weed.

English ► Soapwort, Cow Herb.

Action ► Roots—used for cough, asthma and other respiratory disorders; for jaundice, liver and spleen diseases (increases bile flow). Mucilaginous sap—used in scabies.

Saponins of the root showed haemo-lytic activity. Lanostenol, stigmas-terol, beta-sitosterol and diosgenin have been isolated from the plant. Xanthones, vaccaxanthone and sapx-anthone, and a oligosaccharide, vac-carose, have also been isolated.

Habitat ► UK, Europe and North America. (About 21 species of Vaccinium are found in India.)

English ► Bilberry, Blueberry.

Action ► Astringent, diuretic, refrigerant.

Key application ► Fruit—in non-specific,acute diarrhoea; topically in mild inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat (German Commission E);

anthocyanine enriched extracts of the fruit, in symptomatic treatment of problems related to varicose veins, such as heavy legs. (ESCOP.) Cranberry (Vaccinium sp.) is used in urinary incontinence and for UTI prevention. (Sharon M. Herr.)

The main constituents of the Bilberry fruit are anthocyanosides 0.5%. Other constituents include tannins, hy-droxycinnamic and hydroxybenzoic acids, flavonol glycosides, flavan-3-ols, iridoids, terpenes, pectins and organic plant acids. (ESCOP.)

In India, V. symplocifolium Alston, syn. V. leschenaultH Wight, known as Kilapalam in Tamil Nadu, is abundantly found in the mountains of South India up to an altitude of 2,400 m V. neil-gherrense Wight, known as Kalavu in Tamil Nadu and Olenangu in Karnata-ka, is commonly found in the hills of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu at altitudes of 600-2,000 m.

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