Widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world. It grows commonly as a weed in open and grassy places throughout India, ascending to 6,000 ft. Its occurance is very rare in damp conditions.
Morphology Description (Habit)
A perennial herb with a small woody and branched rootstock. Its branches are annual, numerous, more than 30 cm long, often prostrate, slender and wiry with long hairs. Leaves are small, entire, elliptic to oblong, obtuse, apiculate, base acute and densely hairy. Petiole is minute or nearly absent. Bracts are linear and persistent. Flowers are blue, solitary and rarely 2 from a bract. Peduncle is long and axillary. Calyx 4 is lobed, lanceolate and the tip acute. Capsule is globose and 4 valved. Seeds are 4 and glabrous.
Betaine and a water-soluble base are identified. Extract shows positive results for sterols other than phenols, tannins, carbohydrates, proteins and aminoacids. Evoline, an alkaloid can also be identified from the whole plant.
A water-soluble fraction has its effect on pithed frog heart and on isolated rabbit intestinal loop. It also decreased the heart rate and force of cardiac arrest in diastole1. The herb constitutes one of the ingredients of the herbal sychotropic preparation BR-16A (Mentat) useful in the management of nervous disorders. Prolonged administration of Mentat did not exhibit any adverse effects. Mentat has been found to possess non-tropic action and facilitates learning and memory in studies in mice. It is a valuable adjuvant to commonly used antiepileptic drugs. Mentat is a safe non-analgesic herbal reparation, which can be used in the treatment of opiate addiction. It is also effective in combating withdrawal reaction to chronic administration of ethanol. A decoction of the herb is given as blood purifier2.
It is a bitter tonic, febrifuge and vermifuge and used in dysentery. Cigarettes made of leaves are smoked in chronic and bronchitis and asthma. It is used as anthelmintic and anti-phlogistic. It is also used with hair oil for promoting growth of hair.
- Bareja, Indian J Pharm, 31, 108, 1969.
- Kulkarni & Verma, Probe, 1993, 32, 289; 1994, 33, 147; Moharana & Moharana, ibid, 1994, 33, 160; Kulkarni & Verma, Indian Drugs, 1993, 30, 97; Kapur, ibid, 1991, 28, 210; Bhattacharya, Indian J Exp Biol, 1994, 32, 31.