'HEMIDESMUS INDICUS' FROM 'ASCLEPLADACEAE' FAMILY

ABOUT 'COLOCASIA ESCULENTA' PLANT

Hemidesmus indicus 
  
FAMILY:- ASCLEPIADACEAE
 

BOTANICAL NAME:- Hemidesmus indicus
 

VERNACULAR NAMES :
 

SINHALA : Iramusu 
TAMIL : Arakkam,Aritinviyachi 
ENGLISH : Sarsaparilla
 



DESCRIPTION :
 

Perennial, semi-shrubby twiner with a woody rootstock and numerous, very long, prostrate or ascending, whip-like stems, slightly twining cylindrical, thickened at nodes.
 

LEAVES:- Simple, opposite, exstipulate, very variable from oblong-oval to linear, 3.7-6.5 cm long, 3.5-8 mm broad.
 

FLOWERS:- Regular, bisexual on very short pedicels crowded in axillary cymes. 

FRUITS:- distinct, divaricated follicles, linear, falcate, terete, smooth, 10-12.5 cm long, dehiscing along the ventral suture; Seeds, oblong with long coma (Jayaweera, 1981).
 

CENTRE OF ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION :
 

Grows in the northern parts of India extending eastwards as far as Bengal and Sikkim and south- wards to Travancore and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka it is very common in the low-country up to 800 m feet or higher,in grassy places (Jayaweera, 1981).
 

EDIBLE PARTS : The leaves.
FOOD USE: The infusion of tender leaves is drunk as a beverage, and leaves extracted are added for preparing porridge. It is used to prepare tonics and sherbets. 


NUTRITIONAL AND THERAPEUTIC VALUE:
 

Moisture - 92.1 g, 
Energy - 26 Kcal, 
Proteins -2 g, 
Fats -0.7 g, 
Carbohydrates -2.9 g, 
Calcium - 73 mg, 
Phosphorus - 21 mg, 
Fe - 10.9 mg, 
Carotene - 5.586 meg, 
Thiamine - 30 meg, 
Riboflavin - 260 meg, 
Niacin - 0.5 mg, 
Vitamin C -28 mg (Perera et at., 1979).
 

The root of this plant contains a volatile oil and hemidesmine. The root is a substitute for sarsaparilla. It is used in treating loss of appetite, fever skin diseases, leucorrhoea and inflammation of urinary passages. The plant is used in the preparation of snakebite cures.