Jequirity (Ayurvedic Medicinal Plant)


Latin name: Abrus precatorius

English name: Jequirity, Indian liquorice, Wild liquorice

Sanskrit name: Gunja

Indian name: Guci, Ratti

Medicinal parts used: Seeds, Leaves and Roots

Jequirity is a deciduous climber with tough branches. Leaves pinnately compound with many pairs of leaflets, leaflets oblong; flowers pink, found in clusters arranged on one side of recemose inflorescence; fruits pods; seeds usually scarlet with black spot or pure white colored. It is native to India, from the Himalayas down to southern India and Sri Lanka, but now grows in all tropical regions throughout the world, most commonly in Florida and Hawaii, Africa, South America and the West Indies.

Gunja seeds are considered as poisonous in Ayurveda, thus special method to purify them before use as a medicine is prescribed. Purified Gunja seeds are a potent nervous system stimulant and are widely used in Vata disorders like joint pains and paralysis. The paste of seeds is applied locally to help in alopecia and skin ailments. It has also been mentioned as a contraceptive in Ayurvedic literatures.

Therapeutic use:

  • Seed paste is applied locally in sciatica, stiffness or shoulder joint and paralysis, said to be useful in dysentery, paste used against skin diseases.
  • Half boiled seeds are taken as tonic. It also shows anti cancerous action.
  • Leaves are considered useful in biliousness and in leucoderma, itching and other skin diseases.
  • Decoction widely used for cough, cold and colic.
  • Juice employed as a cure for hoarseness, mixed with oil, applied to painful swelling.
  • Roots are used as diuretic. Used in preparations prescribed for gonorrhea, jaundice and haemoglobinuric bile.
  • Various plant parts are used in night blindness, inflamed gums, muscular pain and convulsions.
  • The oil extracted from seeds is said to promote the growth of human hair.
  • Abrus precatorius is also used as an abortifacient, laxative, sedative and aphrodisiac.

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