Anantamul, Hemidesmus indicus


Latin name: Hemidesmus indicus

English names: Indian Sarsaparilla

Sanskrit names: Anantamul, Sariva

Medicinal parts used: Roots, stalks and leaves

Anantamul is a climbing plant with a long and slender root, with few ramifications, covered with rust-colored bark, and with twining, diffuse or climbing, woody, slender stems, from the thickness of a crow’s quill to that of goose’s, and nearly smooth. The leaves are opposite, on short petioles, entire, smooth, shining, and of firm texture; they vary much in shape and size, those of the young shoots that issue from old roots, being linear, acute, and striated down the middle with white; while the others are generally broad-lanceolate, sometimes ovate or oval. The stipules are 4-fold, small, on each side of each petiole, and caducous. The flowers are small, externally green, internally a deep-purple, in axillary, sessile racemes, which are imbricated with flowers, and then with scales like bracts. Calyx 5-cleft, with acute divisions corolla flat, rotate, with oblong, pointed divisions, and rugose inside.

It is occurring over the greater part of India, from the upper Gangetic plain eastwards to Assam and throughout central, western and southern India.

Therapeutic use:

  • It’s beneficial for treating stomach disorders like dyspepsia and loss of appetite.
  • The herb is very useful in syphilis, leucorrhoea and other genito-urinary diseases.
  • Syrup made from its roots is an effective diuretic.
  • A paste of its roots is applied locally in treating swellings, rheumatic joints and boils.
  • The herb contains a hair-growing hormone. A decoction of the root, used as a hair wash, promotes hair growth.

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