Orchis latifolia Medicinal Uses

Orchis latifolia Linn. is commonly known as Panja, Salam-Panja, Salep, Hath-Panja or Hatajari. It got all these local names due to its hand like roots. The appearance of its root is like a palm with fingers. Salam-panja is found in Himalaya at altitudes of 2, 500-5000m in damp places. It is an orchid plant and bears purple flowers. It has fleshy tuberous roots. These roots are used for medicinal purpose. In Unani, the roots of plant are considered aphrodisiac and nervine tonic. The roots are cooling, emollient, aphrodisiac, rejuvenating and tonic.

Orchis latifolia
By Isidre blanc (Own work)[CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

General Information

Vernacular Names

  • Hindi: Salampanja, Salam
  • Ayurvedic: Munjataka, Saalam-misri
  • Kannada, Malyalam, Telugu: Salamisri
  • Marathi: Salum
  • Uttarakhand: Hattha jadee
  • Kashmir: Salem panja
  • Ladakh: Angulagpa
  • English: Salep orchid
  • Siddha: Silamishri
  • Trade name: Salep

Latin Name: Orchis latifolia Linn.

Family: Orchidaceae (orchid family)

Part used: Tuber root

Native to: Indian Himalayan region

Distributed in: India (Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh), Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan.


Perennial herb, up to 60 to 70 cm in height;palmately lobed, Fleshy, tuberous divided root tubers;leaves many, erect, oblong broadly lanceolate arranged more or less along the stem;Flower: dull purple in spikes.

Medicinal Uses of Salep

The roots of plant are used Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani for treatment of many diseases. They are used to cure dysentery, diarrhea, chronic fever, cough, stomachache, wounds, cuts, burns, fractures and general weakness.

The root tubers are rich in starch, mucilage, sugar, phosphate, chloride and glucoside-loroglossin. They yield a 'Salep’ which is used in traditional medicine.

Salep is used as food, expectorant, aphrodisiac and as nervine tonic. The dried and ground root powder is taken with milk to increase vigourness. It is ingredient of many Unani medicines which are used for sexual weakness, low sperm count and spermattorrhoea.

Roots have astringent and aphrodisiac properties. Clinical trial shows that the herb is also used to increase testosterone level and also help to increase sexual desire.

The roots are cooling in nature.

They are tonic, rejuventive and used in treatment of wasting diseases.

Dosage of Root powder

The root powder is used in dose of 3-5 grams. Generally one teaspoon root powder is cooked in one cup milk and given for diabetes, dysentery, diarrhea, weakness and all kind of wasting diseases.


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