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Azima tetracantha plant is found in Southern India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Central and South Africa. It is a medicinal plant and the roots, leaves and milky juice are of therapeutic importance.
The leaves root, and milky juice are bitter in taste. The leaves possess diuretic action. Diuretics, also known as water pills promote diuresis, that is, the increased production of urine. They work on kidneys by increasing the amount of salt and water that comes out through urine. Diuretics helps in high blood pressure, glaucoma and edema.
The leaves are also administered with food as a remedy for rheumatism, and their juice to relieve cough. The plant is used in South India as a uterine contractor.
Plant Description: It is a scrambling, deciduous, dioecious shrubs, with axillary spines.
Branches: Green herbaceous, the branchlets are divaricate and tetragonous. Young shoots pubescent, glabrous afterwards; spines in each axil 1-2 in. number, half to l in. long.
Bark: Light brown, rough, wood white, soft, consisting of concentred layers in which the pores, surrounded by white loose tissue, are alternately scanty and many.
Spines: Often in whorls of 4.
Leaves: Stiff, shining, sharply mucronate or spinescent. Simple, elliptic-obovate, spine-tipped.
Flowers: Small, axillary, greenish-white. Both male and female. Male flowers in dense globose fascicles. Female solitary or in 2-flowered clusters. Sepals 4, toothed. Petals 4. Stamens 4; staminodes 4. Ovary bilocular.
Fruit: Globose berry, greenish-white, 6-8mm in diameter. Edible
Seeds: Disc shaped, black.
Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Leaves, root and milky juice
Plant type / Growth Habit: Scrambling shrub.
Distribution: Peninsular India, West Bengal and Orissa. Also found in Saudi Arab, Somalia, East and Central Africa, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
Habitat: Cultivated in gardens. Found growing in saline soil near lakes and seasonal rivers in dry sub humid regions.
Vernacular names / Synonyms
- Scientific name: Azima tetracantha
- Sanskrit: Kundali, Trikantajata
- Africa: Speldedoring
- Bengali: Trikanta-jati, Trikanta-gati
- English: Mistletoe Berrythorn, Mistletoe, Azima, Needle Bush, Bee-sting Bush, Sting Bush
- Folk: Kundali, Sukkapat
- Hindi: Kanta-gilrkamai, Kantagur-kamai
- Kannada: Bilee uppina gida, Bilivuppi, Yagachi mullu, Uppi mullu
- Kenya: Mdanga Ndewe, Mutunga Ndewe
- Malayalam: Essanku, Yeshenku
- Marathi: Sukkapat
- Siddha: Mulchangan, Mutchangan
- Somalia: Godhaurorie
- Tamil: Sugam Cheddi, Sangilai, Sung-elley, changan-chedi, muttu-chengan-chedi, nallochangan-chedi
- Telugu: Tella-upi, Uppiaku
All plants are scientifically classified into main 7 levels. These levels are Kingdom, Division, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. A genus comprise of many species and botanical name consists of Genus (uppercase) followed by Species (lowercase). Genus consists of many species which are closely related and have lots of similarities. Species is the lowest level and represents the group of same plant.
The botanical name of Kundali / Azima plant, is Azima tetracantha. It belongs to plant family Salvadoraceae. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.
- Kingdom: Plantae (comprising all living or extinct plants)
- Division: Magnoliophyta
- Class: Magnoliopsida
- Order: Brassicales
- Family: Salvadoraceae
- Genus: Azima
- Species: A. tetracantha
Monetia barlerioides, UEerit. Roxb.
Constituents of Azima tetracantha
The leaves contain the alkaloids azimine, azcarpine and carpine. EtOH (50%) extract of aerial parts exhibited spasmogenic activity.
Important Medicinal Properties
Azima tetracantha is rich in medicinal properties. The understanding of these properties will help us to better utilize this herb.
- Diuretic: It is used in Siddha medicine for dropsy and rheumatism.
- Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
- Antioxidant: Neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
- Antispasmodic: Used to relieve spasm of involuntary muscle.
- Expectorant: Promotes the secretion of sputum by the air passages, used to treat coughs.
- Hepatoprotective: Protects liver from damage.
- Stimulant: and used in rheumatism.
- Antiperiodic: Preventing the regular recurrence of a disease (malaria) or symptom.
- Astringents: Constrict tissues; styptic.
Medicinal Uses of Azima tetracantha
The root, root bark sap and leaves of Kundali / Mulluchangu / Mulsangu / Uppimullu or Azima, are used both internally and externally. It is used as a folk medicine in India, Sri Lanka and Africa. Due to its powerful diuretic activity, it is given in rheumatism, dropsy, dyspepsia and chronic diarrhea. It is also given as a stimulant tonic after confinement. The leaf juice given internally relieves cough phthisis and applied as eardrops against earache. The crushed leaves are placed on painful teeth.
- About 100 gm leaf paste cooked with 50 gm rice flour and palm sugar is consumed 2-3 times daily in cough.
- Azima tetracantha Juice of the leaves is given to drink along with honey to get relief from cold-cough.
2- Dysfunctional Uterine bleeding, infertility in women
Roots of (Azima tetracantha + Gardenia resinifera + Flueggea leucopyrus + Cyclea peltata + Flacourtia montana + Ixora coccinea + Melastoma malabathricum) and bark of Erythrina variegata bark are taken in equal quantity. They are ground with rice washed water and taken once a day for 40 days from the 4th day of menses.
3- Dysentery, joint pain
Leaves are prepared to decoction and consumed as an effective remedy
4- Ear drops
The leaves juice is used as ear drop.
The leaves are also administered with food as a remedy for rheumatism.
6- Snake bite
The Root paste is applied on affected body part and infusion of roots is given internally.
7- Stomach disorder
The root decoction is taken internally.
8- Tooth ache
The sap of plant is applied topically.
9- Uterine tonic
Plant decoction is given as uterine tonic after delivery.
10- Other Uses
- The plant is grown as hedge.
- Tender shoots are used as tooth brush.
- The fruits are eaten and used as famine food in Africa.