Indian Birthwort   
Foto info
Indian Birthwort
P Native Photo: Pravin Kawale
Common name: Indian Birthwort, Duck flower • Gujarati: અર્કમુલા Arkmula • Hindi: हुक्का बेल Hooka-bel • Kannada: Isvaberusa • Malayalam: Urikizhangu, Kudukkamooli, Garudakkoti • Marathi: Sampsun • Sanskrit: गन्धनाकुली Gandhanakuli • Tamil: இஸ்வரமுலி Isvaramuli • Telugu: Esvaraveru
Botanical name: Aristolochia indica    Family: Aristolochiaceae (Birthwort family)
Synonyms: Aristolochia maysorensis, Aristolochia pandurata, Aristolochia lanceolata

Indian Birthwort is a twining perennial herb, with branchlets slender. Leaves are 3.5-8 x 2-3.5 cm, ovate-lanceshaped or ovate-oblong, base flat, tip pointed to tapering, hairless; 3-5-nerved at base; leaf-stalk up to 2.5 cm long. Flowers are borne in few-flowered racemes in leaf-axils. Flower-stalks are about 7 mm long, elongate in fruits. Bracts are about 1.5 mm long, lanceshaped. Flower tube is dull brown, 1-1.5 cm long, bulbous base 3-5 mm across, green; limb 2-2.5 cm long, linear-oblong, rounded at tip, greyish-green. Stamens 6. Ovary is about 2 mm long; stigmas 6, fleshy. Capsule is 1.5-3 x 1.5-2 cm, spherical-pear-shaped, 6-ridged, splitting from the base, parachute-like after splitting. Seeds are 4-6 mm across, broadly deltoid, flat, winged. Indian Birthwort is found in Indo-Malesia. In India it is seen in Peninsular India.
Medicinal uses: Roots and rhizome are used as gastric stimulant and bitter tonic. Aristolochic acid is used for stimulating phagocytosis in infectious diseases in combination with antibiotics. Juice of leaves are used in cough and seeds in inflammation and biliousness.

Identification credit: Pravin Kawale Photographed in Lonavala, Maharashtra.

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