East Himalayan Balsam
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East Himalayan Balsam
ative Photo: Kiran Srivastava
Common name: East Himalayan Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens arguta    Family: Balsaminaceae (Balsam family)
Synonyms: Impatiens gagei

East Himalayan Balsam is a beautiful wildflower found in the forests, thickets, grasslands in valleys, along canals and moist places, in East Himalayas, from E. Nepal to NE India, at altitudes of 1800-3200 m. It is a perennial plant, growing up to 70 cm tall. Erect stems are rigid and branched. Alternately arranged leaves, carried on 1-4 cm long stalks, are ovate or ovate-elliptic, 4-15 cm long, and 2-4.5 cm broad. Leaf margins are sharply toothed, and the tip is pointed or tapering. Flowers arise singly or doubly in leaf axils. Flower stalks are long, slender, often with 2 bracts at base. Flowers are pink or purple-red, large or medium- sized. Flowers are characterized by lower lobes of the lateral petals being divided into two. Lateral sepals are 4 - outer 2, with tip long cuspidate - inner 2, narrowly lanceshaped. Lower sepal is sac-like, narrowed into an incurved, short spur. Upper petal is circular. Lateral united petals are not clawed, 2-lobed. Basal lobes are broadly oblong; Farther lobes are shaped like the head of an axe, large, with a two parted tip. Flowering: July-October.
Medicinal uses: The flowers are used medicinally for dissolving clots, promoting diuresis, and treating abdominal pain, postpartum blood stasis, carbuncles, and difficulty in urination.

Identification credit: Kiran Srivastava Photographed in Upper Dibang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh & Sikkim.

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