Indian Heliotrope
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Indian Heliotrope
A Native Photo: Syed Parvez
Common name: Indian Heliotrope, Indian turnsole • Bengali: হাতিসুর Hatisura • Gujarati: હાથી સૂંઢરા Hathi-sundhara • Hindi: हाथाजोड़ी Hathajori • Kannada: ಚೇಳುಮಣಿಗಿಡ Chelumani gida, ಚೇಳುಬಾಲದ ಗಿಡ Chelubalada Gida • Konkani: Ajeru • Malayalam: തേക്കട Thekkada, Thelkada, Therkkada, Thekkida • Manipuri: ꯂꯩꯍꯦꯟꯕꯤ Leihenbi • Marathi: भुरुंडी Bhurundi • Oriya: Hati-sand • Sanskrit: वृश्चिकली Vrscikali, Hastishundi, श्रीहस्तीनी Shrihastini, चञ्चुफल Chanchuphala • Tamil: தேட்கொடுக்கி Tetkotukki • Telugu: నాగదంతి Naga Danti • Nepali: हात्तिसुँडे झार Haattisunde Jhaar
Botanical name: Heliotropium indicum    Family: Boraginaceae (Forget-me-not family)
Synonyms: Heliotropium africanum

Indian Heliotrope is a herb, slightly woody at base, with a long taproot, stem erect, unbranched or branches few, 30-80 cm tall; leaves alternate or sometimes nearly opposite, distinctly stalked, leaf-stalks to 5 cm long, blade narrowing into wings on the leaf-stalk from a somewhat flat base, ovate-deltoid, margin slightly wavy-crisped, 2.5-10 cm long, 1-5 cm wide, pointed (blunt), lateral veins 4-7 pairs. Flowers are born in a long tapering cluster at branch-ends, tip coiled, axis up to 20 cm long. The inflorescence uncoils after the central flowers, which are the oldest, mature. The flowers are arranged on only one side of the inflorescence. Flowers are pale violet (lilac) with a yellow throat, but fading to dull white, calyx-lobes linear-lanceshaped, fringed with hairs, 2 mm long; flower-tube 4-5 mm long; petals rounded. Fruit is 3.5 mm long, ovoid, ribbed, separating into 2 nutlets each 2-celled, 3-3.5 mm long. Indian Heliotrope is found in all tropical world.
Medicinal uses: The plant has been widely used for centuries to treat warts, inflammations and tumours. Throughout tropical Africa it is used as an analgesic to ease rheumatic pain, as a diuretic and to treat numerous skin problems including yaws, urticaria, scabies, ulcers, eczema and impetigo. Throughout the Continent, there is a wide variation in the plant parts that are used, and also in methods of preparation and administration. In the Philippines, the plant is chiefly used as a traditional medicine. The extracted juice from the pounded leaves of the plants is used on wounds, skin ulcers and furuncles.

Identification credit: Kiran Srivastava Photographed in Chakradharpur, Chhattisgarh & SGNP, Mumbai.

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