Abrus precatorius Linn. or ratti seeds are used in traditional weighing and medicine as well
Abrus precatorius Linn. Vernacular Names :- Assam : Latuwani ; Bengal : Chunhati ; Bombay : Ghungchi ; English : Indian liquorice ; Gujrat : Chanoti ; Hindi : Chirmiti, Rati ; Punjab : Labri Ratak ; Sanskrit : chataki ; Tamil : Adisamiyai ; Telgu : Raktika. Family :- Papilionaceae. Distribution :- It is found in Ceylon, Pakistan, throughout the tropical regions and it is found throughout India. Morphology :- A perennial, twinning shrub. Leaves 9-12 cm long, leaves have rachis bristle-tipped ; leaflet 10-20 pairs, 1-2 x 0.5-0.8 cm, oblong. Flowers pink, born in fascicles on swollen nodes of axillary racemes. Calyx campanulate, corolla 8-9 mm long, stamens 9, pods oblong, beaked, pubescent and turgid. Seeds ovate, elliptic, shinning smooth, scarlet red colour with black hilum and 3-8 mm long (Bhandari, 1978). Chemical composition :- It contains glycyrrhizin and acrid resins (Trease and Evans, 1973). Part used :- Root, leaves and seeds. (Plate - 1a). Uses :- Roots of watery extract is useful in relieving cough. The powdered root with ginger and other carminatives is much used for coughs, including whooping –cough. In Ceylon it is taken for sore throat and rheumatism. It is used as a remedy for pain in the chest. Roots are applied to the snake-bitten part. A cold infusion of the root is used in leucorrhoea and for gonorrhoea. In Kyasaland the roots are cooked with beans for urine disease. Emetic, alexiteric, for diarrhea, night blindness, inflammation of gums, gravel or mucous in urine. Leaves are warmed over the fire and applied to painful swellings over which a little amount of castor-oil is smeared. Thus, they are antiphlogistic in their action. Leaves are steeped in warm mustard oil and applied over the seat of pain in rheumatism. Juice of fresh leaves mixed with some oil and applied externally seems to relieve local pains. They are given to relieve hoarseness, eye inflammation (vapours) cancer, syphills, on leucodermic spots (juice). In ivory coast the pounded leaves are applied to eyes in cases of conjunctivitis and an infusion of leaves is taken for colic. It is also used internally for chest complaints and cough. A poultice of macerated leaves are said to have some effect in removing freckles. Seeds are useful in affection of nervous system and externally in skin diseases, ulcers, affections of the hairs. Seeds reduced to paste are applied locally in sciatica stiffness of shoulder joints, paralysis and of nervous disease. In white leprosy seed paste and plumbago root is applied as a stimulant dressing. They are used as purgative. Taken internally by women, the seed disturbs the uterine functions and prevents conception. Powdered seeds are taken as snuff in cases of violent headache arising from cold. Reduced to a paste they are used for contusions and inflammations. After removing their outer coating and powdered with sugar candy they are swallowed to expel intestinal worms. When boiled with milk the seed is said to have a very powerful tonic action in the nervous system. In this form, they are used as an aphrodisiac. The powdered seeds when administered internally uncooked act as a strong purative and emetic. Seeds are also used in treatment of ophthalmia and a cure for malaria.