The following crude drugs are sold in market of Jaipur and their photographs are enclosed.
(a) Vajradanti : Barleria prionitis / Indigofera trita
(b) Brahmi : Bacopa monniri / Centella asiatica
(c) Sikkakai-Acacia consinna
(d) Ashwagandha – Withania somnifera
Morphological studies of some important medicinal plants
(1) Morphology of Aloe vera:
Aloe vera is a perennial with fleshy leaves arising in a rosette form. In young plants the leaves appear at ground levels, but the stem can grow up to 25 cm. long in older plants. There may be 15 to 30 leaves per plant, the young leaves more or less erect and the older, lower ones more spreading. The leaves are up to 0.5m long and 8-10 cm. across at the base, tapering to a point smooth, thick, fleshy, mucilagenous, succulent, with saw-like teeth along their margins. In transverse section the leaves are slightly concave on their adaxial surface, while the lower, abaxial surface is markedly convex. In young plants and in the suckers which arise from the plant base, the leaves are a bright green colour, with irregular whitish spots on both sides. As rosettes mature, successive leaves have fewer spots and fully mature leaves are a spotless glaucous grey-green colour. The inflorescence is a dense raceme borne on a peduncle some 30-50 cm long arising from the centre of the leaf rosette. The flowers are pendent, with a tubular yellow perianth around 2cm long. Fruit is loculicidal.
There seems to be considerable variation among plants described as A. vera. Some follow the description given here, while others have dark green leaves arranged more in a fan-shape than in a rosette. Correct identification is very important.
(2) Morphology of Aloe ferox
A plant with a simple woody stem, its fleshy triangular, convex leaves have a spiny margin and are arranged in rosette form at the top of the stem. The flowers have short peduncles and six red tepals. The fruit is a trilocular capsule with flat, ellipsoidal seeds. It grows up to about twelve feet (4m) tall and is to be seen growing wild along the shores of the Mediterranean and on the dry plains of East and South Africa.
(3) Morphology of Tinospora cordifolia:
A large glabrous climber deciduous shrub with succulent, corky, grooved stem; branches sending down slender pendulous fleshy roots, terete, straite with tubercled, pale, sometimes shining or glaucous bark. Leaves membranous, 7-9 nerved, 5-10 cm or rarely 12 by 10 cm, roundish or subdeltoid, cordate with a broad sinus and large basal lobes, obtuse or more or less cuspidate, reticulately veined with microscopic glistening glands beneath; petiole 2.5-7 cm. long. Racemes rather lax, 5 cm long elongating and finally often longer than the leaves, axillary, terminal or from the old wood. The bark is watery. It sends down long aerial roots, which resemble roots except for nodal swellings.
(4) Morphology of Tinospora crispa
Climber with fawn colour, papery, warted bark. Leaves ovate to oblong-ovate, acuminate, base truncate or very slightly cordate, thin, light green, 7.5-9 cm long, 0.4-7.5 cm wide; petioles 9 cm. long. Raceme slender, lax. Flowers small, green. Fruit oblong, 7.5 mm. long, yellow or red. Seed smooth.
(5) Morphology of Ocimum sanctum.
Ocimum sanctum is a 30-75 cm. high erect herb. A taprooted annual, much-branched; stems and branches usually purplish, subquadrangular, arial, erect, pubescent, solid, sometimes woody below, clothed with soft spreading hairs. Leaves, 2.5-5 by 1.6-3.2 cm, cauline, ramal, opposite, decussate, exstipulate, petiolate, reticulate, unicostate, aromatic smell present elliptic oblong, obtuse or acute, entire or serrate, pubescent on both side, minutely gland-dotted, base obtuse or acute; petioles 1.3-2.5 cm. long, slender, hairy. Flowers in racemes 15-20 cm. long in close whorls; complete, pedicellate, bracteate; bracts nearly 3mm. long and almost as broad as long, broadly ovate with a long slender acumen, ciliate; pedicels longer than the flowering calyx, slender, pubescent. Calyx 3-4 mm long in flower, pubescent, reaching 5 mm. long in fruit; upper lip broadly obovate or sub-orbicular, much reflexed, very shortly apiculate; lower lip longer than the upper, the teeth lanceolate at the base, the 2 lateral with short straight, the 2 central with long slender awns which project beyond the upper lip and are much curved upwards. Corolla 4 mm long, purplish. Stamens exserted. Nutlets 1.25 mm long, broadly ellipsoid, nearly smooth, yellow with small black markings.
(6) Morphology of Ocimum basilicum:
A taprooted annual with a square stem, up to 20 inches (50 cm) high, with branchlets on the upper part of the plant. The bright, shiny leaves are 2.5-5cm. long opposite, oval or almost lanceolate and pointed with an entire or slightly dentate margin; they are petiolate and fragrant. The flowers are arranged in whorls on long spikes. Each bloom has a tubular calyx, the upper lip being proportionally larger than the lower and divided into four slightly lobed teeth. The upper lobe to the tubular corolla is divided into four indistinct lobes. The fruits are very dark, 4-sectioned nutlets 2mm long contained in the persistent leathery calyx.
7. Morphology of Pergularia daemia L.
Pergularia daemia (Forsk.) Chiov.
A hairy climber with milky juice. Leaves are ovate or round, upto 6 cm long, lower surface is hairy. Small flowers appear in short clusters, yellowish green in colour.
Fruits are upto 8cm long and 1.5 cm broad, covered with spinous outgrowths. It is native to Madagascar to India. The plant occur in almost all parts of India upto 1500m altitude.
The plant is emetic, purgative, expectorant and used as uterine tonic. Leaf juice is used to treat infantile diarrhoea, asthma, and catarrhal affection, rheumatism and amenorrhoea. It is also useful in curing gynoecological conditions like excessive bleeding. Squeezed fresh leaves are applied as poultice in carbuncle. The photographs of Aloe vera, Ocimum sanctum and Pergularia daemia are enclosed. Fig 3 (a), (b) and (c).