Melilotus officinalis Linn. and Psoralea corylifolia Linn. plants used in traditional medicine
Melilotus officinalis Linn.Vernacular Names :- Bengal : Baupiring ; English : King’s Clover ; Hindi : Aspurk . Family :- Papilionaceae. Distribution :- It is found throughout India. Morphology :- It is a perennial herb found in dry fields with the smooth, erect and branched stems. Leaves placed on alternate sides of the stems are smooth and trifoliate, the leaflets oval. The plant bear long racemes of small, sweet-scented, white or yellow papilionaceous flowers. Pods one seeded, broad, black and transversely wrinkled (Trease and Evans, 1973). Chemical composition :- It contains melilotic anhydride or lactone, a fragrant oil, orthocoumaric acid, hydrocoumaric acid and coumarin, the crystalline substance are the important constituent (Trease and Evans, 1973). Part Used :- Whole Plant. Uses :- Herb is aromatic, emollient, carminative and posses styphic properties . It is used in flatulence, paines, aches and decoction is used in enemas. Psoralea corylifolia Linn. Vernacular Names :- Arabic : Mahalep ; Bengal : Barachi ; Bombay : Bawachi ; Gujrat : Bavacha ; Hindi : Babachi ; Punjab : Babchi ; Sanskrit : Chandraprabha ; Tamil : Karpokarishi ; Telgu : Bhavanji. Family :- Papilionaceae. Distribution :- It is found in the plains from the Himalayas throughout India. Morphology :- A perennial herb with branched stem. Leaves pinnately trifoliate. Leaflets oblonceolate, apex round or subacute or apiculate. Flowers in axillary spikes. Pods ovate brown and one seeded (Bhandari, 1929). Chemical composition :- Of the tuber, 70% is starch and 5% a new sugar. The root contains a volatile oil of pungent taste and a useful oleoresin (Trease and Evans, 1973). Part Used :- Seeds and fruits (Plate – 4 b). Uses :- Seeds are used in leprosy and other diseases and useful in febrile bilious affections and as an anthelmintic and diuretic. They are used as stomachic and deobstruent and prescribed in lepra and other cutaneous diseases. Seeds ground with water and the liquid poured into each nostril in stupor and coma in cases of snake bite. They are regarded as tonic and aphrodisiac. Seeds macerated in alcohol and the liquour is given in rheumatism and in women’s diseases. Powered seeds are used in leucoderma. A compound ointment of the powered seeds of Psoralea corylifolia and Cassia tora with lime juice was tried in cases of ringworm with marked beneficial results. Fruit is prescribed in stomachache, spermatorrhoea and certain skin diseases.