Scientific Name Sphaeranthus indicus Linn. Family Asteraceae Used Part Inflorescence Distribution Area An aromatic herb, found abundantly in damp situations in the plains all over India, ascending to an altitude of c. 1,500 m. in the hills, especially as a weed in the rice-fields. Common Uses . All parts of the plant find medicinal uses. The drug may consist of the whole plant or only capitula (inflorescences). It is mostly administered in the form of its steam- distillate. The juice of the plant is styptic and said to be useful in liver and gastric disorders. The paste of the herb, made with oil, is applied in itch. The powdered seeds and roots are given as an anthelmintic. A decoction of the root is used in chest-pains, cough, and bowel complaints. The bark, ground and mixed with whey, is said to be a useful application in piles. Flowers are credited with alterative, depurative, and tonic properties. Leaf juice is boiled with milk and sugar-candy and prescribed for cough. Antitubercular properties have also been ascribed to the plant. Pharmacological Effect The essential oil is active against Vibrio choleraand Micrococcuspyogenes var. aureus. An ethanolic extract of plant collected from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, yielded a sterol glycoside the ß-D-glucoside of (24 S) 24- ethyl cholesta-5, 22-dien-3ß-ol (m p 168-9°C).