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Common Tephrosia   
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Common Tephrosia
P Native Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Common Tephrosia, Fish Poison, Wild Indigo, Purple Tephrosia • Bengali: বননীলগাছ Bannilgach • Gujarati: ઘોડાકાન ghodakan • Hindi: Sarphonk सरफोंक, शरपुंखा Sharpunkha • Kannada: Empali, koggili, phanike • Malayalam: Kozhinjil • Marathi: शरपुंखा sharpankha, उन्हाळी unhali • Nepali: Kande sakhinu, Sakinu • Oriya: ଶରପୁଙ୍ଖା soropunkha • Sanskrit: शरपुंखा sarapunkha • Tamil: காவாளி kavali, கொள்ளுக்காய்வேளை kolluk-kay-velai, Kawati, Kolinchi • Urdu: Sarphoka, Sarphooka, Sarphuka
Botanical name: Tephrosia purpurea    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Tephrosia lanceifolia, Tephrosia indigofera, Tephrosia wallichii

Common Tephrosia is a perennial erect or prostrate herb or subshrub, up to 50 cm tall. Leaves are compound, leaflets 7-15, 1-2.8 x 0.3-1 cm, inverted-lanceshaped or obovate, base wedge-shaped, tip blunt to notched or flat, with a short sharp point; stipules 3-6 mm long, lanceshaped. Flowers are about 7 mm long, in few-flowered, leaf-opposed, raceme-like clusters. Flower-stalks are 3-4 mm long; bracts about 2 mm long. Calyx is 3-4 mm long, velvet-hairy; sepals tapering to a point. Flowers are pink to purplish, pea-flower shaped. Standard is about 4 mm broad, round. Staminal tube to 4 mm long. Pods are 2.5-4 cm long, 3-4 mm broad, linear-oblong, 5-7-seeded. Seeds ellipsoid, dark brown. Common Tephrosia is found in Indo-Malesia, including Western Ghats. Flowering: October-December.
Medicinal uses: According to Ayurveda, plant is digestible, anthelmintic, alexiteric, antipyretic, alternative, cures diseases of liver, spleen, heart, blood, tumours, ulcers, leprosy, asthma, poisoning etc. According to Unani system of medicine, root is diuretic, allays thirst, enriches blood, cures diarrhea, useful in bronchitis, asthma, liver, spleen diseases, inflammations, boils and pimples; Leaves are tonic to intestines and a promising appetizer. Good in piles, syphilis and gonorrhoea.

Identification credit: Nandan Kalbag Photographed in JNU campus, Delhi.

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