Indian Snake Root
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Indian Snake Root
A Native Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Indian Snake Root, Mongoose plant • Hindi: सरहटी Sarhati • Kannada: Bili garuda paathaala, Garuda paathaala • Malayalam: Avlipori • Marathi: Mungusavela, नागवेळी Nagvelli • Sanskrit: सर्पाक्षी Sarpakshi, Sarpari • Tamil: Kirippuntu, kirippurantan • Telugu: Sarpaakshi chettu, Sarpaari chettu • Kuki: Chak-lambi • Mizo: Rulchukdamdawi
Botanical name: Ophiorrhiza mungos    Family: Rubiaceae (Coffee family)

Indian Snake Root is a herb fames for being effect in snake bite. Legend has it that the mongoose eats this herb to make snake-bites ineffective. It is an annual erect herb, rooting at lower nodes. Leaves are 7-15 x 3-6 cm, elliptic or elliptic-lanceshaped, base narrowed, tip tapering, papery, hairy on veins below; leaf-stalk up to 1.5 cm; stipules subulate, 3-5 mm long, 2-fid at tip. Flowers are borne in dense, branched, scorpioid cymes, at branch-ends. Flower-cluster-stalks are up to 2.5 cm long, rusty velvet-hairy. Sepal tube is about 1 mm long; lobes obscure. Flowers are 0.8-1 cm long, white with pink shades on lobes. They are tubular-funnel-shaped or sometimes constricted near middle, velvet-hairy to hairless. Capsules are 2.5-3 long, 4-6 mm wide, obheart-shaped, laterally compressed, hairless. Seeds are many, angular. Indian Snake Root is found in Andaman Islands, Assam; Bangladesh; China South-Central; East Himalaya; Western Ghats, Jawa; Malaya; Myanmar; Nicobar Is.; Sri Lanka; Sumatera; Thailand; Vietnam.
Medicinal uses: Traditionally, the roots are used against snake bite and the root bark is having sedative and laxative properties.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Gangtok, Sikkim.

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