Needle Bush
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Needle Bush
P Native Photo: Shashidharswamy Hiremath
Common name: Needle Bush, Mistletoe Berrythorn, Azima, Needle Bush, Bee-sting Bush, Sting Bush • Bengali: ত্রিকাংটা জাতি Trikanta-jati • Hindi: Kanta-gur-kamai, Kantagur-kamai • Kannada: ಗಂಜಿ ಮುಳ್ಳು Ganji Mullu, ಬಿಳಿ ಉಪ್ಪಿ ಗಿಡ Bili Uppi Gida, ಉಪ್ಪುಗೋಜೆ Uppu Goje, ಸಕಪತ Sakapat, ಎಸಗಲ esagala, ಎಸಗಳೆ esagale, ಎಸಗಿಲೆ esagile • Malayalam: Yeshenku, Sankukuppi, Essanku • Marathi: सुक्का पाठा Sukkaa paatha, Sukkapat • Sanskrit: कुंडली Kundali, त्र्रिकांटाजात Trikantajata • Tamil: Sugam Cheddi, Sangilai, Sung-elley, Changan-chedi • Telugu: Mundla kampa, Puttu, Tella uppi
Botanical name: Azima tetracantha    Family: Salvadoraceae (Salvadora family)
Synonyms: Azima spinosissima, Azima nova, Azima angustifolia

Needle Bush is a rambling shrubs with spines in leaf-axils, usually 4, straight, up to 2.5 cm, grooved, branchlets tetragonous, velvet-hairy. Leaves are oppositely arranged, 3 x 2 cm, ovate, with a fine point, base blunt, margin thickened, leathery, nerves 3 pairs near the base; leaf-stalk up to 5 mm. Flowers are tiny, borne in spikes in leaf-axils and at branch-ends, up to 10 cm long. Flowers are clustered, white, unisexual; bracts 2 x 1 mm, ovate, mucronate, velvet-hairy; calyx 1 mm, bell-shaped, bilobed, velvet-hairy; petals 4, 2 x 1 mm, oblong; stamens 4, free, alternating with petals, filaments 1 mm, anthers 1 mm, pistillode absent. The fruit is a spherical green to white berry around 5-10 mm in diameter, containing 1-2 seeds. Needle Bush is found throughout the Paleotropics, including India.
Medicinal uses: The sap of the plant is applied directly to treat toothache and bleeding gums after tooth extraction and also as a disinfectant. The roots are used in the treatment of rheumatism, dropsy and stomach disorders. The pounded roots are applied directly to snakebites, whilst an infusion is also taken orally as a treatment for them. The root bark is used in the treatment of rheumatism. The leaves are stimulant. They are eaten with food as a treatment for rheumatism. The leaf juice is used in the treatment of asthma and coughs caused by phthisis. The pickled leaves are used as an appetizer and against colds. An infusion of the leaves is used to treat venereal diseases. The crushed leaves are applied directly to painful teeth, whilst the leaf juice is applied to the ears to treat earaches. The juice of the berries is applied directly into the ear to treat earache.

Identification credit: Shashidharswamy Hiremath Photographed in Byadgi-Taluk, Haveri-Dist, Karnataka.

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