Botanical name: Barleria prionitis Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Barleria appressa, Barleria coriacea, Barleria spicata
Porcupine flower is an erect, prickly shrub, usually single-stemmed, growing to about 1.5 m tall. Spines are about 1.2 cm long. Leaves are up to 5-9 x 2.5-4 cm, elliptic, pointed, with a fine point, base wedge-shaped, sparsely puberulus, fringed with hairs on the margins, gland dotted beneath, leaf-stalk up to 2 cm. Orange-yellow flowers are borne in cymes in leaf-axils; bracts 2, 1.5 cm, oblong with a fine point at the tip. Outer sepals are 1.3 x 0.4 cm, inner 1.1 x 0.2 cm, fine-tipped, hairy. Flower tube is 2.5 cm, petals 2 cm obovate, filaments 1.3 cm, staminodes 2, remaining at the base of the flower tube. Ovary is 2.5 mm, style 2.5 cm. Porcupine flower is found in Tropical Africa and Asia.
Medicinal uses: Porcupine Flower has numerous medicinal properties including treating fever, respiratory diseases, toothache, joint pains and a variety of other ailments; and it has several cosmetic uses. A mouthwash made from root tissue is used to relieve toothache and treat bleeding gums. The whole plant, leaves, and roots are used for a variety of purposes in traditional Indian medicine. For example, the leaves are used to promote healing of wounds and to relieve joint pains and toothache. Because of its antiseptic properties, extracts of the plant are incorporated into herbal cosmetics and hair products to promote skin and scalp health.
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