Sage Swampweed
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Sage Swampweed
P Native Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Sage Swampweed
Botanical name: Hygrophila phlomoides    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Hygrophila obovata, Ruellia hirsuta, Ruellia phlomoides

Sage Swampweed is a perennial herb up to 1 m tall, erect. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils, several clustered or in whorls upward, like sage plants. Flowers are 1.8-2.2 cm, purplish, velvet-hairy; lower lip oblong, sparely hairy, 3-lobed; upper lip triangular, 2-lobed. Stamens are 4; longer pair about 5 mm, shorter pair about 3 mm; Ovary hairless; style about 1.8 cm, velvet-hairy. Bracteoles linear-oblong, about 5 x 2 mm, hairy. Sepal-cup is about 1.1 cm, white hairy, 5-lobed to middle; lobes linear. Stems are 4-angled, brown bristly. Leaf-stalks are 0-3 mm, hairy; leaf blade elliptic, obovate, or oblong, 2-9 x 1-3 cm, papery, both surfaces hairy, secondary veins 8-15 on each side of midvein, base usually narrowed and decurrent onto leaf-stalk, margin entire or wavy, tip pointed to sometimes blunt. Sage Swampweed is found in wet places; below 1200 m, in Eastern Himalaya, China and SE Asia.
Medicinal uses: Seeds are used for making medicines to cure sore eyes, for flatulence, and for discoloration and fungal infections of the skin. Crushed and used as a poultice over festering and long-standing sores. In East and Southeast Asia, primarily the leaves are used for poulticing fresh wounds, sprained limbs, swellings, abscesses, boils, and headache.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Manipur.

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