Shankh Pushpi
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Shankh Pushpi
ative lanceshaped Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Prostrate Bindweed • Hindi: शंख पुष्पी Shankh Pushpi
Botanical name: Convolvulus prostratus    Family: Convolvulaceae (Morning glory family)
Synonyms: Convolvulus pluricaulis, Convolvulus microphyllus, Convolvulus deserti

Shankha-pushpi is an indigenous plant commonly mentioned in Ayurveda, as a rasayana which is mainly advocated for use in mental stimulation and rejuvenation therapy. Shankha pushpi is a prostrate, spreading, perennial, wild herb commonly found on sandy or rocky ground under xerophytic conditions in northern India. The species is marked by great morphological variability especially in size of the flower. Stems are ascending or prostrate, 10-40 cm long, densely velvety with appressed to spreading hairs. Leaves are nearly stalkless, linear to oblong, lanceshaped or inverted-lanceshaped, 0.8-3 cm long, 1.5-6 mm broad, wedge-shaped at the base, pointed to blunt at the tip, velvety to hairy. Flowers are borne in 1-3-flowered cymes which are carried on stalks up to 2-3 cm long but often much shorter or absent. Bracts are linear to lanceshaped, about 3-7 mm long. Flower-stalks are up to 3 mm long. Sepals are lanceshaped, long-pointed, 4-8 mm long, the 2 outer longer, hairy. Flowers are white or pale pink, 1-1.3 cm long, midpetaline areas velvety. Style is about 2-4 mm long, stigma-lobes 3-5 mm long. Capsule is round, 3-4 mm in diameter. Seeds are 2-4, about 2-2.5 mm long, dark brown.
Medicinal uses: The leaves are the major constituent of a herbal drug 'ShankhaPushpi'. The drug is used as antiepileptic. It is used alone or is administered alongwith modern antiepileptic drugs.

Identification credit: R.K. Nimai Singh, Jitendra Jawale Photographed in Lodhi Garden, Delhi.

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