Snake Jasmine
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Snake Jasmine
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Snake Jasmine, Dainty Spurs • Hindi: पालकजूही Palakjuhi, जूहीपानी Juhipani • Marathi: गजकर्णी Gajkarni • Tamil: Uragamalli, நாகமல்லீ Nagamalli • Malayalam: നാഗമുല്ല Nagamulla, Puzhukkolli • Telugu: నాగమల్లె Nagamalle • Kannada: ನಾಗಮಲ್ಲಿಗೆ Nagamallige, Doddapatike • Bengali: জূঈপান Juipana • Konkani: Dadmari • Urdu: Palakjuhi • Sanskrit: Yudhikaparni, Yoodhikaparni
Botanical name: Rhinacanthus nasutus    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Rhinacanthus nasuta, Justicia nasuta, Rhinacanthus communis

Native to India, this useful plant is a slender, erect, branched, somewhat hairy shrub 1-2 m in height. The leaves are oblong, 4-10 cm in length, and narrowed and pointed at both ends. The inflorescence is a spreading, leafy, hairy panicle with the flowers usually in clusters. The calyx is green, hairy, and about 5 mm long. The corolla-tube is greenish, slender, cylindric, and about 2 cm long. The flowers is 2-lipped; the upper lip is white, erect, oblong or lancelike, 2-toothed at the apex, and about 3 mm in both length and width; and the lower lip is broadly obovate, 1.1-1.3 cm in both measurements, 3-lobed, and white, with a few, minute, brownish dots near the base. The fruit (capsule) is club-shaped and contains 4 seeds.
Medicinal uses: In India the fresh root and leaves, bruised and mixed with lime juice, are a useful remedy for ringworm and other skin affections. The seeds also are efficacious in ringworm. The root-bark is a remedy for dhobie’s itch. In Sind it is said to possess extraordinary aphrodisiacal powers, the roots boiled in milk being much employed by Hindu practitioners. The roots are believed n some parts of India to be an antidote to the bites of poisonous snakes.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale Photographed in Chembur, Mumbai.

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