Water Willow
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Water Willow
ative elliptic Photo: Suvrajyoti Chatterjee
Common name: Water Willow • Assamese: পিত্তপাত Pitta paat • Marathi: करंबल Karambal, पित्तपापडा Pitpapada, कलमाशी Kalmashi • Tamil: ஆரம் arm, கந்தேறு knteyu, கோடகசாலை kotakacalai, குக்குரம் kukkurm • Konkani: घाटी पित्तपापड Ghati Pitpapad • Nepali: बिसाउने झार Bisaaune Jhaar, खुर्सानी झार Khursaani Jhaar, फुली झार Phuli Jhaar
Botanical name: Rostellularia procumbens    Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Synonyms: Justicia procumbens, Justicia media, Justicia hirtella

Water Willow is a slender, often tufted, prostrate or ascending, branched perennial herb. The stems are 10-40 cm long. The leaves are elliptic to oblong-ovate or ovate, 7-20 mm long, 5-20 mm wide, obtuse at both ends, and entire or slightly crenate as to margin. The flowers are pink, 6-7 mm long, and borne in terminal, rather dense, cylindric spikes 1-5 cm long and about 5 mm in diameter. The bracts and sepals are green, linear-lanceolate, and hairy. The fruit (capsule) is slightly hairy and about 4 mm long. Water Willow is found throughout India, at altitudes up to 1500 m.
Medicinal uses: The herb contains a bitter alkaloid and that it is used as a substitute for Fumaria. It is alternative and expectorant and is given in the form of infusion (1 to 20) in asthma, coughs, and rheumatism. The juice of the leaves is squeezed into the eyes in cases of ophthalmia. The odor of the whole plant is unpleasant; it is used in decoction for backache, plethora, and flatulence.

Identification credit: Hemanth Tripathi Photographed in Nandi Hills, Karnataka & Thane, Maharashtra.

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