Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gloriosa superba L.

Family : Liliaceae

Synonym(s) : Methonica superba Lamk., Gloriosa simplex Don.

English Name : Climbing Lily

Origin : Africa, Madagascar, India, China and Malaysia


Herbaceous tendril climber; rootstock tuberous, naked; stem 3 to 6 m long, sparingly branched; leaves sessile or nearly so, opposite or 3-nately whorled, tip tendrillar; flowers axillary, solitary, nearly 10 cm, at first greenish, becoming yellow and finally scarlet or red; capsules nearly 5 cm long.


On forest shrubs in tropical India.

Parts Used : Root, tuber, rhizome and plant

Herb Effects

Abortifacient, acrid, alexiteric, anthelmintic, antipyretic, bitter, depurative, digestive, emetic, expectorant, gastrointestinal irritant, purgative, rejuvenative, stomachic, thermogenic, tonic, in dealing debility, dyspepsia, flatulence, haemorrhoids, helminthiasis, inflammations, in promoting labour pain and expulsion of the placenta (root); stimulates uterine contractions (fresh plant juice and rhizome); antimalarial and laxative (tuber).

Active Ingredients

Benzoic acid, choline, chrysophanic acid, colchicine, glucose, salicylic acid, stigmasterol (bulb); demethylcolchicine, N-formyldeaceatylcolchicine.

Medicinal Use

Antimalarial, increasing the secretion of gastric juices, laxative and as a tonic (tuber); leprosy and anthelmintic (root); to treat arthritis , piles, boils, for extraction of foreign body, for easy delivery, baldness, scrofula and ear diseases (root powder); effective against paralysis, rheumatism, snake bite, insect bites and leaf-juice effective against lice (root-paste). Various ethnic medical practices across India employ this plant for gout, stomachache,intermittent fevers, wounds, spleen complaints, syphilis, tumours, asthma, cholera, gonorrhoea, leprosy, piles, dropsy, labour pain and for acute spasmodic pain.

  1. Chandel et al., Biodiversity in Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in India.
  2. Sharma, Classical Uses of Medicinal Plants.
  3. Uniyal et al., Medicinal Flora of Garhwal Himalayas.

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