Medicinal plant Red Leadwort
Red Leadwort also known as Rakta chitrak is grown in all parts of India as an ornamental plant. It is perennial herb and grows up to 2-4 feet height. Leaves are 3 inches long and flowers, red in color, are produced in clusters on a stalk of 4-12 inches long. The fruit is long, slender and roots are finger shaped. The plant grows really fast, and flowering takes places from September to November. All the ancient systems of medicine make the best use of Red Leadwort (Rakta chitrak).
Botanical name and family
Family – Plumbaginaceae
Botanical name – Plumbago indica
Geological distribution of Red Leadwort
The plants grow wild in India. It is native to South East Asia. It grows in Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Arabian Peninsula. In the Philippines, it is grown in gardens for its showy red colour flowers. In India, it grows well in Odisha, Gujarat, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Manipur and Bihar. It grows from warm temperate climate to the sub-tropical region.
Medicinal value of Red Leadwort
The root bark of Red Leadwort is filled with plumbagin- yellow colored substance. It also contains sucrose, protease, and fructose. It has a specific action on the uterus. The root bark of the plant is useful for the medicinal purpose. Some of the medicinal uses of this plant are described below:
- Rakta Chitrak is used for the treatment of elephantiasis because of its anti-filarial properties.
- The plant root is used against erectile dysfunction.
- It is useful to cure fever and brings the body temperature down.
- Red Leadwort has been used for inflammation since ages because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Both the oil and paste is used for this purpose.
- The oil is good for curing skin related problems such as itching, burning, swelling, eczema, infection and scabies.
- The plant root is used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
- It adds strength to the nerves and useful for the treatment of nerve weakness.
- It is used as stimulator against indigestion.
- It is helpful for loss of appetite.
- It cures liver related problems.
- The extract is used to kill intestinal worms.
- This is useful for liver related problems.
- Red Leadwort is believed to cure ulcers because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
- It cures menstrual disturbance and regularize it.
- The root extract is also believed to cure a cough and cold.
- The oil is also massaged for the treatment of paralysis.
- Red Leadwort is used in the treatment of syphilis and leucodermia.
- Red Leadwort is also useful for the treatment buboes and glandular swelling.
- It is used to abort the illegal pregnancy.
- The plant root is famous for its anticancer activities.
- The paste of the root bark is used against scorpion stings.
The large dose of this is proved poisonous and can affect the respiratory system directly. It is proved harmful to use this during pregnancy because of its anti-fertility activity. A medicine specialist must be consulted before consumption of Red Leadwort.