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Desmodium gangeticum – Salparni (plant)
Salparni is native to the Indian sub-continent and is naturalised in many parts of the world. A member of the Fabaceae or pea family. A small shrub from from 2-4ft in height. White or pink/purple flowers, the Herbalistics type has white flowers.
Desmodium gangeticum has been referred to in Sanskrit as being ‘rich in Soma Juice’, Soma being the the earthly counterpart of the Gods drink (Amrita) of immortality (Ratsch, Ency. of Psychoactive Plants). The roots contain dimethyltryptamine, hypaphorine, hordenine, candicine, N-methyltyramine, and beta-phenylethylamine. The same article mentions that the aerial parts contain two beta-carboline alkaloids (ALKALOIDS OF THE ROOTS OF DESMODIUM GANGETICUM. Ghosal and Banerjee, 1969).
Salparni has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, the whole plant, mainly the roots are used in medicine. The plant is a bitter tonic, digestive, antidysentric, alterative, aphrodisiac, antipyretic, anticatarrhal, febrifuge. It is used to cure typhoid and other fevers, asthma, bronchitis, vomiting, dysentery, piles, biliousness, chorela, scorpion sting and snake bite. The roots of Desmodium gangeticum are used as one of the ingredients of two very important Ayurvedic preparations, ‘Dashmoola Kwatha’ and `Dashamootarishta’ (In Vitro Propagation of Desmodium gangeticum (L.) DC. from Cotyledonary Nodal Explants. Vishwakarma, Gurav and Sharma, 2009).
Desmodium gangeticum appears to be a promising candidate for improving memory and it would be worthwhile to explore the potential of this plant in the management of dementia and Alzheimer disease (Antiamnesic effects of Desmodium gangeticum in mice. Yakugaku et al. 2006)
Care and Cultivation of Desmodium gangeticum
Desmodium gangeticum likes a full sun to part shade position. Nitrogen fixing perennial legume. Well drained soil.
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