(Please note that use of any medicinal
plant or plant product should be
undertaken only under medical advice
By Sudhir Ahluwalia
Common name: Field mushroom or meadow mushroom
Medicinal use: Diabetes
This mushroom species is distributed across the world — India, China, U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe,
North Africa. It is an edible mushroom that looks similar to button mushrooms sold in grocery stores across
the U.S. and other parts of the world. Rich in
protein, minerals and natural oxidants, the plant was used extensively by
ancient and modern societies.
This is not cultivated; has a very short table
life and is found in open grassy areas and fields. The mushroom sprouts in a
ring pattern in compost-rich places after the rains. It is rarely found in
Traditionally healers across the world have been
using the plant to cure diabetes. A decoction is prepared and orally
administered to patients. Modern research on rats has confirmed the
hyperglycemic insulin-like property of the species.
European healers have been known to apply the
mushroom externally in the form of a poultice to ripen abscesses and boils. In
some parts of Scotland, fungal dressing was used to treat ulcers, bed sores and
slices were applied to scalds and burns.
Ayurveda practitioners regard the action of the species to be astringent,
hydragogue and lactifuge. The plant is also administered for constipation.
There is reference of the plant in ancient Islamic test Ahadith wherein it is
recommended that the juice be applied as medicine for the eyes.
Alhalgi pseudalhagi syn A. maurorum
Common name: Camel thorn bush or manna
use: Digestive system diseases
This bush could grow up to a meter in height. It
is found in temperate and tropical regions of Eurasia right up to Siberia on
the one side and across to the Mediterranean region on the other. It is also
found in North South Asia, Middle East region and China.
In the U.S. it was introduced in the early
nineteen hundreds from the Middle East region as a contaminant in imports of alfafa and dates. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has classified the plant as a noxious weed. The plant
aggressively invades cattle pasture land in the U.S. rendering it unfit for
grazing. The plant is seen distributed across the U.S. except the Mid-West
FLOWERS (see photo above)
The perennial shrub bears sharp yellow-tipped spines with flowers and seed
pods borne on thorns. The small pea-like flowers exude a sweet-tasting sap that
contains manitol. The sap is an effective laxative and is used to reduce sweating, quench thirst, is anti-pyretic and anti- inflammatory. It is used as a cough remedy and referred to as manna in the Holy Quran.
Research done in Iran has demonstrated a uretal
stone excretion property of the plant. The plant is authorized for use in the UK as a honey plant and feed.
Leaves of the plant are used to treat fever, headache and rheumatism. Flowers are said to act as a blood coagulant and used to treat
piles. Folk medicinal use includes using plant to treat glandular tumors, nasal
polyps, gastroenteric diseases, diarrhea, hemorrhoids and as a laxative.
English Common name: Sweet Flag, Calamus
use: Nervous system
This plant is widely
distributed across parts
of the globe. It is a perennial monocot that looks like grass, grows up to 2 meters tall and in the breeze gives a
The plant’s medicinal property is mentioned in
literature associated with Hippocrates (460 BC to 377 BC), Theophrastus (371 BC to 287 BC) and Dioscorides. The plant is
also referred to in the Bible
— Exodus 30: 22-25 as one of the ingredients to the “holy anointing oil.” In
Europe the rhizome was added to wine and probably as an ingredient to absinthe.
It was also an ingredient in witches flying ointment of Greece, Rome and other
North American tribes like the Sioux and others placed a great value on the
species. The plant was extensively planted by them along their migration paths
and trails. They viewed this to be a miracle plant that was used to cure
diseases of the skin, a cure to cough, cold, asthma and as a remedy to a host
of digestive disorders. It was used as face paint by American tribes before
they went to battle. The stimulating impact rendered them calm and fearless
before the enemy. American tribes also used to make aromatic garlands from the
plant. It was extensively used by the early American settlers.
The plant was banned by the U.S. FDA for use as a
food additive in 1968 after research indicated that some varieties of the plant
had pro-carcinogenic chemicals. Herbal shops in the U.S. have stopped
recommending or dispensing medicine from the plant.
Homeopathy drugs for treating flatulence, dyspepsia, anorexia and gall disorders are also made from the plant.
listing of Indian medicinal plants will be a continuing article in upcoming
issues of Awareness Magazine. Go to www.awarenessmag.com for any issues you may