Here is a list of helpful medicinal weeds from JC Kurian
l. Indian Acalypha (Acalypha indica Linn) It is a wild plant with long petioles and ovate leaves 3 to 8 cm long. The flowers and fruits are borne in tiny erect spikes. The fruits are small and hairy and hidden in the bract. Useful for: promoting flow of urine, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, rheumatism, laxative, deworming, earaches, scabies and skin diseases, earaches, syphylic ulcers, easing pain of centipede bites, snake bites. The decocoction of leaves is used for flow of urine, asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia.; the juice of leaves mixed with lime is used for skin diseases; juice of leaves is used for scabies, the powder of dry leaves is used for deworming. The juice of leaves is used to induce vomiiting, and can be applied to syphilitic ulcers. p.4 Vol l
2. Prickly chaff flower (Achyrantes aspera Linn) It is a herbaceous plant which grows to a height of about one meter and bears spikes which has flowers about 50 cm long. The flowers are green white and the spines of the seeds stick to the clothes. The plants has few leaves that are oblong or round. It is useful for improving appetite, expelling gases and flatulence, for bronchitis, and strengthening the stomach. The decocoction or infusion of leaves, roots and seeds are useful. p. 5 Vol 1
3. Sweet flag (Acorus colomus Linn) It is an aromatic plant which grows well in swamps. The rhizome is succulent and is aromatic. It has grass like leaves that are deep green in color. It bears flowers midway in a stalk. It is useful for: expelling gases, promoting menstrual flow, eliminates fever, induces vomiting, asthma, diarrhea, chronic dysentery, removal of mucous secretions, fungal skin infections, scabies, relieving epileptic pains, and as a MOSQUITO REPELLENT. For the latter, keeping potted plants indoor and at the veranda repels mosquitoes. The useful part is the rhizome ( the fleshy root) Decocoction of rhizome is useful for ashtma, diarrhea, and chronic dysentery; infusion of rhizome is useful for giving body vitality and removal of mucous secretions, powder of dried rhizome with castor oil is used for fungal infection and scabies; crushed rhizome applied to affected area is used for rheumatism p. 6 Vol l
4. Balloon vine (Cardiospermum halicabum Linn) It is herbaceous vine about 3 meters long with leaves alternate and have three leaflets, with center leaf sticking out farthest. There are tendrils for climbing and with flowers at the base. It bears fruits filled with air, triangular and ribbed There are 3 black seeds inside the fruit with spot at the base. It is for diarrhea and dysentery, relieving inflammation prevention of accumulation of fluids in cells, for local inflammation and rheumatic joints, general swelling and tumor, syphilitic sores, and relieving head aches. The roots stem and leaves are used. The leaves coated with castor oil are applied to tumors, swellings and rheumatic joints, when steamed the steam of decoction relieves headaches, decocoction of roots is used for deworming, gonorrhea, erypselas, promoting menstrual flow (emmenagogue), laxative, demulcigent and mucilaganous (relieves inflammation of the alimentary tract) and as emetic (inducing vomiting)
p. 40 Vol. l)
5. Phyllantus (Phylllantus fraternus Web) also called seed under leaf or egg woman is found in roads, gardens and roadside. The main characterisitic is fruiting bodies under the leaf under the compound leaves. It is useful in eliminating kidney or gall bladder stones, for kidney problems, and prostrate problems too. For diabetes sores and fevers. For urogenitourinary problems. The whole plant is used The leaves and seeds decoction is used for diabetes. Young leaves are used for fevers. The latex of plant is used for offensive sores. For urogenitourinary problems, l0 grams of plant is used for l liter of water. Use 2 to 3 cups a day.
6. Indian Reed Mace (Typha elephantina Roxb) There are two types : aungustata which grows from l.5 to 3 meters, and elephantina which grows tom l.8 to 3.6 meters (hence the name) They are erect, perennnial and grows in swampy area. They have flowering spikes 4 to 6 inches long. Their reeds are used by florists. the medicinal use of the plant is the rhizosome. Its decoction and that of leaves will help in the following conditions: flow of urine, purifies mother's milk for dysuria (difficult urination for checking bleeding of internal organs, and for sterility. p. l46 Vol. l.
7. Sensitive plant (Biophytum sensitivum Linn) It should not be confused with Mimosa pudica. It belongs to the family of Oxiladacedeae and can be known by sensitive compound leaves at the tip. It grows upright and grows well in moist area. There are yellow flowers. The fruits are ellipsoidal capsules with transversely striated ovoid seeds. Its medicinal uses are: diuretic - enhances flow of urine, lithontripic (to dissolve calculi in kidneys), expectorants of phlegm, relieves painful urination, for abscesses, asthma, TB, gonorrhea and wounds. The whole plant is used. The decoction of the whole plant is used for the first 8 medical conditions. The root decoction is given for gonorrhea and lithiasis (or formation of stony secretions on the body especially in urinary tract and bladder) For wounds, the powdered seeds are applied over the wounds and or leaves ground into a paste make a good substitute. p. 25 Vol 2
8. Hog-weed (Boerhaavia diffusa Linn) It belongs to the family Nyctaginaceae is a spreading herb with many erect branches. The flowers are in clusters ar the end and they are purple or pink.The fruit is oval in shape. The whole plant is used: it is used as laxative or expectorant of phlegm, for asthma, stomach problems, jaundice ascites (build up of fluid in the abdominal cavity) laxative, reduces fever, kidney and bladder problems, liver complaints, opthalmia. The whole plant is used. The juice of the leaves is used for liver complaints; the juice of the leaves mixed with honey is used for eye infections and trouble with eye membranes; the decoction of the plant is used for laxative and expectorant, also used for asthma, stomach problems, jaundice, ascites, infusion of herb is used as laxative for children; inhalation of the boiled herb is useful for reduction of fever and effective substance to induce menstruation, the decocoction of the herb is used for kidney and bladder problem p 27, Vol 2.
9. Ringworm shrub (Cassia alata Linn) is yellow flowered and belongs to the Family of Caesalpiniaceae with brown branches and leaves that are 30 to 60 cm long with 8-l2 pairs of leaflets. It has flowers on short stalks. The pod is l0 to 20 cm long and ligulate with broad wing down the middle There are 50 or more seeds in a pod. The leaves is used for ringoworm, cough, asthma, vermicide and eczema. The leaf paste may be applied over ringworm, the infusion of the leaf is for cough and vermicidal, The dedcoction of the leaf is used for eczema. p 35 Vol. 2
10. Wild mustard (Cleome viscosa Linn) It grows in most parts of the country up to height of 30 to 60 cm and has unpleasant smell it belongs to the family of Capparidaceae. It is covered with glandular and simple hairs, the flowers are yellow are axilliary and grows into raceme. The fruits are capsules 5 to 6 cm long and seeds are brownish black. The whole plant is useful for expelling worms, helps in digestion, used as laxative, reduces inflammation, useful for skin ailments, for leprosy, for blood diseases, cough, earache, and cardiac stimulant. The decocoction of roots is used for expelling of worms, the infusion of leaves is good for digestion and reducing inflammation, the infusion of leaves in higher concentration is good as laxative, decocoction of the whole plant is useful for leprosy and blood disease and cough, the juice of the leaf is poured to the ear for earache.
p 42 Vol. 2
11. Bermuda Grass (Cymodon dactylon Pers) It belongs to the family Gramineae or Poaceae. It is a tropical grass used ofr loan. It has rootstock which rises to the surface andhas leaves 2 to l0 cm long and l.25 to 3 mm wide, they are narrow, very lineary. The erect flowering branches are 5 to l5 cm long. The flowers are arranged along the spreading branches. The whole plant is used and the medicinal values are: promotes flow of urine, vs urinary tract infection, checks vomitting, bleeding piles, conjunctivitis and minor cuts and wounds. for rheumatism and gout, checks high cholesterol level.
12 Water hyacinth (Eichorrnia crassipes Mart) It is an aquatic plant that belongs to the Family Pontederiaceae. The plant is generally considered bulbous, but has great use in removing pollutants from the water bodies. It has bulbous petioles that traps air, fiborus roots and blue funnel shaped flowers. The fruit which is capsular has many seeds. The whole plant is useful for blood disorder, emaciation and weakness, and treatment of goiter. After the whole plant is cleaned, the decocoction is used to treat blood disorders, weakness and goiter.
l3. Indian heliotrope (Heliotropium indicum Linn) It is a sweet scented plant belonging to family Boraginaceae. The flowers, like that of sunflower follow the sun. The plants ae oblong alternate and hairy. The flowers are on the same one side of the spike terminals and the lower flowers open first. The fruit is composed of two ovoid nutlets. The whole plant is used and is useful for: scabies, ulcers and cancers, conjuctivitis, coughs and asthma. The decocoction of the leaves is useful for scabies, the decocoction of whole plant is used for ulcers and sores which turn to cancer, the fresh juice of the leaves is used for conjunctivitis, the infusion of the plant is good for coughs and asthma.
14. Red Ivy (Hemigraphis colorata Nees) It belongs to the family Acanthaceae and the leaves are ovate and opposite one another. It has heart shaped base and toothed margin The flowers are white on terminal spike. The whole plant is useful for dysentery, diarrhea and excessive bleeding during menstruation, kidney and urinary tract problems, for disintegrating gallstones and for skin diseases. The decocoction of the leaves is for kidney and urinary problems, externally the plant beo used in decocoction as an aid to baths and skin diseases, the decocoction of the plant is used for dysentery, diarrhea and excessive bleeding during menstruation,
15. Goat's Foot Creeper (Ipomea pes-caprae Linn) It belongs to the family of Convulvulaceae. It is a creeper with thick brown bark and long branches with smooth surface. It has 3.8 to 5.7 cm leaves and rose colored funnel shaped flower which grows on upright stalks. Its seeds are covered with fine hairs. The leaves applied externally in rheumatism and colic stomach cramps; the juice of the leaf is used as diuretic in edema and can be used to apply at affected parts, the paste of the leaf is applied in whitlow which is painful abscess on side of fingernail or toe nail. The juice of the leaf is applied to externally cure piles.
16. Cat's Whiskers (Orthosiphon aristatus Benth) It is useful for kidney and bladder stones, as diuretic to promote flow of urine, for edema, gout and rheumatism, lowers blood sugar in diabetics. There is orthosiponin and potassium salts in the said plant and prevents deposition of calculi in kidney. The decocoction of the whole plant is very effective in taking care of of medical problems. The extract of leaf is used to lower blood sugar.
17. Country Gooseberry (Physalis minima Linn) is an annual herbaceous, upright plant that grows l5 to 45 cm. It belongs to the family of Solanaceae. Its leave are 2.5 to 6.3 in length. The matured plant may have hairs and solitary flowers come from the axils. The berry is 8 mm in diameter and the seeds are orane yellow in color. The whole plant is used as a laxative, expectorant, for strangury (painful discharge of urine) splenomegaly, (abnormal enlargement of spleen) ulcers, coughs and bronchitis. The decocoction of the whole plant is used for all the conditions mentioned above.
18. Aaron's Rod (Stachytarpheta indica C.B. Clarke (Vahl) It is an annual plant that grows to a height of 0.3 to 0.9 meters. The stem grows upright with no branches and young branches are quadrangular. It has deep blue flowers and bears fruits 3 to 4 mm long and splits into 2 when dry. The whole plant is useful for ulcers, opthalmic problems, diarrhea and dysentery, fevers, rheumatic inflammations, cardiac problems, expelling of worms, erypselas, edema, stomach ailments. How to use: the juice of the plant is extracted and is applied externally to cure ulcers and over the eyes for general opthalmic purposes, the infusion of the bark is used for diarrhea and dysentery; the decocoction of well cleaned plant is for fever rheumatic inflammation cardiac problems, intestinal worms, erypselas, edema and stomach ailments.
19. Vetiver (Vetiveria zizaniodes Nash) It belongs to the family Poaceae or Graminaeae. It has branching rootstock and is aromatic. It is anti-stress and anti anxiety. It is useful for fever reduction, for burning sensation on urinatin, jaundice, boils, and swellings. The roots are useful in treatment. To reduce burning sensation, the infusion of roots is given; for jaundice, the crushed roots of vetiver are soaked for 24 hours and drink for several x a day for couple of weeks. for boils powder l cup of vetiver roots and sandalwood. Mix 1 tablespoon with water and apply to affected area.