ommon name: Chitrak, Plumbago, White leadwort • Hindi: चित्रक Chitrak • Assamese: বগা আগেচিতা Boga agechita • Manipuri: Telhidak angouba • Tamil: சித்திர மூலம் chittiramoolam Karimai • Malayalam: Vellakoduveli • Kannada: Chitramulika • Bengali: Safaid-sitarak • Oriya: Ogni
Botanical name: Plumbago zeylanica Family: Plumbaginaceae (Plumbago family)
Chitrak is a herb that grows wild in India and has been used by rural and tribal people for hundreds of years as a traditional system of medicine. Chitrak is native to SE Asia. It is a much branched, evergreen shrub that reaches about 6 feet in nature. Dark green leaves are ovate to 6 inches long by half as wide. They are fast growing plants, but their size is easily controlled by pot size and pruning. The flowers are white in showy dense racemes and will flower all year long. Individual flowers are up to ½ inch (a bit more than 1 cm) across. Chitrak needs full sun to partial shade with intermediate to warm temperatures. After flowering, the plants should be cut back to keep them growing vigorously. The fruits are like a small cocklebur with glue on the soft spines and they will stick to anything. The root and root bark and seeds are used medicinally as a stimulant, caustic, digestion, antiseptic, anti-parasitic. Chitrak is propagated by cuttings, division of older plants or by seed.
Medicinal uses: Chitrak is used in treating intestinal troubles, dysentery, leucoderma, inflammation, piles, bronchitis, itching, diseases of the liver, and consumption. The leaves of this herb work well for treating laryngitis, rheumatism, diseases of the spleen, ring worm, scabies, and it acts as an aphrodisiac. A tincture of the root bark is used as an anti-periodic. Chitrak root helps improve digestion and it stimulates the appetite. Chitrak root is also an acro-narcotic poison that can cause an abortion
Root is said to increase the digestive power and promote appetite. Plumbagin stimulates the central nervous system in small doses, while with larger doses paralysis sets in leading ultimately to death. The blood pressure shows a slight fall.
Plumbagin is a powerful irritant and has well marked antiseptic properties. In small doses, the drug is a sudorific; large doses cause death from respiratory failure. It is suggested that the action is probably due to the direct effect of the drug on the muscles.
The root of this herb is a powerful acro-narcotic poison. It causes abortion. It will expel fetus, dead or alive.
The root of the herb is used in cases of enlarged spleen.
This herb is used as part of many ayurvedic compound remedies for rubifacient applications.
Root reduced to a paste is applied to abscesses to open them. A paste made of milk, vinegar, or salt and water may be applied in leprosy and other obstinate skin diseases, unhealthy ulcers, scabies etc.
Ayurvedic doctors recommend the root of this herb for dyspepsia, piles, anasarca, diarrhea, skin diseases etc.
A tincture of the root- bark is employed as an antiperiodic.