Update: 2007-03-07 06:46 PM -0500


Burmese Indigenous Medicinal Plants

by Daw Mya Bwin and U Sein Gwan, Pharmacology Research Division, Department of Medical Research, Ministry of Health, Rangoon, 1973.

HTML version with additions from other sources by U Pe Than and staff of TIL for staff and students of TIL. Not for sale.

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Plants for hypertensive action
   See Plants for hypotensive action
04. Boerhaavia diffusa -- {pa.ran~na.wa}  Payan-nawa.
Tribulus terrestris --
{hsu:l}  Tsu-le.
01. Alstonia venenata  -- Burmese name, nil; English name, nil
Holarrhena antidysenterica --
{lak-htoap-kri:}  Letokegyi.
03. Blumea balsamifera -- {hpoan:ma.thein} Hpone-ma-thein
Ipomoea digitata --
{kan-swun:}  Kazun
02. Arundo donax -- {a.lo-kyu}  Alo-kyu.

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Boerhaavia diffusa Linn.

Burmese name: y&E0 {pa.ran~na.wa}  Payan-nawa.

Boerhaavia Diffusa Linn. Sp. Pl. 3 (1753).
Boerhaavia repens Linn. Sp. Pl. 3 (1753).
Boerhaavia procumbens Rexb. Fl. INd. i. 146 (1832).
English common name: Hogweed, Pigweed.

A spreading, much-branched herb; stems thickened at the nodes, minutely pubescent or nearly glabrous, often purplihs. Leaves at each node in unequal pairs, broadlly ovate or suborbicular green and glabrous above, usually white with minute scales beneath, often coloured pink. Flowers pink or whitish, minute, in small umbles arranged in slender long-stalked, axillary and terminal panicles. Fruit clavate, 5-ribbed, viscidly glandular on the ribes. Family Nyctaginaceae. Flowers and fruits, major part of the year.

Widely distributed throughout Burma. Also planted in house compounds for its medicinal value.

Root alkaloid possess hypertension activity. fn37-01
Root is also used as diuretic, laxative, expectorant, in asthma, stomachic, in oedema, anaemia, jaundice, ascites, anasarca, scanty urine and internal inflammation.
Locally the plant is used as diuretic and lactagogue. fn37-02


fn37-01 Chopra, R. N., S. L. Nayar & I. C. Chopra (1956). Glossary of INdian medicinal plants, p. 37. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research: New Delhi. fn37-01b

fn37-02 jr0if;? OD; (1964)/ kyrjyb,aq;yiftbd"gef? trSwf (1)? pmrsufESm 140/ fn37-02b

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Tribulus terrestris Linn.


Burmese name: ql;av {hsu:l}  Tsu-le.

Ttibulus languinosus Linn. Sp. Pl. 387 (1753).
Tribulus languinosus Linn.
English common name: Calthrops.

A procumbent, ascending or sub-erect herb; stems and branches pilose; young parts silky-villous. Leaves compound, alternate, leaflest 3-6 pairs, oblong, sericeo-villous with appressed hairs beneath and more or less so on the upper surface. Flowers axillary, solitary, yellow. Fruit globose, consisting of 4-6 cocoi, each coccus with two, sharp divaricate spines, one pair longer than the other. Family Zygophyllaceae. Flowering and fruiting from July to December.

Upper Burma, Mandalay and Kyaukse area.

Fruit possess hypertensive action. fn38-01
Fruit also used as diuretic, tonic, aphrodisiac and in the treatment of urinary disorders.


fn38-01 Chopra, R. N., & I. C. Chopra (1955). A review of work on Indian medicinal plants, p. 50. Cambridge Printing Works, Kashmere Gate: Delhi. fn38-01b

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Alstonia venenata R.Br.


Burmese name: Nil.

Alstonia Venenata R. Br. in Mem. Wern. Soc. I. 77 (1809).
Echites venenata Roxb. Hort. Beng. 20 (1814).
Alstonia neriifolia D. Don, Prodr. Fl. Nep. 131. (1825).
Blaberopus vencenatus A. D. C. Prodr. VIII. 410 (1844).
Blaberopus veriifolius A. DC. Prodr. VIII. 411 (1844).
Blaberopus Sebusii Van Huerck and Muell. Arg. in plant. Nov. Berb. Van Huerck, fasc. II. 188 (1870).
English common name: Nil.

A shrub; branches lenticellate and pubescent. Leaves in whorls of 3-6, oblong lanceolate, pubescent beneath. Flowers white, relatively small. Fruit, follicles, sword-shaped. Family Apocynaceae.

Goteik and Chin hills.

A new alkaloid, alstovenine which is a 4-hydroxytrypamine derivative possess hypertensive action. fn40-01

Ripe fruit used in syphilis, insanity, epilepsy and as tonic, antiperiodic and anthelmintic. fn40-02


fn40-01 Dey, P. K. (1965). Pharmacological properties of a new alkaloid Alstovenine. NATURWISSENSCHAFTEN, 52, 187. In: Excerpta Medica (1966), 19, Pharma. Toxicol., 1132. fn40-01b

fn40-02 Chopra, R. N., S. L. Nayar & I. C. Chopra (1956). Glossary of Indian medicinal plants, p. 15. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research: New Delhi. fn40-02b

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Holarrhena antidysenterica (Roth.) Wall.


Burmese name: vufxkyfBuD; {lak-htoap-kri:}  Letokegyi.

Holarrhena antidysenterica (Roth.) Wall. Cat. 1672. (1824).
Echites antidysenterica Roth., Nov. Pl. 138 (1821).
Holarrhena pubescens Wall. Cat. 1673 (1829). Nomen.
Chonemorrpha antidysenterica G. Don, Gen. Syst. IV. 76 (1837).
Holarrhena codaga G. Don, Gen. Syst. IV. 78 (1837).
Wrightia antidysenterica Z. Grah. Cat. Bomb. Pl. 114 (1839).
Holarrhena malaccensis Wight, Ic. t. 1298 (1848).
English common name: Nil.

Small tree; younger branches tomentose, older ones glabrous; bark pale. Leaves opposite, broad ovate to elliptic-lanceolate, pubescent on both surfaces. Flowers white, in terminal cymes. Fruit follicles, paired, cylindric, often dotted with white spots, dehiscing along the suture. Family Apocynaceae. Flowering from May to June.

Widely distributed throughout Burma. Prome, Pegu down to Tenasserim.

Kurchicine, bark alkaloid in small doses raise blood pressure followed by a fall. fn42-01
Conessine, also in large doses depress blood pressure.
Bark is used in dysentery, dried and ground bark rubbed over the body in dropsy.
Seeds used as astringent, febrifuge in fever, dysentery, dirarrhoea and intestinal worms.


fn42-01 Chopra, R. N., S. L. Nayar & I. C. Chopra (1956). Glossary of Indian medicinal plants, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research: New Delhi. fn42-01b

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Blumea balsamifera D.C.


Burmese name: zkH;rodef {hpoan:ma.thein} Hpone-ma-thein.

Blumea Balsamifera DC. Prodr. v. 466 (1834).
Conyza balsamifera Linn.
Conyza vestita Wall. Cat. 2998. (1831).
Conyza appendiculata Blume Bijd. 895, not Lamk.
English common name: Nagai Camphor.

An evergreen shrub sometimes growing out into a small tree, all softer parts densely woolly. Leaves compound, leaflets lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate. Flower heads rather small, yellow. Fruits minute achene. Family Compositae.

Widely distributed in Burma. Often planted for its medicinal property.

Injection of leaf extract lowers blood pressure. fn44-01
The above extract is also used in the treatment of excitement, insomnia and hypertension.
Warm infusion of the plant used as expectorant.


fn44-01 Chopra, R. N., S. L. Nayar & I. C. Chopra (1956). Glossary of Indian medicinal plants, p.38. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research: New Delhi. fn44-01b

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Ipomoea digitata Linn.


Burmese name: uefpGef; {kan-swun:}  Kazun.

Ipomoea Digitata Linn. Syst. Nad. ed. X. 924. (non Parodi) (1759).
Ipomoea paniculata Br. Prodr. 486.
Ipomoea mauritiana Zacq. Hort. Schoenb. ii. 39, t. 200.
Ipomoea gossypifolia Willd. Enum. Hort. Berol. 208.
Ipomoea eriosperma Beauv. Fl. Owar. et Ben. ii. 73, t. 105.
Ipomoea insignis Andr. Bot. Rep. t. 635.
Ipomoea tuberosa G.F.W. Mey. Esseq. 102.
Ipomoea plantensis Bot. Req. t. 333.
Convolvulus paniculatus Linn. Sp. Pl. 223 (1753).
Convolvulus digitatus, platensis and insignis Spreng. Syst. i. 591, 592.
Convolvulus roseus Kumth. in Humb. and Bonpl. iii. 108. not of Mill.
Batatas paniculata Chois. Convolv. Or. 54, t. l. fig. 2.
English common name: Giant Potato.

A large, scandent perennial with large ovoid or elongated tuberous toots; stems long, thick, twining tough. Leaves deeply palmately divided, lobes 5-7, ovate-lanceolate, often spathulate. Flowers in many flowered corymbosely paniculate cymes, pink purple or pink. Fruit ovoid capsule, surrounded by the enlarged rather fleshy sepals. Family Convolvulaceae. Flowers during the rainy months.

Planted for its edible value, throughout Burma.

A glycoside paniculatin isolated from the tubers elevated the blood pressure. fn45-01
Roots used for tonic alternative, demulcent, lactagogue, purgative and cholagogue. fn45-02


fn45-01 Matin, M. A., J. P. Tewari & D. K. Kalani (1969). Pharmacological effects of paniculatin-a glycoside isolated from Ipomoea digitata Linn.-Z. Pharm. Sci. 58, 757. fn45-01b

fn45-02 Chopra, R. N., S. L. Nayar & I. C. Chopra (1956). Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants. New Delhi: Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

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Arundo donax Linn.


Burmese name: tvdkusL  {a.lo-kyu}  Alo-kyu.

Arundo Donax Linn. Sp. Pl. 81 (1753).
Arudo Bengalensis bifaria Retz. Obs. IV. 22 and V. 20.
Arundo longifolia Salisb. Prodr. 24.
Arundo sativa Lank. Fl. Fr. III. 616.
Arundo trifolia Roxb. Ic. Pict. t. 853.
Donax arundinaceus Beauv. Agrost. 78, t. 16, f. 4.
Donax benghalensis Beauv. l. C. 78.
Donax bifarius Trin. in Spreng. Neue Entdeck. ii. 73.
Amphidonx bengalensis Nees exsteud. Syn. Gram. 197.
Amphidonax bifaria Nees exsteud. Syn. Gram. 410.
Scolochloa arundinacea Mert. Koch. Flo Germ. I. 529.
Aira benghalensis Gmel. Syst. i. 174.
Arundo Wall. Cat. n. 5018, excl. F., 5020.
English common name: Nil.

Tall, perennial grass with erect culms; Stems hollow, green. Leaves linear-lanceolate tapering to a fine point. Flowers and fruits from September to February.

Maymyo, Thayetmyo and Rangoon (planted).

Decoction of rhizome used as diuretic and as emollient.
Rhizome extract raises blood pressure. fn47-01


fn47-01 Chopra, R. N., S. L. Nayar & I. C. Chopra (1956). Glossary of Indian medicinal plants, p. 27. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research: New Delhi. fn47-01b

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