Update: 2012-12-17 05:39 AM +0630


A List of Burmese Medicinal Plants 1

by U Hla Maw, B.Sc., Research Officer, Pharmaceuticals Section, Applied Chemistry,  Research Department, Union of Burma Applied Research Institute, 1959.

Copied from the original (typewriter copy) by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) in 1985 August.  HTML version by UKT, and staff of TIL for staff and students of TIL. Edited by UKT for incorporating into Myanmar Medicinal Plant Database. Not for sale.

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Contents of this page:
01 Abrus pecatorius
02 Acacia catechu
03 Acorus calamus
04 Adhatoda vasica
05 Aegle marmelos
06 Allium sativum
07 Aloe barbadensus
08 Alpinia officinarum
09 Alstonia scholaris
10 Anacardium occidentale
11 Anadrographis panicalata
12 Antiaris toxicaria
13 Apium graveolens
14 Aristolochia indica
15 Arundo donax
16 Azadirachta indica

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01. Abrus pecatorius

Synonyms: The Indian or Wild Liquorice; Crab's Eyes

Vernacular name: Ywe-nge, Ywe-gale

Botanical origin: Abrus pecatorius Linn

Family: Papilionaceae

Part used: Roots

Distribution: Pyinmana, Pyawbwe, Yamethin, Shan States

Plant: A creeping or climbing woody vine with pinnately compound leaves; rose or white flowers and bright scarlet red seeds.

1. 8% acrid resin. (1)
2. Toxic protein abrine. (2)
3. 1.5% of a substance resembling glycerrhizin. (1)

Uses: Aphrodisiac, tonic, fever, stomachic, head complaints, asthma, thirst, tuberculosis glands, caries of teeth, sore throat, and rheumatism.

N.B. Root substitute for glycyrrhiza

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02. Acacia catechu

Synonyms: Black catechu or Black cutch

Vernacular name: Sha

Botanical origin: Acacia catechu Willd.

Family: Mimosaceae

Part used: Heart wood

Distribution: Prome, Minbu, Minhla, Dry Zone, etc.

Plant: A moderate-sized tree with dark brown bark peeling off in long strips; stipular spines short, recurved, brown, glossy.

Constituents: 1. 25% Phlobatannin called Catechu-tannic acid. (1)

Uses: Astringent

Preparation: Tincture catechu, Pulvis catechu compositus (I.P.)

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03. Acorus calamus

Synonyms: Sweet Flag, Sweet Root, Sweet Cinnamom, Sweet Cane, Sweet or Grass Myrtle, Calamus Root, Radix Acori, Radix Calami Aromatica

Vernacular name: Lin-ne
Picture not available from Shin Naagathein

Botanical origin: Acorus calamus Linn.

Family: Araceae

Part used: Dried rhizome

Distribution: Rangoon, Taunggyi, Taunglelon, Mongnai (Southern Shan State), Bilin, Kyaikmaraw, Peinnegon, Yedwingon, Naunglon, Natsan, Mekaru (Moulmein)

Plant: A perennial herb with a horizontal aromatic rhizome.

1. Volatile oil - 1.5 to 3.5 %
2. Acorin - bitter, viscid, aromatic glucosidal principle
3. Choline - Trimethyl-oxyethyl-ammonium hydrate
4. Soft resin - about 2.3 %
5. Tannin, mucilage, starch and calcium oxalate. (3)

Uses: Emetic, nauseant, antispasmodic, carminative, chronic diarrhoea stimulant.

Preparation: Infusum calami, Tinctura calami (I.P.C.)

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04. Adhatoda vasica


Vernacular name: Mayagyi, Yemagyi, Mauksalun
Picture not available from Shin Naagathein

Botanical origin: Adhatoda vasica Nees

Family: Acanthaceae

Part used: Fresh and dried leaves

Distribution: Taunggyi, Taunglelon reserved forest (Southern Shan State), Hsipaw, Loikaw, Syriam, Kyaikmaraw, Kado (Moulmein)

Plant: A dense shrub with many long opposite ascending branches, stem with yellowish bark, terete, glabrous, leaves elliptic-lanceolate, acuminate, minutely pubescent when young, glabrous when mature, entire, inflor. a short dense axillary paniculate spike.

1. 0.25% of alkaloid vasicine
2. Odorous volatile principle of the nature of an essential oil. (4)

Uses: Expectorant, chronic and acute bronchitis

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05. Aegle marmelos

Synonyms: Bael fruit

Vernacular name: Okshit

Botanical origin: Aegle marmelos Corr

Family: Rutaceae

Part used: Fresh half ripe fruit

Distribution: Minbu, Minhla, Pakokku, Dry Zone, along Moulmein-Mudon road

Plant: A medium-sized deciduous tree armed with straight sharp axillary thorns; leaves alternate, trifoliate, flowers large, white in axillary panicles; fruit large, globose, ovoid or reniform, many seeds, rind woody.

1. Marmelosin. (5)
2. Mature bark contain ɣ-fragine 0.3%, umbelliferone 0.6% and marmesin 0.6%. (6)

Uses: Laxative, diuretic, chronic diarrhoea and dysenteries

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06. Allium sativum

Synonyms: Garlic

Vernacular name: Kyet-thun-phyu
Picture not available from Shin Naagathein

Botanical origin: Allium sativum Linn

Family: Liliaceae

Part used: Fresh bulb

Distribution: Taunglelon, Hsi-Seng, Shan States

Plant: A perennial strong smelling bulbous herb

1. Up to 0.9% of volatile oil containing diallyl disulphide and allylpropyl disulphide. (7)
2. Glucoside allin. (7)
3. Allicin. (8)

Uses: Diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, bronchitis, carminative

Preparation: Succus Allii, Syrupus Allii, Tictura Allii (I.P.C.)

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07. Aloe barbadensus

Synonyms: Aloes, Curacae Aloe, Barbados Aloe

Vernacular name: Sha-zaung-let-pat
Picture not available from Shin Naagathein

Botanical origin: Aloe vera Linn syn. Aloe barbadensus Miller

Family: Liliaceae

Part used: Dried juice of the leaves

Distribution: Prome, Zigon, Mongnai, Taunglelon (Southern Shan State)

Plant: A perennial herb with an extensive fascicled root system and a rosette of 12-20 thick succulent lanceolate leaves and a raceme of flowers.

Constituents: 1. Glucoside Barbaloin, aloe-emedin bitter resin isobarbaloin (7)

Uses: Purgative in colon constipation, contraindicated in hemorrhoids, menstruation and pregnancy, antiseptic (U Nu, U.B.A.R.I.)

Preparation: Compound Benzoin Ticture (U.S.P., B.P.)

Extractum Aloes (I.P.)

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08. Alpinia officinarum

Synonyms: The Lesser Galangal, Chinese Ginger, China Root, East Indian Root, Rhizome Galangae

Vernacular name: Padegaw-gale
Picture not available from Shin Naagathein

Botanical origin: Alhinia officinarum Hance

Family: Zingiberaceae

Part used: Rhizome

Distribution: Insein, Hanthawaddy, Hsi-seng, Yawnghwe, Heho, Kalaw, Hsu-ga (Southern Shan State)

Plant: A perennial herb bearing stems about 1 m. in height which are covered by the leaf sheaths of narrow laneolate leaves. The inflorescence is a short raceme of white flowers that are shaded and veined with dull red.

1. 0.5 to 1.0 % of a cineol containing volatile oil
2. Soft acrid resin containing a pungent principle, galangol
3. Three yellowish crystalline principles: Alpinin, Galangin and Kaemferid. (1)

Uses: Aromatic stimulant, condiment, carminative.

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09. Alstonia scholaris


Vernacular name: Lettok, Taung-mook
Not included in Shin Naagathein

Botanical origin: Alstonia scholaris R.Br.

Family: Apocynaceae

Part used: Dried bark

Distribution: Insein, Tharawaddy, Zigon, Lawksauk, Kalaw, Hsi-Seng (Southern Shan State), traces throughout Burma.

Plant: A tall evergreen tree with bitter milky juice and whorled leaves base often buttressed; leaves very coriaceous, whitish beneath, flowers pubescent, follicle very long and slender.

1. Bitter principle ditain
2. Alkaloids - ditamine, echitamine, alstonine
3. Acid and resinous substances. (9)

Uses: Malarial fever, chronic diarrhea (alternate spelling: diarrhoea) and advanced stages of dysentery

Preparation: Extractuas Alstoniae Liquidum, Tintura Alstoniae (I.P.)

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10. Anacardium occidentale

Synonyms: Cashew nut

Vernacular name: Thiho-thayet

Botanical origin: Anacardium occidentale Linn

Family: Anacardiaceae

Part used: Fruits

Distribution: Mergui, Tavoy, Syriam

Plant: A small tree with ovate leaves and panicles of red flowers, fruit 1in. on a pyriform fleshy recepticle

1. Cardol (Mesocarp) - Yellowish or reddish oily vesicating substance becoming darker on exposure to air
2. Anacardic acid - Pericarp
3. Tannic acid - Pericarp
4. 40 to 50 % of fixed oild - seed (1)

Uses: Vesicant, vermifuge, escharotic, leprosy

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11. Andrographis paniculata

Synonyms: The Creat

Vernacular name: Se-ga-gyi

Botanical origin: Andrographis paniculata Nees

Family: Acanthaceae

Part used: Leaves

Distribution: Twante, Taunggyi reserved forest, Kalaw range (Southern Shan State), traces in Moulmein, Mudon, Rangoon, Hmawbi

Plant: An erect branched annual, 1-3 feet with quadrangular stems base not pubescent; leaves 2 by - in., narrowed at both ends, ovate at base, paler beneath, flowers in racemes

1. Bitter principle Andrographolide 0.8 - 2.5 % (10)

Uses: Relieve griping, irregular stools, loss of appetite, general debility, dysentery, dyspepsia, febrifuge

Preparation: Extractum Kalmegh Liquidum (I.P.)

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12. Antiaris toxicaria

Synonyms: Arrow poison

Vernacular name: Hmar-seik

Botanical origin: Antiaris toxicaria (Pers) Lesch

Family: Moraceae

Part used: Sap and seeds

Distribution: Pegu to Martaban

Plant: A majestic tree attaining 250 feet with oblong-acute entire leaves 3 - 6 by 1 - 3", which are scabrid above and hirsutely tometose beneath, fruit like a fig, purple scarlet or crimson pyriform, velvety, intensely bitter, tipped with a few bracts

1. Glucosides - alpha-Antiarin, beta-Antiarin, gamma-antiarin, antiaresin, toxicarin glucoside possesses strong digitalis-like action on the heart, an amorphous body. alpha-Antiarin with similar toxic effect has been isolated. (11)
7.5 mg of water-soluble extract per kg proved fatal to a cat in half an hour. (12)

Uses: Sap - arrow poison. Seeds - febrifuge, dysentery.

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13.Apium graveolens

Synonyms: Celery seed, Celery fruit, Apii Fructus

Vernacular name: Tayok-nan-nan

Botanical origin: Apium graveolens Linn

Family: Umbelliferae

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Distribution: Kachin States, Chin Hills (wild), Lawksawk, Mongnai, Taunglelon (Southern Shan State), Bauktaw, Kamayut (Rangoon) cultivated.

Plant: A biennial (sometimes annual) herb, leaves 6-15" long and possess 3 pairs and a terminal leaflet, all coarsely serrate and ternately lobed or divided, inflorescence compound umbell or small white flowers

1. Up to 3 % of a colorless volatile oil containing d-limone. (7).

Uses: Stimulant and condiment

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14. Aristolochia indica

Synonyms: Indian Birthwort

Vernacular name: Eik-thara-muli

Botanical origin: Aristolochia indica Linn

Family: Aristolochiaceae

Part used: Dried stem and bark

Distribution: Sagaing, Shwebo, Pa-an Division, Indu

Plant: A shrub with twining long stems which are slender and woody at the base, grooved and glabrous; leaves of various forms from linear-oblong to obovate-oblong or subpanduriform, usually obtuse acuminate, glabrous, subcordate or subtruncate or rounded, inflorescence, axillary few flowered racemes

1. iso-Aristolochic acid, allantoin, 0.05 % alkaloid aristolochin, essential oil containing carbonyl compounds (13)

Preparation: Tincture Aristolachia (I.P.), Liquor Aristolochine Concentratus (I.P.C.)

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15. Arundo donax


Vernacular name: Alo-kyu

Botanical origin: Arundo donax Linn

Family: Graminaceae

Part used: Rhizome

Distribution: Naga Hills altitude 5000-8000 feet

Plant: A tall stout perennial grass, stem creeping below, leaf base amplexicaul, panicle erect thyrsiform, spikelets 3-4 flowered

1. 0.028 % graminine (donaxine)
2. A new alkaloid donaxarine (14)

Uses: Emollient, diuretic, stimulate menstrual discharge and diminish the secretion of milk

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16. Azadirachta indica

Synonyms: Margosa, Neem

Vernacular name: Tama

Botanical origin: Azadirachta indica A. Juss

Family: Meliaceae

Part used: Leaves and seeds

Distribution: Pakokku, Myingyan, Meiktila, along Pyinmana-Thazi railroad, Dry Zone

Plant: A glabrous deciduous tree 10-50 feet with pinnate 20-45 cm leaves crowded near the end of the branches, leaflets 9-15, opposite, subopposite or alternate lanceolate, acuinate, oblique, serrate, glabrous, short petioled

1. Margesine
2. Bitter amorphous resin
3. Margosic acid
4. Tannic acid (4)

Uses: Parasitotropic affections of the skin, eczema, scabies, prevent against small pox and other skin infections

Preparation: Extractum Neem Folii Liquidum, Infusum Neem, Sodium- and Potassium Margosates, Tinctura Neen (I.P.C.)

N.B. Substitute for gentian and quassia.

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