Medicinal plants for common ailments – from our backyards.

Medicinal plants  for common ailments – from our backyards.In Kerala, the land of Ayurveda, we can find a lot of medicinal plants even in our back yards. Surprisingly most of them are effective home remedies too. Especially for common ailments like fever, insect bites, stomach upsets, urinary problems etc.Using different herbs, the traditional Ayurvedic practitioners in Kerala prepare ottamooli. These are effective one dose medicines, for a number of ailments like jaundice, piles, kidney stones etc.Medicinal plants for common ailments – from our backyards. This is a brief introduction to a few herbs that are very common in tropical regions.


Keezharnelli is the name of the plant in Malayalam. We can easily identify the plant with small leaves and round fruits on the back side of the ribs. The Phyllanthus plants sprout abundantly, in the plains as well as hilly areas during the rainy season. Usually it grows up to a height of about 15 – 30 cms.Surely we get the maximum benefit of a herb, by using it in the form of samoolam ( along with the roots). Likewise, Phyllanthus plant samoolam is a wonderful medicine for the treatment of jaundice.Also it is effective for a lot of ailments like indigestion, stomach pain, bleeding diarrhea etc.

The Phyllanthus plants

Emilia songifolia

The leaves of the plant resemble ears of a rabbit and hence it is called Muyal chevian in Malayalam.  It is an annual plant with purple flowers, that grows up to a height of about 30 cms.This plant is also used in the form of samoolam.  We can use it as an effective remedy for fever, throat pain, worm trouble in children etc.

The Emilia songifolia plant

Biophytum sensitivum

Mukkutti is the Malayalam name for this annual plant. Also it is one among Dasapushpam, the ten plants that are considered sacred  in Kerala.We can use this plant for the treatment of bleeding due to various reasons. For example, for  menstrual disorders, bleeding piles
etc.In addition, the leaves of the plant have healing properties. Hence we can apply it on wounds for faster recovery. A mixture of honey and a paste made with the plant is a wonderful medicine for cough.

Mukkutti or the Biophytum sensitivum plant

The Wood sorrel

The wood sorrel is a creeper with clover like leaves, that spreads widely in moist lands. We can use it for treating digestive disorders. The juice of the plant mixed with buttermilk is an effective remedy for peptic ulcer.
Moreover, a paste made of shallots and the wood sorrel plant can remove warts and skin tags.

The Woodsorrel plant

Vitis quadrangularis

This plant is commonly known as the Devil’s back bone. It is a creeper with square shaped stems that climbs on supporting trees. Surely we can use the plant for treating minor fractures or related ailments of bones.

The Vitis quadrangularis plant

Piper longum

We can find this plant in most of the South Asian countries. Really it  resembles Black Pepper, but the leaves are not much thicker. Popularly this plant is known as Indian long pepper or Pipli.
We can use the Piper longum plants as remedy for fever, cough, indigestion etc. The tonic made from the plant prevents anaemia in children.

Piper longum or the Indian long pepper

Erva lanata

The Malayalam name for this plant is Cheroola. The plant with small white flowers, grows up to a height of about 50cms. We can use this plant for a lot of ailments, especially that affect the urinary tract. Consuming the decoction made with this plant several times a day, gives fast relief from urinary tract infection.

Erva lanata or Cheroola

Boerhavia diffusa

The Sanskrit name for this plant is Punarnava, and it means the capacity to rebuild. Indeed, the plant can repair our damaged cells. Also we can use it as a nutritious leafy vegetable. The people of Kerala make different dishes using this plant. Preferably, during the month of Karkidakam, which is the time for rejuvenating the mind and body.
This plant is a good diuretic and also we can use it for removing toxins from the body. Really our general health is based on factors like the food we eat, the place where we live etc. Likewise the properties of plants also depend on certain conditions such as its environments, the nutrients they absorb from the soil etc. 

Boerhavia diffusa plant

The effect of a particular herb in one person may not be the same in others. Therefore it is better to seek proper guidance before using herbal remedies.
Definitely, you can try it for ailments, and the chances for side effects are rare. But always remember that home remedies, are not alternatives for medication.

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