Aristolochia Indica


Aristolochia IndicaIndian Birthwort and Snakeroot are the common names of Aristolochia Indica. In Sanskrit it is known as Sunanda. The plant has been used as a traditional medicine for post-delivery-infections and snakebites.

The flowers of this plant are said to resemble a snake or a curved foetus. The common Hindi name for this plant is Ishwar mul. The name suggests that it has the efficiency of neutralizing snake venom.


Aristolochia Indica is native to India. It also grows in Srilanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. This plant is a perennial climber shrub. It is considered as an endangered and rare medicinal plant. The flowers of the plant give out bad odour. Tender leaves are light purple in colour. The fruit has six valves and shallow grooves which contain several triangular seeds.

The bark of the plant is woody, has light yellow colour and is highly porous.
Young roots of the plant are smooth and light brown in colour whereas the older ones are relatively rough and are cork like in appearance.

The roots are extensively used to reduce dry cough and inflammation. The leaves of the plant are used as an antidote for snake poisoning. The plant is also used as a blood purifier.


Rhizomes, leaves and roots of the plant are used a medicine.


The root of the plant is used as a stimulant and tonic. It is also used in powder form along with honey as a relieve for leucoderma. The decoction of the root is beneficial for relieving impotency.

Crushed root is advised for reducing itching. The juice of the leaves is used to relieve snake bites and coughs. The seeds are used for reducing inflammations and biliousness.

The plant is used as an aphrodisiac, anthelmintic (eliminates parasitical worms) and appetizer.

The roots of the plant are mixed with honey and are used to relieve leprosy in traditional medicine.


The root comprises of a crystalline substance, a glucoside, isoarisolochic acid, 0.05 percent carbonyl compounds, allantoin and a small amount of oil.


This herb has been widely used for the management of the following disorders:

  • Skin diseases: When there is an imbalance of pitta, vata and kapha elements in the body, skin diseases occur. Dried leaf powder is given in a dosage of 2-4 grams two times a day for relieving skin diseases.
  • Snake bites: The leaves of the plant are crushed and rubbed on the snake bitten areas. 10-20 ml of this juice mixed with pepper powder is given internally for 6-7 times in a day.
  • Diarrhea, fever, inflammation: Around 5 ml of the juice of the plant is given three times a day for reducing diarrhea, fever and inflammation.
  • Bronchial asthma: The powder of the root in a dosage of one gram is advised for relieving vata diseases, bronchial asthma and cough.
  • Indigestion: For relieving disorders related to indigestion, the powder of the root is suggested. Around 5 grams should be consumed for better results.
  • Blood pressure: The juice of the plant is helpful in reducing high blood pressure and regulating it in a healthy way.
  • Gas problem: It has carminative properties and is useful in eliminating troublesome gas from the stomach. Decoction of the root is mixed with ginger and black pepper to relieve gas problems and other bowel complaints.


Though the plant is helpful in many ways, it has to be remembered that it is nephrotoxic and carcinogenic. Over dosage of the plant components may be lead to serious complications. This plant medicine should ever be consumed without consulting a registered medical practitioner.


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