CANSCORA DECUSSATA Roem. & Sch.

Family: Gentianaceae

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Dhankuni

Description of the Plant:
An erect, branching annual, up to 60 cm high. Stems 4-winged. Leaves 2.5-3.8 cm long, oblong-lanceolate, acute 3-nerved. Cymes lax, the branches erect rigid. Flowers white, those in the forks long-pedicelled; calyx 8-13 mm long, winged; corolla tube as long as calyx. Capsule subcylindrical, 6-8 mm long, tipped by persistent style.

Using Information:
The plant is useful as laxative, alterative and tonic; fresh juice is prescribed in insanity, epilepsy and nervous debility. It is a valuable alterative; prescribed as a blood purifier in syphilis, gonorrhoea and other chronic skin ailments. Root bark is used in compound preparations to strengthen the retentive power of brain and to alleviate leucorrhoeal and spermatorrhoeal discharge.

Mangiferin contained in root is CNS depressant and antiinflammatory; protective against induced liver-injury in albino rats. Xanthones contained in the plant are active against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Asolkar et al., 1992).

Chemical Constituents:
Aerial parts and flowering tops contain free xanthones, xanthone glucosides, (-)-loliolide, methoxy- and hydroxyxanthones and its 3-O-rutinosyl derivative. Roots contain ß-amyrin, friedelin, gentianine, xanthones, and 16 xanthones including mangiferin. Ash of the herb renders salts containing iron, potassium, calcium, nitrates and carbonates (Asolkar et al., 1992).

Distribution:
Chittagong, Dhaka, Sreepur (Gajipur), Madhupur, Chuadanga, Paharpur, Naogon, Comilla, Sylhet in fallow lands.