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Akda: Useful medicinal plant of Indian desert
Indian desert:This is essentially sandy desert with few stony areas in between. It is spread over 3 states viz.Rajasthan,Gujrat,Haryana in western India having total 3.21 lac sq.kms.area. But 61% of desert area is covered in state of Rajasthan.

Common Indian Name: Akda, Aak.

Botanical Name: Calotropis procera

Family: Asclepiadaceae

Location and description: This plant is native of tropical and subtropical region of Asia –Africa. It is observed mostly in western, central part of India, and neighbouring countries located to the west of India. It is also common in desert of NW India. It is part of xerophytes group. In our country 2 species are found viz. Callotropis procera, Callotropis gigantean. This piece is about C.procera. The plant has slender appearance, grows to a height of 2.0 to 2.5 mts. It has light green coloured large leaves. Its bloom time is generally November to April. It has beautiful flowers having varied colours like white, purple and blue. During bloom time plant growth gives a very beautiful look to desert topography.

Medicinal properties: Aak is part of our cultural folklore. Its details are available in old mythological-historical-Ayurvedic literature. Traditional knowledge handed down over the years tell us that extracts of plant leaves are useful in diseases like arthritis, rheumatism, inflammation, pain and infection in ears. The plant leaves when crushed, yield a sticky milky substance having pungent smell and bitter taste. This milky substance also known as latex is said to be poisonous in nature as it contains callotropin . The flowers are directly consumed as an effective anti venom against snake bites. Recent researches by some botanists and pharmacologists in India have revealed that the plant leaves extract contains ascorbic acid, callotropin, callotoxin,calcium oxalate. Roots have glycosides which has cytotoxic activity.. Plant leaves extract also has mosquitoidal properties. Warm leaves with oil are applied to relieve pain in abdomen. Survival of the plant is also due to facts that because of its poisonous nature many grazing animals do not touch it.

Religious significance:

In Indian context this plant has some religious significance too. The Hindu devotees of lord Shiva offer flowers and leaves in temples during regular POOJA schedules as well as on Maha Shivratri day.

Some photos of this plant during bloom time are also enclosed for kind considerations.

UNDERTAKING

I, Rakesh G.Goswami, R/o Jodhpur, Rajasthan here by give the undertaking that all material in this submission is based on my own field work and research over last 20 years. All facts and figures are correct to the best of my knowledge. I am solely responsible for any omissions, errors if any.

Note:- The facts mentioned in this article are for information purpose only. Such facts can not be treated as substitute for expert medical advice. Kindly contact your physician before consuming any part of this plant for curing any disease.

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