Thursday, May 6, 2010

Candle Bush having worthy medicines!

I found one day a plant among bushes on the wayside, becoming prominent by popping up by itself with its bright yellow heads. It had large leaves and had grown profusely within a shorter period of time. It was exactly like a robust Senna plant, as if it was from the era of Dinosaurs! I also found grannies picking up its leaves for preparing home remedies for illnesses (Granny's medical treatment, 'Paati Vaithyam' in Tamil!).

It is the Candle Bush (Senna alata, Ringworm Tree, 'Seemai Agatthi' in Tamil). It is about three meters tall. Its branches grow straight up bearing yellow heads of inflorescence that resemble yellow candles before their blooming into flowers. Its leaves are seen closing at night and opening at dawn. Square seeds that are found in the pods readily grow anywhere. It is a weed in Australia. But it is in demand here, in India, as it has fungicidal medicine in its leaves for treating skin diseases like Ringworm. It has also laxative principles as the Senna plant.
The Candle Bush that amazed me has now become a wonder plant possessing a wealth of wonder medicines!

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