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Medicinal plants use for home remedies in Sri Lanka: A Review



Sri Lankan home gardens are rich in variety of medicinal plant species. Almost all the parts of the plant have medicinal value hence they are used in traditional Ayurvedic practices. However, leaves, roots, flowers, bark, fruits and rhizome have more medicinal value compared to other plant organs. The present review identifies twenty-five common medicinal plant species that can be easily found in home gardens of Sri Lanka while discussing their applications as home remedies. These plant species could be used to treat stomach pain, diabetes, fever, asthma, constipation, piles, dysentery, menstrual disorders, snakebite and skin diseases due to their biologically active ingredients and medicinal qualities related to antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, antiviral and anti-cancer.
IJMFM&AP, Vol. 7 No. 2, 2021
Medicinal plants have been recognized for their
use in traditional medicine practices since
prehistoric times. The potential of plant products
in therapeutic and curative ability have been
identified back to over five thousand years past,
because there is evidence of its use in the treatment
of many diseases in Sri Lankan, Chinese, Indian,
Egyptian, Greek and old Roman civilizations as
well. In Sri Lanka, many medicinal plants have been
used as ayurvedic herbs as well as home remedies
(Mahesh and Satish, 2008; Nanayakkara and
Ekanayake, 2008). Usually, plants synthesize
thousands of metabolites (phytochemicals) for their
physiological and functional purposes such as
defense against diseases, insects, fungi, and many
higher animals. These phytochemicals have the
potential to establish biological activities which is
useful in medicinal purposes. Previous studies
showed the potential of medicinal plants to be used
as home remedies due to their antioxidant, anti-
inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiviral, antibacterial,
antifungal and anthelmintic, properties (Singh,
2015; Samy and Ignacimuthu, 2000; Palombo and
Semple, 2001; Kumarasamy et al., 2002; Bylka et
al., 2004). For thousands of years, they have been
used to treat and prevent many types of diseases
along with epidemics conditions. Some medicinal
plants are utilized as pleasant condiments to flavor
and colour conserve foods. Further, medicinal
plants are used in pharmaceutical, cosmetic and
agricultural and food industries (Bamola et al.,
2018; Arseculeratne et al., 1985; Nanayakkara and
Ekanayake, 2008; Perera, 2012).
Sri Lanka is one of the biodiversity hotspots in
the world with a highest biodiversity per 10,000
square kilometers in Asia (Merritt et al., 2019).
Traditional medicine has been practiced in Sri
Lanka for 3,000 years (Fernando, 1993). At present,
four traditional medical systems can be found in
Sri Lanka including Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and
Deshiya Chikitsa (Sri Lankan traditional treatment)
(Perera, 2012; Fernando, 1993; Kankanamalage et
al., 2014). The present article reviews medicinal
properties and chemical constituents of twenty-five
commonly grown pot herbs, medicinal plants,
shrubs and climbers that belong to different families
which are considered as ingredients for home
remedies in Sri Lanka.
Home remedies can be explained according to
medicinal definition as ‘simply prepared
medication or tonic often of unproven effectiveness
administered without prescription or professional
supervision’. Home remedies also named as
‘folk remedy” can be identified as traditional
therapy often utilizing natural products as
nutritional supplements or as physical measures.
Home remedies come with their effective
ness supported by familial, local, or
International Journal of Minor Fruits, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. Vol. 7 (2) : 29- 39, December 2021
Medicinal plants use for home remedies in Sri Lanka: A Review
M. K. P. N Mirihagalla* and K. M. C. Fernando
Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna, Mapalana,
Kamburupitiya 81100, Sri Lanka
Received : 02.02.2021 ; Revised : 19.04.2021 ; Accepted : 22.04.2021
Sri Lankan home gardens are rich in variety of medicinal plant species. Almost all the parts of the plant have
medicinal value hence they are used in traditional Ayurvedic practices. However, leaves, roots, flowers, bark, fruits
and rhizome have more medicinal value compared to other plant organs. The present review identifies twenty-five
common medicinal plant species that can be easily found in home gardens of Sri Lanka while discussing their
applications as home remedies. These plant species could be used to treat stomach pain, diabetes, fever, asthma,
constipation, piles, dysentery, menstrual disorders, snakebite and skin diseases due to their biologically active
ingredients and medicinal qualities related to antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, antiviral
and anti-cancer.
Keywords: Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant activity, home remedies, medicinal plants
Review Article
IJMFM&AP, Vol. 7 No. 2, 2021
Medicinal plants use for home remedies in Sri Lanka: A Review
culturallyaccepted stories or rituals (Mahesh and
Satish, 2008; Fernando, 1993). Common home
grown medicinal plants such as ginger, turmeric,
centella, moringa, sugar cane, ash plantain, ash
pumpkin, amla are widely used as remedies
(Fernando, 1993; Jayaweera, 1980). Also, known
common herbs Mimosa pudica, Gymnema
sylvestre, Plectranthus zatarhendi, Hemidesmus
indicus, Phyllanthus debilis, Tinospora cordifolia
are often used as home remedies (Singh, 2015;
Fernando, 1993). Migraine, pimples, prickly heat,
worm diseases, toothaches, headaches, fever, cold,
muscle cramps like many common diseases are
treated using home remedies by Sri Lankans
(Fernando, 1993; Bamola et al., 2018; Ediriweera,
1. Ginger (Zingiber officinale; Family-
Ginger is a mostly used medicinal plant in
Ayurvedic, Chinese, Unani medicines and as home
remedies for many ailments such as pain,
inflammation, diarrhea, gastrointestinal disorders,
stomach aches, vomiting and diarrhea (Srinivasan,
2017). It is commonly grown in many areas of Sri
Lanka. Its rhizome is used for the porpose. Many
experiments showed that ginger and its active
components, 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol, showed
anticancer activities against gastro-intestinal
cancers (Prasad and Tyagi, 2015; Imo and Za’aku,
2019).The small amount of dry ginger and salt paste
is used to increasing appetite. Ginger along with
lime and honey is used to treat cough (Fernando,
1993). For diarrhea and colic, a liquid extract of
raw ginger, Iriveriya (Plectranthus zatarhendi) and
Undupiyaliya (Desmondium triflorum) mixed with
a tablespoon of lime juice and bee honey is used as
a remedy. Also, sipping hot ginger tea is a popular
and effective sore throat home remedy among many
Asians. Ginger and coriander together is used as a
remedy for inflammation of the throat and cold.
(Malu et al., 2009; Kumar Gupta and Sharma,
2. Turmeric (Curcuma longa; Family-
Turmeric is used as a spice and/or food coloring
agent by Sri Lankans. Its rhizome is used for the
porpose. Its possible mechanism of action was
examined by many researchers. Variety of
biological activities including anti-inflammatory,
hepatoprotective, antimutagenic and antineoplastic
properties due to its phyto-chemical compounds
curcuminoids (curcumin and closely related
substances) (Tilak, 2004; Hay et al., 2019) were
documented may researchers. Turmeric is
commonly used to treat skin diseases, fungal
infections, pimples and other skin enhancement
therapies. For skin diseases, turmeric and neem
(Azadirachta indica) leaves are boiled together and
water extract is used to wash the infected areas.
For the fungal infections of the skin, ground raw
turmeric and Aththora (Cassia alanta) past is
applied. A mixture of ground turmeric along with
undupiyaliya (Desmondium triflorum) is applied
for pimples. Also, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory,
antiseptic and expectorant properties give the ability
to fight against cold and chest ailments speedily
(Verma et al.,2018; Fernando, 1993).
3. Tulsi/Iriweriya (Plectranthus zatarhendi;
Family- Lamiaceae)
Plectranthus zatarhendi is a plant found in many
parts of the country and a common herb in Sri
Lankan home gardens. It is a semi-shrubby
aromatic perennial (Jayaweera, 1981). Its active
compounds are hexatriacontane, lupeol, tannins and
oleananes, which are antioxidants and volatile. It
has a pleasant aroma when crushed. Its leaves, roots,
stems are used. Due to its aromatic qualities, it is
used in many remedies for fever, vomiting, diarrhea,
excessive thirst and tarantula bites. Dip Iriweriya
(Plectranthus zatarhendi) roots in water and mix
with bee honey and use it to treat diarrhea is a
common remedy in Sri Lanka. Further, the oil
extracted from Plectranthus zatarhendi could be
used as hair oil which has aromatic as well as the
cooling effect in addition to its ability in hair growth
(Fernando, 1993; Lukhoba et al., 2006).
4. Red onion (Allium ascalonicum; Family-
The famous folk remedy to keep raw onions in
the room when you are sick with cold or fever is
very popular for a long time. The bulbs are used.
The main active constituents in red onion are
phytonutrients like flavonoids, fructo-
oligosaccharides, and thiosulfinates and other sulfur
IJMFM&AP, Vol. 7 No. 2, 2021
Mirihagalla and Fernando
compounds (Slimestad et al., 2007) which may
facilitate its medicinal properties like anti-
inflammatory, detoxifying, antioxidant. Previous
studies have shown that the effect of onion on
fasting blood sugar and its antioxidant activity on
many health benefits (Lukhoba et al., 2006).
However, red onion is used for many detoxifying
remedies for centipede bites, spider bites, some
aches, pains etc. Furthermore, red onion is used in
many food recipes in Sri Lanka. Even red onion is
a popular ingredient in many home remedies for
nausea, stomach pain, and other health issues
(Jayaweera, 1980; Fernando, 1993; Kumar et al.,
5. Garlic (Allium sativum; Family- Alliaceae)
Garlic is quite well-researched herbal remedy
which holds a unique position in history,
traditionally used for treating infections, heart
disease, colds, diabetes and many other disorders.
The bulbs are used. Clinically, garlic has been
proven for lowering blood pressure, cholesterol,
glucose concentrations (Tsai et al., 2012; Imo and
Za’aku, 2019). Allium sativum is generally
attributed to its rich content of sulfur-containing
compounds, alliin, g-glutamyl cysteine, and their
derivatives (Tsai et al., 2012). It is used to flavor
foods as well as treating swellings, detoxifying and
reduce cholesterol levels. Garlic is grinding together
with curry leaves (Murraya koenigii) and Goraka
(Garcinia zeylanica) until it becomes a paste and
adding it to the meal is a commonly used home
remedy for cholesterol among Sri Lankans. Garlic
is also used as a gastric stimulant agent that aids
the digestion and absorption of food. With mustard,
garlic is used to treat paralytic and rheumatic
affections. Allium sativum bulbs are even
recommended for high blood pressure. Among
many common remedies consuming 5-6 garlic
cloves with boiled milk, turmeric and jiggery is
known to be a treatment for long-term cold and
cough. In addition to that, applying garlic with
butter can heal wounds and consuming garlic with
sugar syrup helps to treat cough and provides
effective relief for cough, nasal congestion and sore
throat. (Fernando, 1993; Jayaweera, 1980; Imo and
Za’aku, 2019).
6. Curry leaf tree (Murraya koenigii; Family-
Curry leaf is a popular medicinal plant easily
found in Sri Lankan home gardens used for many
home remedies. The leaves, roots, bark, stalks and
flowers all parts have medicinal values (Fernando,
1993; Jayaweera, 1982). Its active phytochemicals
are oxygenated monoterpenes which have
antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. All
parts of the plant are used to de-poison snake venom
along with some other herbs. Especially the bark
and the roots are used as a stimulant by the
physicians externally to cure eruptions and the bites
of poisonous animals (Singh, 2014). It is used as a
treatment for nausea, coughs and fever (Jayaweera,
1982). Curry leaves (Murraya koenigii) with
Goraka (Garcinia zeylanica) paste is used to reduce
blood cholesterol (Fernando, 1993; Jayaweera,
1982 ). Further more, it is used to treat for diarrhea,
dysentery, indigestion, peptic ulcers, diabetes and
weight loss. M. koenigii leaves are used to flavor
curries. Also, due to its presence of iron content in
leaves, they have found to be solving some
problems of anemia. Even curry leaves are used in
fresh, dry, paste, or oil form in skin and hair care
remedies. Murraya koenigii oil is a very popular
hair growth-promoting oil among Sri Lankans
(Jayaweera, 1982; Singh et al., 2014)
7. Ballon plant (Cardiospernum halicacabum;
Family- Spindaceae)
Cardiospernum halicacabum is an annual herb
that can be found as plenty of wiry, smooth,
climbers in Sri Lankan home gardens. It is
intensively used by the Sri Lankans to make herbal
porridge (Kola kanda). It shows good results on
allay pains, abnormal suppression of menses and
other fertility problems of humans. Leaves, roots,
fruits are used. The leaves are used as a poultice
for skin eruptions. A paste of Cardiospernum
halicacabum leaves can be used as a dressing for
wounds and sores (Fernando, 1993; Jayaweera,
1982). Also, it is used to treat dysentery, rheumatoid
arthritis, back pain and hernia and even has been
used in traditional medicine for nervous diseases
(Jayaweera, 1982).
8. Castor (Ricinus communis; Family-
Leaves, roots, bark, seeds are used for various
purposes.. The plant is 3.5-13.5m tall with hollow
stems. Seeds are used to extract oil which contains
a higher proportion of fixed oil with active
components of ricin and an alkaloid ricinine. This
chemical ricinine is found in leaves and stems
IJMFM&AP, Vol. 7 No. 2, 2021
appear to be non-toxic though the seed is poisonous.
Castor is used in many traditional medicinal
preparations (Ahmed and Urooj, 2010; Jena and
Gupta, 2012). Leaves are used externally for
headaches and stomachaches as a boil and
rheumatism. The paste of castor roots are applied
for toothaches. The root bark is found to be
purgative and used as a remedy for skin diseases,
burns and sores. A poultice of R. communis leaves
applies externally to women breast to increase the
secretion of milk. The bark is used for dressing
sores (Jayaweera, 1980).
9. Aloe (Aloe vera; Family – Asphodelaceae )
Aloe vera is a bushy herb with short, thick and
fleshy leaves, remedy for skin burns, sunburns and
pimples. Leaves/ inner gel are used. Applying Aloe
gel on dehydrated skin is commonly practiced. Raw
Aloe gel is used to treat gastritis and abdominal
pains. Aloe vera is used to produce many cosmetic
products (Reynolds, 2004; Bamola, 2018). Its
active compounds are Vitamin A, C, E, Carotenoids
which provide antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-
inflammatory effect. Anti-inflammatory and wound
healing characters of Aloe vera have been
scientifically tested (Udupa et al., 1994; Davis and
Maro, 1989). Aloe is used for coughs, constipation,
asthma and nervous diseases in traditional
medicine. The fresh gel of the leaves has cathartic
and cooling ability and use for various eye diseases.
To reduce swellings and promoting granulation in
ulcers, the dried Aloe juice along with lime is
applied as a remedy. It is mixed with milk and given
for dysentery and pains in the kidney. Aloe vera
gel also applied as a remedy for preventing hair
loss and cure baldness, to avoid dryness in the skin
as a natural moisturizer (Debjit, 2019; Jayaweera,
1981; Reynolds, 2004; Bamola, 2018).
10. Indian sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus;
Family- Peripolocaceae)
Indian sarsaparilla is a twining slender prostrate
or semi-erect shrub commonly found in home
gardens. The whole plant is used for medicinal
purposes and active ingredients are alkaloids and
glycosides, which have anti-inflammatory
properties. The root is used to treat a wide variety
of illnesses. This root of the herb can treat patients
with chronic skin disease and other conditions such
as cough, genitourinary disease, and rheumatism.
Hemidesmus indicus has the potential to increase
appetite, reduce body heat, resolve urine problems
etc. This herb is so far identified as a remedy for
face skincare (Das and Sigh Bisht, 2013).
Hemidesmus indicus whole herb is boiled with
water and washing out the skin is practiced
(Fernando, 1993). This herb is also used to make
herbal drinks, tonics and congees as well.
Hemidesmus indicus is an ingredient for
preparations for edema, skin rashes, coughs, asthma
and piles (Jayaweera, 1982).
11. Pepper (Piper nigrum, Family -Piaparaceae)
Pepper is a climbing perennial commonly found
in Sri Lankan home gardens mainly used as a spice.
Its active phytochemical is piperine. However, it is
used for many remedies including treating dry
cough, wheeze and sneezing. Its leaves, root and
seeds are used for the purposes. People use black
pepper for arthritis, asthma, upset stomach,
bronchitis, bacterial infections cause diarrhea /
cholera, colic, depression, gas/bloating, headache,
menstrual pain, stuffy nose, sinus infection,
dizziness, discolored skin (vitiligo), weight loss and
cancer conditions (Takooree et al., 2019; Fernando,
1993). Pepper is an ingredient in many traditional
medicines. For cough, pepper and sour orange
(Citrus aurantinum) extract or pepper powder along
with sugar and bee honey is used (Fernando, 1993)
Furthermore, for many remedies for colds, asthma,
worm infections and fever includes pepper can be
found as a valuable ingredient (Jayaweera, 1982;
Fernando, 1993).
12. Sour orange (Citrus aurantinum; Family-
Citrus aurantinum is an under cultivated tree in
Sri Lanka. A tree about 10 m tall bears sour juicy
fruits. Fruits and leaves are used for the purposes.
It is a well-known remedy for acidity and bloating
drinks. Extracted juice of sour orange fruit together
with sugar or bee honey is used for cough and cold
(Suryawanshi, 2011; Fernando, 1993). Citrus
aurantinum is a popular treatment for inflamed
glands and tonsils, chronic cough and scorbutic
conditions. Furthermore, the fruit of sour orange is
used in various herbal medicines as a stimulant and
appetite suppressant. Even sour orange has found
effective for various diseases such as aid in
digestion and relieves cardiovascular health, anti-
cancer, treatment for strokes etc. (Jayaweera,1982;
Fernando, 1982; Suryawanshi, 2011). Many health
Medicinal plants use for home remedies in Sri Lanka: A Review
IJMFM&AP, Vol. 7 No. 2, 2021
professionals recommend dried sour orange peel
(1-2g) simmered for 10 to 15 min in a cup of water
daily as detoxifying drink and appetizer
(Suryawanshi, 2011).
13. Stone breaker /Pita wakka (Phyllanthus
debilis; Family- Euphorbiaceae)
Phyllanthus debilis is an annual herb used to
treat swellings, wounds, coughs, skin rashes,
asthma, gonorrhea, coughs, dysentery, diarrhea,
fever, ringworm, jaundice, scabies, sores, bruises,
tuberculosis ulcers and liver diseases (Jayaweera,
1980). Drinking finely ground plant mixed with
pure fresh cow milk is a common remedy for urine
problems (Fernando, 1993). This herb has anti-
inflammatory properties and leaf juice taken orally
for many remedies. Even the Phyllanthus debilis
herb has been shown to possess maximum
antioxidant activity compared to some other species
in the genus Phyllanthus (Sarin, 2014; Jayaweera,
1980). Roots and leaves are used for the purposes.
14. Drumstick plant (Moringa oleifare;
Family- Euphorbiaceae)
Seeds, roots, bark and leaves are used for various
purposes. It is a tall tree with pinnate leaves which
has long pods 18-45 cm long (Jayaweera, 1980;
Gandji et al., 2018). Pods are cooked in coconut
milk sauce while leaves are added to some other
curries and bark is added to pickles. Moringa leaves
are rich in nutrition. Hence it could be used to fulfill
the nutrient requirement of people who are
suffering from deficiencies. Moringa oleifera
reduce in blood sugar and cholesterol level. Its
active ingredients are alkaloids and glycosides.
Moringa has antioxidant, antifungal, antiviral,
antidepressant and anti-inflammatory effects and
can protects against arsenic toxicity. Bark, seeds,
roots and resin are used in medicinal preparations
for piles, skin diseases and worm diseases. It helps
to increase appetite and the function of the kidneys
and heart, good for swelling, parasitic diseases and
matures tumors (Liyanaratne, 2003; Coppin et al.,
2013; Jayaweera, 1980).
15. Sensitive plant / Sleeping grass (Mimosa
pudica; Family- Mimosaceae)
The whole plant of Mimosa pudica used in folk
medicines (Fernando, 1993; Dassanayake and
Fosberg, 1980) due to its phytochemical mimosine.
It contains the toxic alkaloid, mimosine, which has
been found to have antiproliferative and apoptotic
effects (Bamola, 2018). It has been used for treating
piles, bleeding ulcers, bleeding wounds, swellings
and fistula. Some herbal doctors recommend
Mimosa pudica for bronchitis. All five parts of the
plant; leaves, flowers, stems, roots and fruits are
used as medicines in traditional health care
methods. This sensitive plant is commonly used
for bleeding disorders like menorrhagia, dysentery
with blood, mucus and piles and used as an
ingredient in many remedies that can cure skin
diseases and poisons (Jayaweera, 1982;
Dassanayake and Fosberg, 1980).
16. Heart leaved mooseed (Tinospora
cordifolia; Family- Cucurbitaceae)
It is a comparatively big climber native to Sri
Lanka. It has been used for treating fevers, skin
diseases, chronic diarrhea and anemia (Jayaweera,
1980). Tinospora cordifolia is used as a remedy to
enhance digestion. Stem and roots are used for the
purposes. An infusion of its stems is used as an
alternative tonic for blood purifying purposes.
Tinospora cordifolia could be used to reduce
diabetes. A drink prepared with bee honey and dried
powder of thippili (Piper longum) fruit is popular
among Sri Lankans (Fernando, 1993). Antiviral
infections, anticancer, ant diabetes, the antiseptic
activity of Tinospora cordifolia are due to presence
of alkaloids like Berberine and Choline (Mittal et
al., 2014), Diterpenoid Lactones, Steroids and
Sesquiterpenoid (Mittal et al., 2014; Modi et al.,
2020; George et al., 2016; Jayaweera, 1980).
17. Centella (Centella asiatica; Family-
A very common bush or creeping type plant
found in Sri Lankan home gardens and often
consume as a fresh salad. The whole plant is used
for various purposes. Centella asiatica is a type of
leafy plant traditionally used in Asian cuisines. It
has a long history of use in both traditional Chinese
medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. It is a perennial
plant indigenous to the tropical wetlands of
Southeast Asia, where it is commonly used as a
herbal juice, tea, or green leafy vegetable
(Dassanayake and Fosberg, 1980). Centella asiatica
is used for infections, for the prevention of
Alzheimer’s disease and blood clots. Further, it is
well known for treating or preventing anxiety,
asthma, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, fatigue,
Mirihagalla and Fernando
IJMFM&AP, Vol. 7 No. 2, 2021
indigestion and stomach ulcers (Fernando, 1993;
Jayaweera, 1982; Dassanayake and Fosberg, 1980).
18. Shoe flower (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis;
Family- Malvaceae)
A large flowering shrub with simple alternative
leaves bears flowers throughout the year. Its leaves,
stems and roots are used for various purposes.
Leaves and young flower buds are used as a poultice
on boils and swellings. The root is given for fever,
cough and venereal diseases. Flowers can be used
as poultice to enhance hair moisture and reduce
hair damage (Jayaweera, 1982). Remedy for
skincare, for example, an extract from the flowers
of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has been shown to
function as an anti-solar agent by absorbing
ultraviolet radiation and for hair care treatments
(Nevade et al., 2011; Bamola, 2018; Al-Snafi, 2018;
Jayaweera, 1982).
19. Morning mallow/Gas bavila (Sida acuta;
Family- Malvaceae)
Sida acuta is a branched shrub distributed all
over the country which flowers all year around.
The leaves, stems and roots of Sida acuta have been
used for traditional medicine. This plant contains
alkaloids and asparagine. Roots and leaves are
decoction and given for hemorrhoids, fevers,
impotency and rheumatism. Crushed leaves with
gingerly oil are applied for boils. The juice of roots
and leaves are used to remove intestinal worms.
(Mahmood et al., 2010; Jayaweera, 1982). In
addition to that, the root is used as a treatment for
bladder irritability and mild cases of fever
(Jayaweera, 1982). The pharmacological properties
of Sida acuta include antimicrobial, antioxidant,
anti-plasmodial, cytotoxic activities may be the
reason behind these usages and many medicinal
values (Karou et al., 2007; Jayaweera, 1982).
20. Lasia (Lasia spinosa; Family-Araceae)
Lasia spinosa is a stout stemmed marshy plant
growing up to 4 m in height with a thick spiny
creeping stem. Stems and young leaves are edible.
Leaves are simple and long-petioled 15-45 cm long.
Frequently, it is cultivated in marshy areas of home
gardens in Sri Lanka. The leaves, stems and roots
are used as a common remedy for piles, dyspepsia,
stimulating liver functions (Jayaweera, 1980;
Fernando, 1993). It is well-known remedy for
constipation. Acongee made out with stem is a
popular drank to get rid of constipation
(Liyanaratne, 2003; Tsai et al., 2012; Jayaweera,
21. Pomegranate (Punica granatum; Family-
Pomegranate can be considered as a large shrub
or small tree with 3-5 m tall and slender angular
branches. Its flowers, leaves, fruits, root are bark
are used for various porposes. The biological
properties of pomegranate extracts (antimicrobial,
antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, among
other properties) have been tested and used in
therapeutics, such as in the prevention of infection,
inflammation, cancer, among other applications
(Miguel et al., 2010; Lansky et al., 2000). It is a
remedy for eye infections, worm diseases, asthma
and fevers. For eye infections, leaves are boiled in
water and washed eyes thoroughly. The root bark
is specifically useful for tapeworm and tuberculosis
diseases in children. Fruit contains inverted sugar,
enzymes, citric acid and malic acids as well as rich
in vitamin C and Iron. The fruit is used to treat
diarrhea, dysentery and given to cancer patients.
Furthermore, the bark of stems is used as a medicine
due to its anthelmintic properties (Fernando, 1993;
Jayaweera, 1982).
22. Long Pepper (Piper longum; Family-
It is a perennial herb or climber with cylindrical
spikes with small blackish-green fruits. Immature
spikes, roots have medicinal properties are used.
Chronic bronchitis, fever, cough, piles can be
treated using Piper longum as an ingredient in many
remedies. (Jayaweera, 1982). Extract of Piper
longum fruits has been tested for its
immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and anti-
asthmatic properties. Fruit of Piper longum contains
alkaloids of piperine, volatile oils and resins (Vinay
et al., 2012).The fruit is also used with other
ingredients to treat enlargements of the spleen and
some other abdominal viscera. Piper longum fruit
is a stimulant for the urethra and rectum and it
enhances gastric secretion and improves appetite.
Therefore, many remedies to increase appetite
include Piper longum as an ingredient. The roots
are used due to their laxative, carminative and
expectorant properties in Sri Lankan traditional
medicine (Ali et al., 2007; Khushbu et al., 2011;
Jayaweera, 1980).
Medicinal plants use for home remedies in Sri Lanka: A Review
IJMFM&AP, Vol. 7 No. 2, 2021
Fig. 1: 1- Zingiber officinale; 2- Curcuma longa; 3-Plectranthus zatarhendi;4- Allium ascalonicum; 5- Allium
sativum; 6- Murraya koenigii 7-Cardiospernum halicacabum; 8- Ricinus communis; 9- Aloe vera; 10-Hemidesmus
indicus; 11- Piper nigrum; 12- Citrus aurantinum; 13-Phyllanthus debilis; 14- Moringa oleifare; 15- Mimosa
pudica; 16-Tinospora cordifolia; 17-Centella asiatica; 18- Hibiscus rosa-sinensis; 19-Sida acuta; 20-Lasia spinosa;
21-Punica granatum; 22- Piper longum; 23-Azardirachta indica; 24- Garcinia zeylanica; 25-Ixora coccinea
23. Neem/Margosa (Azardirachta indica;
Family- Meliaceae)
Neem is a large perennial tree with spreading
branches having natural antiseptic characteristics
(Jayaweera, 1982). Its active phytochemicals are
nimbin, nimbinin, nimbidin and nimbidiol which
provide aseptic, antibacterial, anti-microbial effect.
Leaves, bark and seeds are used for various
purposes. It is an ingredient in many remedies for
fever, skin ailments, wounds, coughs and some
worm diseases (Jayaweera, 1982; Ahmad et al.,
2019). Neem oil is the extract from the seed of the
Mirihagalla and Fernando
IJMFM&AP, Vol. 7 No. 2, 2021
neem tree. It has a strong odor and bitter taste due
to volatile sulphur compounds and toxic fatty acids
such as nimbin, nimbinin, nimbidin and nimbidiol
(Biswas et al., 2002). In many Asian countries,
including Sri Lanka, external application of this
oil has been used as a traditional remedy. Neem
leaves and turmeric are used for many skin diseases
and skin care remedies. Fresh leaves’ antiseptic
properties are commonly utilized for washing
wounds, ulcers, and baths for patients recovering
from chicken fox and childbirth. Even the juice of
fresh neem leaves is given with rock salt to control
intestinal worms as a remedy (Fernando, 1993).
Further, Azardirachta indica is a useful insecticide
for integrated pest management in organic farming
24. Brindle berry/Goraka (Garcinia
zeylanica; Family- Clusiaceae)
Garcinia zeylanica is an endemic glabrous tall
tree with dark-colored bark and spreading branches.
Fruit, leaves and bark are used. Seeds are embedded
inside a soft juicy acidic fruit. In Sri Lanka, sun
dried and smoked fruits of Garcinia zeylanica are
extensively used as culinary spices. In indigenous
medicinal practices, Garcinia zeylanica is used in
many remedies for weight loss, cholesterol control,
fractures and wounds (Jayaweera, 1980). Phenols,
flavonoids, alkaloids, saponins, steroids are found
in Garcinia zeylanica (Hewageegana et al., 2018;
Patil and Appaiah, 2015) which may facilitate those
medicinal properties. People take Garcinia
zeylanica as a remedy for weight loss, exercise
performance, joint pain, bloody diarrhea, to
increase bowel movements, and for treating worms
and parasites. Several health claims are made about
Garcinia zeylanica extracts among Sri Lankan
people such as diabetes, cancer, ulcers, diarrhea,
and constipation (Jayaweera, 1980; Hewageegana
et al., 2018). Extracts of the plant have been used
in various folk medicines such as remedies against
helminthic, protozoal and bacterial infections due
to its unique composition and antimicrobial
properties (Hewageegana et al., 2018; Jayaweera,
1980; Nirasha et al., 2020).
25. Jungle geranium/ Ixora (Ixora coccinea;
Family – Rubiaceae)
Ixora coccineais a small shrub about 2-6 m tall
which bears flowers in inflorescences with few
branches. Flowers, fruits and bark are used for
various purposes. Flowers are red, pinkish, or white.
The fruit is edible while leaves, bark and flowers
have medicinal properties. Traditionally Ixora is
found to be useful for many common ailments such
as hepatic disorder, pains, cancer and microbial
infection. Various medicinal properties of this plant
are documented and have been reported to possess
different classes of chemical compounds including
triterpenoids, aromatic acrid oils, tannins, saponins,
carbohydrate, fatty acids, flavonoids and sterols
(Dontha et al., 2015). Ixora is used for treating
skin diseases, eye diseases, candida infections
(Jayaweera,1982). Several Ixora coccinea species
are used as astringent and to treat dysentery and
tuberculosis. An infusion of the leaves or flowers
of several species is administered to treat fever,
headache and colic. Further, the decoction of the
roots is used as a sedative. The external applications
are based on Ixora plant’s astringent and antiseptic
properties. Its flowers are used to enrich medicinal
baths/ Ayurveda baths along with red sandalwood
(Pterocarpus santalinus),veniwal (Coscinium
fenestratum) or with neem leaves by Sri Lankans
(Fernando, 1993; Jayaweera, 1982).
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Mirihagalla and Fernando
... Plants are a potential source of antimicrobials in many parts of the world (Alviano et al., 2009). . Medicinal plants have been recognized for their use in traditional medicine practices since prehistoric times (Mirihagalla and Fernando, 2021). At the end of the XIXe century and the beginning of the XXe century many scientific research works have been related with the action of antiseptic actions of many essential oils (Chebaibi et al., 2016;Karaalp et al., 2009). ...
... Since almost every component of the plant has therapeutic potential, it is employed in conventional Ayurvedic procedures. In contrast to other plant organs, however, leaves, roots, flowers, bark, fruits, and rhizomes have greater therapeutic potential (Mirihagalla and Fernando, 2021). Banana leaves are the commonly and popularly using leaf material for wrapping foods. ...
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Two consecutive experiments were conducted with the objectives of developing eco-friendly food wrappers with Heliconia leaves. First experiment was conducted to attach narrow leaves of Heliconia bihai together along with the outer packing paper introduce as a user friendly smart bio food wrapper since those are narrow = and not in adequate size for wrapping food. Sago solution, gelatin, wheat flour and rice starch solutions were tested as sticking agents to attach leaves. There were twenty replicates in each treatment and performances of the product was evaluated using a taste panel comprised of twenty un trained numbers. “Kruskal Wallis H Test” was used to analyze the data as non-parametric test (p>0.05). There were significant differences between the treatments on smell, adherence and overall acceptability up to ten days after the production. Texture and colour showed significant changes after four and six days respectively. It was observed that up to four days of time all the sticking agents gave good results in all the tested parameters. Sago and gelatin solution showed good in all qualities up to six days. Based on the results of first experiment, second experiment was conducted to determine the quality of food wrapped inside the wrappers. Food wrappers prepared with sago and gelatin were compared with Banana leaves as a food wrapper. There were no significant differences (p<0.05) between the tested food wrappers on taste, smell, appearance and overall acceptability. User friendly food wrappers can be produced as two in one (wrapping and packing) wrapper by sticking narrow Heliconia bihai leaves in fairly good size.
... Nowadays, herbal medicine is booming with a growing interest in the use of medicinal plants as palliative treatments to conventional medicine. Indeed, synthetic drugs are very expensive with undeniable adverse effects on human health (Nair and Chandra, 2006;Rahman and Fakir, 2015;Mirihagalla and Fernando, 2021). Several studies have demonstrated that medicinal plants are the core of many bioactive phyto-chemicals that possess the antimicrobial potential and have the ability to protect the human body from stress arises due to free radicals that might cause heart and neurodegenerative disorders, joints inflammation, cancer and several malfunctions. ...
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The objective of this study was to evaluate the antibacterial and antioxidant activities of two extracts (aqueous and ethanolic) and essential oil from dried sheets of Artemisia herba alba collected in southern Algeria. The extracts were prepared separately with different polarity solvents (water and ethanol). Total phenolics, flavonoids and tanins contents were evaluated. The essential oil was isolated using hydrodistillation. Two tests were established to assess the antioxidant activity (DPPH and FRAP), agar-well diffusion method was used to evaluate the antibacterial effect: Escherichiacoli, Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus. The yield of the aqueous extract is higher than that of the ethanolic extract. The phytochemical study revealed the presence of phenolic compounds, flavonoids and tannins. The aqueous extract contains higher amounts of total phenolics (97.17 ± 1.06 mg/g DM), flavonoids (35.61 ± 0.39 mg/g DM) and tannins (46.58 ± 0.91 mg/g DM) compared to the ethanolic extract, 28.69 ± 0.99, 10.98 ± 0.64 and 15.11±0.49mg/g DM respectively. Antioxidant activity (IC50) ofaqueous, ethanolic extracts and essential oil were 2.02, 0.753 and 1.088 mg/ml, respectively. Analysis of the antibacterial activity showed that aqueous extract exhibited much higher activity that the ethanolic extract and essential oil. RP HPLC analysis of aqueous extract show the presence of certain compounds that belong to flavonoids (cathecine and apigenin) and others to phenolic acids (caffeic acid andferulic acid). The results of this study demonstrated that the essential oil and extracts can be used as antioxidant and antimicrobial agents. Keywords : Antibacterial activity, antioxidant activity, Artemisia herba alba, phytochemical screening
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Turmeric is an herbaceous evergreen plant in the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is extensively used as a spice, food preservative and colouring material in India, China and South East Asia. Turmeric powder is best known as one of the main ingredients used to make the curry spice; it also gives ballpark mustard its bright yellow colour. Apart from its culinary uses, turmeric has been used widely in the traditional medicine all over the world. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), the main yellow bioactive component of turmeric has been shown to have a wide spectrum of biological actions. These include its antiinflammatory, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, anticoagulant, antifertility, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, antiviral, antifibrotic, antivenom, antiulcer, hypotensive and hypocholesteremic activities. For traditional Ayurvedics, turmeric plant was an excellent natural antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic, while at the same time the plant has been often used to aid digestion, to improve intestinal flora, and to treat skin irritations.
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This review aims to highlight the morphology, taxonomy, and biological activities of Tinospora cordifolia along with its ethnobotanical uses and its micropropagation techniques. Relating to the global pandemic, this review introduces a comprehensive update of COVID-19 scientific reports on T. cordifolia as an indispensable herb. This study also explores the nutritional values and elemental composition from proximate analysis along with its phytochemical and medicinal properties. T. cordifolia is a medicinal plant widely used for the treatment of various diseases such as diabetes and jaundice. This plant is mainly found in the southern part of Asia and is locally known as Gurjo or Guduchi. T. cordifolia exists in the form of a glabrous, ascending shrub belonging to the Menispermaceae family. Owing to its commercial importance, it has been of considerable interest in research in recent decades, incorporating a wide range of pharmacological properties, such as antidiabetic, immunomodulation, antioxidant, anticancer, hepatoprotective, and hypoglycemic values. These properties are enhanced by the presence of diverse compounds such as alkaloids, sesquiterpenoids, diterpenoids, phenolics, glycosides, steroids, and polysaccharides, aliphatic, and other miscellaneous compounds. This review provides new details that can facilitate the careful assessment of the plant as a therapeutic agent against emerging diseases. It also offers insights to the researchers involved in validating traditional claims to develop safe and efficient herbal medicines to several diseases including COVID-19.
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BACKGROUND The Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) growing in tropical and subtropical regions, is a native tree of India. Neem belongs to Meliaceae family, also known as a Limbo, Nim, Nimba, Medusa and Vempu. It is also called “village pharmacy“ of South Asia because of its enormous medicinal properties. Every part of Neem is so useful for the treatment of human disease. Various parts of the tree are well known for their medicinal properties which are prescribed by Ayurvedic, Siddha, and herbal medicine practitioners in India. Currently Azadirachta indica- Neem formulations are effective against a several diseases, ulcers, eczema, sores, burns, ulcers etc. It has been used in ayurvedic medicines for thousands of years because it exhibits therapeutic properties such as anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-insecticidal, anti-bacterial, anti-allergic, anti-helminthic, anti-inflammatory and anti-dermatic properties. Approximately 135 different structural compounds have been identified from different parts of Neem tree for their beneficial effects.
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This study reviewed the medicinal properties of ginger and garlic. Ginger and garlic are commonly used spices which are important in medicine due to the presence of many important phytochemical constituents and nutrients which are biologically active substances. Some chemical constituents of these medicinal plants have been reported in various literatures to contribute to the prevention and treatment of various diseases and ailments. In literatures, some of the documented properties of garlic and/or ginger include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, rheumatologic, blood circulation and anti-cramp, anti-ulcer, anticholinergic, analgesic, antimicrobial, anti-stress, anti-cancer, immunity booster, anti-diabetic, regulation of blood pressure and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The use of these medicinal plant materials will aid the promotion of human health system.
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To explore the possible bioactive compounds and to study the antioxidant capacity of Coscinium fenestratum (Goetgh.) Colebr (Menispermaceae), the qualitative and quantitative phytochemical screening for various secondary metabolites were evaluated. Using the GC–MS analysis, a total number of 30 phytochemical compounds were predicted with their retention time, molecular weight, molecular formula, peak area, structure and activities. The most prevailing heterocyclic compound was Bis(2,4,6- triisopropylphenyl) phosphinicazide (6.70%). The antioxidant activity was evaluated by spectrophotometric methods using the reducing power assay and the DPPH[rad] and ABTS[rad]+ scavenging assays. The activity was determined to be increased in all the test samples with the increase in the volume of the extract. C. fenestratum possess a good source of many bioactive compounds that are used to prevent diseases linked with oxidative stress.
Considered as the “King of spices”, black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) is a widely used spice which adds flavor of its own to dishes, and also enhances the taste of other ingredients. Piper nigrum has also been extensively explored for its biological properties and its bioactive phyto-compounds. There is, however, no updated compilation of these available data to provide a complete profile of the medicinal aspects of P. nigrum. This study endeavors to systematically review scientific data on the traditional uses, phytochemical composition, and pharmacological properties of P. nigrum. Information was obtained using a combination of keywords via recognized electronic databases (e.g., Science Direct and Google Scholar). Google search was also used. Books and online materials were also considered, and the literature search was restricted to the English language. The country with the highest number of traditional reports of P. nigrum for both human and veterinary medicine was India, mostly for menstrual and ear-nose-throat disorders in human and gastrointestinal disorders in livestock. The seeds and fruits were mostly used, and the preferred mode of preparation was in powdered form, pills or tablets, and paste. Piper nigrum and its bioactive compounds were also found to possess important pharmacological properties. Antimicrobial activity was recorded against a wide range of pathogens via inhibition of biofilm, bacterial efflux pumps, bacterial swarming, and swimming motilities. Studies also reported its antioxidant effects against a series of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species including the scavenging of superoxide anion, hydrogen peroxide, nitric oxide, DPPH, ABTS, and reducing effect against ferric and molybdenum (VI). Improvement of antioxidant enzymes in vivo has also been reported. Piper nigrum also exhibited anticancer effect against a number of cell lines from breast, colon, cervical, and prostate through different mechanisms including cytotoxicity, apoptosis, autophagy, and interference with signaling pathways. Its antidiabetic property has also been confirmed in vivo as well as hypolipidemic activity as evidenced by decrease in the level of cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein and increase in high-density lipoprotein. Piper nigrum also has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anticonvulsant, and neuroprotective effects. The major bioactive compound identified in P. nigrum is piperine although other compounds are also present including piperic acid, piperlonguminine, pellitorine, piperolein B, piperamide, piperettine, and (-)-kusunokinin, which also showed biological potency. Most pharmacological studies were conducted in vitro (n = 60) while only 21 in vivo and 1 clinical trial were performed. Hence, more in vivo experiments using a pharmacokinetic and pharmacokinetic approach would be beneficial. As a conclusive remark, P. nigrum should not only be regarded as “King of spices” but can also be considered as part of the kingdom of medicinal agents, comprising a panoply of bioactive compounds with potential nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications.
Asthma is a common disease that is rising in prevalence worldwide with the highest prevalence in industrialized countries. Asthma affect about 300 million people worldwide and it has been estimated that a further 100 million will be affected by 2025. Since the ancient times, plants have been exemplary sources of medicine. Current asthma therapy lack satisfactory success due to adverse effect, hence patients are seeking complementary and alternative medicine to treat their asthma. Ayurveda and other Indian literature mention the use of plants in various human ailments. India has about 45 000 plant species and among them several thousand are claimed to possess medicinal properties. Researches conducted in the last few decades on the plants mentioned in ancient literature or used traditionally for asthma have shown antiasthmatic, antihistaminic and antiallergic activity. This review reveals that some plants and their extract have antiasthmatic and antiallergic activity.