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Nirmali (Strychnos potatorum Linn.)

Pankaj Oudhia
Society for Parthenium Management (SOPAM)
28-A, Geeta Nagar, Raipur - 492001 India

Copyright © 2004. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.

Scientific Name: Strychnos potatorum Linn.
Family: Loganiaceae (Strychnaceae).
English Name: Clearing Nut Tree.
Hindi Name: Nirmali

General Description: A common tree of medicinal importance in India popularly used to purify water for drinking.

Botanical differences between Strychnos species.

Characters Strychnos potatorum Strychnos nuxvomica
Plant A medium sized deciduous tree having height upto 12 meters. A medium sized deciduous tree having height up to 20 meters
Bark Cracked and scaly black. Dark grey or yellowish grey bark.
Trunk Irregularly fluted. Fairly straight.
Leaves Simple, opposite, elliptic, acute, 15x6.25 cm, glabrous, shining. Broadly elliptic, coriaceous, glabrous.
Flowers White fragrant, axillary cymes Numerous, greenish white in terminal cymes.
Fruits Ovoid or globose, glabrous berries, black when ripe. Globose, orange-red when ripe.
Seeds One or two, yellow, circular, not much compressed. Convex in one side and concave on other with fine grey silky hairs.

Useful Parts: Seeds, roots and fruits.

Traditional Medicinal Uses: According to Ayurveda, seeds are acrid, alexipharmic, lithotriptic and cure strangury, urinary discharges, head diseases etc. Roots cure Leucoderma whereas fruits are useful in eye diseases, thirst, poisoning and hallucinations. The fruits are emetic, diaphoretic alexiteric etc. According to Unani system of medicine, seeds are bitter, astringent to bowels, aphrodisiac, tonic, diuretic and good for liver, kidney complaints, gonorrhea, colic etc.

Other Uses
Seeds are used to purify water.
Seeds are rich source of polysaccharide gum suitable for use in paper and textile industries.

Agharkar, S.P. (1991). Medicinal plants of Bombay presidency, Pbl. Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur, India : 203-204.
Varier, P.S. (1997). Indian medicinal plants : A compendium of 500 species Vol. 5. Pbl. Orient Longman Ltd., Hyderabad, India. : 202-211.

Pankaj Oudhia
Society for Parthenium Management (SOPAM)
28-A, Geeta Nagar, Raipur - 492001 India

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