Ethnobotanical Leaflets 14: 721-42, 2010.



Ethno-Medicinal Profile of Different Plant Parts of Calotropis procera (Ait.) R. Br.


Raginee Verma, G.P. Satsangi and J.N. Shrivastava


Microbiology Lab., Department of Botany, DEI, Dayalbagh, Agra, India




Issued: July 01, 2010




The present paper reviews the literature on recent ethno medicinal uses of every plant part of Calotropis procera (1968-2009) and its medicinal properties used for the treatment of various ailments as in the case of many types of fevers, rheumatism, indigestion, cough, cold, eczema, asthma, elephantiasis, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, etc. The review includes accounts of medicinal values of all parts of the plant that have been used in folk medicine as a remedy. The name and parts of the plant studied, the spectrum of activity, and methods used are discussed in this review paper.


Key words: Calotropis procera; traditional medicines; ethno-medicinal use.





The herbal medicines occupy distinct position right from the primitive period to present day. The ethnobotanical pharmacology is as old as man himself. These medicines have less side effects and man can get the herbs easily from nature. India being a tropical country is blessed with vast natural resources and ancient knowledge for its judicious utilization. However, in order to make these remedies acceptable to modern medicine, there is a need to scientifically evaluate them, to identify the active principles and to understand the mechanism of action (Ashok Vaidya, 1998). Calotorpis procera in India holds a pride of place largely because of its other uses and economic values. The genus Calotropis R.Br. (Asclepiadaceous) is distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and Africa (The wealth of India, 1959). It is represented in India by two species viz. C. procera and C. gigantean.


Calotropis procera (Ait.) R. Br., a wild growing plant of family Asclepiadaceae, is well known for its medicinal properties. Different parts of this plant have been reported to exhibit anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant properties. It is found in most parts of the world in dry, sandy and alkaline soils and warm climate and is more common in south western and central India and western Himalayas. It is found in waste lands and grows as a weed in agricultural lands. In ancient Ayurvedic medicines the plant Calotropis procera was known as Rakta arka.


Morphologically the plant is erect, tall, large, much branched and perennial shrub or small tree that grows on a height of 5.4m, with milky latex throughout. Bark is soft and corky, branches stout, leaves sub sessile, opposite, decussate, broadly ovate, oblong, elliptic or obovate, acute, thick, glaceous, green coloured with fine cottony pubescent hair on young. Flowers in umbellate cymes and tomentose on young. Seeds broadly ovate, acute, flattened, minutely tomentose, brown coloured and silky.




Most of the research papers, research articles and review papers were consulted and compiled. The useful material regarding the information of ethno medicinal aspects of C. procera were collected from time to time and summarized in present paper. This paper recovers the traditional medicinal values of each and every part of the selected the plant (C. procera).



A number of research papers, articles and review papers treat the ethno medicinal aspects of this plant. Table 1, 2 and Fig. 1 showing the percentage of ethnomedicinal uses of different plant parts of C. procera.




Table 1. Ethno medicinal uses of different plant parts of C. procera.



Part used
















































































































































































































































































































































































































































Whole Plant






Whole plant




Whole Plant



Whole Plant


















































Root bark





Root bark









Root bark








Root bark






Root Bark






Root Bark












Stem latex















Stem bark





































































































Leaf latex





Leaf latex








Leaf latex


























































































































































































In Nigeria traditional medicine, C. procera is either used alone or with other herbs




Whole plant is used




The whole plant is used



Ash of whole plant





The alcoholic extracts of the root and leaves of C. procera





Root used as




Chloroform root extract of Calotropis procera



Root is used as





Root are used to treat




Roots are tied with the help of a red thread on the affected part


Extract of root is taken orally by the tribal ladies.



Used as purgative and taken in



The root powder is mixed with butter and this ointment is applied to.




given with black pepper






The paste of root bark





The root bark powder is used.









Root bark powder








The secretions from the root bark are traditionally used





The bark of root is taken out and mixed with a minute dose of arsenic and given in the form of a pill



The bark of root is powdered




Stem used as tooth brush




Stem is used as Maswak




Latex is mixed with Sodium Chloride (Nacl) and warmed on hot slow heating. During heating continuous stirring should be done. One microgram given orally thrice a day.


The latex applied locally During the course of this treatment, prepared from the whole plant Swertia Chirayita is also taken.


4 gm of latex is taken orally by the tribals


Small pieces (stem bark) in maceration in a liter of water,




Dried powered leaves can be dusted over wounds, ulcers and old sores




In morning, before sunrise, tender leaves were given in a capsule with water on an empty stomach. After treatment for three days


Leaf extract, chopped leaves and latex of C.procera have also shown great promise



Mature leaves of C. procera along with urine of the patient concerned are filled in an air tight earthen pot. After ten days, a cloth wet in this urine is applied on


Leaves of Calotropis procera are used



Leaves used as





Leaf extracts mixed with oil on heat.

Leaves are smoked.

Leaf and black pepper used



leaves are used to treat





Young leaves are crushed and the juice is expressed on the palms of the person venomated. It is allowed to be there for five minutes and is sniffed. If immediately sneezing starts the snake is declared to be poisnous.


Milk of goat feeding on leaves of C. procera is given to infants



The fresh leaves of the plant are warmed and are applied as poultice


The decoction (leaves)




Leaves are pounded with castor oil and banded over knee joints



The leaves are heated and bandage is made.

The leaves are used


Fresh leaves are roasted in the ghee or oil and applied on the



The leaves and flowers are crushed and the paste is mixed with honey



leaves mixed with turmeric, honey and karanji was applied as a paste



Powder of 5g dried leaves mixed with gur given orally before sunrise for 5 days.



Leaves are used on




Leaf latex is externally applied twice a day for 2-3 days




Leaf latex is used to




Small quantity of fresh latex is applied over



Leaf latex is used as antidote






Calotropin isolated from latex is used as a remedy for








Latex is antisyphilitic and is also




Milky latex is locally applied in the treatment of




Preparations from latex with honey are used as




Latex is applied







Latex is, either taken internally or locally to the mouth of uterus with the aid of a stick well coated with juice.

A single dose of the aqueous suspension of the dried latex was effective to a significant level against the


Topical application of 20 micro liters of 1% sterile solution of the latex of Calotropis procera twice daily for 7 days



Pills of a black gram size are made from one tablespoonful of latex mixed with 20g sugar and 1g calcium carbonate. One pill twice a day given for three days is said


Latex of the plant is filled in spaces between nails and finger tips of patient twice daily for a few days to cure conjunctivitis.


Latex is used in the treatment of.



Latex is applied




Latex is used




Take 26 gm of lahori salt, put it in an earthen pot, add Calotropis milk so that the salt dipped in to it, and cover earthen pot mouth and heat up. Grind it and use the powder externally for gum bleeding with small amount of HCL. It is effective for


4 to 5 drops of fresh latex of the plant is dropped over the injured portion as an antiseptic in the


Milky latex is used to treat




Used as





Latex is topically used as




The milky juice is poisonous and is used in




Latex of Calotropis procera and Mangifera indica mixed with one drop of conc. HCL is applied locally as an


Milky latex of plant is applied on inflamed areas to



Latex and leaves mixed with turmeric, honey and karanji was applied as a paste.


Latex is used in





Extracts of Calotorpis procera flower was investigated for




Pills of the size of a black gram are made from the paste obtained by mixing 6gm flower buds with 7-8 black pepper seeds and 3gm salt. Two pills are given twice daily for three days.

Flowers of C. procera and leaves of Nicotiana tobacum L. (Solanaceae) taken in equal quantity, are burnt to ash, which is inhaled


Internal part of flower and sugar used for




The hair is washed with flowers




Powder of dried flowers of Calotropis procera grind along with Papaver somniferum and Eletteria cardomomum (20gm each), called Tally, used three times daily (about one teaspoonful)


The leaves and flowers are crushed and the paste is mixed with honey




Flowers of this plant are used





About 12gm stigmas are added to 5-8 black pepper, 3gm black salt and opium (equal to one seed of mustard) and make into pills of the size of black pepper. One pill three times daily to given with hot water for three times a days


Take 3 gm of Calotropis seeds, 18 gm of red chili seeds and 6 gm opium. Grind all of these and mix it in one teaspoon of ginger and half cup of onion water, if unavailable then use syrup of sugar and citrus medica water..


To treat common diseases such as fever, rheumatism, indigestion, cold, eczema and diarrohea.


In boils and also to remove thorn from body.



for the treatment of jaundice


Is used as coloring material.




Were found to have anticanceractivity against human epidermal carcinoma of the nasophyrnx tissue culture.


digestive agent




Induced acute and chronic liver injury by carbon tetrachloride.


Hydrocede, in headache, severe body pain, malarial fever and convulsion



Eczema, leprosy, elephantiasis, asthma, cough and rheumatism.


To relieve filarial




in dysmenorrhea







rabid dog bite and on the paralyzed limbs





protracted labour and also used for spleen complaints, elephantiasis, rheumatism,



Is locally applied in elephantiasis.




In the treatment of Diarrhoea and dysentery. In case of diarrhoea it changes the faecal matter into a semisolid mass with in the first day of treatment



Is used to treat diarrhea and dysentery and it is an excellent substitute for ipecac. Traditionally it is used to treat cholera, extracting guinea worms and indigestion.


For the treatment of skin diseases, enlargements of abdominal viscera and intestinal worms.



To people suffering from leprosy.





Used as tonic, antispa modic, expectorant and in large doses emetic.


To enhance amylase activity.



As Tooth brush having the property of curing toothache


To the patient of tuberculosis






To cure Leucoderma.





As an antidote in rabies



Used as tonic and stimulant.




To prompt healing.






All patients suffering from migraine headaches got relief.




As a nematicide in vitro and in vivo.




Bones/ parts affected from Sinus fistula.






To treat fever




Hydrocede, headache, severe body pain, malarial fever and convulsion.



used for joints and waist pain


for asthma

To cure malarial fever.


Eczema, leprosy, elephantiasis, asthma, cough and rheumatism.



To confirm whether the snake that had bitten the person was poisonous or not,






To cure asthma.




In rheumatism, gout and to relieve pains.



Against rheumatism, asthma and also used as sedative.


To get relief from joint pain.



To apply on ulcers


For washing cloths.


Swelling part of body.




To cure flatulence, anorexia, indigestion and intestinal worm infestation.


On the wounds.





To cure migraine





Sores, skin diseases, inflammation and rheumatic joints.


To treat pain in any part of the body.




Treat scorpion and snake bite. Leaf latex is applied on bitten area.


The wart affected area.




For Scorpion bite. Fresh leaves are cut and the excluding latex applied to affected area.



Black scars on face; boils, cold, cough, asthma, ear ache, eczema, skin eruptions, inflammatory lesions, pain of the body, rheumatism, syphilis, leprosy and oedema.



Inserted in to painful tooth cavities and applied to various skin complaints.


Cutaneous diseases such as ringworm, syphilitic sores and leprosy.



Anti rabies and also in the treatment of toothache and cough.



On ringworm and eczema, affected area becomes black after the application due to its burning effect



Used for abortion





Acute inflammatory response.




For wound healing potential.





To cure arthritis.












Blackleg by Zay people




In toothache




As antiseptic




gum bleeding and salt










Skin infection.





Cholera and leprosy.




Purgative and used in dysentery.








Various skin diseases also act as purgative.




Antidote in scorpion bite.





Relieve inflammation and snake bite to neutralize poison.


on the wounds




Tooth ache, ringworm and also for removing face darkness.



Cytotoxicity of human colorectal carcinoma cell line and displayed the strong cytotoxic activity


In malaria fever






To get relief from migraine.






Abdominal diseases and asthma.




To remove dandruff from the hair.



To cure cholera and severe dysentery.







To cure flatulence, anorexia, indigestion and intestinal worm infestation.



In piles and asthmatic problems.





To treat cholera.









It is useful in cholera

Kew (1985)






Rai et al (2000)




Jan et al (2009)



Zabihullah et al (2006), Jan et al (2008)



Dhar et al

( 1968)





Mishra and Fridowich (1972)


Basu et al




Ajibade et al (2005)




Joshua (2006)




Sen and Behra (2007)



Jain et al (2007)




Showkat (2007)



Khan (2009)






Kumar (2009)






Chopra et al (1983)




Jain et al (1985)









Jain et al (1985)








Parrota (2001)






Jasrai et al (2003)





Jan et al (2008)




Mishra and Fridowich (1972)


Zabihullah et al (2006), Jan et al (2008)


Jain et al (2007)















Fatima (2007)






Awan et al (1986), Said et al (1996)



Prasad (1985)






Khirstova and Tissot (1995)




Anis et al (2000)






Ahmad and Beg (2001)



Ajibade et al (2005)



Shah et al (2006)





Joshua (2006)





Bhogaonkar et al (2007)








Jain et al (2007)




Dhiman (2007)




Fatima (2007)




Reddy (2008)




Jan et al (2008)




Shah et al (2009)



Khan et al (2009)




Patil et al (2009)





Bhatt et al (2009)




Kumar (2009)




Maliya (2007)





Muthuswami and Solomon (2009)






Flatie et al (2009)





Misra and Fridowick (1972)







Mortan (1981)





Kew (1985)





Kew (1985)





Badruzzamana et al (1989)






Pandey and Anita (1990)




Kumar and Basu (1994)




Rasik et al (1999)





Anis et al (2000)











Giday (2001)




Negi et al (2002)



Ahmad et al (2004)



Khan and Kamran (2006)









Galav et al (2007)




Kumar et al (2007)



Showkat (2007)





Fatima (2007)




Jan et al (2008)





Jain et al (2008)




Khan (2009)




Patil et al (2009)




Kumar (2009)





Smith et al (1995)




Anis et al (2000)












Shah et al (2006)




Jan et al (2008)




Jan et al (2008)








Khan (2009)






Kumar (2009)






Anis et al (2000)








Khan and Kamran (2006)






Table 2. Percentage of ethno medicinal uses of different plant parts of C. procera against total number of uses.










  2. ROOT
  4. STEM
  6. LEAF
  8. LATEX
  10. STIGMA
  11. SEED































Fig.1. Graphical presentation of ethno medicinal uses of different plant parts of C. procera.



Fig.2. Graphical presentation of ethno medicinal uses of different plant parts of C. procera.





This ethno-medico-botanical study on the plant Calotropis procera has revealed the enormous diversity of its medicinal uses and popular use of the plant C. procera for a wide range of common ailments like fevers, rheumatism, indigestion, cough, cold, eczema, asthma, elephantiasis, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Either the whole plant or a plant part used singly or mixed with other plant materials to enhance the efficacy.


Plant based drugs have been in use against various diseases since the time immemorial. The primitive man used herbs as therapeutic agents and medicament, which they were able to procure easily. The nature has provided plant wealth for all living creature, which possess medicinal virtues (Bhatti et al, 1998). Medicinal plants are an important source of drugs in traditional system of medicine (Sher and Hussain, 1998a). They are valuable natural resources and regarded as potentially safe drugs. In addition, they are playing an important role in alleviating human suffering by contributing herbal medicines in primary health care system of rural and remote areas where more than 70% of population depends on folklore and traditional system of medicines. The reason for their popularity is due to high cost of allopathic medicines and side effects.


Medicinal plants have been used since prehistoric period for the cure of various diseases. Since these are in common use by the local people and are of great importance thats why a lot of people are engaged in the trade of important medicinal herbs throughout the world (Elisabetsky, 1990). Especially, people living in villages have been using indigenous plants as medicines since ages because this knowledge transfers from generation to generation and is based on life long experiences. Besides, the villages are far away from cities and mostly lack proper health facilities (Shinwari and khan, 2000).


This field is well established and a lot of work has been done worldwide. Radhakrishman et al (1998) reported ethnobotanical information on Ulteria salicifolia, a monotypic species endemic to south Western Ghats of peninsular India and gave its taxonomic identity, distribution pattern and affinity to an allied genus for the first time. Beyra et al (2004) carried out an ethnobotanical survey from Camaguey, Cuba and reported 111 plant species belonging to 96 genera and 55 families from the study area. These species are used in the treatment of 173 local health problems in the study area. Bondya & Sharma (2004) conducted a survey of medicinal plants used in diabetes in Jharkhand and collected 11 plant species with remarkable uses. Buckingham (1991) reported that there are total of 2,50,000 species of flowering plants in the world, much less than animal species (5-10 million) however, plants contribute to our lives more than animals mainly due to their extra ordinary array of diverse classes of biochemicals with a variety of biological activities. Ji et al (2004) reported the medico-ethnobotany of Nujiang, Northwest Yunnan, and China. They described 52 medicinal plant species belonging to 32 families used for the treatment of various human ailments. Among them, 11 species were reported as rare and 16 were commercially utilized.


The indigenous traditional knowledge of herbal plants of communities where it has been transmitted orally for many years is fast disappearing from the face of world due to transformation of traditional culture. The people, who are native to the area in which the plants occur, use around 90% of the medicinal species (Baquar, 1989). This is indicative of the vast repository of knowledge of plant medicine that is still available for global use, provided of course that it does not get lost before it can be tapped or documented. Traditional and indigenous medical knowledge of plants, both oral and codified, are undoubtedly eroding (Mujtaba and Khan, 2007). In the present scenario, traditional knowledge system in our country is fast eroding and there is an urgent need to inventoried, record all ethno-botanical and cultural information among the diverse ethnic communities before the traditional cultures are completely lost. Therefore, documentation of information on ethno-medicinal uses will help in conserving the knowledge. A comprehensive database of the plants used for various purposes could be saved for the forthcoming generations.



This information about medicinal values of C. procera has paramount importance in life and how these ethno herbal data have key role in life. Moreover, it can be initiative for further phytochemical and pharmacological investigations about the medicinal use of the plant, which may be a step ahead towards the new drug development.



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