|Ichnocarpus frutescens |
Ichnocarpus frutescens is a species of flowering plant in the dogbane family known by the English common name black creeper. It is native to much of China, India, Southeast Asia, and northern Australia. In Uttarakhand it is known as kali-dudhi, and as botilai and shyamlata in Orissa, dudhilata in Madhya Pradesh, palvalli in Tamil Nadu, and siamlata in Uttar Pradesh.
It is a woody shrub with lianas sprawling to 10 meters in maximum length and 6 centimeters in diameter. The bark produces a creamy white sap. The leaves are up to 11 centimeters long by 4.5 wide. The inflorescence is a head of several flowers. Each flower has a calyx of densely hairy sepals and a five lobed corolla just under a centimeter long. The fruit is a follicle which may be over 14 centimeters long. The roots may be reddish or purple. The plant is sold in markets in some areas in India.
The plant has a large number of traditional medicinal uses, including treatment for rheumatism, asthma, cholera, and fever. Some in vitro and rodent studies have suggested that extracts of the plant inhibit tumors, protect liver cells from damage in acetaminophen overdose, and reduces complications of hyperlipidemia in diabetic rats. There have been no published studies testing any of these effects in humans.
- illustration circa 1880, from Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A.) - Flora de Filipinas
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