Tephrosia purpurea

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Wild indigo
var. purpurea
Tephrosia purpurea (Wild Indigo) in Narshapur, AP W IMG 0765.jpg
Scientific classification
T. purpurea
Binomial name
Tephrosia purpurea

Tephrosia purpurea is a species of flowering plant in the pea family, Fabaceae, that has a pantropical distribution. It is a common wasteland weed. In many parts it is under cultivation as green manure crop. It is found throughout India and Sri Lanka[1] in poor soils.

Common names include: Bengali: জংলী নীল (Jangli neel), বন নীল।

English: Fish poison, Wild indigo

Hawaiian: ʻAuhuhu, Ahuhu, ʻAuhola, Hola

Hindi name: Sarphonk, Sharpunkha

Rajasthani: Masa

Tamil: Kollukkai Velai (கொள்ளுக்காய்_வேளை)

Telugu: Vempali (వెంపలి)


Fish poison[edit]

Tephrosia purpurea is used as a fish poison for fishing. Its leaves and seeds contain tephrosin, which paralyzes fish. Larger doses are lethal to fish, but mammals and amphibians are unaffected.[2]


Tephrosia purpurea is also used traditionally as folk medicine. According to Ayurveda, the plant is anthelmintic, alexiteric, restorative, and antipyretic. It is used in the treatment of leprosy, ulcers, asthma, and tumors, as well as diseases of the liver, spleen, heart, and blood. A decoction of the roots is given in dyspepsia, diarrhea, rheumatism, asthma and urinary disorders. The root powder is salutary for brushing the teeth, where it is said to quickly relieve dental pains and stop bleeding. An extract, termed 'betaphroline' (not a systematic name) is claimed to promote release of endorphins, and finds use in certain cosmetic preparations. African sheperds use crushed plants to make an antidotal beverage for animals bitten by snakes.[2]

Feed and manure[edit]

Tephrosia purpurea has been reported to provide fodder to animals such as goats. It makes also a good green manure in fields.[2]


  1. ^ Botany-sinhala website
  2. ^ a b c Heuzé V., Thiollet H., Tran G., Hassoun P., Lebas F., 2018. Ahuhu (Tephrosia purpurea). Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/654 Last updated on January 25, 2018, 14:36
  • Arnold, M.D., Harry L. (1968). Poisonous Plants of Hawaii. Tokyo, Japan: Charles E. Tuttle Co. pp. 57–58. ISBN 0-8048-0474-5.
  • Bishop Museum Hawaiian Ethnobotany Online Database. Downloaded on 24 September 2007.

External links[edit]