Phytolacca acinosa cashmerina
Family : PHYOLACCACEAE
Habitat : Forest, Shrubberies, forest clearings, cultivated areas in forests, Valleys, hillsides, forest understories, forest margins and roadsides at elevations of 500 - 3400 metres. It is also found in cultivated land houses, moist fertile lands and as a weed.
Distribution : Temperate Himalaya: From Hazara Dovision to Kashmir to Gilgat,, to Bhuta, China, Afghanistan and Japan.
Botanical features : Perenial shrubby herb. Stem branched, dark green, fistular or solid, succulent. Leaves oblanceolate, entire, narrowed to short stalk. Flower clusters upto 15 cm, perianth segments 5, stamens 8-10. Fruit with 10-15 fleshy dark purple carpels.
Medicinal uses: Plants narcotic: Root oil used for pain in joints.
Other uses: Tender leaves of the variety with fistular stem cooke as a vegetable. fruit used as flovouring agent. A red ink is obtained from the fruit.
Edible parts of Phytolacca acinosa : Leaves - they must be cooked, and are then used as a spinach. Only the young leaves should be used since the leaves become toxic with age. The young shoots are used as an asparagus substitute. They have an excellent flavour. Root - cooked. Must be leeched first. Only the white root of the white flowered form (if it exists!) should be eaten. See notes above.
Chemical constituents : Seed kernels yield a fatty oil. the fatty acid composition shows 8% of saturated and 92% of unsaturated acids. A toxic principle Phytolaccatoxin resembling picrotoxin is isolated from the seeds.
Medicinal use of Phytolacca acinosa : The root is antiasthmatic, antibacterial, antidote, antifungal, antitussive, diuretic, expectorant, laxative and vermifuge. The plant has an interesting chemistry and it is currently (1995) being investigated as a potential anti-AIDS drug. It contains potent anti-inflammatory agents, antiviral proteins and substances that affect cell division. These compounds are toxic to many disease-causing organisms, including the water snails that cause schistosomiasis. The root is used internally in the treatment of urinary disorders, nephritis, oedema and abdominal distension. Externally, it is used to treat boils, carbuncles and sores. The roots are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. All parts of the plant are toxic, this remedy should be used with caution and preferably under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.
Propagation of Phytolacca acinosa : Seed - sow autumn or spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed, it might be worthwhile trying an outdoor sowing in a seed bed in early spring. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for their first year and plant them out the following spring. Division in March or October. Use a sharp spade or knife to divide the rootstock, making sure that each section has at least one growth bud. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Cultivation of the herb : In Kashmir, Valleys, hillsides, forest understories, forest margins and roadsides at elevations of 500 - 3400 metres. It is also found in cultivated land houses, moist fertile lands and as a weed.
Known hazards of Phytolacca acinosa : The leaves are poisonous. They are said to be safe to eat when young, the toxins developing as they grow older. According to another report it is only a form with reddish purple flowers and a purple root that is poisonous.
Available in : 50,100, 200 seeds/Pkt
Vioble open pollinated Phytolacca acinosa seed/berries are available at:
For more details about planting material:-
JK Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre
Ist Street, Shaheed-e-Azeemat Road, Nambalbal, Pampore PPR J&K 192121
Mailing address: PO Box 667 Srinagar SGR J&K- 190001
Call us: 09858986794
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