• December- Sri Lanka Journal of Indigenous Medicine (SLJIM)
    Vol. 8 No. 02 (2023)

    Cover story


    Phyllanthus emblica Linn.


    Vernacular names: Sinhala: Nelli, Ambula; Sanskrit: Amalaki, Adhiphala; English: Emblic myrobalan; Tamil: Amalagam; Hindi: Amllka, Amalak

    The plant shown on the cover page is Phyllanthus emblica Linn. It is a small or middle-sized tree, about 10 m high, with a crooked trunk and spreading branches; bark thin grey with numerous bosses whence arises the leaf bearing branchlets; leaves simple, alternate; Flowers unisexual, small, greenish-yellow, monoecious, appetalous and axillary; fruit globes, 1.2-1.6cm diameter, fleshy, pale green or yellow, of three sub- dehiscent, two seeded, crustaceous cocci enclosed in a thick fleshy coat; seeds 06 trigonous. Fruits are the most utilized part for medicinal preparations1.

    The pericarp of the fruit is often used in decoctions with other ingredients and externally on boils with cow ghee to promote suppuration. The root, bark and fruit are astringent. The unripe fruit is coolong, laxative and diuretic. Exudation from incisions on the fruit is applied externally on inflammation of the eye. The use of the bark with honey and turmeric is given for gonorrhoea. An infusion of the leaves with fenugreek seed is given for chronic diarrohoea. The fruit is rich in vitamin C. The expressed juice of the fruit along with other ingredients is used to cure hemorrhage, anaemia, colic, acute leprosy, fits, insanity, Jaundice, cough, hiccups, indigestion, dyspepsia, asthma and other diseases2.

    Ethnopharmacological studies indicated that 17 countries use P. emblica as indigenous medical remedy3.

    The current pharmacological studies indicated that drupes show antioxidant and antiproliferative activities attributed to the phenolic compound in the drupes4.


    1. Jayaweera D.M.A., (2006). " Medicinal Plants used in Ceylon" with Taxonomic Updating by Senarathna L.K., National Science Foundaton, Sri Lanka.

    2. Paranjpe P., (2021). "Indian Medicinal Plants", Chaukambha Sanskrit Prathisthan, Delhi, 2021

    3. Xia Q., Xiao P., Wan L., Kong J., (1997), Ethnopharmacology of Phyllanthus emblica in China, Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 22, 515-518

    4. Luo N., Zhao M., Yang B., Ren J., Shen G., Giaa, (2011). Antioxidant and antiproliferation capacities of phenolics purified from Phyllanthus emblica fruit. Food Chemistry. 126;277-282

    Cover story by Prof. S.P. Molligoda
    Photographed by Dr. M.V. Lionel
    Cover page designed by Mr. K.K.P.R.K. Kohombakanda

  • June-Sri Lanka Journal of Indigenous Medicine (SLJIM)
    Vol. 8 No. 01 (2023)

    Cover story : Kowakka

    Coccinia grandis Linn.


    Vernacular names: Sinhala: Kowakka; Sanskrit: Bimbika; English: Ivy Gourd, Scarlet – fruited Gourd, Scarlet gourd, Tindora, Kowai fruit; Tamil: Kovval, Kovai; Hindi: Kundru, Tendli

    The plant shown on the cover page is Coccinia grandis Linn. It is a fast-growing climbing and ground-keeping perennial vine with a tuberous root stock, with annual stems up to several meters long. Leaves are arranged alternately along the stems, broadly ovate with a basal sinus. The leaf’s upper surface is hairless; the lower surface is hairy. The tendrils are long, elastic with coil-like spring character that can wrap around the host to the entire length1. The flowers are largely white and star-shaped. Staminate flowers are solitary, rarely in axillary clusters of 2-3, with pedicels 15 to 50 millimeters long. Fruit changes green to red color when ripen and it is ovoid to elliptical, glabrous, and hairless on stalks. Seeds are tan-colored with thickened margins.

    Its native range extends from Africa to Asia including India, Philippines, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. Invasive in Hawaii and the Marina Island. In Sri Lankan traditional Medicine, C. grandis preparation is used for the treatment of Diabetes Mellitus, Urinary tract infections, Bronchitis, ulcers, and itchy skin eruptions. The plant is used as a laxative.

    The studies showed that ivy gourd is a good source of proteins, minerals, vitamins, and other phytochemicals such as Polyphenols, Flavonoids, Saponin, Glycoside, Bamyrine, Lupeol, Cucurbitacin, Cephalandrol, Cephalandrine and Sterol2 contents and medicinal effects such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antibacterial, Hepatoprotective, anti-ulcer, antihyperlipidemic, antipyretic, anti-cancer and analgesic potential3.


    Cover story by Dr. E.D.T.P. Gunarathna , Photographed by Mr. G.S.K. Perera ,
    Cover page designed by Mr. K.K.P.R.K. Kohombakanda    


    1. Hossain A.S.K., Uddin, S.N., Salim, M.D.A., Haque, R.(2014)., Phytochemical and Pharmacological screening of Coccinia grandis Linn, Journal of Scientific and Innovative Research, 3(1). p. 65-71.   2. Tamilselvan P.I.N., Thirumalai, T., Elumalai E.K., Balaji, R,David, E. (2011), Pharmacognosy of Coccinia grandis: A Review, Asian Pacific of Tropical Biomedicine, 1(2): p. 299-302.   3. Ramachandran, A., Prasath R., Anand A. (2014). The medicinal uses of Coccinia grandis L. Voigt: A Review, International Journal of Pharmacognosy, 1(11): p. 681-690.
  • Dec-Sri Lanka Journal of Indigenous Medicine (SLJIM)
    Vol. 7 No. 02 (2022)

    Cover story : Maha Daluk
    Euphorbia neriifolia Linn.
    Vernacular names: Sinhala: Ma Daluk, Maha Daluk, Kola Pathok; Sanskrit: Snuhi, Vajraduma, Guda, Nagarika, Nanda, Nistrinsapatra, Patrasnuhi; English: Indian Spurge Tree, Common milk hedge;

    Tamil: Ilaikalli, Perumbu Kalli Hindi: Sehund, Danda thukar

    Plant shown in the cover page is Euphorbia neriifolia Linn. It is a large, glabrous, fleshy, erect shrub or small tree approximately 1.8-4.5 m in height. It has saccular branches having a pair of strong stipular spines on spirally arranged tubercles. The young leaves are dark green in color, having a leathery texture and a reticulate venation. The flowers are yellowish green in colour. Male and female flowers occur concurrently inside the same bunch. Fruits are looking like capsule. Style 3-fid, stigmas slightly dilated and minutely toothed. Seeds are flat containing soft hairs. Latex is a milky sap-like fluid.
    Euphorbia neriifolia grows in dry, rocky hill areas of South Asia; found and cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia. Ethnomedicinal uses of latex, leaves, roots and whole plant of E. neriifolia are documented. The latex of E. neriifolia is used in Ayurvedic formulations like Avittoladi bhasma, Jatyadi varti, Snuhi ghrta and Jalodarari rasa. This plant is useful in abdominal troubles, bronchitis, tumors, loss of consciousness, asthma, leucoderma, piles, inflammation, enlargement of spleen and flatulence etc. Latex is also famous as an ingredient for preparation of Kshara Sutra used for treating sinuses and fistula in ano. Externally latex and juice of leaves are applied for earache, ulcers, warts, scabies and to prevent suppuration.
    This plant has the phytoconstituents such as flavonoids, monoterpenoids, diterpenoids, triterpenoids, and alkaloids. The plant consists of proven anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, antidiabetic, antiarthritic, anticonvulsant, and antioxidant properties that can be attributable to its phytochemical profile. The latex of the plant is toxic and it can cause skin and eye irritation with intense inflammation. Therefore, the processing and use of raw materials should be done with precautions. In Sri Lanka traditionally Daluk (Euphorbia antiquorum) is used in place of Snuhi while we have the same plant species in the country.


    Cover story and Photograph by Dr. B.M.S. Amarajeewa
    Cover page designed by Mr. K.K.P.R.K. Kohombakanda


    1. Prashant Y. Mali, Shital S. Panchal, Euphorbia neriifolia L. (2017) Review on botany, ethnomedicinal uses, phytochemistry and biological activitie; Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, Volume 10, Issue 5, Pages 430-438
    2. Veena Sharma V, Pracheta Janmeda P. (2017) Extraction, isolation and identification of flavonoid from Euphorbia neriifolia leaves; Arabian Journal of Chemistry, Volume 10, Issue 4, May 2017, Pages 509-514
    3. Sultana A., Hossain M.J., Kuddus M.R., Rashid M.A., Zahan M.S., Mitra S., Roy A., Alam S., Sarker M.M.R., Naina Mohamed I. (2022) Ethnobotanical Uses, Phytochemistry, Toxicology, and Pharmacological Properties of Euphorbia neriifolia Linn. against Infectious Diseases: A Comprehensive Review. Molecules. PMC – PubMed
  • June-Sri Lanka Journal of Indigenous Medicine (SLJIM)
    Vol. 7 No. 01 (2022)

    Cover story: Heen Binthal
    Curculigo orchioides Gaertn
    Vernacular names: Sinhala: Heen Binthal; Sanskrit: Bhuthali; English: Golden eye-grass; Tamil: Wolappanai
    The term Bhuthali implies different varieties of Binthal namely i) White verity (Sudu Binthal) ii) Black verity (Kalu Binthal), which is sub classified into i) Ma binthal (Curculigo Finlaysoniana Wall.) and ii) Heen binthal (Curculigo orchioides Gaertn). Currently this plant is named under the family HYPOXIDACEAE, which is an endangered flowering plant species in the genus Curculigo known as “Rasayana” (rejuvenate) herb. The plant is also used as an herbal medicine in Kampo and Chinese medicines.
    The ecology of this plant is believed that originated in the shady forests of Asia in plains and shows prostrate growth on moist fertile soil. It is also distributed in Sri Lanka, India, Japan, Malaysia and Australia. This is a small herbaceous plant with an elongated tuberous rootstock and lateral roots; rootstock elongate, 5-25 cm, vertical; Leaves (5-20 x 0.8-1.5 cm), very much variable, narrowly linear to lanceolate, acute, plicate or flat, crowded on the short stem with sheathing leaf bases; Petiole short to 3 cm, often absent; Flowers throughout the year, light yellow, bisexual, sessile, regular, 1.2 cm.
    The rhizome, presence alkaloids, carbohydrates, saponins, flavonoids, tannins, glycosides and steroids. It also possesses hypoglycaemic, spasmolytic, anticancer and antioxidant properties also with uterine stimulant, phagocytic, hepatoprotective, antimicrobial and immune-modulatory activities. Cut pieces of rhizome the main use part of this is used as raw material for drug preparations. Some of the commercial formulations containing C. orchioides are available in form of capsules and syrups which are claimed to be rejuvenating, energizers or aphrodisiac pharmaceutical products.


    Cover story by Dr. A.P.A. Jayasiri
    Photograph by Mr. G.S.K. Perera
    Cover page designed by Mr. K.K.P.R.K. Kohombakanda

  • December- Sri Lanka Journal of Indigenous Medicine (SLJIM)
    Vol. 6 No. 02 (2021)


    Cover story : Wel Bakmi
    Nauclea orientalis L. (=Sarcocephalus cordatus (Roxb.) Miq.) 
    Family: RUBIACEAE
    Vernacular names: Sinhala: Bakini, Bakmi, Rata-bakmi: Sanskrit: Kadamba; English: Yellow Cheese wood; Tamil: Wellai Kadambu, Athuvangi, Vammi

    Nauclea is a genus of flowering plants (Angiosperm) native to Bangladesh, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and South East Asian countries. There are around 13 Nauclea species of evergreen trees or shrubs in the family Rubiaceae, including Nauclea orientalis, which is a small tree with a height of 45m, trunk diameter of 100-160 cm, a broad crown and a straight cylindrical bole.
    The bark is gray, smooth in young trees and rough, longitudinally fissured in old. It has glossy green, opposite, ovate to elliptical leaves and bisexual, fragrant, orange/ yellow flowers. Kadamba is closely allied to the subtribe Naucleinae (Rubiaceae) but differs in its placentation mode. The species is in the focus of a classification controversy based on the name of the original type specimen described by Lamarck.

    It is a tree of the moist tropical lowlands found at elevations from sea level to 500 meters, where it is best grown in medium and clay loams with 30 - 40°c annual daytime temperature and 1,000 - 3,500mm mean annual rainfall. It always prefers semi-shaded conditions and succeeds in most soils, though it prefers alluvial soils along stream banks.

    According to Ayurveda, Bakmi is dominant in Pungent, Bitter and Astringent taste, Cold potency and Tridosha alleviating action. Its bark, leaves, roots and juice of fruits have been used in various forms for ulcers, conjunctivitis, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, urinary calculi, and jaundice since Vedic period in India and a time unmemorable in Sri Lankan Deshiya Chikitsa.

    Kabamba is an ingredient of Vedana-sthapana and Shukra-shodhana Ghana in Charaka Samhita and Nyagrodadi and Lodradi ghana in Susruta Samhita. Its leaves and bark are used against abdominal pain, animal bites, and wounds. The leaves are applied externally to boils and tumours. Studies have shown that the bark has moderate in vitro activity against the malaria-causing Plasmodium falcifarum and four new alkaloids; Nauclealines A and B and Naucleosides A and B, together with six known compounds were isolated.

    Cover story by Dr. S.M.S. Samarakoon
    Photograph by Dr. S.M.S. Samarakoon
    Cover page designed by Mr. K.K.P.R.K. Kohombakanda

  • June -Sri Lanka Journal of Indigenous Medicine (SLJIM)
    Vol. 6 No. 01 (2021)

    Cover story : Venivel
    Coscinium fenestratum (Goetgh.) Colebr
    Vernacular names: Sinhala: Bangvel-geta; Venivelgata Sanskrit: Daru-haridra, Darvi; English: Calumba Wood, Ceylon Calumba Root, Tree Turmeric; Tamil: Atturam, Imalam, Kadari, Manjalkodi, Udubadi,Maramanjal, Pasamantram, Sanniyam, Seyebasam, Tiyaram
    Coscinium fenestratum is considered as a critically endangered woody climbing shrub belonging to the genus Coscinium.
    Distribution Occurs in the jungles of Sri Lanka, South India to Indonesia, and Malacca. It is common in the moist low- country forests in Ceylon.
    It has a smooth bark, young shoots densely and finely yellow-tomentose. Leaves simple, alternate, exstipulate, large, 10-20 cm long, broadly ovate or roundish, sharply acute at apex, subcordate or slightly peltate at base; flowers very small, unisexual, male and female flowers on separate plants, sessile in small dense rounded heads which are stalked and umbellately or racemosely arranged in the axils of leaves, pedicel yellow-tomentose; ripe carpels 1-3 globose, brown, endocarp bony, very hard, deeply projected inwards on ventral face, seeds a albuminous, Flowers from January to March.
    Composition of the stem and roots of this climber contain the alkaloids, berberin jatrorrhizine and palmatine.
    The stem of Coscinium fenestrtum have more medicinal values. The stem is bitter and in the traditional medicine system, the plant has been used for treating diabetes mellitus and diverse therapeutic purposes. The decoction useful in vitiated conditions of Kapha, Vata dosha. The stem of the plant has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidants properties and used for curing diseases such as wounds, ulcers, skin diseases, abdominal disorders, and jaundice etc. Decoction of stem is used for snack bites and the stem bark is useful in treating intermittent fevers.Infusion of C. fenestratum is used in bath tubs, in facial creams as an antiseptic and as a common home remedy by the mothers in Sri Lanka.
    In toxicity studies, the water extract of C.fenestratum showed negative results against acute and sub chronic toxicity tests.

    Cover story by Dr. N.D.N. Jayawardhane
    Photograph by Mr. R.M.B.M. Rajaguru and Dr. S.A.D.U.M. Maheepala
    Cover page designed by Mr. K.K.P.R.K. Kohombakanda

  • December - Sri Lanka Journal of Indigenous Medicine (SLJIM)
    Vol. 5 No. 02 (2020)

    Cover story
    Heen Binkohomba
    Andrographis paniculata (Burm.f.) Nees.
    Vernacular names: Sinhala: Heen binkohomba; Sanskrit: Kalmegh; English: King of bitters; Tamil: Nilavembu
    The plant, Andrographis paniculata (Burm.f.) Nees, grows as an erect herb to a height of 30–110 cm (12–43 in) in moist, shaded places. The slender stem is dark green and lance-shaped leaves have hairless blades. The small flowers are whitish, arranged in lax spreading racemes or panicles. The fruit is a capsule around 2 cm long and it contains many yellow-brown seeds.
    The leaves and roots of plant have been used since centuries to cure the wide spectrum of health ailments. The plants are also recommended for the use in cases of chronic and seasonal fever and common cold. A. paniculata has been reported broad range of biological activities, such as, anti-pyretic, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, choleretic, hypoglycaemic, hypocholesterolaemic, and adaptogenic effects.
    Whole aerial part of the plant, used medicinally, contains a large number of chemical constituents, mainly lactones, diterpenoids, diterpene glycosides, flavonoids, and flavonoid glycosides.
    The overall, it is also widely used for medicinal purposes by the traditional practitioners, tribes, or community as a folklore remedies in different countries. A. Paniculata appears to be beneficial and safe for relieving acute respiratory tract infections symptoms and reducing time to symptom resolution. A. Paniculata as a monotherapy, or as an herbal mixture, as well as exploring its potential to reduce antibiotic prescribing in primary care, is warranted.
    A. paniculata, is used as a bitter ingredient in 26 Ayurvedic formulations. In, Sri Lanka, it is use in Sudarshana powder as a main key ingredient (50%). It also has proven its in-vivo and in-vitro antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-nociceptive, PGE modulating effect and antioxidant properties.

    Cover story by Dr. W.A.S. Saroja Weerakoon and Dr. P.K Perera
    Photograph by Dr. W.A.S. Saroja Weerakoon and Ms. A.D.S. Tharanga
    Cover page designed by Mr.K.K.P.R.K Kohombakanda


  • June : Sri Lanka Journal of Indigenous Medicine (SLJIM)
    Vol. 5 No. 01 (2020)

    Cover story

    Mallotus phillipinensis (Lam.) Muell. Arg.
    Family: Euphorbiaceae
    Vernacular names: Sinhala: Hamparila; English: Kamala; Tamil: Kapila; Sanskrit: Kampilya, Kampillaka, Raktaphala, Recana1.

    Mallotus phillipinens is a very common perennial shrub, one of the medicinally important plant used in indigenous system. M. philippinensis has a widespread natural distribution, from the western Himalayas, through India, Sri Lanka, to southern China, and throughout Malesia to Australia. Trees are small to medium-sized monoecious in nature, up to 25 m tall and with a bole up to 50cm in diameter, but usually much less in number. Slash turning deep red. Branchlets are reddish- brown glandular. Leaves are alternate and simple, more or less leathery, ovate to lanceolate, cuneate to rounded with two glands at base. Leaves are mostly acute or acuminate at apex, conspicu- ously 3-nerved, hairy and reddish glandular beneath, petiole size 1–4cm long, puberulous and reddish-brown in color.
    Male flowers in terminal and axillary position, 2–10cm long, solitary or fascicled paniculates spikes, each flower are with numerous stamens, small; female flowers have spikes or slender racemes, each flower with a stellate hairy, 3 celled ovary with 3 papillose stigmas. Fruit is a depressed-globose; 3-lobed capsule; 5, 7 mm, and 10 mm; stel- late; puberulous; with abundant orange or reddish glandular granules; 3-seeded. Seeds are subglobose and black in color and 4 mm across 2. Major phytochemicals present in this genus contain different natural compounds, mainly phenols, diterpenoids, steroids, flavonoids, cardenolides, triterpenoids, coumarin, isocoumarins, and many more.

    Specially roots, fruits and fruit powder (glands/hairs of the fruit) and the leaves are used for medicinal purposes. Leaves are bitter, cooling and appetizer. The glands/hairs of the fruit and the leaves3are recommended for dermal problems. Many scientific investigations have been carried out to validate and investigate the pharmacological activities of M. philippinensis.

    The review paper of Mallotus phillipinensis (Lam.) Muell. Arg. on page 364.

    1.Anonymous, 1979, Ayurveda Pharmacopea, Vol 1, Part 2,Department of Ayurveda, Sri Lanka. 47.
    2.Gangwar M., Goel R. K., Nath G., 2014, MallotusphilippinensisMuell. Arg (Euphorbiaceae): Ethnopharmacology and Phytochemistry Review, BioMed Research International, Special issue,
    3.Kirtikar K R., Basu B D., 1996, Indian Medicinal Plants Vol 3, Valley offset printers and Publishers, Dehradun, India.2267 -2268.

    Cover story by Dr. H.G.S.P. Hewageegana and Dr. L.D.A.M. Arawwawala
    Photograph by Dr. H.G.S.P. Hewageegana