Creeping foxglove (Chinese violet)
Asystasia gangetica (L.) T.Anderson (Acanthaceae)
Synonym : Justicia gangetica L.
Vernacular Name : Ganges Primrose, Chinese violet, Coromandel, Creeping foxglove (English).
Description : A perennial herb, 30-80 cm long; stem branched; internode 3-10 cm long; leaves opposite decussate, 3-5 × 2-4 cm, ovate deltoid, sub-cordate to cordate at base, acute or rarely obtuse at apex, pale and tomentose beneath; lateral veins 6- 8 pairs; petiole 1-2 cm long; inflorescence 7-8 flowered lax spike like raceme; rachis 5-14 cm long; bracts and bracteoles 1.5 cm long, green, linear, acute, pubescent, persistent; calyx divided to the base or nearly so, lobes 5, linear-lanceolate, 6-8 mm long, acute, densely pubescent on both surface; corolla tube funnel- shaped, 3 cm long, pubescent, limb 3-4 cm across, moderate yellow or white, lobes 5, rounded; stamens 4, included, filaments 6-8 mm long, with few small hairs, connate at the base in pairs; anthers oblong, 2-3 mm long; ovary 2 cm long, 2 celled, ovules 2 in each cell; style linear, 1-2 cm long, basal portion hairy; stigma 2-fid or subcapitate; capsule clavate shaped, 2-3 × 0.4 cm, densely pubescent, opening widely in a reflexed curve; seeds 4, 3-4 mm across, compressed angular, orbicular, wrinkled sub-tuberculate, rugose with double dentate margin..
Distribution : Found in Tropical Africa; East Asia; tropical Americas and Hawaii.
Part used : Whole plant.
Phytochemistry : Flowers contain apigenin 7-O-glucosyl (3’→6”) luteolin 7”-O-glucoside; aerial parts contain asysgangoside, salidroside, benzyl beta-D-glucopyranoside, roseoside, ajugol, and apigenin 7-O-neohesperidoside; stem and leaves contain cardiac glycosides and anthraquinones.
Uses : Leaves used in asthma; leaf-decoction used in fever, epilepsy, stomachache, and urethral discharge; pulped leaf used as a suppository for piles; leaves and flowers used as intestinal astringent; roots are used in stomachache and snakebite; juice, combined with lime and onion juice, is recommended for dry coughs with an irritated throat and discomfort in the chest; sap used as a vermifuge and is applied externally to swellings and rheumatic joints.