Kantakari is a prickly, branches perennial herb with yellow, shining prickles of about 1.5 cm in size. It has very prickly, sparsely hairy, egg shaped leaves; purple flowers, round fruits, yellow in color with green veins and numerous smooth seeds. The branches are densely covered with minute star shaped hairs.
Kantakari is also known as Indian solanum. The fruit of the plant constitutes the drug. The drug is bitter in taste and a mild purgative. Experiments have shown that the fruits and shoots of the plant possess antibacterial properties.
The fruit of the plant yield carpersteral, glucoside-alkaloids and solanocarpine. It also yields glucoside-alkaloids, solamine-S. On hydrolysis it yield alkaloid solanidine-S.
Botanical Name: Solanum xanthocarpum
Indian Name: Kateli
Below are some of the medicinal properties of kantakari:
- Kantakari is beneficial in clearing catarrh and phlegm from the bronchial tubes. It is therefore used in the treatment of respiratory diseases like asthma, bronchitis and cough.
- Kantakari is a valuable remedy in the treatment of dropsy, a disease marked by an excessive collection of fluids in the tissues and cavities or natural hollows of the body. The drug helps increase the secretion and discharge of urine.
- It is also effective in throat disorders like sore throat and tonsillitis. An extract of the plant should be used as a gargle in such cases. This is prepared by continuously boiling the plant in about 2 liters of water after washing it thoroughly, till it reduces to half its volume and it should be filtered.
- It is useful in the treatment of constipation and flatulence. It strengthens the stomach and promotes its action. It corrects disordered processes of nutrition by which the organization ingests, digests, absorbs, utilizes and excretes food substances and restores normal function of the system. The drug also possesses anthelminitic (worm destroying) property and is useful in eliminating intestinal worms.
- The extract of kantakari, prepared as for throat disorders, is also very beneficial in gum diseases. For better results, black mustard should be boiled along with the plant.
- The drug is also effective in treating several other diseases like heart disease, chest pain, certain types of fever, gonorrhea, dysuria, enlargement of the liver, muscular pains and spleen and stone in the urinary bladder. The fruit of the plant is also considered useful in treating sore throat, bronchitis, muscular pains and fevers.
- Kantakari root has been traditionally used in snake and scorpion bites. A paste of the root can be prepared by grinding it on a stone with lemon juice and applying to the affected part. The patient should be taken to the doctor immediately.
Kantakari can be used either in the form of confection, decoction or juice. The decoction is taken in doses of 15 ml to 60 ml. The juice is taken in doses ranging from 2 ml to 8 ml.
Tender leaves and fruits of kantakari are eaten as a vegetable after cooking.