HydrophiliaBotanical Name: Hydrophilia spinosa
Family: N.O. Acanthaceae Synonym: Asteracantha Longifolia.
Parts Used: Root, seeds, dried herb.
Habitat: India, widely distributed in the sub-tropical regions of the world.
Description: The name is derived from the Greek, and refers to the medical doctrine of fluids in the body. It has tapering roots, a number of rootlets, and upright square stems; leaves and branches opposite, nodes swollen near them; the stem and leaves have three- to five-celled stiff hairs. Flowers, four pairs awl-shaped and like leaves in shape. Corolla glabrous on lower lip. Fruit has four to eight flattened brownish seeds, which contain a quantity of strong mucilage. The drug has no special odour or taste.
Constituents: Chiefly mucilage, fixed oil, phytosterol, and a trace of an alkaloidal substance, properties similar to Couchgrass.
Medicinal Action and Uses: Demulcent and a diuretic for catarrh of the urinary organs; the dried herb and root, or rhizome, has long been used in India for dropsy, especially when accompanied by hepatic obstruction. It is a popular aphrodisiac. In Southern India the root is the commercial part, but in Bombay the seeds are mostly used.
Preparation: Decoction, 2 oz. of root to 3 pints of water boiled down to 1 pint. Dose, 1/2 to 2 fluid ounces. Official in India and the Eastern Colonies.