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Leaf Architecture of a Unani drug ‘Sarphuka’ (Tephrosia purpurea (L.) Pers.) - An Aid to Identification

Kiran Negi, Aminuddin and M.S.Y. Khan

Hippocratic Journal of Unani Medicine
Hippocratic Journal of Unani Medicine January - March 2012, Vol. 7 No. 1, Pages 59-69


In nature, different species exhibit remarkable diversity of leaf morphology. In systematic and taxonomic classification, leaf architecture has long been the important criterion and even today it is the best means of identifying a plant species. In view of this, present work is on the leaf architecture of Tephrosia purpurea L. Pers. (family : Fabaceae ) an important drug of Unani system of medicine, popularly known as “Sarphuka” and is considered as anthelmentic, blood purifier, antitumour, alexiteric and antipyretic in Unani system of medicine . Tender leaves showed good results in treating eczema and other skin disorders. The leaf decoction is used for treating sluggish fever, heart and spleen disorders, cancerous tumors, asthma and digestive complaints. The work focus on the macroscopic features of the leaf blade including leaf characters (leaf shape, size, margin etc.) ; venation and surface characters (stomata, stomatal number, stomatal index, vein islet number etc.) which are important determinant of leaf architecture. All these characters along with the internal architecture of the leaf ( microscopical details ) provide a framework to facilitate quick identification and selection of the drug from various adulterants.

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