Elephant creeper, also known as Argyreia nervosa or Hawaiian baby woodrose is a climbing vine native to tropical Asia. It has been used in traditional medicine for centuries for its various health benefits.
Elephant creeper uses
The main parts of the Argyreia nervosa plant that are used medicinally are the root, leaves, and seeds. The root is used as a diuretic, aphrodisiac, and to treat gonorrhea, rheumatism, brain, and nervous system disorders. The leaves are used to treat wounds, skin infections, and allergies. The seeds are used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, and fever .
GUJARATI: Samundrasosh, Vardharo
HINDI: Samandar-ka-pat, Samundarsokha, Ghav-patta
BENGAL: Bichtarak, Guguli
MALAYALAM: Samudrapachcha, Samudrapala, Samudrastokam
MARATHI: Samandarshokh, Samudrasoka
SANSKRIT: Antakotarapushpi, Chhagalanghhri, Vryddhadaraka, Samundrasosha
TAMIL: Ambagar, Peymunnai, Sadarbalai, Samuttrappalai
TELUGU: Chandrapoda, Kokkiti, Palasamudra, Samudrapachcha, Samudrappala
ENGLISH: Elephant Creeper, Woolly Morning-Glory
Major Phytochemicals in elephant creeper
According to a phytochemical investigation of elephant creeper, the Water extract of the leaf was shown to have Anthocyanine and anthocyanidins, Coumarins, Flavonoids, Steriods, and Terpenoids, while the Methanolic extract has additional Emodin, Anthracene glycoside, and Alkaloid .
The chemical composition of Argyreia nervosa can vary depending on the plant's origin, growing conditions, and the part of the plant that is used.
Health benefits of elephant creeper
The root of elephant creeper is a diuretic, which means it helps to increase the production of urine. This can help treat conditions such as edema, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections .
Improves sexual function
Elephant creeper benefits for men are widely known in Ayurvedic medicine, it is considered an aphrodisiac, and its root extract is used to treat sexual disorders and to boost sexual desire and performance in men [3, 4]. Additionally, a significant increase in the mounting behavior of the male rat model was noted in a study where the ethanolic extract of the root of the Argyreia nervosa was used in treatment. Another related study suggests further research on this plant due to its promising potential that can be useful in developing an effective medicine for stimulating male sexual activity .
The leaf extract of Argyreia nervosa is rich in flavonoids which have an antioxidant that fights free radicals and also inhibits inflammatory makers. The anti-inflammatory properties of the leaf can aid the treatment of certain conditions like arthritis, gout, and muscle pain .
Relieves abdominal constriction
Root powder of Argyreia nervosa can help relieve abdominal constriction due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. A supporting study on rats, where a methanol extract of elephant creeper root was tested for its analgesic, and anti-inflammatory activities in rats, showed significant pain-relieving effects in an acetic acid-induced writhing test.
It also showed anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting carrageenan-induced hind paw edema. However, higher doses (100 and 300 mg/kg) caused hyperalgesia in the tail flick and hot plate tests . This suggests that an overdose of the extract can be detrimental.
Aids wound healing
A study was conducted in rats and mice, to determine the wound-healing effect of Argyreia nervosa leaf extract was evaluated by measuring the rate of wound contraction and epithelization. The result of this study suggests that elephant creeper leaf extract may be a potential treatment for wound healing, especially in diabetic patients .
Improves cognitive function
Dementia is a brain disorder that affects a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. However, Ayurvedic texts suggest that Vidhara contains compounds that can improve brain function. These compounds may help to increase the production of brain chemicals that are important for memory and concentration. This plant is also believed to have antioxidant properties that can protect brain cells from damage [8, 9].
Improves immune function
Flavonoids are compounds found in elephant creepers that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which help prevent oxidative damage and fight against infection. A supporting study found that the ethanolic extract of Argyreia speciosa root (ASEE) can boost the immune system in mice by increasing the DTH reaction, antibody production, and white blood cell count [10, 11, 12].
Improves joint function
The leaf extract of this plant has anti-inflammatory compounds. According to anecdotal evidence, a poultice made by mixing the extract with water or oil can be applied to stiff joints to reduce pain and stiffness. It is also believed to promote the repair of damaged tissues in the joints. A scientific evaluation of the anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activity of elephant creepers shows it can be used as a traditional treatment of inflammatory conditions, this was due to the ability of its ethanolic extract to inhibit paw edema, and accumulation of inflammatory cells in mice and rats that were treated [13, 14].
May help treat infection
The antibacterial and antifungal property of this plant has been noted in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It said that the leaf of the Elephant creeper has antibacterial properties, and can be used to treat wounds, skin infections, and ulcers. The leaves have antifungal properties, which can also be used to treat fungal infections such as ringworm and athlete’s foot [15, 16].
How to use elephant creeper:
Elephant creepers can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the condition being treated.
The root of the elephant creeper can be made into tea by boiling it in water for 10-15 minutes. Drink 1-2 cups of tea per day.
The root of the elephant creeper can be taken as a powder or capsule. The dosage will vary depending on the product.
The leaves of elephant creeper can be made into a poultice by mixing them with water or oil. Apply the poultice to the affected area.
The leaves of the elephant creeper can be crushed and applied to the wound. You can also make tea from the leaves and gargle with it to treat a sore throat.
The leaves of the elephant creeper can be made into a tea and used to bathe the affected area.
It is important to note that these are just a few of the ways that elephant creepers can be used. The best way to use it for a specific condition will depend on the advice of a healthcare professional.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Elephant creepers should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Interactions with other medications: Elephant creepers can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and diuretics. Talk to your doctor before using elephant creeper if you are taking any medications.
Elephant creepers may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you experience any side effects, stop using an elephant creeper and talk to your doctor.
If you are considering using elephant creeper, it is important to talk to your doctor first. They can help you determine if it is safe for you and how to use it properly.
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