In the last few decades, there has been an exponential growth in the field of herbal medicine. It is getting popularized in developing and developed countries owing to its natural origin and lesser side effects. In olden times, vaidyas used to treat patients on individual basis, and prepare drug according to the requirement of the patient.

Plants have always been an exemplary source of drugs and many of the currently available drugs have been derived directly or indirectly from them. Ayurveda-the science of life, prevention and longevity, is the oldest and most holistic or comprehensive medical system available. It was placed in written form over 2000 years ago. Ayurveda (Agniveshtantra) is said to have been first compiled as a text by Agnivesha. This text was later revised by Charaka and renamed as Charaka samhita (completed by Dhridhabala). The concept of medicines envisaged in the Ayurveda comes from the monumental scripture called the Ashtanga hridaya and Sahasrayoga. Ayurveda, supposed to be the oldest medical system in the world, provides potential leads to find active and therapeutically useful compounds from plants. Some of the plants reviewed are part of multi-herbal preparations while others are used singly.Certain herbs like Momordica charantia L, Momordica balsamina L,and Luffa cylindrica L, these are the cucurbitaceous plant those having antitumor activity. Cephalandra indica are used as vegetables indicating that these plants possibly will be source of dietary provisions, which is another emerging area of research. Cephalandra indica is one of the tremendous plants of Ayurvedic system which is commonly known as kundru. It has lots of action against a various kind of diseases. It is generally used as mother tincture by the tribal people of India. In this review we are highlighting the major properties of cephalandra indica.

Common name: kundru ki bail
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Class: Mangoliopsida
Order: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cephalandra
Specific Epithet: indica noudin
Botanical name: Cephalandra indica noudin.
Botanical Synonyms'
Coccinia indica, Coccinia cordifolia, Coccinia grandis.

Vernacular Names
English: Scarlet-fruited gourd, tindora, kovai fruit
Chinese: hong gua
Danish: skariagenagurk
Hindi: parval, tindora (tindori or tindola), tinda, tendus, kundru, kunduzi
Japanese: yasai karasuuri
Malay: pepasan, papasan, kovai, kovakka
Spanish: pepino cimarrón
Tamil: kovaikkai
Thai: tam-lueng
Ayurveda: Bimbi, Tundi, Tundikaa, Tundikeri, Kunduru, Raktaphala, Piluparni, Dantchhadaa
Unani: Kanduri
Siddha/Tamil: Kovvai.

Cephalandra indica L. (Wight. and Arnott)

Cephalandra indica W. and A. (Cucurbitaceae), commonly known as little gourd and locally known as 'Kovai', grows in large quantities and wildly all over India. Native people use different parts of the plant to get reprieve from diabetes mellitus. The plant has also been expansively used in Ayurvedic and Unani practice in the Indian subcontinent (Chopra et al., 1958). Chopra and Bose (1953) undertook the first scientific study. Conversely, these workers failed to show any hypoglycemic effect of the plant. Mukerjee et al. (1972) showed that the aqueous and ethanolic extract of C. indica leaves overcome hypoglycemic action. Several years ago, Hossain et al. (1992) examined the effect of C. indica leaf preparation on 48 h starved normal male rats and showed that the leaf extract depressed the activity of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase. Recently, we have proved the insulin stimulatory effect of C. indica leaves from existing β-cells in diabetic rats (Venkateswaran and Pari, 2002).

Medicinal Uses

Cephalandra Indica is acknowledged as a patent Homoeopathic remedy for Blood Sugar and Blood Urea problems, and as the Mother Tincture it is used along with Syzigium. The Homoeo medicine is an extract of the bitter variety. The stems, leaves, roots and fruit all goes to making of the medicinal extract. Chewing the raw fruit relieves and cures common mouth sores. The crushed five-cornered leaves are used for suppressing boils and skin eruptions. Eating the fruit also heals simple gout problems and cures coughs, acting as an Expectorant. The juice of the leaves furthermore helps in minor kidney problems, flushing out toxins through urine. It is also used for treatment of certain Sexually Transmitted Diseases. The edible and sweet type when chewed raw after a meal also aids digestion and smoothens bowel actions. The Cephalandra Indica is without a doubt a wonderful plant of India.

About Author / Additional Info:
An enthuiastic author from India