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Common names: Giant Milkweed, Crown Flower, Swallow Wort.
Common Hindi names: Aak, Alarkh, Madar, Sveta Arka.
Flower: 5.1cm across.
One of the two common species of Calotropis, native to India. The other being Calotropis procera (Rakta Arka).
Calotropis grows wild up to 900 meters throughout the country on a variety of soils in different climates, sometimes where nothing else grows.
Calotropis is used as a traditional medicinal plant with unique properties. Traditionally Calotropis is used alone or with other medicinals to treat common disease such as fevers, rheumatism, indigestion, cough, cold, eczema, asthma, elephantiasis, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. According to Ayurveda, dried whole plant is a good tonic, expectorant, depurative, and anthelmintic. The dried root bark is a substitute for ipecacuanha. The root bark is febrifuge, anthelmintic, depurative, expectorant, and laxative. The powdered root used in asthama, bronchitis, and dyspepsia. The leaves are useful in the treatment of paralysis, arthralegia, swellings, and intermittent fevers. The flowers are bitter, digestive, astringent, stomachic, anthelmintic, and tonic. Calotropis is also a reputed Homoeopathic drug.
Calotropis yields a durable fiber (commercially known as Bowstring of India) useful for ropes, carpets, fishing nets, and sewing thread. Floss, obtained from seeds, is used for stuffing purposes. Fermented mixture of Calotropis and salt is used to remove the hair from goat skins for production of "nari leather" and of sheep skins to make leather which is much used for inexpensive book-binding. Fungicidal and insecticidal properties of Calotropis have been reported.
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