Abrus precatorius Linn.



Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Abrus precatorius-1.jpg

Habitat Throughout the country, ascending to an altitude of about 1,050 m in the outer Himalayas.

English Indian Wild Liquorice, Jequirity, Crab’s Eye, Precatory Bean.

Ayurvedic Gunjaa, Gunjaka,

Chirihintikaa, Raktikaa, Chirmiti, Kakanti, Kabjaka, Tiktikaa, Kaakananti, Kaakchinchi. (Not to be used as a substitute for liquorice.)

Unani Ghunghchi, Ghamchi.

Siddha/Tamil Kunri.

Folk Chirmiti, Ratti.


Abrus precatorius-2.jpg


Action Uterine stimulant, abortifacient, toxic. Seeds—teratogenic. A paste of seeds is applied on vitiigo patches.

Along with other therapeutic applications, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India has indicated the use of seeds in baldness.

Seeds contain abrin, a toxalbumin, indole derivatives, anthocyanins, sterols, terpenes. Abrin causes agglutination of erythrocytes, haemolysis and enlargement of lymph glands. A non- toxic dose of abrin (1.25 mcg/kg body weight), isolated from the seeds of red var., exhibited a noticeable increase in antibody-forming cells, bone marrow cellularity and alpha-esterase-positive bone marrow cells.

Oral administration of agglutinins, isolated from the seeds, is useful in the treatment of hepatitis and AIDS.

The seed extract exhibited antischistosomal activity in male hamsters.

The methanolic extract of seeds inhibited the motility of human spermatozoa.

The roots contain precol, abrol, glycyrrhizin (1.5%) and alkaloids—abrasine and precasine. The roots also contain triterpenoids— abruslactone A, methyl abrusgenate and abrusgenic acid.

Alkaloids/bases present in the roots are also present in leaves and stems.

A. fruticulosus Wall. Ex Wight and Am, synonym A. puichellus Wall., A. laevigatus E. May. (Shveta Gunjaa) is also used for the same medicinal purposes as A. precatorius.

Dosage Detoxified seed—250 mg—500 mg

powder. Root powder—1—1 g.


Medicinal plants of India ; Ayurveda

Encyclopedia of Indian Medicinal Plants/Herbs mainly using in Ayurveda with good quality pictures and information like therapeutic usage of Medicinal Plants, cultivation, morphology, habitat, flower characters, Chemical content, parts used, research works etc.

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