Garlic Vine (Pseudocalymma alliaceum)

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Garlic Vine or Ajos Sacha (Mansoa alliacea) in Kerala

Garlic Vine (Mansoa alliacea) found growing in front of a village house in Kerala

The Garlic Vine (or Ajos Sacha in Spanish), often classified as Pseudocalymma alliaceum (syn: Mansoa alliacea) belonging to the Bignoniaceae Family (also known as Trumpet Creepers Family or Jacaranda Family), though a native of the Amazon Basin, is now widely distributed in many parts of the world. For instance, now the plant can be seen at many places in Kerala from where this plant’s photo has been taken.

The foliage of Garlic Vine contains bright green leaves which can be up to 15 cm long. Flowers are tubular and funnel shaped, generally deep lavender in color with a white throat, and then they fade to light lavender and finally fade to white color. For this reason, the three flower colors simultaneously appear in a plant.

Mansoa alliacea, sometimes wrongly called (False) Sarpagandha because it is said its strong smell of garlic repels snakes, also tastes like garlic. It contains most of the Sulfur (Sulphur) compounds that garlic has because of which the people of the Amazon rainforests have been using its leaves as a condiment or spice, just as garlic is used.

Being a medicinal plant, Ajos Sacha is used for the treatment of many ailments including arthritis, rheumatism, cholesterol, epilepsy, malaria, pneumonia, pulmonary and respiratory ailments, etc. Essential oils extracted from the leaves contain leaf oil which is known for its antimicrobial activity.

The leaves and flowers of Garlic Vine contain the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory steroids stigmasterol, daucosterol, beta sitosterol and fucosterol. The leaves of the plants are the most used after they are prepared into infusions, decoctions, tinctures, tonics, vermifuge and capsules.

The known uses of the plant for therapeutic purposes include use as a vermifuge and pregnancy tonic, analgesic, anti-arthritic, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial (against viruses, fungi and bacteria), antipyretic, anti-rheumatic, antispasmodic, diuretic, muscle relaxant, pain-reliever (headaches, muscles, joints, body aches), and as hypotensive (lowers blood pressure). Ajos Sacha is also used as an antioxidant because of the anthocyanin compounds found in it.

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