The root of Hemidesmus indicus R. Br., commonly known as Indian Sarsaparilla, is used traditionally to treat a wide variety of illnesses including rheumatism, leprosy, impotence, urinary tract and skin infections. The anticancer, antioxidant, anti‐inflammatory, antipyretic, analgesic, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, renoprotective, neuroprotective and immunomodulatory properties of H. indicus have been investigated in numerous in vivo and in vitro studies. Among these, the antioxidant and antimicrobial activity was well documented. (1)
Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R. Br. ex Schult. (Apocynaceae) is widely used in traditional medicine in the different parts of the Indian subcontinent due to the various biological activities attributed to its different parts, especially the roots. It has traditionally been used for treating snakebites, scorpion stings, diabetes, urinary diseases, dyspnea, menorrhagia, oligospermia, anorexia, fever, abdominal colic and pain, dysentery, diarrhea, cough, rheumatism, headache, inflammation, pyrosis, skin diseases, leprosy, sexually transmitted diseases and cancer. In Ayurveda, the plant is used in the treatment of bone-loss, low body weight, fever, stress, topical wound and psoriasis. Besides, Ayurvedic literature also depicts its use as anti-atherogenic, anti-spasmodic, memory enhancing, immunopotentiating and anti-inflammatory agents. (2)
1. Das, S. and Singh Bisht, S. (2013), The Bioactive and Therapeutic Potential of Hemidesmus indicus R. Br. (Indian Sarsaparilla) Root. Phytother. Res., 27: 791-801. doi:10.1002/ptr.4788
2. J Ethnopharmacol. 2020 May 23;254:112609. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2020.112609. Epub 2020 Jan 30. Indian Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus): Recent progress in research on ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology.