Abrus precatorius is a slender, perennial climber that twines around trees, shrubs, and hedges. Leaves are glabrous with long internodes. It has a slender branch and a cylindrical wrinkled stem with a smooth-textured brown bark. Flowers are small and pale violet in colour with a short stalk, arranged in clusters. The fruit, which is a pod, is flat, oblong and truncate-shaped with a sharp deflexed beak is about 3 to 4.5 cm long, 1.2 cm wide, and silky-textured. Each fruit contains from 3 to 5 oval-shaped seeds, about 0.6 cm.They are usually bright scarlet in colour with a smooth, glossy texture, and a black patch on top.
Abrus Precatorius Medicinal Uses
The Abrus seeds are considered poisonous in Ayurveda and a specific method has been written to purify them. The purified Abrus is a nerve stimulant and is used in vata disorders like joint pains and paralysis. The paste of seeds is applied locally in alopecia and skin diseases. It has also been mentioned as a contraceptive in Ayurveda.
Five glycoproteins have been purified from the seeds. They are Abrus agglutinin (a haemagglutinin) and the toxic principles abrins [a] to [d]. The seeds also contain an amino acid known as abrine (N-methyl- L-tryptophan), glycyrrhizin and a lipolytic enzyme. The roots, stems, and leaves also contain glycyrrhizin.
Effect on Dosha
Seed pacify both Kapha and Vata; Leaves pacify all the three doshas.
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