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Smilax zeylanica L.

Synonyms: Smilax macrophylla Roxb.

Group: Monocot
Family: Smilacaceae - Catbrier family
Growth Habit: Climber

Bangla/Vernacular Name: Bulkumia, Kumarialata, Barakumurialata, Kumarika, Mukajhuri.

Tribal Name: Kankokumaicha, Kumuzzaludi (Chakma), Aawing (Khumi), Krak Khrow (Marma).

English Name: Indian sarsaparilla.

Description of the Plant:

A climbing shrub, branches sparsely prickled. Leaves simple, oblong, broadly elliptic or ovate-lanceate, obtuse-round at base, obtuse to shortly acuminate at apex. Flowers pale green, in umbels. Berries globose.

Chemical Constituents:

The plant contains 1-3% steroidal saponins, phytosterols, starch, resin, sarsapic acid and minerals. Leaves and roots contain diosgenin. Roots also contain large amounts of tannin, saponin, 31-norcycloartenol and ß-sitosterol, a heteroside, parillin, a complex phenolic acid and potassium nitrate. The saponin, on hydrolysis, yields the sapogenins, sarsasapogenin, asperagenin and another steroid sapogenin. The roots also contain coumarin, smilasperic acid, a volatile oil, a crystallisable principle hemidesmine and rutin (Ghani, 2003).

Smilax zeylanica L.

Smilax zeylanica L.

Mode of Uses:

  • The crushed roots of Mimosa pudica and Smilax zeylanica are applied to boils (Chakma).
  • Roots are eaten for the treatment of venereal diseases and skin troubles. Decoction of the bulbous root is given for sores and dysentery. Leaves are used for ulcer and gonorrhea (Marma).
  • Root is taken as masticatory substance for the remedy of toothache and pyorrhea (Khumi).


Hill forest of Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts.

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