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THE MIRACLE PLANT (asthi-bhaksha)

Kalanchoe is a succulent perennial plant that grows 3-5 feet tall. Commonly known as 'air plant,' it has tall hollow stems, fleshy dark green leaves that are distinctively scalloped and trimmed in red, and bell-like pendulous flowers. Kalanchoe i s botanically classified with t wo main Latin names which refer to the same plant: Br yophyllum pinnatum and Kalanchoe pinnatum (as well as various synonyms of both). This review presents detailed survey of literature on phytochemical and medicinal properties of the plant. The chemicals reported from the plant belong to different classes such as alkaloid, diterpenoidal la ctones, glycosides, steroids, phenolics, aliphatic compounds, etc. The notable pharmacological properties include anti-diabetic, anti-neoplastic, antioxidant, immunomodulation, anti-lipidaemic, anti-allergic and many more activities which are yet to be explore. Kalanchoe is a medicinal plant largely used in folk medicine for the treatment of kidney stones, gastric ulcer, pulmonary infection, rheumatoid arthritis etc. Kalanchoe pinnata has become naturalized in temperate regions of Asia, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, Macaronesia, Mascarenes, Galapagos, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Hawaii. In many of these, such as Hawaii, it is regarded as an invasive species. In French Polynesia, Kalanchoe pinnata has been declared a threat to biodiversity. It is also widely distributed in the Philippines and it is known as katakataka or kataka-taka which is also an adjective meaning astonishing or remarkable. In India it is cultivated in gardens and wild on the hills of North-Western India, Deccan and Bengal.

Taxonomy

Kingdom : Plantae (Plants)

Subkingdom : Tracheobionta (Vascular plants)

Super division: Spermatophyta (Seed plants)

Division : Magnoliophyta (Flowering plant)

Class : Magnoliopsida (Dicotyledonous)

Subclass: Rosidae

Order : Saxifragales

Family : Crassulaceae Stonecrop family

Genus : Kalanchoe

Species : Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Per3

Regional Names

Hindi: zakhm-hayat/ Arabic: kushnulhayat /Bengal: koppata / Sanskrit: asthi-bhaksha /

Telgu: Simajamudu/ Tamil: ranakalli /Kannad: ganduklinga /Malayalam: elamurunga /

Persian & Urdu: Chubehayat

It is a glabrous herb 0.3-1.2m. High; Stems obtusely four angled the older light colored, younger parts reddish speckled with white. Leaves variable decussate, the lower usually simple or occasionally

compound, 8-12 and 6-8cm in size, the upper usually 3-5or sometimes 7- folio late, long pointed, the petioles united by a ridge round the stem. Leaflets ovate or elliptic, crenate or serrate. The

leaves often produce, on their crenature at the extremities of the lateral nerves, buds furnished with root, stems and leaves, which drop off and at once become new plants.

Flowers reddish purple, pendent in large spreading panicles with opposite stout branches; pedicle slender. Calyx red and green at the base, striated, pale green above, teeth triangular. The corolla swollen and octagonal at the base, reddish purple, constricted in the middle. Filaments green at the base, pinkish below the anther. Anther hastate and black.

Fruits enclosed in the persistent papery calyx and corolla.

Seeds small smooth oblong –ellipsoid, scarcely striate, smooth. The leaves often produce, on their crenature at the extremities of the lateral nerves, buds furnished with root, stems and leaves, which drop off and at once become new plants.

Distribution

Kalanchoe is a medicinal plant largely used in folk medicine for various treatments; it is distributed throughout India and cultivated in gardens and wild on the hills of North-Western India, Deccan and Bengal.

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