Kulekhara or Talmakhna (Hygrophila auriculata, family: Acanthaceae) is a stout and erect herb with straight and undivided stem. The spiny plant is very popular as a medicinal plant in Bangladesh as well as the Indian subcontinent.
Other names: Kulekkha, Kuiley-rekha, Kanta kalika, Shoolmordon.
Leaves are lanceolate, subsessile, acute at both ends with long whitish hairs, dense with straight and stout thorns that grow from each node. Outer leaves are longer than the inner ones. Both leaves and thorns remain in upward direction.
Flowers in axillary whorls. They are bright violet or bluish purple and red, sometimes whitish with soft and minor hair, corolla 2-lipped. Flower blooms in the winter.
Fruit a capsule, 4-8-seeded. Seeds are ovoid (not in the pic).
The body of the plant contains alkaloids, phytosterols, stigmasterol, lupeol and essential oils. Its seeds contain oil, enzymes and sterols. The plant is cooling and diuretic in cases of hepatic obstruction, dropsy, rheumatism and diseases of genito-urinary tracts. Seeds are demulcent, diuretic and possibly tonic. Its root, leaves and seeds are used in gonorrhea, jaundice, rheumatic pain and urinary problem.
The annual thorny herb grows in cropland and damp lands or at the edge of ditches. It is found all over the country. Outside the country, it is also found in the Himalayas to Sri Lanka.