Shonkorjota or Prishniparni, Uraria picta

Shonkorjota or Prishniparni (Uraria picta, family: Fabaceae) is a semi-woody erect herb with some velvety branches, attaining a height of 1-2 m. Its flowers and leaves are beautiful and bracts are stunning. The perennial undershrub is very importantly mentioned in the Ayurvedic scriptures as an medicinal plant. The plant itself is quite beautiful. It is found in fallow lands, village thickets and medicinal gardens in Bangladesh. Outside the country, it is found from some countries of tropical Africa and Asia to Australia. 

The plant can be easily identified by its unique leaves. The midrib of blade has long white spot from the tip to the base, which is called variegated. However, complete green leaves may also be found in some plants of this species. These are linear-oblong, imparipinnate (solitary blade at the top of a pinna), 3-9 blades, firm and coriaceous, 8-20 cm long, base rounded, apex acute. The upper part is hairless, lower part covered with rough hairs. Petiole 3-6 cm long. Stipules triangular, 4-5 mm long.

Flowers are in long spike, raceme inflorescence, 30-50 cm, terminal. Peduncle and pedicel are pilose. Flowers are tiny, purple, pink or red. Flowering occurs in the rainy season. After flowering, the hairy and feather-looking pedicels bend upwards. The meaning of the Sanskrit name 'Shonkorjota' (Shiva's braid) then became clear by these tangled pedicels.

Fruits are strange-looking pods, hairless and shiny, up to 1 cm long, 3 to 6 joints. Propagation is caused by seeds. 

The herb is one of the Dashamoola plants described in Ayurveda. Its leaves and roots are used in gonorrhea. The plant is used in diarrhea, fractures, urinary problems, asthma, bronchitis, sexual disorder, common cold and other diseases. It is also used as antidote to snake venom.

Synonyms: Doodia picta, Hedysarum pictum, Uraria aphrodisiaca, Uraria leucantha, Uraria linearis


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