When it is the hot season we can get plenty of cooling herbs both as food and as medicine at our doorstep.
In the market and in our gardens we find plenty of 'Penela Wel’. It is a cheap kind of green leaf known to almost every one. In Sanskrit it is called 'Jyotishmati' or ‘Parawitapadi’, which means pigeon's foot. The botanical term is Cardiospermum Halicacabum.
It is an annual herb which is very common in the low-country and throughout the tropics. It is a small delicate, wiry, smooth, climber. Its leaves are alternate and the leaflets are coarsely toothed. The lowest pair of flower stalks are converted into spiral tendrils and the seeds are in three tangled capsules.
Cardiospermum Halicacabum Use #1
It was very largely used by the Sinhalese settlers to allay pains due to sprains and contusions about the joints. The roots and the leaves are commonly used in medicine.
Cardiospermum Halicacabum Use #2
A decoction of the Cardiospermum Halicacabum roots is given in half tablespoonful doses twice a day for bleeding piles.
Cardiospermum Halicacabum Use #3
The leaves are used for rheumatism, nervous diseases, hemorrhoids and chronic bronchitis. The juice of the leaves is put into the ear for ear-ache.
Cardiospermum Halicacabum Use #4
The leaves are used as one of the ingredients in a medicine recommended in the medical book 'Bhavaprakasha' for the abnormal suppression of menses.
Cardiospermum Halicacabum Use #5
Equal parts of Cardiospermum Halicacabum leaves, Sahinda-Iunu (Potassium carbonate), the root bark of Hin-kumbuk (Terminalia Arjuna), Vadakaha (Acorus Calanus) are pounded and made into a paste with milk.This is administered once or twice a day. Dosage: one teaspoonful each time.
Cardiospermum Halicacabum Use #6
Cardiospermum Halicacabum is a cooling drink when prepared as a canjee. You prepare it just like gotukola kenda. It can be taken in the morning as a drink for breakfast.
Cardiospermum Halicacabum Use #7
The external uses of Cardiospermum Halicacabum. The leaves are applied as a poultice for skin eruptions. They are coated with castor oil and are applied on swellings and tumours.
Cardiospermum Halicacabum Use #8
A paste of the leaves is a dressing for sores and wounds. The leaves are prepared into mallum, and used externally for Hydrocele. Some of the English names for Cardiospermum Halicacabum are Baloonvine, Black-Liquorice and Heart-seed.
Cardiospermum Halicacabum Use #9
The crushed leaves are inhaled to relieve headache. The seeds are used as a tonic in fever, and rheumatism.
Cardiospermum Halicacabum Use #10
Cardiospermum Halicacabum is used in preparing an oil for infants when they find it difficult to breath through the nose. Few people know about this.
Common herbs like Cardiospermum Halicacabum have not been catalogued in Sri Lanka, but more than 5,000 varieties of medicinal herbs have been catalogued in China. Most of these have been found to be more effective than Western drugs.