Naruneendi or Indian Sasaparilla is a medicinal plant used for blood purification. It occurs mainly in south India, Sri Lanka, and Bengal. In Kerala & Tamil Nadu, this herb has another name also – Nannari.
This perennial vine plant is native to India. It has a lean appearance overall with elongated leaves and slender string-like stems. The leaves grow opposite in direction and have a bluish-green appearance. They have a pointed shape with approximately 10 cm length and 2 cm width.
Sometimes it appears erect on the soil. However, it is often a creeper plant found thriving along soil walls.
The roots are hard and fragrant. They are reddish brown outside and white inside. The greenish flowers are often overlooked because of their small size and scarcity. They grow from the leaf axils and have five petals each.
Fruits are long follicles which contain 6 to 9 mm long seeds.
Medicinal uses of Naruneendi
These are some of the known medicinal applications and health benefits (information collected from various sources).
- Naruneendi acts as a diuretic and can treat some of the urinary tract and bladder diseases.
- It purifies the blood.
- It is used to treat several skin diseases.
- According to Ayurveda, Indian Sarsaparilla can cure Kapha and Pitta imbalances.
- It is an antidote used in traditional medicine against scorpion poisoning and rat bites.
Common name in different languages
English: Indian Sarsaparilla
Hindi: Salsa, Gobu
Sanskrit: Sariba, Ananthamool, Gopakanyaka, Dhavala
The plant belongs to the family Apocynaceae (milkweed) and its roots contain a substance called Hemidesmin.
Scientific name: Hemidesmus Indicus R.Br.
Other Uses – for making beverages
Now I am remembering that tasty drink we had from Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary eco-shop after a long trek. It resembled coffee but felt more natural and rejuvenating, especially when we were tired after a long walk. That is how I got to know about this amazing plant.
FYI, Chinnar is in Idukki district, Kerala – the place is rich with a lot of unique flora and fauna.
In many parts of India, the roots of Naruneendi is used to create tasty beverages and drinks. These include a wide varieties of sarbath, milk sarbath, syrups and others. A simple googling for naruneendi drink reveals a lot of recipes and other info.
It is also common to use it for preparing pickles.