Authors: Dr. Sanjaya K.S., Dr. Prashant Kumar Jha
Botanical Source: Leaves of Melastoma malabathricum Linn. from family Melastomataceae.
Geographical Source: It is found throughout India up to 6000 feet except desert.
Morphology: It is a strigose or villose shrub with short dense appressed hairs on stems and leaves. Flowers are terminal, solitary clustered, mauve-purple in colour. Sepals and petals are equal in number (pentamerous). Stamens are with purple anthers. Fruits are 0.25 inch in size, pulpy within, short-ovoid. Seeds are many, minutely punctate.
Macroscopy: Leaves are 4-13.5 x 1.5-3.5 cm in size, puberulous, adaxially densely strigose. They are usually with 5-prominent nerves. The dorsal surface is light in colour. The odour is characteristic while the taste is sour, astringent and slightly bitter to sweetish.
Microscopy: The TS of the leaf is dorsi-ventral in nature. The epidermis covers both surfaces. In midrib portion, epidermis is followed by collenchyma in continuation with ground tissue portion and crescent-shaped vascular bundle. Starch grains are distributed throughout the ground tissue. Epidermis is followed by palisade and spongy parenchyma cells in lamina portion.
Chemical Constituents: Leaves contain gallic acid, kaemferol, quercetin, 32-methyl-1-tritriacontanol, ursolic acid, flavonoids, triterpenoids, amino acids viz., glycine, valine, leucine, aspartic acid, methionine, tyrosine etc.
Uses: Leaves are antidiarrhoeal, antiseptic, astringent and antileucorrhoeic. Leaves are chewed up, pounded and applied as paste on cuts or wounds to stop bleeding conventionally. Young premature leaves eaten raw to prevent dysentery.
Leaves are also used to treat gastric ulcers, scar, pimples and black spots on face by various tribes.