Sida acuta

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  Sida acuta

Sida acuta and other species of Sida

Sida acuta Burm., (=Sida carpinifolia Mast., in part, non-L.f.), Malvaceae, is one of the medicinally important species of the genus Sida. Sida acuta, Sida cordata, Sida cordifolia and Sida rhombifolia, are illustrated to provide a comparison for easy identification.

The species of Sida are used for the same ailments, in general. Sida cordata, without any known medicinal uses, is often mixed up with medicinally important Sida cordifolia. Sida spinosa L., and Sida veronicaefolia Lam., are also medicinally important. These species occur throughout in the hotter parts of India.

The roots are used as a coolant, astringent, diaphoretic, antipyretic and a tonic useful in nervous and urinary diseases and in the disorders of the blood and bile. It is a bitter used as a febrifuge and stomachic in chronic bowel complaints, and to expel worms. Also considered as an aphrodisiac.

The leaves are a demulcent and diuretic. Boiled in gingelly oil, they are used on testicular swellings and elephantiasis and to hasten suppuration.

Extracts of Sida acuta and Sida cordifolia are used to relieve hay fever and asthma. They are also antibacterial and antiprotozoal.

In Africa the leaves are used as an abortifacient. Decoction of the leaves and roots is an emollient, used for haemorrhoids and impotence.

The plants yield fibre which is a substitute for jute.

Sida acuta, Sida cordifolia and Sida rhombifolia contain an alkaloid cryptolepine, which is also found in an unrelated genus Cryptolepis (Asclepiadaceae) and vasicine found in an equally unrelated Adhatoda zeylanica (see Adhatoda zeylanica). Even more surprising is the presence of the alkaloid ephedrine that was known from an even more distant gymnospermous genus Ephedra. The presence of vasicine and ephedrine in these unrelated plant groups and their similar uses in indigenous medicine is a tribute to traditional wisdom.