Botanical Name : Mansoa alliacea (Lam.)
Family : Bignoniaceae (Jacaranda family)
Native to South America, Garlic Vine is one of the most rewarding, flowering vines that you can grow. Interestingly enough it smells like garlic. However, it doesn’t smell if the plant is left alone, only when the leaves are crushed. It can either be described as a shrub or a vine since it produces numerous woody vines from the root that grow only 2-3 m tall and form a shrub-like appearance. It produces bright green leaves up to 15 cm long. Its compact habitat and pretty continuos flowers make it a popular ornamental plant in gardens in the tropics. Flowering twice a year you will find it quite often covered with flowers. Flowers start off purple with white throat and change to a lighter shade of lavender with age. Eventually fading to almost white. You will see 3 different color of flowers at the same time on the plant. It can be grown in containers and should be trimmed after the flowers are gone.
Names in different Indian languages :
English: Garlic Vine
Kannada: Bellulli balli
Bengali: Lata parul
Adenocalymma alliaceum (Lam.) Miers
Adenocalymma sagotii Bureau & K.Schum.
Bignonia alliaceae Lam.
Pachyptera alliacea (Lam.) A.H.Gentry
Pseudocalymma alliaceum (Lam.) Sandwith
Pseudocalymma sagotii (Bureau & K.Schum.) Sandwith
The plant is anodyne, antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, antifungal, antiinflammatory, antioxidant, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, antitussive, antiviral and febrifuge. The plant has been recommended as a vermifuge.
Bejuco de Ajo is widely used by many of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, with almost all parts of the plant being used. Most consider the plant to be ‘magical’ or ‘spiritual’ and suspend bunches of the leaves around the home for good luck or in order to drive away evil spirits. The leaves are burned as smudge over people or in houses to ‘cleanse the spirit’ or to bring good luck.
The plant has also become a popular treatment in modern herbal medicine in S. America, where it is widely used for treating arthritis, rheumatism, body aches and pain, and muscle aches, injuries and pain.
The plant contains a number of medically active compounds. These include several of the main sulphur compounds that garlic contains, including aliin and allyl sulphides. It is these compounds which are responsible for the garlic-like odour and taste. These compounds are known to lower blood-cholesterol levels and inhibit absorption of cholesterol in the intestines.
The wood of the vine is reported to contain two lapachone chemicals which are well known plant chemicals of the Bignoniaceae family and documented with anticancer and antimicrobial actions.
The leaves and/or flowers contain the known anti-inflammatory and antibacterial plant steroids beta sitosterol, stigmasterol, daucosterol, and fucosterol.
A water extract of the leaves has been shown to have an antioxidant effect which has been attributed to the anthocyanin compounds found in the plant.
Research has confirmed the plant’s long standing use for treating arthritis and rheumatism, reporting that the plant is capable of inhibiting COX (an enzyme required in the inflammatory process).
The plant has also been reported with antimicrobial actions against fungi, plant viruses, and bacteria, which may help explain its long standing use for colds, flu, pneumonia and other upper respiratory infections.
Both the bark (in an infusion) or the leaves (in a decoction) are used as a treatment for rheumatism, arthritis, colds, uterine disorders, inflammation and epilepsy.
The root is prepared in a cane alcohol tincture as an overall regenerative whole body tonic.
The bark is used as a poultice on bumps, swellings and inflammatory conditions of the skin.
The leaves are used in the treatment of colds and as an aid to fertility.
They are commonly added to baths in order to treat feverish conditions, flu, body aches, cramps and fatigue.