Agnishikha (fire lily, glory lily, tiger claw, flame lily or climbing lily in English, Garbhghatini in Hindi) is a perennial climber that grows up to a height of 3-6 meters. It has tuberous roots, green spirally arranged lanceolate leaves and bears bright coloured flowers with six wavy petals resembling of flames. The lower half of each petal is yellow and upper half is red. The fruit is shaped as a capsule and contains many seeds. It is native to Asia and is found in India, Sri Lanka and Africa.
Parts used: Leaves (as a juice) and root (in the form of root extract and powder).
Chemical composition: Fire lily contains phenols such as sitosterol and beta sitosterol. The other main component is alkaloid colchicine, luteolin and luteolin glucoside.
Medical benefits: Fire lily is a toxic plant. It should only be used externally.
An extract obtained from the root is a good abortifacient, anti-venom, antibacterial and antiseptic. The extract when smeared over palms and feet eases labour pains and delivery.
A powder obtained from the root is mixed with coconut oil and used as an anti-venom against snake bite. It is also applied over cuts and wounds due to its antiseptic properties. It is also anaesthetic and causes numbness in nerves and muscles. Very small doses of the powder can help reduce indigestion, induce vomiting and thus remove toxins from the body. It is also applied to reduce arthritic pains, leprosy, colic pain, swelling, ulcers and kill lice.
The juice extracted from its leaves can help treat pimples, scars and rashes. A mixture of the extract with sesame oil is applied to reduce joint pains and head lice.
Contraindications: Agnishikha is strictly contraindicated to pregnant women.