The medicinal plant Stephania hernandi is a member of the Menispermaceae (moonseed) family. This page includes its habitat, botanical descption, medicinal uses (eg., Ayurveda), chemical constituents and history of use in modern and ancient India.
Index in Flora of British India (Hooker): 1.103.
Synonyms:—Cissempelos hexandra, Roxb: G. hernandifolia, Willd., Clypea hernandifolia, W. and A. Wight Ic. t. 939.
Vernacular:—A’knadi; Nemuka; agnad (B.) Lupuketiya-wel (Sinhalese).
Habitat:—From Nepal to Chittagong. Singapore, Ceylon, Malaya.
Botanical description:—A slender twiner, shoots glabrous.
Leaves: 2-4 in., round-ovate, acute or obtuse, peltate, cordate or truncate at base, glabrous, glaucous beneath. Petiole 1-2 in., slender, divaricate.
Flowers: greenish-white, very small, nearly sessile in small umbels at ends of branches of long-stalked, axillary umbels; bracts subulate.
Male flowers: Sepals nearly equal, obovate, obtuse; petals much shorter, staminal column short, summit expanded.
Female flowers: Sepals acute; petals shorter, styles subulate.
Fruit: scarlet, solitary, sessile, small, ⅓ in., compressed, glabrous.
Endocarp: strongly tubercled on back and sides. Seed curved almost into a ring.
The head of fruit looks as if it were the produce of a single flower, instead of an umbel of several sessile ones (Trimen).
Medicinal uses:—The root is regarded as light, bitter, astringent and useful in fever, diarrhoea, urinary diseases, dyspepsia, etc. Sir W. O’Shaughnessy speaks highly of this plant.