Calotropis Procera: A Long Neglected Valuable Plant

Calotropis Procera:  A Long Neglected Valuable Plant

By: Rogia al-Shafee


KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The calotropis procera that grows wild everywhere in the Sudan is a long neglected plant irrespective of its medical and economic value. 

Calotropis procera is a species of the flowering plant in the family apocynaceae that is native to North Africa, Tropical Africa, Western Asia, South Asia, and Indochina. Its green globes are hollow but the flesh of its leaves and branches contains a toxic milky sap that is extremely bitter and turns into a gluey coating resistant to soap.

Common names for the plant include apple of Sodom, stabragh, king's crown, rubber bush, and rubber tree. The name apple of Sodom derives from the Hebrew Tapuah Sdom. In Sudan the plant is called alushar.

The view from a passing car is of gardens of calotropis procera evergreen plants shooting up in open spaces and roads and around homes and orchards and farms. 

Of late some countries have discovered the economic value of the versatile plant and started to exploit it in the processing of many products. The pulp of its stem is used in the production of silken fibers which are processed in cloth tailoring and fishing rods’ threads and nets. Charcoal is obtained from burning its timber. 

The long-living plant that can shoot up five meters high, grows a lot of flowers which are green from the exterior and violet from the inside. 

Calotropis procera is a drought-resistant plant and can grow and flourish in areas with little rainfall, even in dry and desert regions. By those characteristics the calotropis procera would perish if much water happens to accumulate around it. 

Dr. Abdelmajeed Abdelraheem, an alternative medicine specialist, says Calotropis procera is in use in the Sudan for the treatment of many ailments. It has been useful in the treatment of all stomachaches and digestive system problems, including constipation. 

Dr. Abdelraheem, who works at the research center of the International Africa University here, further states that calotropis procera has been useful in the treatment of herpes, kidney and bladder diseases and vitiligo. In the latter case, as well as in cases of bruises and wounds, the calotropis procera white sap is wiped on the infected part of the body. The sap is also used in the treatment of temporary whitening in the eye. In the same connection, the sap has been found to sharpen eyesight. 

Stomach-wise, calotropis procera has been helpful as a laxative and has a property to drive out stomach worms. It is also used in the treatment of ulcers and urine retention. Leaves are heated on fire and topically applied on the abdomen to remove stomachache. The flowers are good appetizers and the sap is used in the treatment of asthma. 

Calotropis procera is also used in the concoction of rheumatic bronchitis prescriptions. Root husk is used to drive away phlegm and cure dysentery. Warmed leaves are applied topically to remove headaches and soothe arthritis. Burned leaves’ powder is mixed with honey to treat coughs. 

It is also applied topically to treat leishmaniasis. But, according to Dr. Abdelraheem, overuse of the calotropis procera sap can cause skin ulcers due to its content of poisonous ingredients.

Mr. Yahya Kabbashi, who is a specialist in traditional and herbal medicine, told Sudanow that he had heard a Chinese alternative medicine specialist claim that calotropis procera helps in the treatment of diabetes and applied what he heard on a lot of diabetics around him, receiving what he called “marvelous results.” 

He said every one of those patients had used to communicate that experiment to diabetics around him.

Kabbashi said one of those patients was suffering from high blood sugar amounting to 370 points. The patient took the prescription regularly, checking the sugar level every week. After three weeks the sugar level dropped to the normal 156 points. Moreover, that patient was also suffering from arthritis that kept him in a wheelchair for a long time, all the time forced to perform his payers on a chair. After the treatment he was cured and started to stand up and walk and pray in a normal way. Moreover, he travelled to Mecca and performed Alhaj (pilgrimage) duties without any help from others. 

Kabbashi further said he used calotropis procera leaves for the treatment of arthritis . He put the leaves between his shoe and his socks for a long time, moving around in a normal way. He received a “ positive result “. He said he was once infected with Bell's Pallsy and arthritis and was bed-ridden for a long time. After doctors failed to cure him, he remembered that when he was just a small kid in his home area the locals had used to roast calotropis procera leaves and topically apply them to treat arthritis and rheumatism pains, in particular during the rainy season. He said he gave it a try and was completely cured. 

Kabbashi said in case of arthritis the patient has just to put one or two of calotropis procera leaves between his shoe and his socks for 24 hours and then replace them with others. The treatment spans for forty days.





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