The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine. In some areas the plant is not removed when found growing as a weed in cultivated. Dianthera flava Vahl: 5 (). Dianthera americana var. flava (Vahl) Forssk.: 9 ( ). Adhatoda flava (Vahl) Nees (). A. fasciata Nees: (). Justicia flava (Forssk.) Vahl [family ACANTHACEAE]. Herbarium. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K). Collection. Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa. Resource.
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Justicia justicja is widespread and occurs all over tropical Africa, but has not been reported from the Indian Ocean Islands; it is also found in the Arabian peninsula.
West African Plants
In Guinea the leaves of Justicia flava are used as a vegetable collected from the wild. They are cooked into soup or stew.
The plant is also considered as a good forage. In Kenya the plant contributes to sand-binding vegetation in coastal dunes and sandy river banks and leaves are burnt to ash to produce a vegetable salt. Preparations are used on cuts and to treat menorrhagia, and blood in the sputum. The whole crushed plant, mixed with vegetable ash, seed of Aframomum species and capsicum pepper is administered by enema against painful menses, or, mixed with lemon juice, taken to induce menstruation.
In Ghana the plant is used internally and externally against fever, yaws and diarrhoea in children. The inflorescence is said to be a cure for dysentery. An infusion of the plant is taken with egg albumen and coconut juice against palpitations of the heart and leaf sap is used as an eye lotion.
In Tanzania leaf sap is taken against hookworm and to treat hydrocele, including bathing the affected parts. The bitter root is chewed by the Masai to cure diarrhoea and coughs. The composition of fresh Justicia leaves per g edible portion is: Four sterols and salicylic acid were isolated from the leaves, stems and roots of Justicia flava. The lignans were screened for pharmacological activity in mice, but only a mild effect on the central nervous system, demonstrated by decrease in motor activity and ataxia, was observed.
Erect or trailing, usually perennial herb up to cm tall, pubescent; stem often woody at base. Leaves opposite, simple; petiole up to 1. Inflorescence a dense terminal spike up to 20 cm long, continuous or interrupted in the basal part; bracts linear-lanceolate.
Flora of Mozambique: Species information: individual images: Justicia flava
Fruit a 4-seeded capsule c. Seeds compressed globose, brown to black. Justicia is a large genus comprising — species. Its taxonomy is badly known and opinions differ about its juwticia because differences between related genera are hardly distinctive. Numerous species can be found in the literature referred to by a variety of names within the genera AdhatodaDuvernoiaGendarussaJusticiaRostellaria and Rungia.
A complete revision of all related genera is urgently needed.
Justicia flava is classified in the section Tyloglossacharacterized by spike-like inflorescences and ammonite-like or rugose seeds, and by its pollen type. The flowers of Justicia flava are much visited by bees and other insects. Justicia flava grows in open habitats, with a wide ecological range from sea-level up to m altitude. In dry regions it can grow as an annual with smaller flowers. Justicia flava is not cultivated but collected from the wild. In Guinea it is not removed as a weed when occurring in cultivated fields, but allowed to grow to collect its leaves for vegetable use.
Justicia flava will remain a vegetable of minor and local importance only. Its nutritional and medicinal properties need more investigation to discover potential value. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. Volume 1, Families A—D. Volume 5, Families S—Z, Addenda. Flora of tropical Africa. Medicinal plants of East Africa.
Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi, Kenya. Delimitation and infra-generic classification flavaa Justicia Acanthaceae. Kew Bulletin 43 4: Flora of West Tropical Africa. Food composition jjusticia for use in Africa. Lignans from Justicia flava. Journal of Natural Products Lloydia Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands.
Notes on the types of some names of Arabian Acanthaceae in the Forsskal herbarium. Kew Bulletin 38 3: BoxAH Wageningen, Netherlands. Justicia flava Vahl Vahl.
Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Justicia flava
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