Fly Bearing Malaxis is a terrestrial orchid with yellowish-green flowers, tiny, very numerous in a very slender rather lax upright spike 8-25 cm long. Flowers are about 3 mm long, with lateral sepals curved upwards. Petals are linear, lip erect, nearly circular, with thick obscure basal lobes and narrow lanceshaped top. Leaves are broad stalkless, paired unequal, elliptic, 2.5-6.5 cm long, arising from the base of the stem. Stem is 15-38 cm tall, pseudobulbs ovoid. Fly Bearing Malaxis is found in the Himalayas, from Afghanistan to SE Tibet, at altitudes of 2500-4000 m. Flowering: July-August.
Fly Bearing Malaxis is a medicine used in the Ashtavarga. This medicine is mainly found only in the Himalayas. Its tuber is used medicinally. The horn-shaped tuber of the fly Bearing Malaxis very small and very hydrated. The leaves are sweet and cool.
Fly Bearing Malaxis(Scientific Name: Malaxis muscifera) is a perennial, terrestrial orchid growing from a bulbous rootstock; the stem can be 10 - 30cm tall.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine. It is an important ingredient of the herbal tonic 'Chyavanprash', a popular medication in India.
Malaxis muscifera is harvested from the wild for its roots, which form an important ingredient of the herbal formulation 'chyavanprash'.
The level of exploitation is high and, in the CAMP workshop organised at Kullu in 1998 it was collectively agreed by the experts that more than 40% of the wild population in the Himalayan Region of India had declined over the previous 10 years. The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Even those species that grow in bogs tend to be in the drier areas of the bog with plenty of water 15cm or more below soil level. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid.
Malaxis muscifera is one of a group of eight plants, known collectively as 'Astavarga' in India, whose underground parts are seen in Ayurveda as general tonics that can strengthen the vital force in the body, improve cell regeneration capacity and boost the immune system. They can each be used on their own, and they are also used in the preparation of different types of rejuvenating tonics in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. One of the most important of these is 'Chyavanprash', a polyherbal formulation comprising more than 50 different plant ingredients, which is widely used in India as a general tonic, energy booster, immune system strengthener and aphrodisiac.
The plant is used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions, including blood disorders, burning sensation in the body, male sterility, fever, dysentery, external and internal haemorrhage and general weakness. It is also used as an aphrodisiac, against insect bite and rheumatism.