Trellis-vine (Pergularia daemia)
or Hariknot Plant
the , is a hispid, perennial twinning herb that grows along the roadsides of India and tropical and subtropical regions in South Asia, Africa, and Australia.
Pergularia daemia is in the family Apocynaceae, with an extensive range in the Old World tropics and subtropics. It has been used traditionally to treat a number of ailments.
Trellis-vine is a high climbing herbaceous climbing plant that scrambles over the ground or twines into other plants for support.
The opposite and broadly ovate to suborbicular leaves are very variable in size, with petioles of varying length. The leaves are almost glabrous above and velvety below.
The stems are somewhat woody at the base.
A highly toxic plant, especially the aerial parts, due to the presence of numerous cardenolides and cardenolide glycoside; these have digitalis-like cardio-activity. The latex in the plant is poisonous. It is used as a fishing and hunting poison, and is added to water to poison animals.
The plant has a range of traditional medicinal uses, as well as supplying food and a fibre. The roots and leafy twigs are traded for medicinal use in local markets of Africa. Because of its sweet-scented flowers and its climbing habit, the plant is cultivated as a pergola ornamental in tropical gardens.
Pergularia daemia is a popular traditional medicine in Africa where numerous uses have been reported for all parts of the plant throughout its distribution area. Modern research has shown the presence of a wide range of medically active compounds, especially glycosides. The plant is also toxic causing an immediate and sustained rise of carotid blood pressure when taken in excess. Complex effects on the respiratory system and intestinal movements are also present combined with a generally cardiotoxic effect upon the heart with marked depression of both auricles and ventricles, resulting in ventricular fibrillation and ultimate stoppage of the heart in diastole.
Therefore any use of the plant should only be carried out under the guidance of a skilled practitioner.
The glycosides have been shown to have a strong action on uterus contraction.
The leaves and young stems are considered aperitive, anthelmintic, expectorant, emetic and emmenagogue. Taken as infusions or decoctions, they are used to treat liver problems, fainting, diarrhoea, dysentery, colic, rheumatism, painful joints and limbs, cramps in the legs, malaria, appendicitis, amenorrhoea, venereal diseases and tachycardia arising from overexertion or fright.