Nongmangkha, an orange flowering plant, which scientific name is Phlogacanthus thyrsiformis, gained popularity in Manipur as it is in high demand during this COVID-19 pandemic. Owing to its anti-bacterial and rich medicinal properties, Nongmakha is believed to help treat several ailments. Both the flower and the leaf are edible and are used in local dishes. During the pandemic, locals turned to this indigenous herb as a home remedy to treat similar symptoms of COVID-19 as there is no cure for the viral infection yet.
True, staying healthy should be a part of your overall lifestyle. Eating right and living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent diseases and long-term illnesses. We’re all becoming increasingly health-conscious, especially in this time of the pandemic. In fact, in the last few years, there has been an exponential growth in the field of herbal remedies and medicines and these drugs are gaining popularity both in the developing and developed countries because of their natural origin and fewer side-effects.
Phlogacanthus thyrsiformis is a genus of flowering plants in the family Acanthaceae and tribe Andrographideae and locally called Nongmangkha in Manipuri language. The genus Phlogacanthus (Acanthaceae), which grows wild, is represented by 49 species confined only to a few South-East Asian countries viz., Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
In India, the genus is represented only by 10 species which are restricted only to the North-east region of the country. Out of these 10 species, 8 are recorded in Assam.
In Northeast India, the plant is used medicinally and as a vegetable by the ethnic communities of the region. Nongmangkha is found in the subtropical Himalayas, from Garhwal to Bhutan and NE India, at altitudes up to 1000 m. Phlogacanthus thyrsiformis is used in herbal recipes during Bohag-Bihu, the main festival of Assam.
During the last few decades, the genus has become one of the most important sources of Phlogantholide A, found in the leaves which are considered beneficial in liver and spleen diseases. In the current finding, phytochemical extracts derived from Nongmangkha leaves have been shown as anticancer agents.