Stone Flower (Parmalia perlata): Introduction, Classification, Habitat, Botanical Description, Phytochemical Aspects, and Traditional Uses
Chharila, also known as Permalia perlata, is a plant in the Parmeliaceae family. The reason for some of its other common names, including Stone Flower, Patthar Phool, Shilaapushpa, and others, is likely due to its historical medicinal effect on ashmari (urinary stones) in the Ayurveda system of Indian medicine. Similar to Saxifraga ligulata, Didymocarpus pedicellata is also known as Patharphori (stone crusher), and both are used to treat kidney stones. A major component of parmelia species, usnic acid, demonstrated strong antimitotic, antitumor, and antimycobacterial effects. Other distinctive constituents, such as diffractic acid, gyrophoric acid, caperatic acid, etc., were also isolated and are well known for their analgesic, antipyretic, antispasmodic potential, and beneficial effects against hyperproliferative skin diseases like psoriasis, etc. There are three different types of parmelia, including P. perlata (L.) Ach., P. perofrata (Wulf.) Ach., and P. perforatum (Ach.) Mass., as well as P. sanacti-angelii Lynge, are offered as chharila in the Indian market. Tridecyl myristate, 3-ketooleanane, icosan-1-ol, usnic acid, parmelanostene permelabdone, atranorin, lecanoric acid, orcin, erythrolein, azolitmin, and spaniolitmin are only a few of the chemical components it includes. To improve the flavour and taste of food, P. perlata is typically used as a spice. Additionally, to have aphrodisiac potential, it possesses astringent, resolvent, laxative, and carminative qualities. Additionally, it helps with piles, scabies, leprosy, bronchitis, excessive salivation, toothaches, boils, inflammations, seminal weakness, dyspepsia, calculi, blood disorders, heart ailments, stomach problems, and general pain. In addition to a good cephalic snuff, drug smoke is thought to cure headaches, and powder is applied to wounds.
Common Names: Stone Flower, Patthar Phool, Shilaapushpa,
Parmalia perlata is a native of the Indian subcontinent and is typically found there, particularly in Northern India, where it grows on rocky terrain and ancient tree stumps. It is cultivated in the Kashmir highlands and the Himalayas and is most common in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Kerala, and Bengal.
The thallus is flattened, adnate, 3–8 cm wide, foliose in form, and has sublinear to irregular lobes that are 2-4 mm wide. Its colour is greenish mineral grey (or yellowish-white on top and black on the undersurface). The 0.3-0.7 mm length marginal cilia are distinct. The thallus’s upper surface is continuous and level, and it is moderately to densely isidiate or possesses isidia or soralia. Each isidium or soralia is cylindrical, erect, simple to branched, and up to 0.5 mm high. They are both bud-like vegetative structures found on the upper surface of the thallus. Rhizines are present on the lower surface of the thallus, which is somewhat rhizinate. The lichen’s rootlets, or rhizines, are delicate, simple, or only partially sparsely furcated. Apothecia are isidiate and range in size from one to three millimetres.
According to studies, Parmalia perlata contains proteins, tannins, glucose, phenols, vitamins A and C 32, as well as terpenes, alkaloids, glycosides, and steroids. Additionally, it contains lichen acids such as usnic acid, lecanoric acid, and atranorin. Two more terpenes, the lanoset-2-en type triterpene and the labdane type diterpenoid, as well as two dibenzofurans, the 2-acetyl-9b-carbmethoxy-7,9-dihydroxy-8-methyl-1,3(2H,9bH)- dibenzofurandione and the 2,6-diacetyl-7,9-dihydroxy-8,9b-dimethyl-1, Icosan-1-ol, 3-ketooleanane, and tridecyl myristate are some more isolated components.
Parmalia perlata is typically used in cuisine as a spice to improve flavour and taste. It is thought to be useful to treat sores, bronchitis, excessive salivation, vomiting, toothaches, boils, inflammations, etc. It is astringent, carminative, demulcent, bitter, resolvent, emollient, laxative, sporofic, sedative, and diuretic. This excellent aphrodisiac is recommended for seminal weakness, spermatorrhoea, nocturnal emission, amenorrhoea, leucorrhoea, and other conditions. Additionally, it helps with leprosy, scabies, enlarged spleen, bleeding piles, dyspepsia, calculi, blood problems, heart ailments, stomach disorders, and calculi. It is applied topically to relieve lumbar and kidney discomfort. It is also used to treat general symptoms, including liver and womb pain. The powdered medication is used to treat wounds, is regarded as a good cephalic snuff, and also works well to aid in digestion. It strengthens the urinary system and inhibits the development of calculi. Additionally, it controls respiratory issues and keeps the body’s temperature within normal range. The medication paste can assist to lessen inflammations. Headaches are said to be relieved by drug smoking. Additionally, it serves as a key component in cosmetics. According to the Indian Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia, P. perlata has therapeutic benefits for conditions like Kandu (itching), kustha (skin diseases), asmari (calculi), Daha (burning sensation), visa (poison), hrllasa (angina pectoris), thirst, varna (ulcer), hrdaya-roga (heart diseases), rakta-vikara (blood disorders) (headache).
Many herbal preparations used in many medical systems contain P. perlata as a key ingredient. It is an essential component of many dosage forms used in both allopathic and ayurvedic systems of medicine, including Pathrina (Shri Baidyanath Ayurved Bhawan Pvt. Ltd.), Calcury (Aimil Pharmaceuticals India Ltd.), and Neeri (Aimil Pharmaceuticals India Ltd.). These formulations are used particularly for kidney function restoration and renal stone treatment. It is a crucial component in numerous formulations, including Confido, Speman, V-Gel, and Speman Vet (The Himalaya Drug Company), which are used to treat sex issues and promote sexual wellness. Additionally, it is a vital component of many Unani formulations, including Dawa-ulmisk, Dawa-ul-misk motadil, Erqember, Laboob-e-Kabir muqquawie bah, Ma-ul-leham, Majun Shabab awar, Majun muqwwi mumsik, Mufarrhe yaquti motadil, Mumsik be nazir, Roghan-e-surk (Qarshi Industries Pvt. Ltd.) Mahanarayan Oil also makes use of it.