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Common Name : Country Mallow     -       Scientific Name : Sida cordifolia (Malvaceae)       -       Other Name : Heart-leaf Sida, Flannel Weed (E), Wal Bevila, Heen-anoda (S)
Panikkar Villu
06/23/2013

This is a very common species that is native to India and Sri Lanka. However it has been introduced and is now considered an invasive weed in Australia, Africa, southern United States, Hawaiian Islands, New Guinea and French Polynesia. The species name cordifolia means heart-shaped leaf.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Least Concerned” (National Red List 2012).

The Country Mallow is a common species found in the dry open scrublands of the low country dry zone. It is plentiful close to the coastal areas.

This species contains a substance called ephedrine, which is a stimulant similar to amphetamine that can cause harmful side effects. Thus in April 2004 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the sale of this plant and other products that contain ephedrine.

However in traditional Ayurveda, siddha, Tibetan, and Chinese medicine this plant is used to treat a number of ailments such as asthma, tuberculosis, the common clod, flu, headaches, nasal congestion, heart disease, stroke, tissue pain, nerve pain and rheumatoid arthritis. In herbal medicines this species is also used for weight loss. It is also used in curing asthma by applying a paste made of the whole plant, pepper and garlic over the body. The plants belonging to this genus are known in Sanskrit by the common name “Bala”. Five kinds of “bala” are mentioned by the Sanskrit medical writers as “Pancha Bala” and used to treat many ailments of the human body

This species is very common in the western part of the park and along the Mannar road.