The roots and tubers of Gloriosa superba have been used in traditional Indian medicine for the treatment of gout, in diseases of skin, and several other purposes. Scientists have reported colchicine-like activity in the hexane, dichloromethane, and methanol fractions of Gloriosa superba. G. superba also possess anti malarial activity (4, 5). It is widely used in the treatment of ulcers, leprosy, piles, inflammations, abdominal pains, intestinal worms, thirst, bruises, infertility and skin problem. Various fractions of G. superba have proved to have potent neutralizing effect of rattlesnake venom, when administered subcutaneously to mice. It is one of the useful plants to treat various respiratory disorders. The wide spread use of this plant as chemotherapeutic, anti tumor and various other disorders has lead a scientific approach towards its use as medicinal plants.
Seeds and root tubers contain a valuable alkaloid, colchicine, as the major constituent. Colchicine is occasionally used in cytological and plant breeding research. Medicinally, the tuber is used as abortifacient, and in smaller doses it acts as a tonic, stomachic and antihelmintic. It is also used in the treatment of gout because it contains colchicines (6).
The tuberous root stocks of G. superba is applied twice a day on the joints, affected with arthritis reduces pain. It is also used to treat intestinal worms, bruises, infertility, skin problem and impotence. The tuberous roots are useful in curing inflammation, ulcers, skin diseases, leprosy, indigestion, helminthiasis, snake bites, baldness, intermittent fever and debility. Seeds are used for relieving rheumatic pain and as a muscle relaxant (5, 6). The tuber is used traditionally for the treatment of bruises and sprains, colic, chronic ulcers, hemorrhoids, cancer, and leprosy.