Ruellia tuberosa, Linn has no local name because it is not used locally as medicine or at least not to my knowledge. It is a plant brought here as an ornamental plant from Tropical America. Since its introduction it has become ferral growing especialy by the road sides in the northern part of Peninsula Malaysia. I first noticed it on the road to Arau from Kangar just after the roundabout. The lilac coloured flowers were striking and I couldn't resist taking a look at it eventhough I knew Dayang is already late for her lectures at UITM Arau. That is why I love her, she is so obliging. Upon my return home that day I noticed the same plant flowering just outside our Kuah home. So I picked it up and grew it in tiny pots to enhance my garden.
This is my petite Dayang showing off a branch of Teak fruit. We were photographing the Le' tour d'Langkawi which finally returned to Langkawi after 3 years absence. I though they were going to rename the event ....
After many years of researching I finally found a picture of the flower in one of the websites on the net. I told Dayang - I knew it this plant must have medicinal properties because of the tuberous roots. Our neighbour the Indonesians have found use for the leaves as a remedy for kidney stones. I assume mainly because of the thick and rather stiff leaves of this plant almost similar to Hemgraphis colorata, Ruelia repens and Strobilanthes crispus which have been used successfully in the treatment of kidney stones. In Indonesia they call this plant Ceplikan (Javanese). The Indians (Tamil) call it Pattaskai which describe the explosive phenomenon when the pod of this plant explode upon contact with water droplet to release the seeds in contain. On this account the English gave the names Snap Dragon and cracker plant. In Caymans Island, Florida where it is native it is called the heart bush because the roots are being used to treat cardiac ailments. While further south on Grenada Island the tuberous roots, leaves and flowers are used in the treatment of common cold, fevers and hypertension. In the South Pacific region it is calle Minnie root. In Thailand it is called Toi Ting. There you are we just got to give ur own name for this plant. Or do we that I do not know of. I must ask Pak Ali of Taman Herba Perlis the next time I go there. I am sure he has the answer.
P.S. It is also included in a concotion for treatment of male impotency in a drink called mamajuana in the Dominican Republic.