Family ApocynaceaeIt occurs from the Malay Peninsula to Burma, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan through Arabia and Egypt to central and southern Africa. It is found along roadsides, in woodland or along riparian forest fringes.
The opposite and broadly ovate to suborbicular leaves are very variable in size, with petioles of varying length. The leaves are almost glabrous above and velvety below.
In the northern hemisphere the flowers appear from mid to late winter, and these are carried on lateral cymes. The flower corolla forms a greenish-yellow or dull white tube. The fruit release ovate seeds covered with velvety hairs.
Terpenoids, flavonoids, sterols and cardenolids are among the chemicals that have been isolated from the either leaves, stems, shoots, roots, seeds or fruit. Traditionally it has been used as an elmintic, laxative, antipyretic and expectorant, besides treatment of infantile diarrhoea, malarial intermittent fevers, toothaches and colds. Studies have shown hepatoprotective, antifertility, anti-diabetic, analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties of substances in its aerial parts.