Abrus precatorius, known commonly as Jequirity, Crab’s Eye, Rosary Pea, ‘John Crow’ Bead, Precatory bean, Indian Licorice, Saga Tree or Giddee (Abrus precatorius), is a legume with long, pinnate-leafleted leaves. This plant is found throughout India. It is seen on hedges and bushes in exposed areas. It is a twining herb with delicate feathery leaves. Flowers are rose to purple growing at the end of a stalk. Fruits are short pods containing hard, shiny, scarlet and black seeds. Roots and leaves contain glycyrrhizin.
Leaves – leaves are used as a substitute for licorice (mulethi). Considered useful in biliousness and in leucoderma, itching and other skin diseases. Decoction widely used for cough, cold and colic. Juice employed as a cure for hoarseness, mixed with oil, applied to painful swellings. Dried leave’s paste as a germicide to wounds in cattle. Seeds are abortifacient, anodyne, aphrodisiac, antimicrobial, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, and febrifuge, hemostat, laxative, purgative, refrigerant and sedative. Vermifuge paste of seeds is applied locally in sciatica, stiffness of shoulder joints and paralysis. Seeds are highly poisonous. Roots are used for gonorrhoea, jaundice and haemoglobinuric bile. Powdered seeds are said to disturb the uterine functions and prevent conception in women. The oil extracted from seeds is said to promote the growth of human hair. The plant is also used in some traditional medicine to treat scratches and sores, and wounds caused by dogs, cats, and mice, and are also used with other ingredients to treat leucoderma. The leaves are used for their antisuppurative properties. They are ground with lime and applied on acne sores, boils, and abscesses. The plant is also traditionally used to treat tetanus, and to prevent rabies. Various African tribes use powdered seeds as oral contraceptives.