Crown flower, which is commonly known as ‘Erukku’ in Malayalam, was considered a cursed plant because it grows in cemeteries. However, the white variety of crown flowers are used to perform religious rituals in Shiva temples.
Crown flower is the representing plant of Thiruvonam birth star. There are two varieties of the plant with the scientific name Calotropis gigatea and Calotropis procera. The difference can be identified from the colour of the flowers as one of the varieties bloom in reddish violet and the other in white.
The leaves of the plant are thick and hairy. The seed pod that has a hairy inner portion is only 3-4 cm long and contains many seeds. The plant contains a white sap in all its parts. This can be used as a top grade bio pesticide.
The fungal diseases affecting the crops can be prevented by sprinkling the juice of the leaves and stems of crown flower plant. The juice of its leaves are good for the fungus and root rot found in eggplant. Disinfectants like benzylaniline, calactin and calotropin are extracted from crown flower plant.
In Ayurveda, leaves, root, bark and berries of the plant can be used as medicine against rheum and phlegm-related diseases. The root is used as an antidote and is also a laxative. The sap of crown plant can be applied continuously to remove corn and callus.
The crown plant sap is effective for toothache and cavities. Scorpion, centipede and spider bites can be cured by applying a mix of crown plant sap and pepper. Ear ache, enlarged spleen and skin problems in children also can be treated using the plant. Crown flower is an inevitable element of Ayurveda and organic farming, despite its poisonous nature.