By Syed Akbar Calotropis procera, commonly called milk weed, is recognised as a wonder herb in Unani and Ayurveda systems of medicine. This medicinal herb grows in waste lands and is often neglected as a useless weed. But Indian systems of medicine regard Calotropis procera, also known as swallow-wort, as the herb that heals a number of health problems ranging from simple cough to bowel discomfort and from eczema to elephantiasis. This herb is known as "aak" among Unani doctors. Calotropis procera also finds a mention as "mandara" or "surya patra" in ancient Ayurvedic texts. Other traditional systems of medicine like homoeopathy also use Calotropis as a herbal prescription. Generally, only the root of Calotropis procera is used in medical formulations. The latex (milky secretion from which it derives the name milk weed) is poisonous. In no case the latex should be used as medicine. Extreme care has to be observed while using Calotropis formulations at home. It's always better to purchase readily available Calotropis root powder from a good herbal store (dawasaaz), instead of preparing the formulation at home. --------------------- Home remedies --------------------- The dried and powdered roots of Calotropis may be consumed in small quantities as a general health booster. Unani and Ayurveda doctors regard it as a natural health tonic. The root powder, when consumed in a small quantity, helps in removal of worms in the stomach and intestines, cleans the bowel system of all harmful parasites and keeps the disgestive system in a good condition. The root powder of Calotropis procera is also considered good for skin problems including leprosy and filariasis. Practitioners of traditional medical system often prescribe powder of dried leaves as a natural snuff to trigger sneezing in case of cold. Unlike the snuff obtained from tobacco, Calotropis snuff does not make one addicted to it. This special snuff may be purchased from a noted herbal store.