Indian squill is a bulbous plant with a smooth surface. It has egg-shaped, long, dull white or pale, thick bulbs measuring 5 to 10 cms. It has extremely narrow leaves and light brown flowers in slender long bunches. I its fruits are three-celled capsules with flat black seeds. The dry outer coats of its bulbs are removed before slicing and drying. This constitutes the drug. Fresh squill consists of two glycosides, scilIaren A which is crystalline and scillaren B which is amorphous.
Indian squill is considered as effective as the European counterpart in therapeutic value. In small doses, the bulb is stimumlant and digestive. It is useful in removing any obstruction to secretion or excretion by opening the natural passages or pores of the body. In large doses, it is an acrid poison, inducing nausea and active movement of the bowels.
Indian squill promotes the removal of catarrhal matter. Clinical trials have confirmed its efficacy. It helps to remove phlegm from the bronchial tubes in asthma, bronchial catarrah and chronic bronchitis. Its juice should be administered with honey.
The bulb is beneficial in the treatment of dropsy. It has diuretic properties and increases the volume of urine.
For removing warts, a powder of the bulb should be applied locally on the affected areas. For corns, a poultice of the roasted bulb should be applied.
Indian squill is useful in promoting and regulating menstrual periods. It should be given in small doses.
The herb is beneficial in the treatment of several other diseases such as rheumatism, calculus affections, chronic Bright's disease-a typical degeneration of the kidneys, leprosy, ringworm and scabies.