Parasitic life is an example of interaction between two species. The result is positive for one and negative for another. Parasitic plants are more evolved than other species in the same family. Cuscuta spp. or dodder is one of the medicinal herbs that belong to the Convolvulaceae plant family. They are annual parasitic plants that reproduce by seed. These parasitic plants do not have any roots, leaves or chlorophyll to produce their own food. Dodders live by attaching to a host plant with small appendages (called “haustoria”) and extract its necessary growth elements. The active compounds of Cuscuta species include flavonoids, lignans, quinic acid and poly-saccharides. Flavonoids are kinds of effective antioxidants, and polysaccharides are the effective constituents to improve the immune system. Cuscuta epithymum is an important herbal medicine that is effective in the treatment of liver and kidney failure, sexual impotence and vision weakness. It also prevents abortion senescence and aging. C epithymum possesses anticancer, immuno-stimulatory, anti-oxidant and anti-osteoporotic activities.
Part of the book: Parasitic Plants