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About 25 species in four genera are found in America, Africa, and Asia.
Basella alba L., of pantropical distribution, is cultivated in India and elsewhere as a pot herb.
The roots of one species have rubefacient properties.
- Basella rubra L.
- (syn. Basella alba L.)
- Malabar Nightshade
This somewhat variable species is said to have rubefacient properties (Quisumbing 1951), the roots being employed in the Philippines for this effect (Perry & Metzger 1980).
Stuart (1911) records that the red juice from the berries is traditionally used in China as pigmentary addition to facial cosmetics.
- Perry LM and Metzger J (1980) Medicinal Plants of East and Southeast Asia: Attributed Properties and Uses. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
- Quisumbing E (1951) Medicinal Plants of the Philippines. Tech. Bull. Philipp. Agric. Nat. Res. (16). Manila, Philippine Islands: Manila Bureau of Printing.
- Stuart GA (1911) Chinese Materia Medica. Vegetable Kingdom. Shanghai: American Presbyterian Mission Press