Many years ago, fungi were classified as plants, but that has changed! Fungi are a distinct group of organisms that include mushrooms, mold, and yeast, and are different from plants for two reasons: their cells walls are composed of chitin, and they don’t make their own food. Plants have cell walls composed of cellulose and use photosynthesis to make their own food.
Fungi are microscopic to macroscopic in size. As a matter of fact, the largest single living organism on Earth is the Humongous fungus (Armillaria ostoyae), which is nearly four-square miles in size (BBC, 2014).
Fungi are parasites which are found everywhere on the Earth. Not only do they live in air, water, and on land, but they live in and on plants and animals, including humans. Brown et al., (2012) estimated that at least 25% of the human population (1.9 billion people) have fungal infections of the skin, hair, and nails. Further, systemic fungal infections kill three times as many people than malaria...
Ghandi Root (Homalomena aromatica), an evergreen perennial, belongs to the Family Araceae, which is the most diverse plant family in the New World Tropics! This essential oil-bearing plant’s native range occupies the tropical and subtropical forests from Assam to China, and is identifiable by its heart-shaped leaves and orange yellow berries (Kew RBC, 2020) (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Ghandi Root (Homalomena aromatica)
This plant’s rhizome (a modified plant stem below the ground) has been used in traditional herbal medicine for over 3000 years to treat a range of conditions based on its reported analgesic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, sedative, and antifungal properties (Policegoudra et al., 2012; Rhind, 2019).
The source of Ghandi Root steam-distilled essential oil is also the rhizome, so its use in traditional medicine may overlap with its use...