Botanical Name :Alternanthera sessilis
Species: A. sessilis
Common Names: Ponnanganni,sessile joyweed and dwarf copperleaf.
Habitat :The plant occurs around the world.Roadsides, gardens, swamps. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Zhejiang, Yunnan [Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sikkim, Thailand, Vietnam].
Alternanthera sessilis is an aquatic plant .This is a perennial herb with prostrate stems, rarely ascending, often rooting at the nodes. Leaves obovate to broadly elliptic, occasionally linear-lanceolate, 1-15 cm long, 0.3-3 cm wide, glabrous to sparsely villous, petioles 1-5 mm long. Flowers in sessile spikes, bract and bracteoles shiny white, 0.7-1.5 mm long, glabrous; sepals equal, 2.5-3 mm long, outer ones 1-nerved or indistinctly 3-nerved toward base; stamens 5, 2 sterile. In the wild it flowers from December till March.
Aerva lanata is often mistaken for Alternanthera sessilis, which is also of the Amaranthecea family, and looks similar. On careful observation you will notice that flowers of Alternanthera sessilis are situated over the stem and their shape is round. As its flowers look like the eyes of a fish, Alternanthera sessilis is called Matsyakshi, fisheyed. Other Indian names of this plant are Koypa (Marathi), Honganne (Kannada).
This plant is available in the aquarium trade though it will not grow submersed for anything but short periods. However it can be useful in the tropical pond or terrarium though needs restriction as it can grow and propagate quickly under good conditions.
Constituents & properities: :The fresh leaves of Alternanthera sessilis contain per 100 g: water 80 g, energy 251 kJ (60 kcal), protein 4.7 g, fat 0.8 g, carbohydrate 11.8 g, fibre 2.1 g, Ca 146 mg, P 45 mg (Leung, W.-T.W., Busson, F. & Jardin, C., 1968).
In Alternanthera sessilis the following compounds have been demonstrated to be present: the triterpenes ?-spinasterol, ?-spinasterol, stigmasterol, ?-sitosterol, oleanotic acid and its derivatives and saturated (aliphatic) esters. The leaves contain dietary fibre (about 12 g per 100 g dry matter) and incorporation of about 75 g of this vegetable fibre in the daily diet of diabetics significantly reduced the postprandial blood glucose level.
In tests in India, leaf pastes of Alternanthera sessilis exhibited inhibition of mutagenicity in Salmonella typhimurium strains. They inhibited the formation of the potent environmental carcinogen nitrosodiethanolamine from its precursors such as triethanolamine. The aqueous alcohol extract of the entire plant exhibits hypothermic and histaminergic activities and relaxes smooth muscles. An ether extract of Alternanthera sessilis yielded an active principle having anti-ulcerative properties.
Cultivation & Propagation:
Alternanthera sessilis is collected from the wild and not cultivated. It can easily be propagated by seed and by rooted stem parts. The average number of seeds per plant is about 2000.
A leaf-spot disease caused by Fusarium pallidoroseum has been described in Nigeria. It may spread to crops in which Alternanthera sessilis occurs as a weed, e.g. okra, yams, potatoes, onions and carrots.
In many places of the world, the leaves of Alternanthera sessilis are eaten as a cooked vegetable or raw as a salad. In tropical Africa its use as a vegetable has been reported from Guinea (where it is used in place of rice as a staple and is said to be satiating), Benin (in sauces and soup), Nigeria (in soup), DR Congo, Tanzania and Zambia (as a relish), as well as from Madagascar and Réunion (as a potherb). In Sri Lanka the plant is tied in bundles and sold on markets for use in salads. It is also exported to Europe for clients of South-Indian origin.
Leaves along with the flowers and tender stems are used as vegetable in Karnataka, India. The red variety of this plant is a common garden hedging plant, which is also used as a culinary vegetable.
It is diuretic, tonic and cooling. Juice of this plant, deemed beneficial to eyes, is an ingredient in the making of medicinal hairoils and Kajal (kohl).
Alternanthera sessilis is used for simple stomach disorders, diarrhoea, dysentery and as a plaster for diseased or wounded skin parts and against fever. In Ghana a decoction with some salt is taken to stop vomiting blood. In Nigeria the pounded plant is used against headache and vertigo, and leaf sap is sniffed up the nose to treat neuralgia. A paste is used to draw out spines or any other object from the body and it is also used to cure hernia. In Senegal and India leafy twigs, ground to a powder, are applied against snakebites. The plant is also used in veterinary medicine in Kenya. Alternanthera sessilis is used in local medicine in Taiwan, often in mixtures with other medicinal plants, to treat hepatitis, tight chest, bronchitis, asthma and other lung troubles, to stop bleeding and as a hair tonic. In India it is used as a cholagogue, abortifacient and febrifuge, in Thailand and Sri Lanka as a galactagogue.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.