Eclipta alba

Botanical Name : Eclipta alba
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Eclipta
Species: E. alba
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
syn. : Eclipta prostrata L.
Common Names: False Daisy , yerba de tago, and bhringraj

Habitat :Eclipta alba grows in E. Asia – China, Japan and Korea to Australia.Wet places in the lowlands of Japan, especially by paddy fields.

It grows commonly in moist places as a weed all over the world. It is widely distributed throughout India, China, Thailand, and Brazil.

Description:
Eclipta alba is an Annual plant growing to 0.6m by 0.6m.  Root well developed, cylindrical, greyish. It is also named ‘kehraj’ in Assamese and karisalankanni in Tamil. Floral heads 6-8 mm in diameter, solitary, white, achene compressed and narrowly winged. .
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It is hardy to zone 9. It is in flower in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist or wet soil.

Cultivation:
Requires a damp to wet soil and a position in some shade. This is a tropical species and it might need more summer heat and a longer growing season than is normally available in British summers.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some extra protection, such as a cloche, until they are established and growing away well.

Edible Uses: Tender leaves and young shoots – cooked and used as a vegetable

Medicinal Uses:
Antiseptic; Astringent; Depurative; Emetic; Febrifuge; Ophthalmic; Purgative; Styptic; Tonic.

This species is widely used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine, and in Ayurveda. It is considered to be the best remedy for the hair and is also used as a rejuvenative and liver tonic. The whole plant contains the alkaloids nicotine and ecliptine as well as coumarin. It is astringent, deobstruent, depurative, emetic, febrifuge, ophthalmic, purgative, styptic and tonic. It is used internally in the treatment of dropsy and liver complaints, anaemia, diphtheria etc, tinnitus, tooth loss and premature greying of the hair. Externally, it is used as an oil to treat hair loss and is also applied to athlete’s foot, eczema, dermatitis, wounds etc. The plant juice, mixed with an aromatic (essential oil?), is used in the treatment of catarrhal problems and jaundice. The leaves are used in the treatment of scorpion stings. They are used as an antidote for snake bites in Korea. The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and is dried for later use. The roots are emetic and purgative. They are applied externally as an antiseptic to ulcers and wounds, especially in cattle

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In ayurvedic medicine, the leaf extract is considered a powerful liver tonic, rejuvenative, and especially good for the hair. A black dye obtained from Eclipta alba is used for dyeing hair and tattooing. Eclipta alba also has traditional external uses, like athlete foot, eczema and dermatitis, on the scalp to address hair loss and the leaves have been used in the treatment of scorpion stings. It is used as anti-venom against snakebite in China and Brazil (Mors, 1991). It is reported to improve hair growth and colour

The herb Eclipta alba contains mainly coumestans i.e. wedelolactone (I) and demethylwedelolactone (II), polypeptides, polyacetylenes, thiophene-derivatives, steroids, triterpenes and flavonoids. Coumestans are known to possess estrogenic activity (Bickoff et al. 1969) Wedelolactone possesses a wide range of biological activities and is used for the treatment of hepatitis and cirrhosis (Wagner et al. 1986), as an antibacterial, anti-hemorrhagic (Kosuge et al. 1985). and for direct inhibition of IKK complex resulting in suppression of LPS-induced caspase-11 expression (Kobori et al. 2004)

Folkloric:
Plant is bitter, hot, sharp, dry in taste and is used in ayurveda & “siddha” for the treatment of Kapha and Vata imbalances. In India, the plant is known as bhangra, “bhringaraj” or bhringraja. Another plant Widelia calendulacea is also known by the same name, but Eclipta has white flowers so called white bhangra and Widelia has yellow flower so it is called yellow Bhangra (Puri 2003).

The expressed leaf juice, applied along with honey, is a popular remedy for catarrh in infants. A preparation obtained from the leaf juice boiled with sesame or coconut oil is used for anointing the head to render the hair black and luxuriant. An oil prepared with amla, bhringraj and sometimes with brahmi is well known in India as Amla Bhringraj oil, which is said to blacken the hair. Plant is rubbed on the gums in toothache and applied with a little oil for relieving headache and with sesame oil in elephantiasis. Roots of Eclipta alba are emetic and purgative.

In Ayurveda the plant is considered a rasayana for longevity and rejuvenation. Recent studies have shown that it has a profound antihepatotoxic activity. A cardiodepressant activity was also observed in it when used for hepatic congestion. A complete symptomatic relief in epigastric pain, nausea and vomiting in ulcer patients has also been observed (Puri 2003). Also it is one among 10 flowers called as ‘Dasapushpam’ (Ten auspicious flowers) in Kerala, the southern state in India

In Taiwan, entire plant is used as a remedy for the treatment of bleeding, haemoptysis, haematuria and itching, hepatitis, diphtheria and diarrhoea; in China, as a cooling and restorative herb, which supports the mind, nerves, liver and eyes. The leaf extract is considered to be powerful liver tonic, rejuvenative, and especially good for the hair. A black dye obtained from Eclipta alba is also for dyeing hair and tattooing. Eclipta alba also has traditional external uses, like athlete foot, eczema and dermatitis, on the scalp to address hair loss and the leaves have been used in the treatment of scorpion strings. It is used as anti-venom against snakebite in China and Brazil (Mors, 1991).

Other Uses: A black dye is obtained from the plant. It is used as a hair dye and for tattooing.

Disclaimer:
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

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Eclipta+prostrata
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eclipta_alba

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