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Botanical Name : Achyranthes aspera
Species: A. aspera
Common Name:Apamarga,Latjira,Chirchita or Onga,Apamarga,Kanarica,Kharamanjiri,Merkati, Varisa, Puthkanda, Umblokando, Prickly chaff-flower,Devil’s Horsewhip
Vernacular Names: Sans: Apamarga; ; Eng: Prickiy-chaffflower.
Parts Used: The whole herb
Habitat: It grows as wasteland herb every where.Open dry places at elevations up to 2000 metres in Nepal. More or less naturalized as a weed in waste ground in southern Europe,E. Asia – Himalayas to Australia.
Description: Achyranthes aspera is a perennial or annual herb . Stems erect to ascending . Leaves opposite, petiolate ; blade elliptic , ovate to orbiculate, or broadly rhombate, margins entire . Inflorescences terminal and axillary , pedunculate , elongate , many-flowered, simple spikes or few-branched panicles; flowers crowded together at tips , becoming more widely spaced toward base . Flowers bisexual , often becoming deflexed with age; tepals 4 or 5, basally connate , without ornamentation, coriaceous , becoming indurate in fruit, ± glabrous ; filaments basally connate into short tubes or cups ; anthers 4-locular; pseudostaminodes 5; ovary obovoid or turbinate ; ovule 1; style elongate; stigma 1, capitate. Utricles enclosed by and falling with indurate tepals, elliptic or cylindric , membranous, indehiscent. Seeds 1, inverted , obovoid or ovoid , smooth .
The groups of plants referred to as Achyranthes and Alternanthera have been subject to considerable nomenclatural confusion, primarily because P. C. Standley (1915) designated Achyranthes repens Linnaeus as the lectotype species of Achyranthes. As a result, species that had been placed in Achyranthes were transferred to Centrostachys Wallich, and species that had been in Alternanthera were transferred to Achyranthes. A. A. Bullock (1957; see also R. Melville 1958) showed that Standley’s lectotypification was incorrect and that the type species of Achyranthes is Achyranthes aspera Linnaeus. The generic concepts of Achyranthes and Alternanthera then returned to those prior to 1915.
Species Achyranthes aspera
Plants perennial or annual . Stems 0.4-2 m , pilose or puberulent . Leaf blades elliptic , ovate , or broadly ovate to orbiculate, obovate-orbiculate, or broadly rhombate, 1-20 × 2-6 cm, adpressed-pubescent abaxially and adaxially. Inflorescences to 30 cm; bracts mem-branous; bracteoles long-aristate, spinose ; wings attached at sides and base . Flowers: tepals 4 or 5, length 3-7 mm; pseudostaminodes with margins fimbriate at apex, often with dorsal scale. Utricles ± cylindric , 2-4 mm, apex truncate or depressed .
Achyranthes aspera is a variable, pantropical species divided into six varieties (C. C. Townsend 1974), two of which occur in the flora . The variety with a long perianth and acuminate leaves has long been called var. aspera; the variety with a short perianth and blunt leaves, var. indica. However, A. Cavaco (1962) showed that the type of var. indica must be the type of the species A. aspera, thus var. indica is a homotypic synonym of var. aspera. Townsend made the combination A. aspera var. pubescens for plants previously called var. aspera.
Cultivation: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) or no shade. It requires moist soil.Cultivated as a food crop in China. A very variable species.
Propagation: Seed – sow spring in situ.
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.
Chemical Constituent: Plant yields achyranthine.
Medicinal Uses:Antispasmodic; Astringent; Diuretic; Odontalgic.
Since time immemorial, it is in use as folk medicine. It holds a reputed position as medicinal herb in different systems of medicine in India.One of the more important mdicinal herbs of Nepal, it is widely used in the treatment of a range of complaints. Ophthalmic. The whole plant is used medicinally, but the roots are generally considered to be more effective. They contain triterpenoid saponins. The root is astringent, diuretic and antispasmodic. It is used in the treatment of dropsy, rheumatism, stomach problems, cholera, skin diseases and rabies. The juice extracted from the root of this plant, mixed with the root of Urena lobata and the bark of Psidium guajava, is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. The plant is astringent, digestive, diuretic, laxative, purgative and stomachic. The juice of the plant is used in the treatment of boils, diarrhoea, dysentery, haemorrhoids, rheumatic pains, itches and skin eruptions. The ash from the burnt plant, often mixed with mustard oil and a pinch of salt, is used as a tooth powder for cleaning teeth. It is believed to relieve pyorrhea and toothache. The leaf is emetic and a decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. A paste of the leaves is applied in the treatment of rabies, nervous disorders, hysteria, insect and snake bites.
As per Ayurveda:It is tikta, ushnnveerya .and katu; alleviates deranged function of kapha; useful in the treatment of piles, pruritus, dysentery and dyscrasia; astringent and emetic.
Leaves made into a paste with water are applied to bites of poisonous insects, wasps, bees, etc. Powdered root, mixed with honey, is given internally in haemorrhoids.
Decoction of the root is prescribed in diarrhoea. Root paste is given to stop bleeding after abortion. A pinch of root powder, in combination with pepper powder and honey, is a good remedy for cough; seeds,rubbed with rice-water, are prescribed to patients suffering from bleeding piles.
Decoction of the whole plant is diuretic; it is efficacious in renal dropsies and in combination with that of Kakajanga (Leea aequata) useful in insomnia.
Dry plant is beneficial in gonorrhoea and colic. It also acts as a laxative.
Ashes of the plant with water and jaggery are effective in ascites and anasarca;sesamum oil medicated with ashes of the plant is applied as eardrops.
Traditional Medicinal Uses: According to Ayurveda, it is bitter, pungent, heating, laxative, stomachic, carminative and useful in treatment of vomiting, bronchitis, heart disease, piles, itching abdominal pains, ascites, dyspepsia, dysentery, blood diseases etc.
Ayurvedic Preparation: Apamarga Taila, Agnimukha etc.
The plant is highly esteemed by traditional healers and used in treatment of asthma, bleeding, in facilitating delivery, boils, bronchitis, cold, cough, colic, debility, dropsy, dog bite, dysentery, ear complications, headache, leucoderma, pneumonia, renal complications, scorpion bite, snake bite and skin diseases etc. Traditional healers claim that addition of A. aspera would enhance the efficacy of any drug of plant origin. Prevents infection and tetanus. Used to treat circumcision wounds, cuts. Also used for improving lymphatic circulation, strengthens musculatured, improves blood circulation; Cold with fever, heat stoke with headache, malaria, dysentery; Urinary tract lithiasis, chronic nephritis, edema; Rheumatic arthralgia (joint pain). Used traditionally for infertility in women: Two ml decoction of root and stem is administered orally thrice a day for three months. Younger women respond better to this therapy.
*Useful for reclamation of wastelands.
*Leaf is consumed as potherb.
*Seeds rich in protein, cooked and eaten.
*Used in religious ceremonies in India.
The ash from the burnt plant, often mixed with mustard oil and a pinch of salt, is used as a tooth powder for cleaning teeth. The dried twigs are used as toothbrushes. The ash of the burnt plant is a rich source of potash. It is used for washing clothes.
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.