Friday, December 12, 2008

Achyranthes asperaLinn.

Family : Amaranthaceae

Synonym(s) : Achyranthes aspera L. var. aspera, Achyranthes indica (L.) P. Mill., Centrostachys aspera (L.) Standl., Centrostachys indica (L.) Standl.

English Name : Rough Chaff, Devil's-Horsewhip and Prickly-Chaff Flower

Stiff, thorny, annual or perennial herb (weed) or low-growing shrub. which can grow as high as 50 cm and has many branches. Leaves are oblong-ovate to elliptic or obovate, 6 to 15 cm long, pointed at both ends, more or less hairy, though often nearly smooth. Flowers are green and about 5 cm in length. Sepals 4 or 5, filaments connate at the base, the stamens and staminodes square toothed or fimbricate, pale purplish. Ovary oblong, 1-ovuled; flowers unisexual. The spikes are rigid, elongated and 10 to 15 cm long. Buds point upwards but when the flowers open, they spread out from the sides.· Seeds oblong, brown and 2 to 3 mm long. Fruits utricles, oblong or ovoid, indehiscent.

A common weed in irrigated areas. It is found in hot and cool field areas.Most parts of India, including the Himalayas, up to an altitude of 2,100 m and in the South Andaman Islands.

Parts Used : Root, leaf, seed and plant

Herb Effects
Antibiotic (leaf); hypoglycemic, diuretic and laxative (plant); astringent and prevents tetanus, alterative, antiperiodic and purgative; antifungal activity against Aspergillus carneus (oil).

Active Ingredients
Achyranthine, oleanolic acid, xylose (plant); saponins (seed); betaine (root); ecdysterone (shoot)

Medicinal Use
Asthma and snakebite (root powder); toothache (root); rashes. boils and dropsy (plant); renal dropsy (plant decoction); as an emmenagogue; in hemorrhoids; atrophy; blindness (veterinary); insect bites; cachexia; cataracts; cholera; circumcision; antispasmodic; astringent; odontalgic. The flower-tops are stated to be employed for the treatemtnt of rabies. It is also used in veterinary medicine to expel placenta.

Decoction: one to two ounces of the mixture (2 oz. of the plant to 1.5 pints of water) two or three times daily (renal dropsies).
Root: 6-12 g, or up to 30 g, to be used in decoction.


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