Plant Name: Achyranthes aspera L.
English : Prickly chaff flower, Devil's horsewhip
Marathi: Aaghada, Achira
Hindi: Apang, Chirchra
Known in Jawhar Taluka: Aaghada
Interesting facts and history
As mentioned in ""Hindu science of art and construction i.e. Samarāṅgaṇa Sūtradhāra which is a Sanskrit treatise dealing with Śilpaśāstra"", juice of this plant is a potent ingredient for a mixture of wall plaster.
There is an evidence of vector transmission by livestock, as spiny bracts cause the fruits to stick to the hair of animals, clothing etc.
In India it is also known for one of the 21 leaves used in the ganesh pooja at ganesh chaturthi.
0.4-2 m, pilose or puberulent.
Absolutely quadrangular, striate
elliptic, ovate, or broadly ovate to orbiculate, obovate-orbiculate, or broadly rhombate, 1-20 × 2-6 cm, ad pressed-pubescent abaxially and adaxially. Inflorescences to 30 cm; bracts membranous; bracteoles long-aristate, spinose; wings attached at sides and base.
greenish white, numerous in axillary or terminal spikes up to 75 cm long. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
sub-cylindric, truncate at the apex, rounded at the base, reddish brown
Habit / Habitat
It is an erect or prostrate, annual or perennial herb, often with a woody base.
Disturbed areas, road sides, gardens, crops, grasslands, forest margins. This species is often found in the moist or shaded areas near trees or pasture lands where it grows in dense thickets
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.
- It is a introduced invasive species in Pacific islands - where it has been classified as an “invasive species” (PIER, 2012) - and tropical world, and indigenous to North America, South-East Asia, Africa and Australia
- It is pantropical and could be easily found in Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
World wide use
Worlwide all parts are used for one or the other purposes.
Used by tribal community in Jawhar
Seeds and leaves are edible.
Method of consumption
Medicinal traditional use:
- Root powder extract is applied on tooth ache.
- The crushed leaves are used to treat dog bites.
- In Chinese traditional medicine, the hot water extract of the plant has been used as an antiarthritic to alleviate arthritic pain."
Traditional recipe known to tribal community in Jawhar Taluka :
Tender leaves are soaked in water and cooked with onion and local masala. It is used as a spinach substitute.
Nutritional and medicinal information
- Achyranthes aspera powdered whole plant produces a hypoglycaemic effect in a normal and diabetic rat and certain aqueous and methanolic extracts of the same plant were able to reduce the blood glucose level of both the rats. Also after seven day toxicity test in both the organisms no side effects were observed. Possibilities were also derived from the research that probably the plant must be producing and providing certain essential minerals to the beta cells.
- Aqueous leaf extract of Achyranthes aspera elevates thyroid hormone levels and decreases hepatic lipid peroxidation in male rats. The leaf extract is both prothyroidic and antiperoxidative in nature.
Macronutrient composition of Achyranthes aspera is as follows .
Fiber (gm)= 1.92
Carbodydrates (gm)= 8.3
Harvesting and preserving
It flowers from July to September, and the seeds ripen in October.
Leaves are perishable and hence only consumed fresh.
Propagation and Storage
Seed – sow spring in situ.
Seeds could be directly stored for cultivation
The slender roots served as a tooth stick to clean the teeth.
The ash of the burnt plant is a rich source of potash. It is used for washing clothes"
Genus : Achyranthes
Species : aspera