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Plant Name:    Achyranthes aspera L.  

                Common name:

                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.

                               

Identification guide

Stems

0.4-2 m, pilose or puberulent.

Branches

Absolutely quadrangular, striate

Leaf blades

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.

Flowers

greenish white, numerous in axillary or terminal spikes up to 75 cm long.  The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

Seeds

 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.        

                               

Occurrence

  1. 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
  2. It is pantropical and could be easily found in Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

                               

Edible parts

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:

  1. Root powder extract is applied on tooth ache.
  2. The crushed leaves are used to treat dog bites.
  3. 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

Medicinal use:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Nutritional property:

Macronutrient composition of Achyranthes aspera is as follows .

Moisture (%)=78

Protein (gm)=2.1

 Fat (gm)=0.7

 Fiber (gm)= 1.92

Carbodydrates (gm)= 8.3

 Energy(Kcal)= 48            

                               

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     

                               

Other uses

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"         

                               

Classification

Kingdom:            Plantae

Division:              Spermatophyta

Sub-division:       Angiospermae

Class:                    Diocotyledonae

Sub-Class:           Apetalae

Series:                 Curvembryeae

Family:                  Amaranthaceae

Genus :                 Achyranthes

Species :                aspera

 

References 

 

[1]http://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/v3/eafrinet/weeds/key/weeds/Media/Html/Achyranthes_aspera_(Devils_Horsewhip).htm

[2] https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Pradeep_Singh8/publication/216410155_Achyranthus_aspere-An_important_medicinal_plant_A_review/links/0c96051cc5185491de000000.pdf

[3] http://findmeacure.com/2009/03/01/achyranthes-aspera/

[4] http://www.krepublishers.com/02-Journals/JHE/JHE-15-0-000-000-2004-Web/JHE-15-3-161-236-2004-Abst-PDF/JHE-15-3-227-229-2004-Sheela/JHE-15-3-227-229-2004-Sheela.pdf

[5] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0378874191901432

[6] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874100001707

[7] http://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/32866/?max=8&offset=0&classification=265799&taxon=30637&view=grid

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