Prickly Chaff Flower
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Prickly Chaff Flower
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Prickly Chaff Flower, Chaff-flower, Crocus stuff, Crokars staff, Devil's horsewhip • Assamese: অপমাগ apamaga, বনশোধ bonsodh, ওভতকাটা obhatakata, ওভটাশোধ ovotasodh • Bengali: অপামার্গ apamarga, অপাঙ্গ apang • Garo: champangmichel • Gujarati: અઘેડો aghedo, અપામાર્ગ apamarga • Hindi: उल्टा कांटा Ulta kanta, अघाड़ा aghara, अपामार्ग Apamarga, चिरचिरा Chirchira, चिरचिटा Chirchita, लटजीरा Latjira • Kachchhi: કાંઢેરો આઘાડો kandero aghado • Kannada: ಉತ್ತರಾಣಿ uttarani, ಉತ್ತರೇಣಿ Uttareni, ಶೈಖರಿಕ Shaikharika, ಮಯೂರಕ Mayuraka, ಮಯೂರ Mayura • Konkani: आघाडो aghado, ಕಾಂಟಮೊಗ್ರಿ kantamogri • Maithili: दतिवन dativan • Malayalam: കടലാടി katalati, വൻകടലാടി vankadalaadi • Manipuri: ꯈꯨꯖꯨꯝꯄꯦꯔꯦ Khujumpere • Marathi: अघाडा aghada, अपामार्ग apamarga, खरमंजरी kharamanjari, किणी kini, सूराट suraat • Nepali: अकमारो akamaro, अपामार्ग apaamaarg, दतिवन datiwan, जम्दी jamdee, काली झार kaalee jhaar, उल्टो कुरो ulto kuro • Odia: ଅପାମାର୍ଗ apamarga • Pali: मोरगु moragu • Punjabi: ਪੁੱਠ ਕੰਡਾ putth kanda • Rajasthani: आघीजाडो aagijaado • Sanskrit: अअपामार्ग apamarga, आघाटः Aaghaat, खरमञ्जरी kharamanjari, मयूरः Mayur, शैखरिकः Shaikharik • Tamil: ஆகாடம் akatam, அபாமார்க்கம் apamarkkam, நாயுரீஇ nay-urii • Telugu: అంటీశ antish, అపామార్గము apamaargamu, దుబ్బిన చెట్టు dubbinachettu, ప్రత్యక్పుష్పి pratyakpushpi, ఉత్తరేణు uttarenu • Tibetan: ཨ་པ་མ་རྒ a pa ma rga • Tulu: ಉತ್ತರಣೆ uttarane • Urdu: اگهاڙا aghara, چرچرا chirchira • Mizo: Bu-chhawl, Ui-hlo Source: Names of Plants in India
Botanical name: Achyranthes aspera    Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family)

Prickly Chaff-flower is an erect or prostrate, annual or perennial herb, often with a woody base, which grows as wasteland herb every where. 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. 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 membranous; 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. According to the Black Yajurveda, Indra, having killed Vritra and other demons was overcome by Namuchi and made peace with him, promising never to kill him with any solid or liquid, neither by day or by night. But Indra collected some foam, which is neither solid nor liquid, and killed Namuchi in the morning between night and daybreak. From the head of the demon sprung the herb Apamarga, with the assistance of which Indra was able to kill all demons. Hence this plant has the reputation of being a powerful talisman, and is now popularly supposed to act as a safeguard against scorpions and snakes by paralysing them. Prickly Chaff Flower is found in the Tropical and sub-Tropical Africa, Asia, Australia, including the Himalayas, till altitudes of 2300 m.
Medicinal uses: Different parts of the plant are ingredients in many native prescriptions in combination with more active remedies. In Western India the juice is applied to relieve toothache. The ashes with honey are given to relieve cough; the root in dosed of one tola is given at bedtime for night blindness, and rubbed into a paste with water it is used as an anjan (eye salve) in opacities of the cornea. The seeds are often used as a famine food in India, especially in Rajputana, where the plant is called Bharotha (grass).

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi.

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