Botanical name: Boerhavia diffusa Family: Nyctaginaceae (Bougainvillea family)
Synonyms: Boerhavia repens, Boerhavia coccinea
Red Spiderling is a prostrate herb with very diffuse inflorescences. It is a weed found throughout India. Inflorescences occur at the end of branches, are forked about 3-6 times, occasionally with sticky internodal bands. Branches are divergent, terminating in compact subumbellate or capitate, 2-5-flowered clusters. Flowers have stalk shorter than 0.5 mm. Bract at base of the flower tube quickly deciduous, lancelike, 0.8-1 mm. Flowers are purplish red to reddish pink or nearly white, bell-shaped beyond the constriction, 1-1.5 mm. Stamens 2-3, are inside the flower or barely protruding out. Tender young leaves and shoots are cooked and used as a vegetable.
Medicinal uses: Popular in Ayurveda, this herb is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. The roots of Boerhavia diffusa, commonly known as 'Punarnava', are used by a large number of tribes in India for the treatment of various hepatic disorders and for internal inflammation. Anodectal data has also reported effectiveness of Boerhavia diffusa incases of oedema and ascites resulting from early cirrhosis of the liver and chronic peritonitis.