Achyranthes Aspera, Devil's Horsewhip, Latjira, Apamarga
Achyranthes Aspera (commonly known as: chaff-flower, prickly chaff flower, devil's horsewhip) is used for a great many medicinal purposes, especially in obstetrics and gynecology, including abortion, induction of labor, and cessation of postpartum bleeding. The Maasai people of Kenya use the plant medicinally to ease the symptoms of malaria. Achyranthes Aspera has occupied a pivotal position in Indian culture and folk medicine. Since ancient times the tribal and rural people of India commonly use this herb in various disorders. Achyranthes aspera is known for its mood enhancing effects and is used to treat depression and forms of anxiety.
English Names: Prickly Chaff Flower.
Ayurvedic Names: Apaamaarga, Chirchitaa, Apamarga
Other Common Names: Aaghaat, Adahshalya, Chichidaa, Kanihi, Kharamanjari, Kharapushpaa, Latjeeraa, Mayura, Mayuraka, Naayuruvi, Pratyakpushpaa, Shaikharika, Shikhari, Vashira.
Medicinal Properties of Apaamaarga (Achyranthes Aspera):
Astringent, pectoral (ashes of the plant used in asthma and cough), diuretic, hepatoprotective, emmenagogue. Benzene extract of the plant exhibited abortifacient activity. The flowers, ground and mixed with sugar, are given for menorrhagia.
Roots - astringent, haemostatic.
Seeds - emetic; used for biliousness.
Essential oil - antifungal.
Medicinal Benefits of Latjira (Achyranthes Aspera):
The Ayurveda indicates the use of the whole plant in lipid disorders and obesity, the root for its blood-purifying property.
The plant juice and ash are used for treating bleeding piles. An alkaline powder of the plant is used in preparing Kshaarasutra of Ayurvedic medicine, which is recommended for treating fistula-in-ano.
The whole plant contains the alkaloids achyranthine and betaine. Achyranthine, a water-soluble alkaloid, is reported to dilate blood vessels, lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate and increase the rate and amplitude of respiration. It also shows spasmodic effects on the rectus muscle of frog, diuretic and purgative action in albino rats.
The presence of ecdysterone and oleanolic acid is also reported in the root.
The ashes of the plant yield large quantities of potash. The seeds yield saponins and oleanolic acid and its ester. The presence of tannins and glycosides is also reported in the plant.
TRADITIONAL USES OF ACHYRANTHES ASPERA – LATJIRA – APAMAARGA:
To induce abortion a thin paste is applied to external genitalia or a small quantity of decoction obtained by boiling fresh root in water is introduced in vagina.
To induce labor pains a thin paste of fresh roots is applied to external genitalia.
Fresh root extract/decoction is given orally:
1. To expel dead fetus the juice of fresh roots is given orally.
2. Post- partal body aches
3. Post-abortion abdominal pain
4. Costodynia (pain in ribs)
5. Post-delivery/abortion jaundice
6. To expel the remains of placenta after abortion
Decoction of chopped fresh leaves is given orally in:
1. Excessive hemorrhage during pregnancy
2. Excessive hemorrhage during early pregnancy
3. Post-partal hemorrhage
4. Post- partal fever – with decoctions of neem (Azadirachta indica)
5. Post-partal loss of appetite (Anorexia) – with kala namak (sodium chloride mixed with sodium sulphate)
6. Prolonged menstrual flow – (mixed with curd)
7. Amenorrhoea – (with empty stomach before sunrise)
9. Menoxenia (abnormal or irregular menses/menstrual cycles) – (fresh leaf decoctions of Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa) can be added for better results.
10. Leucorrhoea - Fresh leaf extract mixed with a little curd is given orally before sunrise
11. Habitual abortion – with powder of Ashwagandha roots (Withania somnifera)
12. Abnormal secretion of lochia
Decoction of root and stem is administered orally to cure Infertility in women.