Alternanthera sessilis is a small prostrate or ascending herb with several spreading branches. It is found growing throughout the warmer parts of India preferably in wet places especially around tanks and ponds. It is a vegetable of medicinal importance. In Ayurveda, this plant is known as Matsyaakshi and Ponnonkanni keerai in Siddha. Its common folk name in India is Gudari Saag.
"Alternanthera sessilis W IMG 3423" by J.M.Garg - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
- Sanskrit: Matsyagandha, Bahli, Matsyaduni, Gandali, Gartkalambuka, Lonika
- Bengali: Sanchesak, Salincha Sak
- Gujrati: Jalajambo, Pani ki Bhaji
- Hindi: Gudari Sag
- Kannada: Honagonne soppu
- Malayalam: Kozuppa, Ponnankanni
- Marathi: Kanchari
- Oriya: Matsagandha, Salincha Saaga
- Tamil: Ponnanganni Keerai
- Telugu: Ponnaganti Koora
- English: Dwarf Copperleaf, Sessile Joyweed
The botanical name of Sessile Joyweed is Alternanthera sessilis and it belongs to the family Amaranthaceae. The synonyms of species are A. triandra, A. denticulata and A. repens.
Its taxonomical classification is as given below:
- KINGDOM Plantae
- DIVISION Magnoliophyta
- CLASS Magnoliopsida
- ORDER Caryophllales
- FAMILY Amaranthaceae
- GENUS Alternanthera
- SPECIES sessilis
Root - Cylindrical, 0.1-0.6 cm diameter, cream to grey, numerous roots arising from the main tap root as lateral rootlets;fracture, short;no characteristic odour and taste.
Stem - Herbaceous, weak, mostly cylindrical occasionally sub-quadrangular at the apical region, with spreading branches from the base;yellowish-brown to light-brown;nodes and internodes distinct, internodes 0.5-5 cm long, often rooting at lower nodes;fracture, short;no characteristic odour and taste.
Leaf - 1.3-7.5 cm long, 0.3-2 cm wide, sometimes reaching 10 cm long, 2.5 cm wide, sessile, linear-oblong, or elliptic, obtuse or subacute;no characteristic odour and taste.
Flower - Flower in small axillary sessile heads, white often tinged with pink, bracteoles 1.2 cm long, ovate, scarious;perianth 2.5-3 mm long, sepals ovate, acute, thin, ovary obcordate, compressed, style very short, capitellate;no characteristic odour and taste.
Fruit - Utricle, 1.5 mm long, orbicular, compressed with thickened margins;no characteristic odour and taste.
Main Constituents Of Plant
Plant is reported to have hydrocarbons, enecycloartanol, cycloecucalenol, stigmasterol, campesterol, ?-sistosterol, ?-spinasterol, oleanolic acid rhamnoside, 24-methylene cycloartenol, cycloeucarlenol, lupeol, 5-?-stigmasta-7-enol, and its palmitate, nonacosane, 16-hentriacontane, and handiano.
Medicinal uses of Gudari Saag/ Sessile Joyweed/ Ponnanganni Keerai
Alternanthera sessilis/Gudri sag/ Ponnanganni is used for medicinal purpose not in Indian traditional medicine system but also in many countries of Africa. The plant is bitter, sweet, constipating and cooling in action. This is a non-toxic plant and eaten as vegetable and salad. The young shoots contain five percent protein and 16.7 mg (per 100 g) iron. Leaves also contain a good amount of alpha- and beta-tocopherols.
In Ayurveda, this plant is considered Tikta/Bitter, kashaya/Astringent, Madhura/Sweet (Rasa/taste), Laghu/Light, (Guna/Characteristics), Sheet/ Cool (Virya/Potency) and Katu/Pungent (Vipaka/Post Digestive Effect). It is given to treat diarrhoea, skin diseases, night blindness, indigestion, and fever. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India indicates the use of dried whole plant in diseases due to vitiated blood and obstinate skin diseases. For medicinal purpose, the dried powder of whole plant is taken in dose of 2-3grams.
The people of Ghana, uses decoction of plant to stop vomiting of blood and Nigerian sniffs the leaf sap for treating pain in nerves.
Whole plant of Ponnanganni is used both internally and externally.
- The topical application of leaf paste is used for drawing foreign object such as spines, stings from the body.
- The leaves powder is also applied externally on snakebites.
- Fresh leaves are applied over eyes for styes (Inflammation of one or more sebaceous glands of an eyelid), conjunctivitis and chronic inflammation of the eyelid.
- The whole plant is used for increasing breast milk, promoting bile flow, inducing abortion, and for curing fever.
- The soup prepared from fresh plant is helpful in increasing breast milk and toning up of liver.
- Fresh leaves juice (1 tablespoon) mixed with garlic clove is folk remedy for asthma, chronic cough, and intermittent fever.
- For spermatorrhoea (Involuntary discharge of semen without orgasm), the leaf juice (1 tablespoon) is mixed with coriander leaf juice (1 teaspoon) and wood apple leaf juice (1 teaspoon). This is taken with milk every night for 2 months. For sexual debility, grated coconut and leaves (1:10) are fried in ghee and eaten with rice or roti.
- For bleeding piles, two tablespoon leaf juice of Alternanthera sessilis is mixed with radish leaf juice (2 tablespoon) and given 2-3 times a day for one month.