Alternanthera sessilis is one of the three sources of the ayurvedic drug lonika, which is used to treat flatulence, wounds, cough, bronchitis, and diabetes. This plant is also an important ingredient of several compounds of ayurvedic preparations. The plant is used throughout Asia and Africa to treat a variety of disorders, including gastrointestinal problems, such as flatulence, nausea and vomiting, headaches, bronchitis, asthma, vertigo, and even hepatitis. It is considered to be one of those drugs which prevent and cure chronic diseases and rejuvenate the body. It is used all over Asia and Africa as a natural home remedy, to treat a variety of disorders. It also has health benefits for lactating mothers.
Botanical name – Alternanthera sessilis, family – Meliaceae
Sanskrit – Matsyakshi
Tamil – Ponnanganni
Hindi – Gudrisag
English – Dwarf Copperleaf, Sessile Joyweed
Health benefits of Alternanthera sessilis
The herb Alternanthera sessilis is an excellant coolant. It is considered to have immense health benefits for the eyes, hair, and skin. It is also a home remedy for piles. The young shoots are nutritious and contain carotenoids, triterpene, saponins, and flavonoids. It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Tests conducted in India show that it has anti-ulcerative properties. It is also said to neutralize excessive acidity in the body. (Home remedies for acidity) It treats skin conditions like scabies and eczema. It also improves skin tone and texture.
Different parts of the Alternanthera sessilis plant have different health benefits for different ailments. The roots of the plant are generally used for stomach problems, the leaves are made into teas to treat hypertension and itchy skin. The leaf sap is snorted up the nose as a treatment for nerve pain. The leaves contain dietary fibre and eating about 75 g of this vegetable daily, is known to significantly reduce the postprandial blood glucose level. The antidiabetic activity of A. sessilis can be attributed to the presence of triterpenoids, phytosterols, and glycosides. Alternanthera sessilis can also be used for treating inflammation, as it shows anti-inflammatory activity.
In India, in the states of Bengal and Bihar, a root extract of this herb is used as a natural remedy for serious eye diseases such as cataracts, hazy vision, burning eyes, watery eyes, and myopia. Other ailments for which this herb is prescribed in folk medicine is body heat, joint pain, leucorrhoea, liver diseases, loss of appetite, and piles. Alternanthera sessilis is also considered to be a remedy for gastrointestinal issues, chronic liver congestion, and gonorrhea.
Worldwide uses of Alternanthera sessilis
In Nigeria, it is used to relieve headaches and dizziness and the leaf sap is sniffed up the nose to treat neuralgia.. In various regions of Africa, sessile joyweed, when ground to a powder, is used to treat snakebites and to stop the vomiting of blood. In Ghana, a decoction with some salt is taken to stop vomiting blood. A paste of the herb is used to draw out spines from the body. It is also used to cure hernias. In Senegal, the leafy twigs, ground to a powder, are applied against snakebites.
In Sri Lanka, the plant is used in salads. They also use it for the treatment of biliousness, dyspepsia, and sluggish liver. Alternanthera sessilis is used in local medicine in Taiwan, along with other medicinal plants, to treat hepatitis, tight chest, bronchitis, asthma, and other lung troubles. It is also used to stop bleeding and as a hair tonic. In India, it is used as a cholagogue (a medicinal agent which promotes the discharge of bile from the system), and febrifuge (reduces fever). People in Thailand and Sri Lanka use the plant as a galactagogue (an agent that increases milk supply). In addition, the leaves are boiled and ingested to treat hypertension.
Alternanthera sessilis home remedies
- Grind the leaves to a very fine paste and take 2 tsp everyday for 45 days. Steamed leaves taken with a little butter every day for 45 days also helps to cure various eye problems.
- Regular consumption of ponnanganni flower is also said to improve eyesight. Night blindness can be cured by regular consumption of raw ponnanganni flowers.
- Soak a handful of fresh ponnangani flowers, in half a litre of coconut oil. Having a tsp of this every morning leads to increased energy
- Mix two ounces of the juice of this plant with 4 ounces of goat or cow’s milk. This mixture helps in building strength and vitality.
- Boil together about a litre of fresh ponnanganni juice with 250ml of sesame seed oil. Once the juice is absorbed into the oil, reduce the mixture to about 250 ml, Cool and strain. Massaging this oil to the head gives good eyesight and memory.
- This is an effective home remedy for curing piles.
- A soup prepared using the Alternanthera sessilis leaves, garlic and pepper is very effective in curing piles. Another home remedy for piles drinking a mixture of 25gms of Ponnanganni juice mixed with equal amount of carrot juice, and a pinch of rock salt.