Achyranthes aspera

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Achyranthes aspera
Achyranthes aspera at Kadavoor.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Achyranthes
Species: A. aspera
Binomial name
Achyranthes aspera

Achyranthes aspera (common name: prickly chaff flower,[1] devil's horsewhip,[2] Sanskrit: अपामार्ग apamarga) is a species of plant in the Amaranthaceae family. It is distributed throughout the tropical world.[3] It can be found in many places growing as an introduced species and a common weed.[4] It is an invasive species in some areas, including many Pacific Islands environments.[5]

It is one of the 21 leaves used in the Ganesh Patra Pooja done regularly on Ganesh Chaturthi day. In Uttar Pradesh the plant is used for a great many medicinal purposes, especially in obstetrics and gynecology, including abortion, induction of labor, and cessation of postpartum bleeding.[6] The Maasai people of Kenya use the plant medicinally to ease the symptoms of malaria.[7]

Chemical constituents[edit]

Achyranthes aspera contains triterpenoid saponins which possess oleanolic acid as the aglycone. Ecdysterone, an insect moulting hormone, and long chain alcohols are also found in Achyranthes aspera.[8]


The plant shows significant abortifacient activity in mice and rabbits.[9][medical citation needed] An n-butanol extract has been found to possess contraceptive efficiency in rats which might be assigned to its potent estrogenicity.[9][medical citation needed]. In Bastar, India, the root is inserted into the vagina for inducing abortion.[medical citation needed]


Achyranthes aspera has different names in various Indian languages.[10]

  • Sanskrit : Aghata; Khara-manjari; Apamarga
  • Hindi : Chirchira; Latjira, Onga[11]
  • Bengali : Apang
  • Gujarati : Safed Aghedo, "Anghadi", "Andhedi", "Agado"
  • Kannada : Uttaranee
  • Malayalam : Kadaladi; Katalati
  • Malagasy : Mahabaka;
  • Marathi : Aghada; Pandhara-aghada
  • Punjabi : Kutri
  • Tamil : Nayuruvi; Shiru-kadaladi
  • Telugu : Antisha; Apamargamu; Uttaraene (ఉత్తరేణి)
  • Sinhala : "Karal heba"; "කරල් හැබ"
  • Indonesia  : Jarong

In Afrikaans it is called grootklits and langklitskafblom.[4] In French, herbe à Bengalis, herbe sergen, and queue de rat.[5] Spanish common names include cadillo chichoborugo, cadillo de mazorca, and mazotillo.[5]


  1. ^ Flowers of India
  2. ^ USDA Plants Profile
  3. ^ Flora of North America
  4. ^ a b GRIN Species Profile
  5. ^ a b c Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk
  6. ^ Khan, A. V. and A. A. Khan. Ethnomedicinal uses of Achyranthes aspera L. (Amaranthaceae) in management of gynaecological disorders in western Uttar Pradesh (India). Ethnoleaflets.
  7. ^ Bussmann, R. W., et al. (2006). Plant use of the Maasai of Sekenani Valley, Maasai Mara, Kenya. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 2 22.
  8. ^ Indian Herbal Pharmacopia Vol. II, Page-5.
  9. ^ a b Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia (2002)page-18[full citation needed]
  10. ^ Dr. K. M. Nadkarni's Indian Materia Medica, Volume 1, Edited by A. K. Nadkarni, Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1976, pp. 21-2.
  11. ^ Chirchita or Onga (Achyranthes aspera var. perphyristachya Hook. F.) Purdue Horticulture.

External links[edit]