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Acalypha indica

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Title: Acalypha indica  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Acalypha
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Acalypha indica

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Acalypha
Species: A. indica
Binomial name
Acalypha indica

Acalypha indica (English: Indian acalypha, Indian nettle, three-seeded mercury French: Ricinelle des Indes, oreille de chatte, herbe chatte[1] Tamil: Poonamayakki,Kuppaimeni[2]) is a species of plant having catkin type of inflorescence. It occurs throughout tropical Africa and South Africa, in India and Sri Lanka, as well as in Yemen and Pakistan. It has possibly been introduced elsewhere as a weed. In West and East Africa the plant is used as a medicinal plant.It is a common herb growing up to 75 cm tall with ovate leaves. Flowers are green, unisexual found in catkin inflorescence. In West Africa the leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable. It is also browsed by cattle.[3] This plant is held in high esteem in traditional Tamil Siddha medicine as it is believed to rejuvenate the body.[2]

Geographic distribution

Acalypha indica occurs widely throughout the tropics of the Old World. In Africa it occurs in Nigeria in West Africa and further widely throughout tropical Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. It also occurs in India, South East Asia, and Oceania. It has been introduced to areas of the new world with favorable climates.[1]

Effect on domestic cats

Throughout the area where the plant grows, it is widely known for its effect on domestic cats, which react very strongly and favorably to the root of the plant. In this regard it is very similar to catnip, but the effect is much more pronounced.Due to this ability it is called as Poonamayakki in Tamil.

Medicinal value

The juice extracted from the leaves, mixed with lime and applied on skin to cure diseases caused by Ringworm.Fresh juice of leaves mixed with oil and salt is used for Rheumatoid_arthritis and to cure Scabies. Powdered leaves are used to cure bedsores and infected wounds. The active medicinal compounds like Acalyphine and Triacetoneamine are extracted from this plant.They contain cyanogenic glucoside and alkaloids.The paste of the leaves can be applied to burns.


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