Aerva lanata (Mountain knotgrass) is a perennial, branching shrub. It is occasionally woody below, prostrate to erect, branched from the base, and often also from above. The stem and branches are densely woolly with whitish or yellowish, shaggy hairs. The leaves are oval in shape, they are alternately arranged. The leaves are present in the main stem. The flowers are like soft spikes. The whitish flowers have two lobes and red bases, grown in leaf axils have the pink, green, white flowers are also seen. The root has a camphor-like aroma. These plants are self-pollinated and bisexual and are grown in a tropical climate. The entire plant is helpful for many diseases and it is mainly used for a urinary disorder.
Species: A. lanata
Scientific Name: Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. ex Schult.
Synonyms: Achyranthes lanata L., Achyranthes villosa Forssk., Aerva arachnoidea Gand., Aerva incana Suess., Aerva mozambicensis Gand., Aerva sansibarica Suess., Illecebrum lanatum (L.) L.
Common Names: Mountain Knot Grass, woolly aerva, woolly illecebrum.
• Hindi: Kapurijadi, Chhaya, Gorakhbuti, Gorakhganja, Khali, Khari
• Marathi: Kapurmadhuri
• Tamil: Ciru-pulai, ulinai, Poolaippoo, Koola Poo, Koolappoo, Poolai Poo.
• Malayalam: Cherula
• Telugu: Pindidonda
• Kannada: Bili himdi soppu
• Bengali: Chaya
• Rajasthani: Chhoti bui
• Konkani: Tamdlo
• Punjabi: Bui-kaltan
• Sanskrit: Ashmahabhedah, Bhadra, Gorakshaganja, Pashanabheda, Shatakabhedi
• Assamese: Astama-boidya
How to grow and maintain Aerva lanata (Mountain knotgrass):
It thrives best in bright light to shade.
It grows well in well-drained soils at pH ranging from alkaline to neutral and acidic.
Water your plant regularly during the growing season and always keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. You can allow the topsoil to become slightly dry between each watering. During the winter months, reduce watering.
Organic and synthetic fertilizers are preferred. Animal waste plant waste(organic fertilizers), cow dung are also used. Peat improves the absorbing properties of the plant other than this has no nutritional value.
It can be easily propagated by seed. The seeds are collected when the plants are matured. These plants are cultivated during September month. First-year of cultivation it will flowers.
Pest and Disease:
It has no serious pest and disease problems.
Benefits of Aerva lanata (Mountain knotgrass):
- Aerva lanata is used for cough,head ache, and also for throat infection.
- The roots are used to treat snakebite and constipation.
- A leaf-decoction is prepared as a gargle for treating sore-throat. The juice from crushed leaves is also used for eye-complaints.
- A decoction is considered to be an efficacious diuretic and is used against the catarrh of the bladder and gonorrhea. It is described as one of the best-known remedies for bladder and kidney stones. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend a decoction of the plant to be taken internally for a few days to dissolves the stone and to clear the urinary path.
- The juice of crushed Aerva lanata root is used for jaundice therapy.
- Root extract of the Aerva lanata which is having anti HIV properties.
- Root decoction is often prescribed by Siddha and Ayurveda practitioners for relief from headache.
- Flowers of Aerva lanata are soft and look like cotton. Take the Aerva flowers, and burn them. Obtain the ash and sieve it in a fine cloth to remove any impurities. The ash thus obtained can be gently rubbed on the back for relief from backache.
- It is capable of fighting pathogens both on the skin and inside the body, thanks to its anti-microbial activity.
- Mountain knotgrass are maintaining blood sugar to an optimum level and removing stones from kidneys. Other health benefits include its ability to fight headache, stomach and digestive problems, neck and back pain, control body temperature, promote urine in case of body swellings, relief from burning urination, and regulate body’s metabolic activity.
- Ayurveda and Siddha doctors often prescribe Aerva as a general tonic for pregnant women. There have been scientific studies on rats that showed how leaf extract of Aerva brings down high blood sugar levels. Its ability to fight kidney stones has also been documented in rats.
- It gives protection against evil spirits, is a good-luck talisman for hunters, and safeguards the well-being of widows.
Edible Use of Aerva lanata:
The leaves of Aerva lanata are cooked and eaten as spinach or as a vegetable. The young shoots are used in curries, where the leaves are also a famine food.