Botanical Name : Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. ex Schult.
Family : Amaranthaceae
Aerva lanata, known as polpala in Sri Lanka, is a medicinal plant belonging to the Amaranthaceae family. It is widely spread in the drier parts of the tropics and the sub tropics of the world.
Names in different Indian languages :
English : Mountain Knot Grass
Hindi : Gorakhganja
Kannada : Bili himdi soppu
Tamil : Ciru-pulai, ulinai, Poolaippoo,
Malayalam : Cherula
Sanskrit : Gorakshaganja
Synonyms : Achyranthes lanata L., Achyranthes villosa Forssk., Aerva arachnoidea Gand., Aerva incana Suess., Aerva mozambicensis Gand., Aerva sansibarica Suess., Illecebrum lanatum (L.) L.
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.
Distribution & Habitat :
Aerva lanata is a common weed which grows wild everywhere in the plains of India.
Chemical constituents :
Palmitic acid, B-sitosterol, Alpha-amyrin
Rasa : Tikta, kashaya:
Guna : laghu, ruksha;
Vipak : katu
Veerya : ushna
Prabhava : Ashmaribhedana
Karma – kapha vatha samana
Asmari, visha, kushta, krimi,mootrakrchra
Anthelmintic – useful in intestinal worm infestation demulcent & lithasis. useful in cough, sore throat, indigestion, wounds & as specific for diabetes. Decoction is efficacious diuretic & is useful in catarrh of bladders. It is said to cure diarrhea, cholera & dysentery. Flowers are lithotryptic.
The decoction of the root of Aerva lanata is given in a dose of 50-60 ml to treat renal calculi and retention of urine. 2. Cold infusion of the whole plant is given in a dose of 30-40 ml to treat cough and sore throat. 3. The dried leaf and flowers of Gorakshaganja are burnt and the smoke coming from it is used for inhalation