Kanchata is a medicinal plant that grows in India and is used in various medicinal sectors. This plant is botanically keyed out as Commelinaceae Commelina benghalensis L. This plant is identified by various names in different places. For instance this plant is marked as 'Kachradam' in Bengali,'Mhotunshushmuliyun' in Gujarati, 'Kanchara' in Hindi, 'Hittagani' in Kannada, 'Kena' in Marathi, 'Kanna' in Punjabi, 'Adutinnathalai' in Tamil and 'Nirukassuvu' in Telugu.
Kanchata is found in moist habitats throughout tropical and subtropical India. Apart from India this plant is well admired in outside India as it serves the purpose as a substitute for medicine in many diseases.
Kanchata is a creeping or procumbent herb that grows 60cm to 90cm long, dichotomously branched stems and diffuse branches, often rooting at nodes. Leaves are 2.5cm to 7.5cm long and 1.3cm to 3.8cm wide, ovate or oblong, apex are obtuse, base is unequal sided, rounded, cuneate or cordate, sessile or short petioled, pubescent or villous on both surfaces. There are 7 to 11 pair nerves . Spathes are found together, are funnel shaped, auricled on one side and pubescent or hirsute. The flowers are blue and borne in branched cymes. The sepals are small, oblong and pubescent. The petals larger ,orbicular or transversely oblong. Fruits are 0.6 cm long, pyriform, membranous and are five seeded. The seeds are oblong and closely pitted.
The plant, Kanchata is considered bitter, demulcent, emollient, laxative and cooling. In Ayurveda, the whole plant is used for treating leprosy and haemorrhage. In Siddha, the whole plant is used to treat haemorrhage, dysuria, fever and mastitis. In eastern Bihar among the Paharia and Santhalis , an extract of the fresh leaves is applied externally to treat skin infections caused by the fungus Tinea pedis. On the island of Reunion, it is reportedly used in the form of a decoction as an emollient lotion or bath.
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