In India, Ksaradala, Wild spinach is found in profusion. This plant is also cultivated as a vegetable and grain crop throughout India to an elevation of 4700 metre in the Himalayas and is often naturalized near cultivated fields, along roads and in other open and disturbed habitats.
Ksaradala, is a polymorphous, non aromatic, erect herb that is 0.3metre to 3metre tall with angled stems that are often striped green, red or purple and clammy to the touch. Leaves are very variable in size and shape, rhomboid, deltoid to lanceolate. The upper leaves are entire, lower ones are toothed or irregularly lobed and are extremely variable in cultivated types, 10cm to 15cm long, with petioles often as long as leaf blades. Flowers are green, borne in clusters forming a compact or loosely panicled axillary spike. The sepals are 1.5mm to 2mm long, oblong lanceolate, keeled and closing over the thinly membranous utricle. Fruit are structured with round, compressed, shining and black seeds. The flowers and fruits come out during the winter months.
The seeds stem and the leaves of the herb are considered to be of great medicinal properties and are used for medicinal and pharmaceutical purposes. An infusion or decoction of the herb is considered to be of having diuretic, laxative and anthelmintic properties. The leaves are antiscorbutic and yield ascaridole, which is used to treat round and hookworms. The leaves are sometimes dried and are used for relieving some diseases. The powdered leaves are used externally as an antiseptic, and the leaf juice is used to relieve burns. A decoction of the leaves and stems, mixed with alcohol, is used as a rub to relieve arthritis and rheumatism. The seeds of the herb are used to treat hepatic disorders and spleen enlargement.
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(Last Updated on : 07-12-2013)
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