(Last Updated on : 07-12-2013)
Vitunna is quite a common Indian medicinal plant. The medical name is Celosia argentea and in Hindi it is more popularly known as 'sufaid murga' and in Bengali as Swetmurgha. In Tamil it is known as Pannakeerai and in Sanskrit it is famous as Vitunna.
Vitunna is an erect annual herb. It is approximately one metre tall with angular stems and grooved branches. The leaves of this herb are linear-lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate, acuminate, and narrowed at the base. The leaves are up to twelve centimetre long and four centemetre wide. The flowers of Vitunna are white or pink in colour. They are beautiful and glistening, borne in feathery, conical to cylindrical spikes. The fruits are membranous utricles. The fruits contain 4 to 8 black, shining seeds. The flowers and fruits of Vitunna are blossomed during the winter from October to February, in most parts of India.
Vitunna is pantropical in distribution. This medicinal plant is found in open habitats such as fallow fields, riverbanks and grasslands throughout India to an altitude of 1500 metre in the Himalayas.
The seeds of Vitunna are considered to be aphrodisiac and vulnerary. In Unani medicine, the seeds of Vitunna are used to treat diarrhoea, diseases of the blood, and mouth sores. The tribal people in some parts of India extract the oil from the seeds of Vitunna and mix the oil with milk and sugar, which is used as a tonic. Ayurveda considers the seeds of Vitunna as a substitute for those of Celosia argentea var. This plant is also used hugely to treat urinary calculi, dysuria. Cough, worm infestation and eye diseases.