TODAY -

Some common weeds of Manipur and their economic importance
- Part 2 -

Priyanka Irungbam, L Nabachandra Singh, Akoijam Ranjita, Konjengbam Sarda, Y Sanatombi, Y Bebila *



7. Cyperus rotundus
Family: Cyperaceae
Common name: Motha, Purple nut sedge
Local name: Shembang kouthum
Description
It is a perennial plant that may reach a height of up to 140 cm. As in other Cyperaceae, the leaves sprout in ranks of three from the base of the plant, around 520 cm long. The flower stems have a triangular cross-section.

The flower is bisexual and has 3 stamina and a three stigma carpel, with the flower head having 38 unequal rays. The fruit is a three-angled achene. The root system of a young plant initially forms white and fleshy rhizomes, up to 25 mm in dimension, in chains. It prefers dry conditions, but will tolerate moist soils, and often grows in wastelands and crop fields.

Economic importance
Tubers are diuretic, emmenagogue, antihelmintic, astringent and stimulant. It is useful in disorders of stomach and irritation of bowels. Plant decoction is useful in cardiovascular diseases and urinary troubles. Despite the bitter taste of the tubers, they are edible and have nutritional value.

It is a staple carbohydrate in tropical regions for recent hunter-gatherers, and is a famine food in some agrarian cultures. Anti-microbial, anti-malarial, anti-oxidant and anti-diabetic compounds have been isolated and identified from C. rotundus.

8. Eclipta alba
Family: Asteraceae
Common name: Bhangra/Bhingraj, False daisy
Local name: Uchisumban
Description
It is a creeping herb about 3 m in height. It is annual, erect and branched herb often rooting at nodes. It has white coloured flowers with long stalk placed on short, flat and rounded stem. Leaves are opposite, sessile and lance shaped. Well-developed roots of this plant are cylindrical and greyish in colour. Floral heads are white in colour, solitary, winged narrowly and about 6-8mm in diameter.

This plant is moisture-loving and grows in moist places throughout the world.

Economic importance
Some of the most impressive health benefits of Eclipta alba include its ability to detoxify the liver, reduce inflammation, soothe the stomach, prevent certain cancers, stimulate hair growth, boost the immune system, protect the eyes and lower blood pressure. It is a wonderful herb used in Ayurveda for hair care and cirrhosis. It rejuvenates memory, hair, teeth, bones, vision and hearing.

This herb is rich in chemical compound called ecliptine. Leaves of this plant are rich in proteins and extract is resinous in nature. It is a general tonic in cases of debility. It is an antioxidant, analgesic, antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer and heptao-protective in nature.

In Manipur, leaves/shoots are occasionally used in the preparation of traditional hair lotion called Chenghi. Leaf extract along with little honey is given during cough and fever. Leaf paste is applied against toothache. Decoction of the plant is given in liver enlargement.

9. Euphorbia hirta
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Common name: Garden spurge, asthma weed
Local name: Pakhangba maton
Description
This erect or prostrate annual herb can get up to 60 cm long with a solid, hairy stem that produces abundant white latex. The leaves are simple, elliptical and hairy (on both upper and lower surfaces but particularly on the veins on the lower leaf surface), with a finely dentate margin. Leaves occur in opposite pairs on the stem.

The flowers are unisexual and found in axillary cymes at each leaf node. The fruit is a capsule with three valves and produces tiny, oblong, four-sided red seeds. It has a white or brown taproot.

Economic importance
It is used in the treatment of cancer, diarrhoea, dysentery, intestinal, bronchitis, fever, eyelid styles, cough, asthma, bronchial infections, bowel complaints, helminthic infestations, wounds, kidney stones and abscesses, among others.

The latex is applied to warts. Decoction of dry herbs is used for skin diseases. Decoction of fresh herbs is used as gargle for the treatment of thrush. Root decoction is used for nursing mothers deficient in milk and in the treatment of snake bites, vomiting, chronic diarrhoea and fever.

10. Portulaca oleracea
Family: Portulacaceae
Common name: Common Purslane
Local name: Leipak kundo
Description
It has smooth, reddish, mostly prostrate stems and alternate leaves clustered at stem joints and ends. The yellow flowers have five regular parts and are up to 6 mm wide. Depending upon rainfall, the flowers appear at any time during the year.

The flowers open singly at the center of the leaf cluster for only a few hours on sunny mornings. Seeds are formed in a tiny pod, which opens when the seeds are mature. Purslane has a taproot with fibrous secondary roots and is able to tolerate poor compacted soils and drought.

Economic importance
Although Purslane is considered a weed, it may be eaten as a leaf vegetable. It has a slightly sour and salty taste and is eaten throughout much of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Mexico. The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible.

In Manipur, it may be eaten fresh with chutney, or stir-fried or cooked with fish. Purslane is one of the richest green plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. It lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels and raises level of beneficial high density lipoprotein.

Its leaves are used for insect or snake bites on the skin, boils, sores, pain from bee stings, bacillary dysentery, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, postpartum bleeding and intestinal bleeding. The plant is given persons suffering from scurvy and liver diseases. The leaf juice is used for relieving burning sensation of hands and feet.

For further details contact:-
Public Relations & Media Management Cell,
CAU, Imphal.
Email: prmmcell@gmail.com

Concluded...


* Priyanka Irungbam, L Nabachandra Singh, Akoijam Ranjita, Konjengbam Sarda, Y Sanatombi and Y Bebila wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writers are from College of Agriculture, Central Agricultural University, Imphal
This article was webcasted on January 19 2022.



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