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Chirchita or Onga (Achyranthes aspera var. perphyristachya Hook. F.)

Pankaj Oudhia
Society for Parthenium Management (SOPAM)
28-A, Geeta Nagar, Raipur - 492001 India

Copyright © 2004. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.

Scientific Name: Achyranthes aspera var. perphyristachya Hook F.
Family: Amaranthaceae
English Name: Prickly Chaff-flower.
Hindi Name: Chirchita, Latjira, Onga.

General Description: It grows as wasteland herb every where. Since time immemorial, it is in use as folk medicine. It holds a reputed position as medicinal herb in different systems of medicine in India.

Botanical differences between Achyranthes subspecies.

Characters A. aspera var. argentea A. aspera var. perphyristachya
Plant Erect, branched herbs or under shrubs, upto 15 cm. high An erect or subscandent annual herb upto 1m high
Stem -- Angular, ribbed, thickened above the node, more or less densely hairy
Leaves Ovate-elliptic, acute, silky oboxillary Opposite, elliptic or obovate, form an acute or obtuse base, acuminate or rounded at apex
Flowers -- Deflexed, congested near the apex of the axis, perfect, bracts and bracteoles subequal
Fruits -- An utricle, oblong-cylindric, truncate at apex, rounded at base
Seeds -- Subcylinderic, truncate at apex, reddish brown
Flowering & Fruiting Aug.-Dec. Sept. - Dec.

Useful Parts: All parts

Traditional Medicinal Uses: According to Ayurveda, it is bitter, pungent, heating, laxative, stomachic, carminative and useful in treatment of vomiting, bronchitis, heart disease, piles, itching abdominal pains, ascites, dyspepsia, dysentery, blood diseases etc.

Ayurvedic Preparation: Apamarga Taila, Agnimukha etc.

Chemical Constituent: Plant yields achyranthine.

Other Uses
Useful for reclamation of wastelands.
Leaf is consumed as potherb.
Seeds rich in protein, cooked and eaten.
Used in religious ceremonies in India.


Agharkar, S.P. (1991). Medicinal plants of Bombay presidency. Pbl. Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur, India : 7-8.

Bhandari, M.M. (1990). Flora of the Indian desert. Pbl. MPS Repros, Jodhpur, India : 287-288.

Pankaj Oudhia
Society for Parthenium Management (SOPAM)
28-A, Geeta Nagar, Raipur - 492001 India

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