Indian acalypha is an erect annual herb with numerous long, angular, branches covered with soft hair. It grows up to 75 cm in height. Its thin egg shaped leaves have a smooth surface. The flowers are in erect, long spikes. It has small hairy fruits; and minute pale brown seeds. The whole plant is collected in its flowering stage and dried.
The roots, leaves and young shoots of Indian acalypha have medicinal value. The plant contains the alkaloid acalyphine which is an active principle.
Botanical Name: Acalypha indica
Indian Name: Khokali or Kuppi
Below are some of the medicinal properties of Indian acalypha:
- A decoction of the leaves is an effective laxative and thus is used with gratifying results in treating constipation. A suppository of the fresh leaves, introduced in the rectum of small children suffering from constipation, induces free motions.
- It is useful as an external application in skin diseases. A paste of its fresh leaves is applied to the affected parts. The juice of fresh leaves can be applied for scabies and other skin diseases, such as syphilitic ulcer, bedsores, maggot infested sores and wounds.
- Indian acalypha helps remove catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tubes.
- It is highly beneficial in treating croup, a disease mostly occurring in children. It is characterized by cough and difficulty in breathing and is caused by an obstruction in the larynx. The herb is safe to use in this condition and also acts fast. The juice can be administered in doses of 1 teaspoon. The dose may be increased to 4 teaspoons according to age.
- Indian acalypha is a well known remedy in rheumatism. The juice of the fresh leaves is applied mixed with lime and onion. A mixture of the fresh juice and oil can be applied in rheumatic arthritis.
- The herb is effective in killing intestinal worms. The juice of the leaves or their decoction, mixed with a little garlic, can be given for such symptoms.