DHAARRII (ധാരി):Emilia sonchifolia, also known as lilac tasselflower or cupids shaving brushis tropical flowering species of tasselflower and in the sunflower family. It is widespread in tropical regions around the world, apparently native to Asia (China, India, Southeast Asia, etc.) and naturalized in Africa, Australia, the Americas, and various oceanic islands
VERNACULAR NAMESEnglish: none
SynonymsSynonyms in Ayurveda: Sasasruti, Akhukarni, Dravanti, Sambari
Phytochemistry:Emilia sonchifolia contains beta –sitosterol, stigmasterol, palmitic acid and honey acid.The pyrrolizidine alkaloids, senkirkine and doronine were isolated from the aerial part of Emilia sonchifolia. The aerial part of this plant has been reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids and flavonoids
Emilia sonchifolia is a branching, perennial herb up to 40 cm (15.5 in) tall. Leaves are lyrate-pinnatilobed, up to 10 cm (4 in) long, sometimes becoming purplish as they get old. One plant can produce several pink or purplish flower heads.
Emilia sonchifolia is an annual herb. The plant is erect and sparingly hairy, soft-stemmed, and grows to 20 to 70 cm high with a branch tap root. The leave pattern is alternate with winged petioles. Leaves on the lower end of the stem are round/oval shape, 4 to 16 cm in height and 1 to 8 cm in width. The leaves on the upper end of the stem are smaller than the leaves on the lower end of the stem, and are often coarsely toothed.
The inflorescence is often dichotomous with 3 to 6 stalked flower heads and whorl bracts beneath. The urn-shaped flower head has 30-60 florets per head, the outer ray florets are female and the inner disc florets bisexual (with both stamens and stigmas). The flower is any of a range of colors—purple, scarlet, red, pink, orange, white, or lilac. The fruit produced is oval shaped, reddish brown or off-white, has white hairs up to 8 mm long, and exhibits dry indehiscent properties
Geographical distribution:Emilia sonchifolia can grow anywhere from sea level to 1000 meters. It exists over a wide range of conditions from the tropics to grasslands, waste areas, roadsides, and partially shaded areas. It is tolerant of acid conditions. Emilia sonchifolia is a native of Central and South America.
ECOLOGICAL ASPECT:Emilia sonchifolia completes its life cycle in ~90 days. There are two types of seed, which are defined by the color of the achene. The first, a female outer circle of florets of a flower head produces red and brown achenes. The second is the inner, off-white hermaphrodite florets. Most seeds germinate at 27 °C but those that develop from outer florets germinate under deep shade. Plants only emerge from seeds near the surface, however, some seed can germinate (4%) while buried deep (4 cm). A study, states 29% of seeds germinated when placed at 0.5 cm below the soil, while only 3% germinated when buried 1 cm. The seed carries a pappus of hairs, indicating the use of wind as a dispersal agent.
It is a medicinal herb in Chinese, called ye xia hong (Chinese: 葉下紅). It is one among the "Ten Sacred Flowers of Kerala State in India, collectively known as Dasapushpam. In Vietnam, it has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of fever, sore throat, diarrhea, eczema and as an antidote for snake bites.
The leaves and young shoots can be used, raw or cooked. The leaves are harvested before the plant flowers.
The young leaves are used as food in Java and Puerto Rico, however, in India and China, it is used medicinally.
Toxicity studies:Emilia sonchifolia contains tumorigenic pyrrolizidine alkaloids, causing hepatotoxicity.
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