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valika - Gisekia pharnaceoides Linn.

valika :

valika  : Gisekia pharnaceoides Linn. Gisekia Pharnaceoides Linn. a bitter kitchen herb is commonly known as Manalikeerai in Tamil1,2. It is one of the sources for controversial drug “Elavaluka” used in Ayurvedic System of Medicine3 . Bapalal G. Vaidya4 refers Vaman Desai’s Indian medicinal Plants and quoted Gisekia Pharnaceoides as Elavaluka. In Bengali market, it is sold in the Marati name Valuka baji. 

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Ficoidaceae
Genus: Gisekia
Species: Gisekia pharnaceoides


Sanskrit: Valika- Valuka, Kandaka, Valu
English: none


Synonyms in Ayurveda: valuka, kandaka, valu


Succeeds in the drier areas of tropical and subtropical climates.


This plant contain oxalic, succinic, tartaric, citric acids, triacontane, dotriacontane, Myristone and tetracosanol9. 50% ethanolic extract of the plant showed CNS depressant activity


Plants 2.5-3.0 cm long. Roots slender. Leaves 0.8-4.0 cm long, linear lanceolate to spathulate, with raphides on the undersurface. Sepals ovate, c. 1.8 mm long, persistent, margin white. Stamens 5, alternating with the sepals, less than 1 mm long; filaments dilated at the base. Carpel c. 1 mm long; ovary sub-globose, styles 5, free, lateral. Fruit parts with wall more or less fimbriate and with raphides. Seeds c. 1 mm long, minutely punctate, shiny.
It is a diffuse, somewhat succulent herb and belongs to the family Molluginaceae2, 5. Leaves spathulate, subfleshy, subopposite; flowers small many in axillary umbellate cymes; fruits with blackish subreniform seeds. 

Geographical distribution:

A glabrous fleshy annual herb, very variable in size with branches from 1–2 cm to 70 cm long, occurring widespread in the northerly and dryer part of Region from Senegal to N Nigeria, and common in tropical and southern Africa, Madagascar and Asia. The plant is subject to fungal attack by Exobasidium gisekiae Allesch. which renders it pink or wine-red in colour, a situation accounting for the Fula name of ‘herdsmen’s henna’ and the Hausa name ‘stork’s henna.’The plant is occasionally eaten: as an emergency food in West Africa (3) and India (7), and elsewhere as an occasional vegetable (Kenya, 7; Tanganyika, 15; Somalia, 4). In Tibesti of northern Chad it is subjected to prolonged cooking, with hashed-up meat till nearly dry, when it is eaten as a condiment (10). It is eaten as a condiment in Zaïre (6). In Lake Province of Tanganyika the whole plant is eaten as a general strength restorative (14). Cattle and goats graze it in Senegal but in Chad all stock refuse it (1). In Ghana goats will take it and sometimes the plant is collected for fodder (7). The fruit is reputed to be poisonous (15), and it is perhaps the stage of growth that determines whether or not stock will graze it.The plant is sold in medicine markets to the north of the Region as a purgative (A. Chevalier fide 3). In E Africa (2) and in South Africa, Tanganyika and Madagascar the plant is taken for diarrhoea (15). In India, Indonesia, South Africa and Madagascar it is used as a taenicide (15). It is used in the West African region to rub on swellings in the same fashion as Portulaca (Portulacaceae) is used (3). In Lake Province of Tanganyika the stem pounded with butter is placed on aching muscles (13). In Sokoto it is reported as used on areas of pain, probably rheumatic (9). Pounded with other herbs and native natron it is made into poultices for sores in cattle in N Nigeria (3). In Tanganyika the green leaves are cooked and eaten for asthma (12); in Kenya the roots are made into a chest medicine (8), and Swahili of East Africa make the whole plant into a remedy against miscarriage (15). The sap is used on warts in India (5).Tannins are present in the plant (11, 15), and tannin-like principles α- and β$- gisekia are in the seeds and these are probably anthelmintic 

General Use:

Food: general Food: sauces, condiments, spices, flavourings Medicines: generally healing Medicines: pain-killers whole plant Medicines: pulmonary troubles Medicines: laxatives, etc. Medicines: diarrhoea, dysentery Medicines: vermifuges Medicines: pregnancy, antiaborifacients Medicines: dropsy, swellings, oedema, gout Medicines: tumours, cancers plant Phytochemistry: tannins, astringents fruit Phytochemistry: miscellaneously poisonous or repellent Agri-horticulture: fodder

Therapeutic Uses:

The whole plant is eaten as a general strength restorative, e.g. after miscarriage[]. The cooked green leaves are eaten to treat asthma[]
The plant is considered to be a purgative in some areas, whilst in others it is taken to cure diarrhoea[].
It is used as a taenicide, but the plant should be consumed with great caution[].
The leaves are rubbed on swellings and the stem, pounded in butter, is placed on aching muscles[].

The sap of the plant is used against warts[].

The roots are made into a chest medicine[].

The seeds probably possess anthelmintic properties[].

Several phenolic acids have been identified in the vegetative parts, including p-OH-benzoic acid, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid and vanillic acid[]. Ferulic and sinapic acids were absent, although these are usually present in the Aizoaceae[].
The tannin-like principles α- and β-gisekia have been found in the seed[].
Tannins are present in the whole plant[].

Toxicity studies:

The fruits are said to be poisonous

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