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vishamushti - Ageratum conyzoides Linn.

vishamushti :

Vishamushti - Ageratum conyzoides - fl Ageratum is an annual herb that grows about 60 cm high and producer small pretty pink flower at the top of its hairy stems. In some countries it is considered an A weed that is hard to control. Ageratum ranges from southeastern north America to central America, but the center of orgin is in central America and the caribbean. Ageratum is also found in several countries in tropical and sub tropical regions, including Brazil. Ageratum  is also a most common  annual herb which is also common in India. In south India is grown abuntantly and is being considered as a weed. In south it is being found is a white veriety too. It is widely utilized in traditional medicine system where our it grows. It  is been have much medicinal importance all over the world

A thoughout hairy annual weed grows up to 1 meter in height. Leaves simple, opposite and sometime alternate, hairy on both sides; flowers pale violet in color, heads, fruits small, black and attenuated and 5 angled.


Ageratum conyzoides (family Asteraceae) is one such rapidly colonizing invasive alien species that has become a troublesome weed over a wide range of ecosystems in tropical and subtropical countries (Batish, 2008; Batish et al., 2009a, b). It is one of about 30 species of the genus Ageratum, all of which originated in America (Okunade, 2002). The genus Ageratum is widely distributed throughout America, although most taxa have been reported in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and Florida (Ming, 1999). The literal meaning of Ageratum is non-ageing (referring to the longevity of its flowers or of the whole plant), with its origins in the Greek word ageras, whereas the species name  onyzoides is derived from konyz, the Greek name for Inula helenium L., which it resembles (Kissmann and Groth, 1993). The English names of the plant, goat weed or billy goat weed, derive from its peculiar odour like that of male goat (Okunade, 2002). Johnson (1971) divided  the taxon A. conyzoides into two subspecies, i.e. latifolium and conyzoides, of which latifolium is found throughout the Americas whereas conyzoides has a pantropical distribution.  the plant is now found as a weed of over 36 crops (including plantations) in 46 different countries (Holm et al., 1977). It has been ranked as 19th of the worlds worst weeds (Holm et al., 1977). Waterhouse (1993) ranked A. conyzoides as the 15th most troublesome weed of South-east Asia and the Oceanic Pacific.

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Order: Asteraless
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Ageratum .L
Species: conyzoids


English: Appa grass, Goat weed
Hindi: Visadodi
Telugu: Pokabanthi
Marathi: Osaadi
Konkani: Sahadevi
Oriya: Pokaseenga
Gujarathi: Ajagandha
Tamil: Pumppillu
Malayalam: Kattappa, Appa, Muriyan pacha
Kannada: Helukase, naayi thulasi
Spanish: Catinga de bode.
French: Wedusan
Tulu: Naayi thulasi


Synonyms in Ayurveda: vishamushti, osadi

Rasa: Katu Tikta
Guna: Laghu Ruksha Teeskhsna
Veerya: Ushna
Vipaka: Katu
Karma: Kaphahara Pittahara Vatahara


Soil nutrients
Ageratum conyzoides directly or indirectly affects soil chemistry and composition, ecosystem functions and creates a novel environment for native species. Heavy infestations of the weed modify the soil environment through root exudation, affecting soil structure and mobilizing or chelating nutrients (Singh et al., 2003). Furthermore, it causes depletion of soil nutrients because of resource competition, rendering it unfit for effective growth of crops and making sustainability difficult. Manandhar et al. (2007) reported a significant reduction in soil nitrogen and phosphorus in paddy fields due to weed infestation. On the other hand, Batish et al. (2009a, b) reported that weed residues enriched soil nutrient content despite the negative effects on crop growth.


Physiognomically, A. conyzoides is an annual erect aromatic herb that shows considerable variation in shoot height (59-120 cm) in a stand at maturity stage (Table 5.3); however, the average height of plant is -1 m (Kumar and Singh, 1988). The stern is erect, branched, cylindrical and decumbent, and covered with fine, white hairs. Leaves are opposite, ovate and triangular, and pubescent with the long petiole (1.5-2.0 cm or even up to 3.2 cm), covering an area of -31 cm2 and bearing trichomes (56 in number) on both surfaces (Kirtikar and Basu, 1984; Arora, 1999). Plants have a shallow tap root system with a radius of spread of -8 cm. The plant bears blue-violet terminal inflorescence (Fig. 5.3) and a capitulum of homogamous disc florets (>70 capitula per plant) arranged in corymbose racemes (Kumar and Singh, 1988; Arora, 1999). The inflorescence changes colour from blue when young to white at maturity. The number of florets per head varies in the range 56-86 (Anonymous, 1988; Table 5.3). The flowering period of the weed is long, and flowers retain their violet colour for a longer period of time. The fruit is a typical achene with pappus and easily spread by wind and animal hair. Seeds are minute (<1 cm), black and extremely light in weight, elliptical, bear a pappus, are produced in great numbers (Table 5.3) and are transported up to hundreds or thousands of miles. Arora (1999) reported that in Chandigarh, wild-growing plants produce on average 5000 seeds. However, Rodriguez and Cepero (1984) reported a total of 94,772 seeds per plant. The weed completes its life cycle in about 10-12 weeks, and seeds are
shed, resulting in tremendous increase in its intensity next season (Bansal and Singh, 1986). The propagation of the weed through seeds is so rapid that it covers almost any terrain not under intensive use or abandoned. Ageratum conyzoides is a shadetolerant plant and flourishes well in any type of garden soil such as clayey, sandy or loamy with wide range of pH. Soils rich in moisture, minerals and air are best suited to its growth. In hilly tracts of subtropical to temperate environment, the weed is present throughout the year. However, in the plains, it emerges during the onset of winter and remains till early summer. In shady and moisture-rich areas the weed is also seen during the summer rainy season; however, in such areas it has a relatively shorter life span and reduced density (Kohli et al., 2006).


Since A. conyzoides possesses diverse biological and physiological characteristics it has been explored intensively, particularly for its secondary metabolites (Gonzalez et al. 1991; Wiedentold and Roder, 1991). A wide range of secondary metabolites from different classes are found in A. conyzoides, including flavonoids, alkaloids, chromenes, phenolics and essential oils (Gonzalez et al., 1991; Sharma and Sharma, 1995). Among these secondary metabolites, many are allelochemicals and inhibit the growth of other organisms (Pafi et al., 1998; Okunade, 2002). These allelochemicals are released either through leaching or volatilization into the soil or environment in bioactive concentrations, and retard the growth of other plants and organisms (Singh et al.,  2003; Batish et al., 2009a, b). 

Volatile compounds
Almost every part of a plant contains volatile  oils; the leaves and roots of A. conyzoides contain volatile oils in the range of 0.11 - 0.58% and 0.03-0.18%,  espectively,  depending on the season (Wandji et al., 1996). As many as 51 constituents, including a number of mono- and sesquiterpenoids, have been identified from its volatile oils (Okunade, 2002). The chromenes 7-methoxy2,2-dimethylchromene (precocene I), 6,7- dimethoxy derivative, ageratochromene (precocene II) and their derivatives (Burkill, 1985; Rastogi and Mehrotra, 1990; Kissmann and Groth, 1993; Kong et al., 1998a, b) are the major constituents of leaves and flower oils, and possess biological activities (Bowers et al., 1976). These allelochemicals are released from A. conyzoides, accumulate in the soil with the passage of time and were found to be responsible for growth suppression of weeds and reducing the population of soilborne pathogenic fungi in intercropped citrus orchards (Kong et al., 2004). Kong et al. (1999, 2002) demonstrated that fresh leaves and volatile oils of A. conyzoides  exhibited adverse effect on crops, and they attributed this to the presence of precocenes and their derivatives, i.e. precocene I,  precocene II, 3,3-dimethyl-tert-butylindone and 13-caryophyllene, and several monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.

Non-volatile compounds
In addition, A. conyzoides is very rich in polyoxygenated flavonoids such as kaempferol, quercetin and their glucosides, and small quantities of triterpenoids and sterols (Okunade, 2002). A number of phenolic acids such as gallic, coumalic, protocatechuic, benzoic, sinapic, p-hydroxybenzoic and coumaric acid have been reported as active compounds in A. conyzoides (Xuan et al., 2004). Batish et al. (2009a, b) reported the  non-volatile components cate chin and phenolic acids (gallic acid, coumalic acid, protocatechuic acid and p-hydroxybenzoic acid) from leaves and soil inhabited by the weed. However, the level of allelochemicals and hence allelopathic potential depends upon the growth stage and type of habitat (Kong et al., 2004). Its seeds have also been known to yield fatty oils (Ambasta, 1992).  These  llelochemicals show a synergistic effect, and their allelopathic potential is intensified on exposure to various environmental stresses (Josep and Joan, 1997; Kong et al., 2002; Batish et al., 2009a, b).

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Whole plant, ,


Infusion         –           1 cup  twice daily

Tincture         –           2.3 ml twice

Capsules        –           1-2 gm twice daily.


Ageratum in an annual herb

It is an aromatic drug.

The plant has numerous adventitous   slenter roots present in clusters growing from nodes & internodes. There are pale  yellow & measures up to  15 cm long and 2.5mm thick.

Long, cylindrical, rough, hispidity hairy , they are much branched & green when fresh. Dry young stem is pale yellow, pubescent, shrunken & flattered.

They are opposite alternative, upper region, petiolate  ovate or triangular ovate.Lamina is thin more or less, hairy on both sides.Venation is unicostate, reticulate.

Numerous, pale blue, white, pink in colour. They are foul smelling.

Fruits are minute&black.

Inflorescence: Compound  coryamb

Geographical distribution:

Global Distribution:

Ageratum conyzoides, a native of Central America and the Caribbean, is now found throughout the world (Xuan et al., 2004). The alien range of A. conyzoides includes West Africa, Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Fiji, French Polynesia, the Guam Islands, the USA (Hawaiian Islands), Tonga, Vanuatu, Palau, Mauritius, Nicaragua, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and South-east Asia (including China, India, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia), Brazil and Korea (Kong et al.,2004; Kohli et al., 2006; Sankaran, 2007; Batish et al., 2009a). In Hawaii, A. conyzoides grows up to 1300 m above sea level (Wagner et al., 1999). In Pacific islands the weed has been found growing in different habitats such as crops, pastures, plantations, wastelands and roadsides (Swarbrick, 1997; PIER 2008). In Fiji, A. conyzoides is cultivated but it has now become invasive and naturalized in grasslands, forests, forest clearings and along roadsides and trails up to an elevation of 950 m (Smith and Albert, 1991; Sankaran, 2007). It has been reported to be a weed of plantations and waste areas in Tonga (Yuncker, 1959) and Guam (Stone, 1970). In New Guinea, A. conyzoides is spread up to 2000 m above sea level in both waste and cultivated lands, in plantations, pastures and along roadsides (Henty and Pritchard, 1975). In the Galapagos Islands the plant can be seen in moist uplands  McMullen, 1999). The species has been reported to be one of the most dominant weeds of upland crops throughout South-east Asia (Kato-Noguchi, 2001). In Central Sulawesi  Indonesia), A. conyzoides was recorded as an invasive weed in coffee and cacao plantations and in the submontane rain forests of Lore Lindu National Park (Siebert, 2002; Ramadhanil et al., 2008).
In South Africa, A. conyzoides was introduced in 1949 as an ornamental plant and has now become invasive in many parts, including reserves and protected areas like Kruger National Park (Foxcroft et al., 2008). It grows as an exotic herb in the riparian zones of South African rivers (Hood and Naiman, 2000). Nel et al. (2004) conducted a survey of riparian zones in South Africa and concluded that A. conyzoides is one of the most widespread and abundant invasive riparian weeds.

Distribution in India:
Growing throughout India in plains and hills. Growing mainly on rainy season.
In India, A. conyzoides has been reported as existing prior to 1882 in The Flora of British India (Hooker, 1882). It was probably introduced as an ornamental plant in the 1860s (National Focal Point for APFISN, India, 2005), later attained a weedy habit and turned harmful to mankind. Its invasion and spread has caused ecological havoc to indigenous floristic composition in various regions of India, including the north-west Himalayas, eastern Himalayas, central India and Western Ghats (Yoganarnarasimham, 2000; Silori and Mishra, 2001; Kohli et al., 2006; Reddy et al., 2008). The weed has been reported as one of the major invasive species, growing to an elevation of 2400 m in Himachal Pradesh (Kohli et al., 2004; Dogra, 2008); in fact, around 50% of the area in Himachal Pradesh state is said to be infested by this obnoxious weed (Batta, 1988). It has been reported to be one amongst the ten most dominant herbs in forest grassland edge, weed-infested areas and low-lying wet grassland of the Jim Corbett tiger reserve, Terai and Bhabar regions (Rawat et al., 1997) and in the wetlands of Samaspur Bird Sanctuary (Reddy et al., 2009) in Uttar Pradesh, India. Sit et al. (2007) surveyed the eastern Himalayan region of West Bengal (India) and reported A. conyzoides as one of the most widely distributed weeds in various crop lands and palm gardens. Negi and Hajra (2007) studied flora of the Doon Valley, north-west Himalaya and reported A. conyzoides as one of the invasive
exotics. The species has been reported to occur in Veerapuli and Kalamalai forest reserve (Swamy et al., 2000), tropical wet evergreen forests and the Anamalai Hills
(Muthuramkumar et al., 2006) of the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu. A. conyzoides has been found to be a weed of disturbed sites in the tropical forest of Little Andaman Island in the Bay of Bengal (Rasingam and Parthasarathy, 2009). It has been found to be one of the dominant species in Agrakhal-Hindolakhal, Garhwal Himalaya, Uttaranchal (Bughani and Rajwar, 2005). In addition, A. conyzoides has been reported to be a major invasive weed on both the slopes and wetlands of Mothronwala swamp  in the Doon Valley, Uttaranchal (Gupta et al.,2006). Recently, A. conyzoides was found to be one of the most predominant weeds in Mandhala watershed in Himachal Pradesh (Rana et al., 2010). The plant has also been found as a major weed in the littoral and swamp forests of Assam (DOEF, 2010). In Arunachal Pradesh, A. conyzoides is one of the major weeds in West Siang (Singh et al., 2002) and the most dominant weed under canopy of Dendrocalamus hamiltonii in tropical forests (Arunachalam and Arunachalam, 2002). In addition, the weed has also been reported in north-eastern and southern India (Rao, 2000) and the forests of the Gandhamardan Hills range, Orissa (Reddy and Pattanaik, 2009).

Spread of A. conyzoides in different habitats

Ageratum conyzoides is a serious problem of cultivated lands in the hilly tracts of northwestern India (Bansal, 1988), where it forms dense thickets in commonly grown crops such as chickpea, rice, maize and wheat, and adversely affects crop yields (Kohli et al., 2006). Due to its enormous seed-producing capacity, fields left fallow are rapidly invaded and colonized by the weed. In Himachal Pradesh the weed starts appearing at the tassel stage in maize, produces flowers and sets seeds by the time crop is harvested (Kanwar and Kharwara, 1988). A study conducted by Reddi et al. (1977) demonstrated that A. conyzoides is a major weed in ratoon sugarcane crop fields with a population of 250-400 plants/m2. In maize fields, its population has been observed to be 1000 plants/m2, thereby completely covering the ground surface (Anonymous, 1986-1987). Kanwar and Kharwara (1988) studied the population of A. conyzoides in  various fields and wastelands in Himachal Pradesh (India). The population of A. conyzoides was greatest in kitchen gardens  (50 plants/m2) followed by maize fields (20 plants/m2) and was least in meadows

Plant conservation:

Not Evaluated (NE)

General Use:

Ageratum conyzoides is an integral part of traditional medicine in many countries of world, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions. The extracts and metabolites of A. conyzoides have been used as a bacteriocide, antidysentric and antilithic (Borthakur and Baruah, 1987; Okunade, 2002) by traditional communities in India, South America and Africa. In Central Africa, Brazil and Congo it is used to cure pneumonia, wounds and burns (Ming, 1999). Its decoction is given to treat headache, fever and rheumatism (Kirtikar and Basu, 1984; Okunade, 2002). A  crude material from leaves of species possesses in vitro antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and is also used for wound healing (Durodola, 1977). In  Cameroon, aqueous extracts of the whole plant are known for their anti-diabetic properties (Tsabang et al., 2001).  

Insecticidal / bactericidal / antifungal value 
The oil obtained from its leaves and inflorescence has insect-repellent properties (Saxena et al., 1994; Nogueira et al., 2010). Traditional communities in Asia, South America and Africa use the aqueous extracts of the species as a bactericidal (Borthakur and Baruah, 1987; Ekundayo et al., 1988). Leaf volatile oils of A. conyzoides have been reported to kill the maize grain weevil, Sitophilus zeamais (Bouda et al., 2001). The weed has also been reported to have natural fungicidal potential (Pu et al., 1990; Gravena et al., 1993).

Herbicidal value
Ageratum conyzoides has been reported as a natural herbicide for weed control in paddy fields (Xuan et al., 2004). Application of A. conyzoides at 2 t/ha served as an effective herbicide in controlling paddy weeds such as Echinochloa crus-galli var. formosensis, Monochoria vaginalis var. plantaginea and Aeschynomene indica. Ramakrishna et al. (2006) reported that a mulch of A. conyzoides had good potential in checking the growth of weeds and enhancing crop yield.

Therapeutic Uses:

Plant pacifies vitiated kapha, vata, hemorrhoids, anorexia, dyspepsia, kidney stones, cuts, wounds and ulcers and in conjunctivitis..

Extract of the flower did not renders. Any antineoplastic activity against ascetic form of Schwartz leukaemia.

Essential oil obtained from the plant shows antibacterial activity against vibrio. Cholerae,O-gawa, shigella , shigaci.

The essential oil of the plant exhibit antihelmeathic activity against taenia solium & pheretima pasthuma.

It also relieves pain, inflammation, reduces spasms, fever, kills bacteria, relaxes muscles, kills insects, heals wound, prevent ulces, cleanses blood, stops bleeding, stimulates digestion, reduces mucus, rheumatism, urinary  infections, pneumonia, dysentery, diabetis, tumor, flu, cough.

Phamacotheraputic uses

Diarrohoea - Infusion of whole plant is given as a tonic to cure diarrohoea.

Anal prolapse – Juice of herb is given

Skin disease – A hot poultice of the leaves and stem is applied over affected part,

Wounds – Leaf juice or leaf paste for application to fresh wound for immediate cure.

Epilepsy –  Squeeze the leaves with a pinch of common salt and extract the juice
put 2-3 drops of juice in both nostrils once only.

Folklore uses

A decoction of fresh plant is used as hairwash, leaving hair soft, fragment & dandruff free
Tea made of flower head mixed with Ocinurm tenrifolium is used to treat cough & cold
Juice of flowerhead is used externally to treat scabies, whitest a paste of them is used to treat rheumatism.
A paste of leaf mix with Bideus pilosa, Drymaica cordata, Galinsoga parviflora and rhizome of Zingiber officinate is used to treat snake bite.
Paste of leaf is used as poultice to remove thorn from stem
Juice of fresh plant is also used in treating post parturn uterium haemorehage.
Dry plant is also used in treating post partum uterium haemosehage.
Dry plant is powered and used to cuts, sored, ruptures caused by leporasy.


Organoleptic  study 

Colour           :           Flowers are white, pink pale blue

Odour            :           Foul smell

Taste              :           Sour & bitter

Size                :           3 feet

Shape            :           Fruits are depressed.

Photos of vishamushti -

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