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Devil’s Horsewhip Chaff Flower, Achyrantes Aspera


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While probably not a plant for the pretty part of the garden, chaff flower can be used as a spinach substitute, for medical purposes and more.

This short lived perennial is common in tropics and subtropics worldwide. It is easy and fast to grow. Chaff flower is ideal for the seaside garden as it is salt spray tolerant. It likes full sun.

Traditional uses of chaff flower

Achyranthens aspera is a good digestive tonic in lower doses (root powder with honey) and is purgative in higher doses. Dried root powder, crushed fresh leaves or the root juice are demulcent and astringent at the same time, which makes it useful for healing wounds, haemorrhoids, ulcers, itching or earache. The plant is also antiasthmatic, diuretic and is used for calcium oxalate kidney stones.  

In Ayurveda, drinking an infusion of this herb twice a day is recommended to lower the cholesterol levels, stimulate fat breakdown, normalise the bowel function and to support weight loss.

The root and leaf of Chaff Flower it is used as a contraceptive in Ethiopia and is also traditionally used to facilitate birth because of its abortifacient properties. The scientific studies confirmed that extracts from Chaff Flower lower sperm motility and prevent the embryo implantation.  This plant is NOT to be used during pregnancy.

The ash of the plant was used for washing clothes and as a toothpaste.


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