Synonyms: S. paniculata Wall., S. acmella Murr.
Bengali/Vernacular Name: Marhatitiga.
Tribal Name: Osonshak (Chakma); Hamfoi (Marma); Kun Dung (Murong); Jaba Achin sak (Tanchangya).
Description of the Plant
An erect annual herb; stem and branches more or less hairy. Leaves opposite, 2.5-5 cm long, ovate, acute or subobtuse, irregularly crenate-serrate, base acute. Heads yellow, 0.6-1.3 cm long, ovoid, solitary or subpanicled; peduncles sometimes reaching 10 cm long. Annual or short-lived perennial herbs, erect or prostrate at the base and rooting at the nodes, upwards often strongly branched. Leaves opposite, simple, mostly dentate. Flower heads radiate or discoid, terminal or axillary from the upper leaves, usually solitary, erect. Fruit a small, dry, hard, 1-seeded achene.
It grows in upland fields, waste places, roadsides and riversides. Young leaves and flower heads are eaten raw, boiled or added to curry.
In 100 g edible portions consist of water 89-93 g, protein 2 g, fat 0.3 g, carbohydrates 3-7 g, Ca 162 mg, P 41 mg, Fe 4 mg, vitamin A 3900 IU, vitamin B, 0.03 g, vitamin C 20 mg. The flowerheads are used as a local anaesthetic. It is propagated by seeds or stem cutting.
Flowers head is stimulant and sialagogue; given in toothache, affections of throat and gums and paralysis of the tongue. It is a powerful mosquito larvicide. The decoction of the plant is diuretic and lithontriptic; useful in dysentery and is employed as a bath for rheumatism and as a lotion in scabies and psoriasis. Crushed plant is used as fish poison. It is prescribed for few days to cure glossitis. Juice of the plant and flower head is rubbed in scabies to cure. Roots are used as a purgative.
Aerial parts contain palmitic and stearic acids, tetra-triacontanoic acid, sitosterol, stigmasterol and sitosterol glucoside. Flower heads contain a local anaesthetic amide, spilanthol and three other amides, a sterol, a non-reducing polysaccharide (Ghani, 2003). Acetic, lauric, myristic, linoleic and linolenic acid esters of α- and β-amyrin and myricyl alcohol have also been isolated from the plant (Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1993).