Prickly Chaff Flower - Introduction, Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects of Rough Chaff

Table of Contents

1. What is Prickly Chaff Flower? 
2. Morphology
3. Chemical Compound
4. Habitat
5. Ayurvedic Properties of Prickly Chaff Flower
6. Traditional uses of Prickly Chaff Flower in different cultures and folk medicine traditions.
7. Health Benefits & Uses
8. Side Effects of Rough Chaff
9. Frequently Asked Question

1. What is Prickly Chaff Flower?

Prickly Chaff scientific name is Achyranthes Aspera, some other common names are rough chaff, chirchita, latjira, apamarga, and mayuraka. It has been used for thousands of years in medicinal practices and in the traditional medical system for its numerous health benefits. It's high in calcium, iron, and other important nutrients that can help your body function at its best.

The ash of the herb contains a high proportion of potash and is an antacid, it is an important constituent of alkaline medicine that is useful in counteracting acidity.


2. Morphology

Rough Chaff is an erect and stiff annual herb that grows pointing up to 50 gm in height, the branches have downward-pointed thrones. The leaves are simple, egg-shaped, and green, the leaves have numerous oil glands which exude strongly scented volatile oil and its flowers are small and face downwards. Old flowers are found at the bottom and fresh ones are on the upper portion. Although can properly grow in a variety of climatic specifications and environmental conditions, the optimum conditions are found in countries having warm climates.

3. Chemical Constituent 

Chaff flower contains a low amount of fat content and less caloric value; it is also known as a good source of vitamin C and minerals. It contains small amounts of other vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber, its seeds are rich in dietary fiber.


4. Habitat 

The herb occurs in temperate and sub-tropical Himalayas from Kishtwar to Sikkim and Khasi hills at 1200 to 1820 meters from Bihar, Konkan, Nilgiris, and Travancore hills. In India, its seeds and dried plants are available to grocers and dealers of raw drugs.

5. Ayurvedic Properties of Prickly Chaff Flower

1. Rasa (Taste): Prickly Chaff Flower is believed to have a bitter (Tikta) taste.

2. Virya (Potency): It is heating in nature (Ushna Virya).

3. Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): The post-digestive taste is pungent (Katu Vipaka).

4. Dosha Effects: Prickly Chaff Flower is often considered balancing for Kapha dosha and Vata dosha due to its heating and bitter qualities. It can help pacify excess cold and dampness in the body.

6. Traditional uses of Prickly Chaff Flower in different cultures and folk medicine traditions.


In Ayurvedic medicine, Prickly Chaff Flower, referred to as Apamarga, is highly valued for its therapeutic properties. It has been traditionally used to treat a wide range of ailments, including respiratory conditions like asthma and cough, gastrointestinal issues like dysentery and diarrhea, inflammatory conditions like arthritis and rheumatism, and skin disorders. It is also used as a diuretic and to promote wound healing.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

In TCM, Prickly Chaff Flower is known as Huai Niu Xi. It is believed to have properties that invigorate the blood, dispel blood stasis, and promote urination. It is commonly used in formulas aimed at treating conditions such as menstrual disorders, back pain, and joint pain.

Traditional Indian Medicine (Unani)

Prickly Chaff Flower is used in the Unani system of medicine for its diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. It is often prescribed for conditions such as urinary tract infections, edema, and inflammatory joint disorders.

7. Health Benefits and Uses 

Prickly Chaff is one of the important herbs used in rural India for preparing mixed greens, the leaves are tasteless but assume a mildly bitter taste after cooking, and they have soft cellulose. This plant is known to have high caloric and nutritional value owing to the presence of vitamin c, minerals, sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, chloride, and phosphorus. It contains anti-microbial, anti-diabetic, diuretic, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, cardio-protective, immuno-modulatory, and prothyrodic properties.

It provides many benefits to humans including vitamins A, C, and E; iron; zinc; calcium; magnesium (which helps with muscle relaxation); potassium (which aids in heart function); fiber which helps regulate appetite hormones so you don't feel hungry between meals. It also contains polyphenols, which have been shown to help ward off cancer and heart disease.

It's an excellent source of vitamin C (75%), vitamin B6 (10%), and vitamin E (2%). The chaff is made up of cellulose and pectin, both of which are great for the digestive system and can help prevent constipation. It also contains a large amount of dietary fiber, which helps to boost immunity and improve digestion. The chaff is a low-calorie food that contains only 19 calories per 100g. It also has no fat or cholesterol.

Prickly chaff is a great source of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. These nutrients play an important role in maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and nerves by helping to keep these systems functioning properly. Magnesium plays a part in protein synthesis as well as cell division; therefore having high levels around the body can potentially lead to an increased risk of cancer or heart disease because these nutrients cannot be absorbed properly. It's important to note that prickly chaff contains many other vitamins such as D3 (vitamin D), and vitamin K2 which aids bone growth; but not all prickly chaff products are created equal so make sure you check labels before buying anything!

There are many benefits of prickly chaff and it is a great addition to anyone's diet. It can be used in a variety of ways, such as juicing with other fruits or vegetables or just eating on its own. You can even use it as an ingredient in your cooking.

Here are some health benefits and Uses of Prickly chaff


The powdered root of the herb is useful in treating cholera, about 6 grams of the powder mixed with water is the suggested treatment.


The ash of the herb mixed with honey is sued for treating cough, a mixture of the ash and 4 times its weight of the water should be allowed to stand for 24 hours. The residue obtained by evaporating the supernatant or upper layers of the liquid is the well-known Ayurvedic preparation known as aghada khara. It is taken in doses of 6 to 12 centigrams for relieving cough.

Eye Disorders

The root of the herb is useful for eye disorders, a paste of the roots with water can be applied beneficially in ophthalmia and opacity of the cornea.

Insect Bites

A paste of the leaves made with water is effective in treating bites of poisonous insects, wasps, bees, etc. It should be applied externally over the affected parts.


This is a condition of excessive menstrual bleeding; the drug is useful in arresting secretion or bleeding. It is therefore valuable in abnormally excessive menstruation. An infusion of the herb should be used in treating this condition.

Renal Dropsy

A decoction of the plant is beneficial in renal dropsy as it increases the secretion and discharge of urine. The decoction is prepared by boiling 60 grams of the plant in 150 ml of water for 20 to 30 minutes, about 30 to 60 grams of this strained mixture should be taken twice or thrice a day.

Skin Problem

The leaves of rough chaff are useful in cuts and wounds from a sharp-edged weapons like knives and blades. The wound is thoroughly soaked with the juice of a few leaves and a leaf bandaged over it. It heals within a day or two with a single application. An ointment made of the ash of the herb with orpiment is used for cleaning warts and ulcers.

Spleen Enlargement

The herb is specific for spleen enlargement, the powder of the plant is used in 25 grams doses twice daily with a little beaten curd, this brings good results in 3 to 4 weeks.

Stomach Disorders

The juice of the leaves is valuable in the stomach disorders like stomach aches, bowel complaints, and piles. A decoction of powdered leaves mixed with honey or sugar candy is useful in the early stages of diarrhea and dysentery.

Other Uses

Easy Delivery – Rough chaff seeds are useful in facilitating easy and painless delivery, the seeds are ground in water to prepare a fine paste that is applied on the navel, pubis, and vulva.

8. Side Effects of the Prickly Chaff

All Ayurveda herbs are plant-based and don’t have any side effects, but they may react with some allopathy or homeopathy medicine. It is better to consult the doctor if you are on any medications or have unique health issues.

Some people may experience side effects from consuming prickly chaff, but it's not common at all. If you do experience any symptoms like nausea or vomiting after eating your prickly chaff then discontinue use immediately and contact your doctor if necessary.

There are no known interactions with other drugs or foods that should make you worry about eating prickly chaff. There are a few precautions that you should take when consuming prickly chaff, however. Pregnant women should avoid eating the plant altogether because it can cause uterine contractions and miscarriage.

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9. Frequently Asked Question

Q - What is prickly chaff flower used for?

Prickly chaff can be used in a variety of ways, such as juicing with other fruits or vegetables or just eating on its own. You can even use it as an ingredient in your cooking.

Q - What is the common name of Achyranthes aspera?

The common names of Achyranthes aspera are rough chaff, chirchita, latjira, apamarga, and mayuraka.

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