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Health benefits of Ponnanganni keerai (Alternanthe...

Health benefits of Ponnanganni keerai (Alternanthera sessilis)

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Ponnanganni keerai is an aquatic plant of Asian origin grown in tropical and subtropical regions. Its botanical name is alternanthera sessilis belonging to amarantheceae family. Ponnanganni is a perennial herb lying prostrate on the ground rooting at the nodes. The leaves are elliptic and the flowers are white and shiny.

There are two varieties of ponnanganni keerai known. One is with green leaves called nattu ponnanganni and the other is with pink leaves called seemai ponnanganni. The benefits from both the varieties are by and large the same. Ponnanganni keerai is mostly consumed as a leafy vegetable only. But there are a number of significant health benefits derived from the plant and leaves.

Nutrition facts

100 grams of Ponnanganni keerai contains, 73 calories of energy, 5 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 2 grams of minerals, 510 mg of calcium, 60 mg of phosphorous, 2mg of iron and 77% of water.

The leaves also contain hydrocarbons, oleanic acid rhamnoside, methylene cycloartenol, stigmasterol etc.

Health benefits of Ponnanganni keerai

In different countries, people use ponnanganni leaves as remedy for different health issues in addition to using it as a vegetable in regular diet. The leaves and the plant are widely used in fresh and dried forms in Indian Ayurveda and Siddha medicine as a cure for various ailments.

Ponnangannni keerai and its plant are used in various forms both in external applications and for internal consumption.

External uses

Eye care

  • Ponnanganni keerai or leaves are one of the best sources for treatment of eye related problems. Fresh leaves are applied as such on the eye lids to cure inflammation in the sebaceous glands of the eyelids. It also cures chronic inflammation in the eyes and conjunctivitis.
  • The paste prepared from the leaves are applied tropically on the affected areas to draw out from the body stings and spines.
  • Powdered dry ponnanganni leaves are applied externally to remove the effect of poison due to snakebites. It can be applied along with other first-aids given for snake bites.

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Removes body heat

The oil extracted from the leaves can be deeply rubbed on the scalp and allowed to remain for about 15 minutes and then shampoo washed. This method reduces the body heat to the normal level and keeps the eyes cool. By repeating the process periodically at regular intervals it helps good hair growth also.

Internal uses are

Eye care

  • Improves vision: By consuming ponnanganni leaves as a vegetable continuously for about two months one can get cured of all eye related problems like inflammation and reduced vision. Instead of consuming it as vegetable the leaves can be consumed by making a paste from the leaves and tender stems. Consuming two teaspoons of the paste every day gives the same benefit as consuming the leaves as vegetable.
  • Cures Night blindness: The shiny white flowers of the herb are very effective in curing night blindness. This benefit can be derived both by external application of the flower powder or by consumption of the steamed flowers. Consumption of the steamed ponnanganni leaves with butter is also a good remedy for night blindness and other eye problems.

Ponnanganni keerai

Enhances energy level

Consuming a mixture of ponnanganni juice with cow’s milk enhances the body strength and vitality. Goat milk also can be substituted for cow milk. Consuming every day, in the mornings a teaspoon of the extract of ponnanganni leaves mixed well with coconut oil improves the overall energy level of the body.

Cures piles

Constipation and piles including bleeding problems can be cured by ponnanganni leaves.

  • Mix equal amount of ponnanganni juice with carrot juice, add a pinch of rock salt to the mixture and consume it regularly.
  • Consume a soup prepared from ponnanganni juice by adding pepper and garlic, regularly and get relieved from piles.
  • Consume ponnanganni keerai as a regular diet to prevent constipation and piles.
  • Acute and bleeding piles is cured by consuming two tablespoons, twice or thrice daily, an equal mixture of ponnanganni juice and raddish juice.

Liver care

In Indian medicine ponnanganni keerai is used as a cholagogue, gastrointestinal agent, which stimulates the bile flow (bile is an emulsifying agent produced in the liver which aids digestion of fats).

Cures Asthma

Consumption of two tablespoons of ponnanganni juice with one or two garlic cloves cures intermittent fever, continuous cough and asthma.

Improves breast milk

Consumption of cooked ponnanganni keerai and the soft stems of the plant helps lactating mothers by improving breast milk besides maintaining the health of the liver.

Helps weight gain

Those who are underweight, can consume ponnanganni leaves after cooking with tuvar dhal and ghee to gain weight. You can consume this like a soup or eaten along with rice.

Cures headache

When the fragrance of the dried (powdered) leaves are inhaled, it provides relief from headache and dizziness.

The extract of the leaves has the ability to stop vomiting and reduces nausea too.


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