Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Genus: Xanthium
Botanical name: Xanthium strumarium
Sanskrit: Arishta, Medhya, Sarpakshi
Hindi: Chota dhatura, Chota gokhuru, Ghaghra, Sankhahuli
English: Bur weed, Common Cocklebur, Broad bur, Burdock datura, Clotbur, Rough cockleburr, Large Cocklebur
Malayalam: Chuzhaliparakam, Arishta
Bur weed fruits are covered with numerous hooks and kids have fun throwing it at people and sticking it to their woollen clothing. It is assumed the plant originated in Central America, but is widely naturalized world over, probably because of its ingenious technique of transporting its seeds on animal fur. The plant has large and broad leaves, light and bright green in color in an alternate pattern with irregular lobes and relatively inconspicuous teeth. Stems turn maroon to black when mature, with an elliptic or egg shaped fruit clusters growing nestled around the stem. Bur weed is an annual herb with a short, stout, hairy stem. Flower heads occur in racemes in leaf axils or at the end of branches. The flowers are white or green, numerous, male upper most, female ovoid, covered with hooked bristles. Fruit is obovoid, enclosed in the hardened involucre, with 2 hooked beaks and hooked bristles.
The whole plant, specially root and fruit, is used as medicine. According to Ayurveda, Bur weed is cooling, laxative, fattening, anthelmintic, alexiteric, tonic, digestive, antipyretic, and improves appetite, voice, complexion, and memory. It cures leucoderma, biliousness, poisonous bites of insects, epilepsy, salivation and fever.
The plant may have some medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicine in South Asia and traditional Chinese medicine. In Telugu, this plant is called by name Marula Matangi.
Bur Weed
Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants
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