Chandrakant Tiwari and Hema Barti
Amaranthus spinosus Linn. (Family Amaranthaceae), a very common Indian plant is known for its medicinal properties and commonly known as ‘spiny amaranth’ or ‘pig weed’, ‘‘Kate wali Chaulai (Kanatabhajii)” in ‘Hindi”, cultivated throughout in India, Sri Lanka and distributed throughout the tropics and warm temperate regions of Asia from Japan to Indonesia, the Pacific islands and Australia as a weed in cultivated as well as fallow lands. It is erect spinous annual or perennial herb varying in color from green to purple, native to tropical America. In Indian traditional system of medicine (Ayurveda) the plant is used as febrifuge, antipyretic, laxative and diuretic. Besides its culinary value, it is used to repute for treat digestible, bronchitis, appetizer, biliousness, galactagogue, haematinic, stomachic, nausea, flatulence, anorexia, blood diseases, burning sensation, leucorrhoea, leprosy and piles. Phytochemical investigations prove its importance as valuable medicinal plant. It is known as rich source of alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, phenolic acids, steroids, amino acids, terpenoids, lipids, saponin, betalain, b-sitosterol, stigmasterol, linoleic acid, rutin, catechuic tannins and carotenoids. The studies on A. spinosus have been carried out by various researchers and a wide spectrum of its pharmacological actions have been explored which may include antidiabetic, antitumor, analgesic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic, bronchodilator, hepato-protective, spermatogenic, antifertility, antimalarial, antioxidant properties, etc. The present review is an effort to provide a comprehensive review on morphology, traditional uses, phytochemical constituents and pharmacological activities of A. spinosus.
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