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.
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.
- 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.