Hilamochika – Benefits, Remedies, Research

By Dr Renita D’Souza
Hilamochika is a potential medicinal plant and also used as a supplementary food source. Young shoots are cooked as vegetable. It is a good source of protein and β-carotene. It is cold in nature and acts as mild laxative. It is used in the treatment of skin diseases, wounds, pimples, diabetes, kidney stones, burning sensation, inflammation etc.
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Botanical Name – Enhydra fluctuans
Synonyms – Enydra anagallis Gardner, Meyera fluctuans (Lour.) Spreng
Family – Asteraceae

Vernacular Names

Sanskrit Name – Hilamochika
English Name – Buffalo spinach, Marsh herb
Hindi Name – Harkuch, Haruch, Matsayaakshi
Bengali Name – Helencha shaka, Hilancha shaka, Hingcha, Hinche, Hincha
Assamese Name – Helech
Oriya Name – Hidimicha
Indonesia Name – Godobos
Thai Name – Phak bung ruem
Chinese Name – Zhao ju
Vietnamese – Câyraungổ, Rau ngổ, Ngổtrâu, Ngổđất, Ngổhương
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Morphology, Distribution

Morphology and Habitat
Enhydra fluctuans is a prostate, spreading, semi-aquatic herb. Stem grows up to 30 – 60 cm long, fleshy, hairy, branched and rooting at the lower nodes. Leaves are serrate, stalk less, linear-oblong, 3 to 5 centimeters in length. Fruits are achenes enclosed by rigid receptacle-scales. Flowers are white or greenish white in color. Flowering heads are without stalks.(b)
Habitat – Plant is grown on roadside canals and marshy waste places

Distribution of Buffalo spinach:
Enhydra fluctuans is found commonly in Bangladesh, Malaysia, China, South East Asia and Tropical Africa. In India it is distributed widely in North-Eastern region, mostly in Assam.

Medicinal Qualities

Sara – Laxative, promotes movement of substances in the body channels
Potency (virya) – cold
Ruchya – improves taste

Uses

Enhydra fluctuans is used in the treatment of –
Shotha – swelling and inflammation
Kushta – skin diseases
Vrana – wound
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Effect on tridoshas

Balances kapha and pitta dosha

Remedies

  • Fresh plant juice is given orally to treat skin diseases.
  • The plant boiled with rice gruel water is taken by mixing with salt and mustard oil to normalize the liver functions.
  • Whole plant is used in the treatment of constipation.
  • The finely crushed aerial parts of the plant is applied over pimples.
  • The plant is cut into pieces at the nodes and boiled in water. This extract is used for the treatment of diabetes by the people of Meitei-pangal community in Thoubal district of Manipur.
  • The plant is used for treating kidney stones by drinking the liquid of boiled leaves mixed with sugar.
  • Leaf juice is used as a demulcent in gonorrhea. It is consumed by mixing with cow or goat’s milk.
  • The paste prepared from its leaves is applied on head as a cooling agent.
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Part Used
Whole plant

Sanskrit Verses

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can Hilamochika be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Pharmacological Activity

Enhydra fluctuans possess anticancer, antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-diarrheal, analgesic, CNS depressant, hepatoprotective and neuropharmacological effects.

Chemical Constituents

Enhydra fluctuans contains saponins, myricyl alcohol, kaurol, cholesterol, sitosterol, glucoside, sesquiterpene lactones, germacranolide, enhydrin, fluctuanin and fluctuandin, a number of diterpenoid acids and their isovalerate and angelate derivatives, stigmasterol and gibberellins A9 and A13. (a)

Controversy

The plants Alternanthera sessilis and Black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) also has matsyakshi as a Sanskrit synonym.

Ayurvedic Medicines

Trikantaka Ghritam – Used as medicine and also in preparatory procedure called snehakarma for the treatment of Urinary tract infections, diabetes, calculus.

Research

Antioxidant, Anthelmintic and Thrombolytic activity – A research study conducted to evaluate phytochemical and biological properties of methanolic extracts of Enhydra fluctuans Lour have proved that, it possess significant antioxidant, anthelmintic and thrombolytic activities.

Sanskrit Synonyms

Bhrami, Shankhadhara, Aachari
Matsyakshi, Hilamochika
Jalabrahmi

Categorization

Classical Categorization
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Shaka varga
Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadhi varga
Raja Nighantu – Parpatadi varga

Scientific Classification
Kingdom – Plantae
Division – Magniliophyta
Class – Magnoliospida
Order – Asterales
Family – Asteraceae
Genus – Enhydra
Species – Enhydra fluctuans Loureiro
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