Scientific name: Basella rubra Linn
English: Malabar Night Shade
A succulent, branched, smooth, twining herbaceous vine, several meters in length. Stems are purplish or green. Leaves are fleshy, ovate or heart-shaped, 5 to 12 cms long, stalked, tapering to a pointed tip with a cordate base. Spikes are axillary, solitary, 5-29 cm long. Fruit is fleshy, stalkless, ovoid or spherical, 5-6 mm long, and purple when mature.
Demulcent, diuretic, emollient, laxative, rubefacient.
Found in settled and cultivated areas, in hedges.
Common market product, a popular leafy and stew vegetable, a good substitute for spinach. The green and purple cultivated varieties are preferable to the wild ones.
Both the young shoots and stems are eaten. Excellent source of calcium and iron; good source of vitamins A, B, and C, with a high roughage value. Roots are employed as rubefacient. Poultice of leaves used to reduce local swelling. Sap is applied to acne eruptions to reduce inflammation. Decoction of leaves used for its mild laxative effects.
Pulped leaves applied to boils and ulcers to hasten suppuration.Sugared juice of leaves useful for catarrhal afflictions. Leaf-juice, mixed with butter, is soothing and colling when applied to burns and scalds.