Poovamkurunnila is a small herb with purple flowers from the family Asteraceae. It is said to have several applications in traditional as well as modern medicinal systems.
Plant Type: Annual Herb
Scientific name: Vernonia cinerea
Height: Less than half a meter
Flowers: Small, purple color, resembles a lamp
Leaves: Vary in size, oval or oblong shape
English: Little Ironweed
Malayalam: Poovamkurunnila, Poovamkurunthal
Important Uses: Traditional medicines
Distribution: Throughout India & several parts of the world
The herb can be around half a meter tall with the small flowers rising above it. The shape of the flowers is close to that of certain fancy lamps. The overall arrangement gives a chandelier-like appearance at the top of the plant.
The leaves vary in size and shape throughout the plant. They are larger towards the bottom than near the top.
The flowers are only a few millimeters long with round bottoms.
As an annual herb, they easily grow in suitable conditions. That is why it is treated as weed in many places.
It has long been used in traditional medicines to treat fever. Now, scientific studies show that it has medicinal properties like anti-diabetic and antimicrobial activities.
The plant is also said to have sedative effects and promotes digestion.
Little Ironweed is widespread in India and grows well on plains, hills, and roadsides and as a weed in farmlands. It also occurs in countries like China, Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia. It thrives under shade as well as full shade.
Although its common name contains the term weed, it is not an invasive species as it does not affect or destroys other plant species. In Kerala, it often grows along with other herbs like Thumba and Karuka.
Apart from the Asian continent, it is also found in Australia and Central America which might be its place of origin.