Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Article 61: "Achara" The Spear Grass Vegetable

By S. Olarewaju Disu

A strikingly different vegetable plant on sale in some Lagos Area Markets is the "achara"- "the spear grass" vegetable. It is a rhizomatous, perennial grass with usually scally-like leaves, tufted base and slender inflorescence, rising up to one meter in height.

Botanically, the "achara" is known as " Imperata cyclindra, family Gramineae". Though the plant is prone to fire, the rhizomes are tough and rigorous and do survive burning.

The "achara" (spear grass) serves several purposes : food for man (especially people from the southern and south-eastern parts of Nigeria); the young foliage, being tender, serves as grazing material for stock; the older culms are used for thatching of roofs in the rural areas; the aqueous extracts of the leaves and stems have been been reported in laboratory experiments to show some actions on tumors. The root contains sugars. It is a proven diuretic and it's also used as an anti-dysenteri. Furthermore, a decoction of the dried plant is taken as a gargle for sore throat.

Culturally, the plant is invoked in a yoruba incantation "to make a husband fight with his wife"!


Cuttings of "ACHARA", the "Spear Grass" Vegetable, on the at the "Ejigbo Market".

No comments:

Post a comment