Daisy, daisy, what kind of weed are you?

Tridax daisy - a useful weed
Daisy, daisy, what kind of weed are you?
An insect on the Tridax daisyAjay Jandial
“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tridax daisy (Tridax procumbens) is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family which grows unattended along pavements, roadsides, crevices of walls and among rocks. It is fondly called "Coat buttons" because of its appearance. Tridax flowers are actually inflorescences - each flower head having a cluster of yellow flowers surrounded by 5-6 white three toothed florets usually having a diameter no larger than a 50 paisa coin.

Considered a useless weed or a pest in many parts of the world, it is viewed with a lot more kindness here in India where it has been used in folklore practices for hundreds of years for wound healing, diabetes, arthritis among others.

In Ayurveda, these obscure weeds have immense use such as in the biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles. Silver has been used in the form of bhasma (calcined formulation) for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medical formulations. Infants in India are fed water from a silver bowl using a silver spoon. This is known to build immunity and help fight seasonal infections.

Recent advancements in nanotechnology have only helped provide scientific evidence to age-old customs followed in India. The extremely small size of nanoparticles results in the particles having a large surface area relative to their volume. Silver nanoparticles have been studied for their antimicrobial potential and have proven to be antibacterial agents and antiviral agents. The leaf extract of Tridax procumbens has been successfully used for biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles in a cost-effective and time-conserving manner.

Nature has provided us cures for every disease in one way or another but the only need is to explore them. Maybe the remedy to the Covid-19 virus rests in some such neglected plant that we consider a weed.

Tridax procumbens / Tridax daisy

Hindi : घमरा Sanskrit : Jayanti Veda

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July 2020

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