Family: Lamiaceae

Synonym: Galeobdolon amplexicaule, Lamiella amplexicaulis, Lamiopsis amplexicaulis, Pollichia amplexicaulis.

Common Name: Henbit

Local Name:Topnu ghaa (टोपनु घा)

Topnu ghaa is an annual plant that can grow up to an altitude of 1000- 3000 m in Western Himalaya. It is frequent in meadows, marshes, roadsides, in cropland, pastures, in waste areas, in gardens, lawns and in field borders. Topnu ghaa can easily propagated by seeds. It  grow in a variety of habitat and mostly prefers well drained dry habitat.

Topnu ghaa growing wild

Young leaves, stem and flowers of topnu ghaa are edible and eaten both raw and cooked. Plant is used as a potherb. Local people mix it with other available greens and cook as a leafy vegetable saag. Ariel plant parts are made into herbal tea to harness its medicinal value. Topnu ghaa leaves are cooked with basen and spices into a delicious traditional dish ‘Kachru’ which is eaten as a snack with chutney. Raw young fresh leaves are used in salad and to make ‘rayata’

Topnu ghaa growing in cultivated field.

Topnu ghaa is harvested from wild habitat for local use of food and medicine. Leaves can be dried for latter use.

Topnu ghaa Plant:

Plant is decumbent, much branched, annual herbs.

Stems 4- angled, 10-30 cm tall.

Lower leaves long- petioled, upper subsessile or sessile, leaf blade orbicular, 0.8-2 cm across, incise- crenate lowers almost lobulate; base rounded or cordate.

Close- up of topnu ghaa

Flowers purple red, 1.2- 1.8 cm long, in distant, axillary whorls. Calyx bell- shaped, hairy; teeth as long as the tube, converging in fruit. Corolla tubular, 1.2- 1.8cm long, puberulent; tube widening above, 2- lipped; upper-lip hooded over stamens; lower lip with 2 small lateral lobes or absent, and a broad, orbicular, notched middle lobes. Stamens 4.

Nutlets small, 3- angled.

Topnu ghaa is best harvested from spring to autumn season of the year.

Edible Uses:

All the above ground plant parts of topnu ghaa are edible and eaten both raw or cooked. As raw these are added to salad and rayata. These are made into vegetable and ‘Kachru’ along with other available greens. Young leaves are also used to make herbal tea.

Above ground plant parts of Topnu ghaa collected for cooking

Leafy Vegetable:

Ingredients:

Topnu ghaa leaves and other wild greens like khokhna (Medicago polymorphia),  Roadi (Vicia sativa), Shershni (Capsella bursa-pastoris), Mil-malori (Rumex acetosa), Gujjar ghas (Cardamine hirsuta), Matar- phali (Lathyrus aphaca) etc., 1 kg; mustard oil, 3-4 table spoons; coriander powder, 1 table spoon; fenugreek powder, ½ table spoon; cumin seed, 1 tea spoon; turmeric powder, 1 table spoon; red chilies, 2-3; chopped medium sized potato, 2-4; garlic, 4-5 cloves; ginger paste ½ table spoon and salt, according to taste.

Method:

Boil topnu ghaa leaves and other wild greens till these are soft. Mesh these manually or in a mixer then saute in hot mustard oil along with spices listed above and with chopped potato. Cook till these are soft and serve with chapatis.

Saag ready to serve with makki (corn) ki ROTI

Kachru:

Ingredients:

 Chopped tender shoot tip, young leaves and fresh flowers of topnu ghaa , 1kg; besan (black gram flour) or corn flour, 1/2 kg; fresh coriander leaves (chopped), 1 cup amount; caraway1/2 table spoon; green chilies, 2-3; turmeric powder, ½ table spoon; chopped medium sized onions, 2-3 and salt according to taste.

Method:

Make a paste of plant parts, besan or corn flour and spices. Heat some oil on a flat heating pan. Put some paste over a pan and make it flat by pressing with fingers. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Kachru will be ready to serve. Repeat this process for rest of the paste.

Topnu ghaa kachru ready to serve

Rayata:

Ingredients:

1/2 kg fresh leaves of topnu ghaa, 1 Kg curd, 1 cup fresh coriander leaves (chopped), 3-5 green chillies, a pinch of black pepper powder, 1 table spoon rai powder, 2-3 medium sized chopped onions and salt according to taste.

Method:

Add finely chopped leaves to curd with ingredients listed above for preparing rayata or give a shallow fry to these boiled flowers in hot oil with onion and other spices listed above, before adding to curd. Garnish recipe with coriander, Mentha piperta, Oxalis corniculata and Rumex hastata leaves Now ‘rayata ‘is ready to serve.

Rayata made up of fresh topnu ghaa leaves.

Tea:

Ingredients:

Dried or fresh leaves of topnu ghaa , 5-15 g; Sugar/honey. 1-2 table spoon, Water, 2 cup amount.

Method:

Boil topnu ghaa leaves in water for 3 to 5 min. Add to it sugar/honey and stir well. Strain and serve hot.

Seek professional advice before treating this plant medicinally.

Medicinal uses:

The plant is antirheumatic, diaphoretic, excitant, febrifuge, laxative and stimulant 1,2.

Other Uses:

Topnu ghaa is grazed by animals as a forage.

References:

  1. ISBN,0-7513-020-31.
  2. Chopra, R. N., Nayar, S. L., & Chopra, I. C. (1956). Glossary of Indian medicinal plants (Vol. 1, pp. 138-139). New Delhi: Council of Scientific & Industrial Research                       

One thought on “Lamium amplexicaule L. – Topnu ghaa (टोपनु घा)

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