Family:  Crassulaceae

Synonyms: Bryophyllum calycinum, Bryophyllum germinans, Bryophyllum pinnatum, Bryophyllum pinnatum, Calanchoe pinnata, Cotyledon calycina, Cotyledon calyculata, Cotyledon calyculata, Cotyledon pinnata, Cotyledon rhizophylla, Crassula pinnata, Crassuvia floripendia, Crassuvia floripenula, Kalanchoe brevicalyx, Kalanchoe calcicole, Kalanchoe calycinum, Kalanchoe floripendula, Kalanchoe pinnata, Sedum madagascariense, Vereia pinnata.

Common Name: Mother of Millions, Air Plant, Donkey Ears, Life Plant, Leaf of Life, Resurrection Plant. Canterbury Bells, Cathedral Bells. Miracle leaf,  live leaf, live leaf plant.

Local Name: Patharkhar (पथरखार), Patharchatta Patharchur, parnabija.

Patharkhar is a succulent perennial herb of Western Himalaya found growing wild up to an altitude of 800 m but can be cultivated up to an altitude of 1000 m. It is commonly seen growing on slopes of hills, waste lands, roadsides, open woodlands, forests and forest margins.

Patharkhar growing wild.

The plant can propagate by seeds or vegetatively by producing small bulb-lets on the leaves. These adventitious buds appear along the notches of the leaf margins which produce roots, stems and leaves; either when attached to the parent plant or when get detached.

Small bulb-lets developing on patharkhar leaf margin.

When the plantlets fall to the ground, they root and can become larger plants. Due to its luxuriant growth patharkhar is often found as a weed of gardens and parks, 

Patharkhar is a widely used divine or miracle herb which is used to treat a wide spectrum  of ailments as a result a variety of  common name Mother of Millions, Air Plant, Donkey Ears, Life Plant, Leaf of Life, Resurrection Plant. Canterbury Bells, Cathedral Bells. miracle leaf,  live leaf, live leaf plant are given to this plant round the world.

Young plant lets of patharkhar growing in a pot

Traditionally this plant is considered very helpful to cure kidney stone, that’s the region probably local name patharkhar is given to this plant.

Plant is mainly used as a medicinal plant and very few people use this plant as a dietary supplement. But  leaves, stem and roots of patharkhar are edible and can be taken in the form of  herbal tea, condiment or nutrient supplement due to their rich nutritive value.

Leaves can be an excellent addition to various food items (usually which are eaten as snack) in small amount like pakoras, pakora curry, chutney ,Kachru and potato fingers as a green. Pounded root ican be used as a condiment.

Patharkhar is harvested from wild habitat as a source of food, medicine and material for local personal use. It is quite often cultivated as a ornamental and medicinal plant in pots or kitchen garden for its easy access and  beautiful bell shaped fruits.

A plant of Patharkhar in natural habitat

 Patharkhar Plant:

Plant is erect, glabrous, perennial herbs, 30-120 cm tall. Stems more or less woody, especially near the base.

Leaves usually simple sometimes compound with 3 leaflets, opposite, fleshy, stalked, ovate or oblong, crenate, obtuse.

Close-up of patharkhar leaves

Terminal inflorescence is a  panicle, flowers are bell shaped and many.

Flowers pinkish. pendulous, ca 5 cm long, 4- merous, in large, terminal panicles. Calyx tubular, inflated green, tinged with red. Corolla twice as long as the calyx, green; lobes spreading, acute, tinged with red. Stamens 8, in two whorls, inserted basally on corolla; filaments equalling corolla tube.

Follicles 4, many – seeded, enclosed in persistent, papery calyx and corolla tube.

Patharkhar leaves can be harvested round the year, but plant become more or less leafless when in full bloom. Roots can be best harvested when flowering is over to ensure sustainable harvesting.

 Edible Uses:

Patharkhar is profuse in medicinal and nutrient value. Its leaves and stem can be taken as a herbal tea both fresh and dried. Dried and pounded root is used as a condiment, while leaves can be added as a green in small amount to prepare various food items like pakoras, pakora curry, chutney, Kachru and potato fingers. These are added to be utilized as a dietary supplement as follow.

Patharkhar leaves collected for cooking

Pakoras:

Ingredients:

Fresh leaves ,250 g; besan (black gram flour) or corn flour,1/2 kg; mustard oil, 10-12 table spoon; 1 cup fresh coriander plus curry and mint leaves (chopped), 5-6 green chilies, ½ table spoon turmeric powder, 2-3 medium sized chopped onions, 2-3 medium sized finely chopped potato and salt according to taste.

Method:

Make a paste of leaves, chopped potatoes, basen and spices listed above. Mix well and make small ball of this paste. Put mustard oil in a fry pan and give these balls a deep fry. Repeat this process till whole paste is over. Pakoras are now ready to serve. Serve these hot with chutney or tomato  ketchup.

Patharkhar leaves used to make pakoras.

Pakora Curry :

Ingredients:
Patharkhar pakoras; 250 g mustard oil 3-4 table spoons; coriander powder, 1 table spoon; fenugreek seed powder, ½ table spoon; cumin seeds, 1 tea spoon; turmeric powder, 1 table spoon; red chilies, 2-3; chopped onion, 1; chopped garlic, 4-6 cloves; ginger paste, ½ table spoon; tomato puree, 3 or 5 cups curd.  

Method:

Sautecurd in hot mustard oil along with spices listed above in same sequence. Add to it patharkhar pakoras and cook for 8-10 minutes. Now add to it garam masala and garnish with mint or coriander leaves. Patharkhar pakora curry is now ready to serve, You can serve it with rice or chapattis

Patharkhar Pakoras ready to serve.

Potato fingers:

Crispy potato fingers prepared from semolina (Sujji), potato and green patharkhar leaves are a perfect evening or party snack which can be served with chutney or tomato ketchup.

Patharkhar leaves added to sujji and potato paste for making potato fingers.

Ingredients:

Medium sized potatoes, 4; sujji, ½ cup amount; finely chopped patharkhar leaves, 1 cup amount; green chillies, 4-6; ajwain, ½ tea spoon; black pepper, ¼ tea spoon; deshi ghee, 1 table spoon; mustard oil, 10-12 table spoon. salt according to taste.

Crispy potato fingers ready to serve.

Method:

Take ½ cup amount water in a pan. Boil it by adding one tea spoon desi ghee or oil and salt according to taste. Now add to it sujji and stir it continuously for few seconds. Now transfer sujji to a mixing bowl and let it cool down. Finely grate boiled potato so that no lumps appear when mixed with sujii.

Video showing Crispy potato fingers recipe

Now add finely chopped patharkhar leaves and spices listed above. Mix well and ready the mixture into a dough. Grease the palm and prepare fine and thin cylindrical shapes from the dough like a finger. Now in hot mustard oil fry these fingers till these are golden brown and crispy. Repeat the process till whole dough is over. Now crispy potato fingers are ready to serve. Serve hot with chutney/ tomato ketchup or tea. 

A kid enjoying patharkhar potato fingers.

Kachru or sosaru:

Kachru is a traditional dish of Western Himalaya usually taken as a morning breakfast or evening snack with tea / chutney or tomato ketchup.

Ingredients:

For preparing a kachru, ingredients required are 250 g fresh patharkhar leaves, 1/2 kg besan (black gram powder) or corn flour. 1 cup amount fresh coriander leaves/ curry leaves/ mint leaves,1/2 table spoon ajwain, 3-5 green chillies, ½ table spoon turmeric powder, 2-3 chopped onions and salt according to taste

Method:

Make a paste of leaves, besan or corn flour and spices. Heat some oil on a flat heating pan. Put this paste over a pan and cook for 15 to 20 minutes then kachru will be ready. Repeat the process till whole paste is over and serve hot with chutney/ tea or tomato ketchup.

Patharkhar , basen and spices kachru ready to serve

Herbal patharkhar Tea:

Ingredients:

Patharkhar leaves, 6-8; water, 2 cup amount; sugar, 2 table spoons; lemon juice, 2 tea spoons.

Patharkhar leaves, honey and water for tea preparation.

Method:

Mince leaves and boil with water. Add sugar to it and simmer in low flame for 10 minutes. Strain into tea cups. Add lemon juice to each and serve.

Patharkhar tea ready to serve.

Chutney:

Ingredients:

To prepare chutney, take 100 gm patharkhar leaves, 100 gm tender
Zanthoxylum armatum leaves, 100 gm chopped mint leaves, 50 gm Cyclospermum leptophyllum leaves , 250 gm, raw Prunus domestica fruits; 5-6 green chillies, 20 gm coriander leaves/ curry leaves, 2-3 onion, 1 table spoon amount ginger.

Method:

Grind well all above ingredients in a mixer grinder and add salt according to taste. Now chutney is ready to serve.

Nutrient Value:

Patharkhar contain (1.21 ± 0.07 and 0.8 ± 0.03%) ash, (72.92 ± 1.08 and 4.46 ± 0.52%) carbohydrate, (1.38 ± 0.06 and 1. 15 ± 0.05%) fat, (6.02 ± 1. 06 and 0.95 ± 0.06%) fibre, (5. 38 ± 0.10 and 1.61 ± 0.02%) protein, and (13.01 ± 1.03 and 91.03± 0.55%) moisture in dry and fresh samples respectively. The result also revealed that potassium (3.49±0.01and 3.74 ±0.04 %) and calcium (4.99±0.01 and 6.82 ± 0.04 %) were the major minerals present in the samples. This indicated that Bryophyllum pinnatum leaf is a good source of human nutrition and should be included as dietary supplement1 .

Seek professional advice before treating this plant medicinally.

Medicinal value:

Patharkhar is a widely used divine herb having antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, antihistamine and anaphylactic properties 3. It is used in variety of ailments such as inflammations, ulcers, fungal, viral and microbial infections, an impaired immune system, diabetes mellitus, spasms and insect bites 2. It is good for almost any ailments like high blood pressure, headaches, abscess, and swellings. Tea made from stem and leaves is used for menstrual cramps, asthma and helps with sinus issues as well as increasing energy levels2. It is also consumed to clean the bladder and get rid of harmful toxins from the intestines. Plant is helpful in treatment of kidney stones, urinary disorders, leukaemia, vaginal disorders, headache, leucorrhoea, piles, grey hair, jaundice, weight management, cold and coughs 3,4.

Chemical constituents:

The whole plant contains bryophyllin and organic acids, citric, isocitric and malic 5.

Other Uses:

Patharkhar is grown as a garden plant for its beautiful bell shaped pinkish red flowers. The leaves are macerated, soaked in water, and then used as a shampoo 6.

Patharkhar grown in a container.

References:

  1. Nwali, B. U., Okaka, A. N. C., Offor, C. E., Aja, P. M., & Nwachi, U. E. (2014). Proximate and Mineral Compositions of Bryophyllum pinnatum Leaves. American Journal of Phytomedicine and Clinical Therapeutics, 2(3), 286-289.
  2. Kamboj, A., & Saluja, A. (2009). Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lam.) Kurz.: phytochemical and pharmacological profile: a review. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 3(6), 364.
  3. https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/Life-plant.
  4. www.homeremediess.com/ayurvedic-plant-bryophyllum-pinnatum uses-and-pics/.
  5. Purohit SS, Sharma AK, Prajapati ND, Kumar T. (2009); A handbook of medicinal plants: a complete source book. 2:352-3.
  6. DeFilipps, R. A., Maina, S. L., & Crepin, J. (2004). Medicinal plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana). Washington, DC: Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

2 thoughts on “Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Pers- Patharkhar (पथरखार), Patharchatta, Patharchur, parnabija

  1. Dear mam, I always Scan your website, I’m shocked Everytime with your work. I find complete information in one blog either, edible medicinal and nutritional. Keep it up 💪

  2. Wonderful artical, thanks for this new medicinal plant information. I was not aware with its other benifits as i only knows that this plant is only used for stone problem.

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