Pirandai is a perennial plant known as adamant creeper, devil’s backbone and veldt grape is a creeper from grape family with botanical name cissus quadrangularis. It is a popular creeper and can be grown easily without much effort. It also grows in small pots at home. The blooms are yellow to greenish in color and berried become red when ripe. This plant can also grow anywhere, so you might see anywhere in the roadsides too.
It was initially found in India, SriLanka and Bangladesh only. Now it is grown in all parts of the world and cultivated like a vegetable in certain localities. This popular creeper plant is very popular for its medicinal benefits. The ease of growing it makes it easily available for usage. It is called by many names in India and those are mentioned below.
Veldt grape – Names in other languages:
- Scientific name – Cissus quadrangularis (1)
- English – Veldt grape
- Hindi – Hadjod
- Sanskrit – Asthisamhari
- Malayalam – Cannalamparanta
- Bengali – Harbhanga
- Tamil – Prandai
- Kannada – Asthi samhaara
- Telugu – Gudametige
Different varieties of this creeper plant are found in various regions with synonymous names. Of the many varieties, two of them, Cissus Quadrangularis and Vitis Quadrangularis, are predominantly used for their culinary and medicinal benefits. It is consumed like a vegetable in many places and can be crushed along with other spices for taste.
It is also used in many natural medicines since ancient times in India, especially in Ayurveda and Sidha. This article explains about the health benefits and medicinal properties of veldt grape (2).
Pirandai is rich in vitamin C and vitamin E. In 100gm of pirandai, 327mg vitamin C and 696mg vitamin E are present. It is an anti-oxidant containing flavonoids and quercetin (3). This herb is also a rich source of calcium that helps in strengthening the bones.
Veldt grape contains the below mentioned chemical compounds also.
It is a type of flavonoid that is present in plants. It is also a powerful anti-oxidant that helps to eliminate free radicals. This particular flavonoid is present in dark colored vegetables like broccoli, greens, tomatoes, red cabbage (4) and blue berries. It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory by nature. It also boosts the immune system (5).
This is also a flavonoid that is plant derived and is present in various plants. It is a yellow crystalline that is soluble in water. It is a anti-oxidant agent and helps to reduce oxidative stress (6). This particular flavonoid is found to show cancer reversing effects when consumed internally. It is used in ancient medicine to prevent cancer. Though there are no research evidences, many researchers are working on converting this chemical to medicine form to treat cancer (7).
It is a phytonutrient that is present in veldt grape and also in red wine. This particular chemical penetrates and works from the cellular level and treats the cellular damage. Pirandai contains this anti-ageing chemical that works wonders when consumed on a regular basis. It is also found to reduce the chances of cardiac issues and strokes (8). It also prevents obesity, reduces inflammation and prevents cognitive impairment (due to old age) in older people.
It is similar to resveratrol and is found in wine, dark greens and veldt grape. It is biologically similar to resveratrol and contains plenty of anti-oxidants. This compound also has the capacity to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevents cancer. It also helps in prevention of asthma, diabetes and internal inflammation (9).
Pirandai is used like a herb and is included in many traditional medicines, particularly in Ayurveda system for a long time. However modern research has not still come out with details regarding the nutrient contents and health benefits of the herb.
This plant is widely used in treatment of diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, bone fractures, malaria, asthma, stomach disorders, menstrual pains, peptic ulcer (10), cancer, metabolic syndrome and heart related risks. It is also used in medicines prepared as supplements for body building as an alternative to anabolic-steroids.
Significant benefits derived from Pirandai
The anti-inflammatory property of pirandai/veldt grape is ideal for the treatment of internal inflammation and pain. It can be used like a poultice or applied directly on the affected area.
How to prepare the paste:
Pirandai paste is made by grinding the pieces of the herb with tamarind, turmeric and salt. Then it is mixed with water and boiled. The paste is then applied externally to cure sprains and minor bone injuries or fractures. The juice extracted from the herb can be mixed with the same ingredients mentioned above and boiled. The solution can be applied on the affected area.
Chutney (type of gravy) made from Pirandai (as prepared by households in South India), can be consumed twice a week to remove gastritis and intestinal disorders. It enhances appetite by curing stomach related disorders.
How to make chutney:
Pirandai chutney is made by frying the chopped leaves on a pan with sesame oil (11). You can add urad dal and dry chilli for taste. Once cooled down, it can be grinded using a mixer. Add sat for taste to the prepared chutney. This chutney can be regularly included in the normal diet. Regular consumption remove ringworms from the stomach. Appropriate administering of pirandai to children cures stomach disorders and enhances digestion. For children, normally, dried and fried chips of the herb is given to make it more palatable for them.
Reduce bad cholesterol
Pirandai is a blood purifier. It helps to reduce hunger and prevents craving for more food. This helps the body to use already stored fat as energy. Consumption of the cooked herb regularly keeps the cholesterol ratio at the desired level by reducing the bad cholesterol. Thus it prevents heart diseases. Chutney prepared from the plant can be consumed to reduce cholesterol also.
Improves bone health
Medicinal properties in this plant helps to strengthen the bones and prevents degeneration. Veldt grape adds more calcium when consumed regularly. It is used as a supplement to heal damaged or broken bones. This herb has the ability to stimulate growth of strong bones. It is found to induce the production of osteoblast (12) that is responsible for bone growth.
It is one of the effective remedies that many follow to reduce and regulate blood sugar levels. Regular intake helps to regulate the release of glucose in the blood, which prevents spikes and sudden fall of blood sugar. Since it also helps in weight loss, people who habe Type II diabetes, can have double benefit.
Powder prepared from dry pirandai can be regularly consumed by all types of diabetic patients in order to reduce the blood sugar levels. However, if you are already under medications for diabetes, please be cautious as pirandai powder can drastically reduce the blood sugar levels below normal.
Veldt grape contains ascorbic acids, also called as vitamin C, helps to strengthen your immune system. It boosts the production of white blood cells that helps to fight pathogens and harmful bacteria/viruses.
Reduces menstrual cramps
When the plant leaves are consumed regularly, it has the ability to reduce cramps and bloating caused during menstruation. It is also found that it can reduce the stress caused during menstruation.
- Juice prepared from raw herb is recommended for consumption to cure bleeding nose, respiratory problems and asthma. It is also used to stop pus in the ears.
- Complications arising out of menstrual cramps and irregular periods are cured by consumption of different forms of pirandai preparations.
- Consume the leaves of the herb fried in ghee to cure fistula and bleeding piles.
- It also cures disorders due to phlegm.
- Consume the leaves regularly to cure respiratory illness like asthma, breathing trouble and phlegm.
- Consumption of the herb in various cooked forms, with added ingredients for taste, removes poison due to spider bite, eruptions, eczema and cutaneous diseases.
- Conditions of weakness and fatigue caused due to prolonged illness can be cured by consuming chutney made from pirandai, pepper and salt
- Wash, dry and powder the toots of this herb and consume the powder to treat fractured bones. While consuming, you can externally apply a paste of the powder mixed in hot water to speed up joining of the fractures.
How to choose the leaves
You need to be careful when you choose the leaves for consumption/cooking. When you choose mature leaves, it might cause itchiness in the throat when eaten. If you can find tender or small leaves, it will not cause any itching. Once you are used to the leaves, you can identify the right ones for consumption.
How to clean the plant before consumption
The plant is itchy in nature and can cause itching in your fingers when touched in raw form. Before touching the plant, it is better if your apply oil on your hands. You can prevent itching by wearing kitchen gloves also.
First you need to clean the leaves in running water. Once done, remove the strings from it. Also cut and remove the sharp edges from all sides of the leaves. Chop the leaves carefully. You will find the fleshy part and the skin. You can use both for consumption.
Chop the leaves into small pieces and mix it along with your favorite spices.
Pirandai needs to be handled carefully in its raw form as it can cause itchiness. Though there are no side effects caused by this creeper, there are few people who feel nausea, mild headache, flatulence or general discomfort when exposed to the plant for the first time.