Water Spinach – Uses, Qualities, Remedies, Research

By Dr Renita D’Souza
Water spinach is a nutritious vegetable used for both culinary and therapeutic proposes. It is traditionally used to treat diabetes, constipation, opium poisoning, heavy metal toxicity, piles, ringworm etc. In Unani system of medicine, water spinach is used as carminative and used as a remedy to treat inflammation, fever, jaundice, bronchitis, biliousness, liver malfunctions etc.
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Botanical Name – Ipomoea aquatica
Family – Convolvulaceae

Vernacular Names

Sanskrit Name – Kalambi
English Name – Water spinach, Swamp cabbage, Water morning glory, Aquatic morning glory, Chinese water spinach, River spinach, water convolvulus
Hindi Name – Kalambi shak, Karami, Kalami ka sag, Karemu, Nali
Bengali Name – Kalmi shak, Kulmi sag
Kannada Name – Chanthion
Telugu Name – Tome vachali, Tutikura
Marathi Name – Nalichi bhaji
Gujarati Name – Nalini bhaji
Tamil Name – Sarkaraivalli
Manipuri – Kolamni
Oriya Name – Kalama saga
Konkani Name – Takasi vel

Medicinal Qualities

Taste – sweet
Sthanyada – increases breast milk production
Shukrakaarini – increases sperm count


  • Its juice is used to induce vomiting in Opium poisoning
  • In ringworm, buds paste is applied
  • Oral Intake of water spinach leaves helps to cure jaundice, nervous debility.
  • The dried juice of the plant is considered as purgative in nature.
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Sanskrit Verses

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Phytochemical Constituents

Ipomoea aquatica contains vitamins, flavonoids, amino acids, alkaloids, lipids, steroids, saponin, phenols, reducing sugar, tannins, β-carotene, glycosides and minerals etc. (A)

Nutritional Values

Water spinach contains vitamins such as A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, K and “U” (S-methyl-methionine).
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Morphology, Distribution

Ipomoea aquatica is a semi aquatic plant, Stem is hollow, grows up to 2 – 3 meters in height, roots at the nodes. Leaves vary from arrow head-shaped (sagittate) to lanceolate, 5–15 cm long and 2–8 cm broad. Flowers are trumpet-shaped, usually white in color with a pale purple in the center. This grows in water or on moist soil. (B)

Ipomoea aquatica is commonly grown in East, South and Southeast Asia.


Anti inflammatory Activity – A research study conducted to evaluate anti inflammatory activity of hydroalcoholic extract of Ipomoea aquatica leaves have proved its potent inflammation inhibitory activity.
Hepatoprotective Activity – A research study conducted to evaluate hepatoprotective activity of Ipomoea aquatica plant against carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity in Wistar albino rats, the results have showed that ethanolic extract of the plant have significant hepatoprotective activity.

Sanskrit Synonyms



Classical Categorization
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Shaka varga
Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadhi varga

Scientific Classification
Domain – Eukaryota
Kingdom – Plantae
Phylum – Spermatophyta
Subphylum – Angiospermae
Class – Dicotyledonae
Order – Solanales
Family – Convolvulaceae
Genus – Ipomoea
Species – Ipomoea aquatica

Water convolvulus, raw

Taste – sweet, slightly bitter
Properties – light (reduces cholesterol)
Potency – cold (grows on or near water / moist soils)
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka )  – Pungent
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing (useful in constipation)
Pitta balancing (used in treatment of jaundice and anaemia)
Kapha nourishing (boosts immunity)

Water convolvulus, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt

Taste – sweet, slightly bitter
Properties – light (lighter than raw as it is cooked, boiled, drained)
Potency – cold (grows on or near water / moist soils)
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka )  – Pungent
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing
Pitta balancing
Kapha nourishing (less Kapha nourishing than raw)

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