PosterPDF Available

Choddo Shaak: The fourteen magical herbs



This poster is about the "Choddo Shaak", or the fourteen herbs having various medicinal benefits, which are taken as a ritualistic food on the day preceding Kali Puja in West Bengal, India. Here, we have discussed about the fourteen herbs and their properties with an intention to raise awareness of this dying tradition as well as the need for cultivating these herbs and bringing them into the mainstream of cultivation.
Choddo Shaak: The fourteen magical herbs.
Atmaadeep Ganguly, Writawrik Bhattacharya, Amitesh Chakraborty
Department of Microbiology, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Centenary College
Medicinal Benefits
Choddo shaak or the 14 herbs is a
combination of various plants which are
consumed on Bhoot Chaturdashi or
Narak chaturdashi during the onset of
winter which symbolizes our 14 ancestors.
Although it has rich cultural significance, if
we look closer with a scientific approach,
it has more intriguing things to offer.
We should add these herbs to our plate more frequently, rather than once in a year.
It can be made as an alternative economic source for low scale farmers as these plants
are only cultivated on demand but if they are brought into mainstream of cultivation then
both our heritage as well as health would keep shining.
Taking these herbs as a supplement like Spirulina, in the form of tablets,
can boost our immune system throughout the year, as most of these herbs
are not perennial.
Marselia quadrifolia | Waterclover | Sushni Shaak
Family: Marseliaceae
Rich source of polyphenols with strong antioxidant properties. A product may be developed for
relieving oxidative stress.
Anti-inflammatory, diuretic, depurative, febrifuge and refrigerant, used to treat snakebites and applied
to abscesses.
Cordia dichotoma | Indian Cherry | Sheluka Pata
Family: Boraginaceae
Bark, pulp, leaves and seeds patent invitro anticancer potential by SRB assay. Bark portion has
cytotoxicity against human lung cancer cell line.
Methanolic extract of the leaves have gastroprotective, anti inflammatory, antioxidant potentials.
Costus speciosus | Crepe Ginger | Keu Pata
Family: Costaceae
It is commonly called the “insulin plant” due to its antidiabetic properties. Leaf extract of this plant
shows antituberculosis activity.
Can be used as treatment against inflammation, bronchitis, rheumatism, high fever, asthma,
flatulence, leprosy, skin disease, anaemia etc.
Clerodendrum infortunatum | Hill Glory Bower | Bhant Pata
Family: Lamiaceae
Used as antidandruff, antipyretic, acaricide, laxative, vermifuge, anticonvulsant, against skin
diseases, snake bites and tumours.
Leaves and roots are used traditionally as antihyperglycemic, thus can be used in diabetes.
Tinospora cordifolia | Heart leaved moonseed | Gulancha Pata
Family: Menispermaceae
During the pandemic, AYUSH recommended use of it. Although it was being used as a
treatment against hepatitis.
Contains constituents like terpenes, glycosides, alkaloids, steroids and flavonoids thus rightly
mentioned in ancient scriptures to be Amrita.
Brassica campestris | Mustard Leaves | Shorshe Shaak
Family: Brassicaceae
Seeds contain oil containing glycerides of palmitic, oleic and linoleic acids. Used against
common cold, and even various tumours.
Leaf extract has antibacterial, antiprotozoal, analgesic, antinociceptive, lipolytic activities.
Enhydra fluctuans | Buffalo Spinach | Hingche Shaak
Family: Asteraceae
Used as laxative, against asthma, rheumatism and has antipyretic, analgesic, appetite
suppressant, choleretic, purgative properties.
It has anti cancer role due to presence of antioxidant properties, pain relieving properties,
regular consumption lowers blood sugar levels.
Choddo shaak or the 14 herbs is a ritualistic delicacy that
is consumed in Bengal on the day before Kali puja called
Bhoot Chaturdashi. Apart from being a part of our rich
heritage the 14 herbs also have tremendous medicinal
values which we have tried to portray in this poster.
Through this venture, we are hopeful to raise awareness
of this dying tradition as well as the underexplored
species of herbs.
Azadirachta indica | Indian Lilac | Neem Pata
Family: Meliaceae
Contains phytochemicals like nimbin, salanin, coumarin etc. Have anti-inflammatory, anti-
arthritic, antipyretic, hypoglycemic, antibacterial, antifungal, spermicidal, analgesic, antimalarial
Used in leprosy, epistaxis, anorexia, piles, diabetes, asthma etc.
Cassia sophera | Algarrobilla | Kalkashunde Shaak
Family: Caesalpiniaceae
Studies show that the leaf extract has anti-asthmatic activity.
Reduces edema, minimizes bronchoconstriction, reduces leukocyte count in leucocytosis,
normalizes elevated serum enzymatic levels of ALT, AST, ALP, bilirubin etc. and helps in
Chenopodium album | Wild Spinach | Bethua Shaak
Family: Amaranthaceae
Leaves have diuretic, hepatoprotective, anthelmintic, spermicidal, sedative, laxative,
mucolytic, antiscorbutic activity. Used to treat anorexia, dysentery, diarrhoea and even piles.
Significantly reduces Staphylococcus aureus population with leaf extract.
We would like to thank Revered Swami
Kamalasthananda, Swami Vedanuragananda, Br.
Parachaitanya, Head of the Department, and Dr. Sujoy
Pal, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology,
RKMVCC for the fruitful completion of this poster. Sesbania sesban | Egyptian Riverhemp | Jayanti Pata
Family: Fabaceae
Has anti-inflammatory, demulcent, spermicidal, carminative, antimicrobial, and anthelmintic
Contains saponins, phenolic compounds, alkaloids, flavonoids etc. Effective against various
bacteria and fungi.
Trichosanthes dioica | Pointed Gourd | Palta Pata
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Potent source of carbohydrates, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Hydroalcoholic extract of root has
ameliorative effects against myocardial cardiotoxicity in Wistar albino rats.
Possesses potent laxative, wound healing and hypoglycemic properties.
1. Dewanji A, Matai S, Si L, Barik S, Nag A. Chemical
composition of two semi-aquatic plants for food use. Plant
Foods Hum Nutr. 1993 Jul;44(1):11-6. doi:
10.1007/BF01088478. PMID: 8332583.
2. Bansal P, Malik MA, Das SN, Kaur J. Tinospora Cordifolia
Induces Cell Cycle Arrest in Human Oral Squamous Cell
Carcinoma Cells. Gulf J Oncolog. 2017 May;1(24):10-14.
PMID: 28797995
For further reference,
scan this QR Code.
Amorphophallus paeoniifolius | Elephant’s Foot Yam | Ol Shaak
Family: Araceae
Leaf extract shows analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antifungal and CNS
depressant activity.
Ambylone, a compound present in this plant, has cytotoxic activity. Effective against various
gram +ve and gram -ve bacteria.
Alternanthera sessilis | Sessile Joywood | Salinche Shaak
Family: Amaranthaceae
Has diuretic, cooling, laxative, tonic properties. Used to treat dysuria, haemorrhoids,
gastrointestinal disorders. Protective role in CCl4induced liver injury.
Leaves and callus have anti-glucosidase and antioxidant activity.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.