Health and Wellness

Makhana – Fox Nut

Makhana widely grows in ponds. Plant is like a kamal plant but whole parts are full of  spines . Its seeds are dropped in mud naturally like Kamal plant. It is used in divine work and ‘Yagna’; therefore it is called ‘Makhana’.

Properties and uses:

Fresh makhana seeds reduce rakta-pitta and jwara, while after maturing (drying) guru, vishtambhakaraka and becomes durjar.

Latin name : Euryale ferox Salisb.

Family : Nymphaeaceae

Geographical distribution

Plant occurs eastwards to East Bengal; it is also in Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh in tanks and jhils. It is found (in aquatic habitats as an aquatic plant like Lotus) in northern, Central and western India and also in North Bihar (Darbhanga) in abundance in tanks and ponds; fresh water tanks and Jhils in Northern, Central and Western India.


Makhanna, Padmabijabha, Aankalodya, Paniyaphala

Vernacular names:

Bengali: Makhana

English: Fox nut, Gorgon nut

Gujarati: Makhana

Hindi: Makhanna;Machana

Marathi: Makane

Malayalam: Siew sat

Persian: Mukareh, Mukhareh

Punjabi: Jaibar, Jewar

Sanskrit: Makhanna, Padmabijabha, Aankalodya, Paniyaphala

Telugu: Mellunipahnanu

Unani: Kautapadmi

Urdu: Kantapadma

Uriya: Kuntapadma

Interpretation of someSynonyms

Makhanna – Which use in ‘Yagna’

Padmabijabha – Seed like ‘Kamalgatta’

Aankalodya  – Which floating on water

Paniyaphala –  Which grows on water

Flowering season:  During rains

Fruiting season:  Begins after wards, in some areas January – February and Bear 

Fruit in May – June)

Plant part used: Seed

Chemical constituents: Amino acids, protein, alkaloid, Phosphorous, calcium, potassium, sodium, iron, Manganese, Copper, Starch, carbohydrate, carotene trace, thiamine (vitaminB1), nicotinic acid etc.

Reported Nutritional value: 8.5% protein, 16 types of amino acids, the values related to essential amino acids (EAAI) in raw and pop Makhana and chemical scores (CS) of Makhana were 93% and 83%. That is higher than rice (83%), wheat(65%), Bengal gram(81.5), cow’s milk(88.8%), fish(89.2%), mutton (87.24). Makhana protein (10-12%) was a bit lower when compared to cereals. Still it was nutritionally superior to many plant and animal based diets due to high EAAI and CS.

Makhana is a highly valued plant. Pop Makhana values hence have been reported amino acid, protein and Carbohydrate.

Protein and amino acid composition (g/16gN). of Makhana when compared with egg and FAO/WHO pattern.

Amino acidMakhanaEggFAO/WHO
Aspartic acid5.765.0510.47.7
Glutamic acid16.6417.0625.0514.7

Comparative value of Essential Amino Acid Index (EAAI) and biological value (BV) of foods

Rice82.8868.054.93Gopalan et al. ,1987
Wheat65.1862.639.7Eggum et al. ,1977
Bengal gram81.5568.053.33Gopalan et al. ,1987
Soyabean85.6950.752.6Sikka et al. ,1978
Amaranth57.7240.93Gopalan et al. ,1987
Human milk81.5559.7Gopalan et al. ,1987
Cow’s milk88.884.552.54Gopalan et al. ,1987
Fish89.259.765.7Sikka et al. ,1978
Mutton87.2474.071.46Gopalan et al. ,1987
Fried89.975556.57Jha et al. ,1991
Raw93.63 70.0Jha et al. ,1991

Calcium 40.67 mg/kg, 79.79mg/kg phosphorous, 4.46mg/kg iron, Reducing, non-reducing and Total sugar (0.26, 0.57 and 0.83%) respectively.

80% starch present in the perisperm.

Euryale ferox was a store house of macro and micro nutrients. Good amount of Nitrogen (0.197), phosphorous(2397 mg/kg) was higher than common fruit like guava, litchi and mango (300-800mg/kg), seeds (159-240 mg/kg), E. ferox was sodium loving crop (180-200 mg/kg). Various common fruits like mango, litchi and banana had Fe content in the range of 105 to 678 mg/kg while in various parts of Makhana plant was found to be 1994 to 2236 mg/kg, Zn content in Makhana fruit (2.9 to 66 mg/kg) is higher than fruits and vegetables like cucumber, mango and banana (23.3, 7.3 and 5.3 mg/kg respectively), Cu in uniform range 8.3 mg/kg. Mn was higher of Makhana fruits (25-35 mg/kg) than in mango, cucumber and banana (7.3mg/kg, 14.4mg/kg and 29.6mg/kg)

Properties and Uses

Makhana is recommended for treatment of disease regarding Respiratory, Circulatory, Digestive, Excretory and Reproductive systems.

Tonic, cardiac tonic, astringent, haemostatic, useful to check burning sensation, debility, weakness in females after delivery leucorrhoea and spermatorrhea. Disease of spleen, polyuria, spermatorrhea, gonorrhoea, articular pains, micturition and seminal loss are also treated with it. It is also reported the seeds to be effective in increasing the secretion of hormones. It acts as an expectorant and emetic, seeds have binding action in dysentery. Though overdoses cause constipation and flatulence. It was also utilized to overcome postnatal weakness in women.  

It is also reported that E. ferox is a good immunostimulant. Feeding of E. ferox stimulated humoral immunity and suggested its applications in mother after delivery and invalids. It was taken internally in the treatment of chronic diarrhoea, vaginal discharge, kidney weakness associated with frequent urination, impotence, premature and involuntary ejaculation and nocturnal emission. It also regulates blood pressure; relieves numbness and aching near the waist and knees. It is suitable for arthritis; impotence and premature aging.

The American Herbal Products Association had given Euryale seed a class 1 rating. In the Unani system of medicine seeds were used against dysmenorrhoea. According to principles of Chinese medicine, its main functions were to tonify the spleen and stop diarrhoea, to strengthen the kidneys and control the essence. The seeds contained sufficient amounts of vitamins, so used to treat Beriberi, a disease caused by vitamin B1

It is useful as an aphrodisiac (vrishya) and conception – promoting – preserving or foetus stabilising (Garbha sansthapak – Praja sthapana): it heals burning sensation in body, pitta and blood provocation (pitta rakta prakopana). It is strengthening body and toning up body tissues (balya-brihana) and haemostatic (shonit sthapana), semen promoting – propelling and checking the semen – discharge or delaying ejaculation (shukraj anana – shukra stambhana), allaying provocation of vata and pitta dosha.

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