Tribulus terrestris – Famine Foods

Tribulus terrestris

Uses

India (Bombay Presidency): leaves boiled in water and mixed with salt, and chili peppers if available. A weed on waste, sandy soils; (Madras Presidency): leaves eaten as greens. The fruits are also reported eaten, with the hard seeds reduced to a powder for baking into bread or mixed with Bajra (millet) flour. When eaten by sheep, the plant is reported to cause “big head” or geeldikop. The nitrate detected in variable amounts in this plant is converted into nitrite by reducing enzymes which rapidly change the hemoglobin in the blood to methhemoglobin resulting in asphyxia in the affected animals. In New South Wales, the plant is reported to cause mortalities in sheep and cattle with symptoms of HCN poisoning. Africa (west): the leaves are cooked together with Cassia tora [CAESALPINIACEAE] (q.v.). China: seeds roasted until they become yellow. The sharp spines are removed and the seeds are then ground into a flour that is made into cakes which are cooked by steaming. Sudan (western): thorns ground into a paste [sic] and used in a porridge. Chad (central): leaves eaten. Seeds also threshed and ground into flour [tarà] to make a porridge mixed with milk.

Additional Information

Name Authority:
L.
Vernaculars:
India (Bombay Presidency, Nasik district): Serata, Gokharu. (Rajasthan), Jaisalmer district): Kanti. Tamil: Nerenjee keeray. Telugu: Palleroo. Sudan: Direisa. (Chad, central) - Arabic: Derressat on nas. English: Calthorp.
Misc:
When eaten by sheep, the plant is reported to cause "big head" or geeldikop. The nitrate detected in variable amounts in this plant is converted into nitrite by reducing enzymes which rapidly change the hemoglobin in the blood to methhemoglobin resulting in asphyxia in the affected animals. In New South Wales, the plant is reported to cause mortalities in sheep and cattle with symptoms of HCN poisoning. Chemical composition (per 100g) (leaves): Protein = 5.4. Fat = 0.6g. Kcal = 70.

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