Acalypha indica (English: Indian acalypha, Indian nettle, three-seeded mercury French: Ricinelle des Indes, oreille de chatte, herbe chatte,Muktajhuri in Bengali, Tamil: Poonamayakki, KuppaimeniSinhalese: පපමනය) is a species of plant having catkin type of inflorescence. It occurs throughout tropical Africa and South Africa, in India and Sri Lanka, as well as in Yemen and Pakistan. It has possibly been introduced elsewhere as a weed. In West and East Africa the plant is used as a medicinal plant. In West Africa the leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable. It is also browsed by cattle. This plant is held in high esteem in traditional Tamil Siddha medicine as it is believed to rejuvenate the body.
It is a common herb growing up to 75 cm (30 in) tall with ovate leaves. Flowers are green, unisexual found in catkin inflorescence.
Acalypha indica occurs widely throughout the tropics of the Old World. In Africa it occurs in Nigeria in West Africa and further widely throughout tropical Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. It also occurs in India, South East Asia, and Oceania. It has been introduced to areas of the new world with favorable climates.
Throughout the area where the plant grows, it is widely known for its effect on domestic cats, which react very strongly and favorably to the root of the plant. In this regard it is very similar to catnip, but the effect is much more pronounced. Due to this ability it is called as Poonamayakki in Tamil, and Pokok Kucing Galak (Excited Cat Tree) in Malay.
The chemical compounds acalyphine and triacetoneamine have been extracted from A. indica. Other chemical constituents include cyanogenic glucosides and alkaloids.