Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Healing Herb of India: Commiphora wightii (Guggul)

Commiphora wightii (Guggul)
Commiphora wightii (Guggul) is a flowering plant of the family Burseraceae. It is a small tree with thin papery bark and thorny branches. It occurs in the dry zones from the Deccan and west India to the north-west and Karachi, Sind and Balochistan in Pakistan. C. wightii is commonly known as Guggulu, Koushika, Devadhupa, Palankasha, Guggul, Guggal, Guggal lipid, Commiphora, Mukul,Mukul myrrh tree and Balsamodendron.

Guggul contains contains resin, volatile oils and gum. The gum resin of the Commiphora tree is renowned for the treatment of inflammatory disorders, burns, rheumatoid arthritis, lipid disorders, obesity, skin diseases, and other ailments. It is used internally as an expectorant and for the treatment of diarrhea, fatigue, headache, jaundice and ingestion. It is also used as an insecticide and insect repellent. Guggul is also used for treating cervical adenitis, and acts as bitter stomachic and carminative, stimulating appetite and improving digestion.

Guggul resin
Commiphora wightii :Resin (gum)
The gum of the plant is laxative, aphrodiasiac, alternative, tonic and anthelmintic. It causes biliousness, heals fractures, ulcers, fistula and piles. It also cures indigestion, urinary discharges, urinary discharges, urinary concretions, leucoderma, tuberous glands in the neck, and tridosha, removes vata and kapha. It is useful in ascites, asthma and troubles of the chest, and in treating chronic discharges from the ear.

Commiphora wightii -Guggul plant
The fruit of commiphora cures abdominal troubles. The gum enriches blood and is useful in muscular rheumatism, lung complaints, dyspepsia and piles. It is used as mouthwash, dentifrice, and in curing ulcers of the mouth and pharynx, for cleaning foul and indolent ulcers, for healing wounds in the veterinary practice, as an ingredient in incense and perfume in the holy oil of Jews, and in the ‘Kyphi’ of Egyptians for embalming and fumigation.

Guggul is effective as weight loss and fat burning agent. It increases white blood cell counts and possess disinfecting properties. It is often used as a carrier & combined with other herbs to treat specific conditions. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Queen of Herbs: Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari)

Asparagus racemosus -Shatavari
Asparagus racemosus: The Queen of Herbs

The ‘Queen of Herbs’, Asparagus racemosus (family Liliaceae) is a spiny-stemmed, woody climber native to the Himalayas. Also popular as Shatavari, it has been mentioned in Ayurvedic texts like the Charak Samhita, Susruta Samhita, Astanga Samgraha & Kashyap Samhita for preventing and treating various health disorders. Other vernacular names for this herb are Shatawari, Satmuli, Shatamuli, Asparagus, Satawari, Kurilo and Satawar.

Its principal constituents include steroidal saponins, rhamnose moieties, sarsasapogenin, alkaloids, proteins, starch, tannin, isoflavones including 8-methoxy - 5, 6, 4 - trihydroxyisoflavone 7 - 0 - beta - D - glucopyranoside, asparagamine, racemosol, polysaccharides. The dried roots (tubers) of asparagus contain a large amount of saccharine, mucilage & minerals.

The healing properties of Asparagus are useful to a wide array of ailments. The tuber of asparagus is the main source of ‘Shatawar’ drug, used in indigenous medicine as a tonic, for improving appetite and increasing the secretion of milk in lactating women. The drug is a demulcent and aphrodisiac. It has diuretic and gastric sedative properties, and is used to treat urinary problems and rheumatic conditions. It is also prescribed for treating cases of nervous breakdown and menstrual trouble.

Asparagus racemosus
Asparagus Tubers (Roots)
The tubers are considered stomachic, tonic & astringent to the bowels. The tubers are also useful in dysentery, tumors, inflammation, biliousness, leprosy, epilepsy, night blindness, and diseases of the nervous system. It is also used for diabetes, jaundice, gleet, gonorrhea, as well as kidney and liver disorders. The herb is capable of improving memory, intelligence and physical strength.

Asparagus is effective in curing diseases due to impurities of the blood, piles, eye diseases, vaginal disorders like leucorrhea, uterine disorders & also regulates menstruation. It is also used for sexual debility & infertility for both men and women.

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