Achyranthes Aspera Linn
Botanical Name: Achyranthes Aspera Linn
Sanskrit Name: Aparajitha
Family Name: Amaranthacea
Vernacular names :
- Hindi – Chirachinta/Cingcingi
- Engish – Prickly chaff
- Malayalam –Katalati
- Tamil – Nayurvi
Synonyms –Kapipippali, Pratyakpuspi, Mayuraka, Sikhari, Kinihi, Adhahsalya, Markatapippali, Kubja
Ganas in classical texts:
Charaka: Sirovirecanopaga, Krirnighna, Vamanopaga
InRigveda we do not find the reference about Apamarga while Yajurvedic texts quote its saktu (powder) for antimicrobial (Raksaghna) property. It is claimed to remove the excessive water from the body on administration. The other properties attributed to it are: Papanasana, Mrtyunasana and Duhsvapnanasana. The process of preparation of Apamargaksara is also delineated invedas.
‘Apagha’ is the special name used for Apamargain MadyandiniSamhita. But some consider it may be the synonym of ‘Durva’.
Atharvaveda extensivelyquoted Apamarga and according to the etymology provided by Sayana, this plant drives away thevitiated dosas from th body. Hence the nameApamarga, The properties attributed this plant in Atharvaveda are : Sahasravirya, Krrnighna, Raksoghna, Rasayana, Arsoghna, Ksudha-trsnamarana, Visaghna, Asmarinasana and ojovardhana (A.V. 1711-8).
Paippaladaschool describes it as Dourbhagyanasana and Anapatyatanasana.Certain references provide clues about its in-dication in Kustha (leprosy)-(Sou. 7/65/3).
It is also described with another synonym “Praticiuaphala” indicating that the flowers/fruits are oppositely faced to each other.
It appears that the root of Apamarga was more utilized dur• ing the vedic period. This plant is considered as an anti-dote for snake bite and scorpion sting.
Charaka considered Apamarga as the best among the drugs used for Nasya/Sirovirecana .It is otherwise known as ‘Ksaramadhya’ and its Ksara (alkali of this plant) is used in therapeutics. Bhavamisra quoted that the fruits of Apamarga are Madhura rasa, Madhuravipaka in nature but leads to constipation (Vistarnbhi).
The reference about ‘GouradandaApamarga’ by Vagbhata (A.H.Sa. l/39) indicates towards another variety of Apamarga in the Samhitas. All the nighantu writers described two kinds of Aparnarga viz., Sveta (white) and Rakta (red) varieties. However, Kaiyadeva mentioned three varieties viz., Aparnarga (white), Vasira(red) and Rarnatha (blue?).
Thakurji quotes that the “later writers mention white (Sveta) and red (Rakta) varieties and one of them is said to have round grains (Vrttaphala). Vagbhata mentioned GauradandaApamarga (a variety with white stems) in Purnsavaaa”.
The second variety is identifies with PupalialappaceaMoq.
A.bidentataBlume is another species belonging to the genus Achyranthus which is in vogue for its medicinal value should also be studied further.
A stiff erect herb, 30-90 cm high. Branches spreading, Leaves opposite, Flowers- bisexual, greenish-white, arranged in long spikes, inverted (Hence Apamarga). Flowering in winter and fruiting in summer.
A tall, little-branched, aquatic herb, up to 3.6m in height, commonly found in the swampy areas or on the banks of tanks or rivers or lakes in Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and in peninsular India; it has also been recorded from Simla and Uttar Pradesh. Stem stout, up to 5.0cm in diameter, with tubercular outgrowths, often horizontal below water when floating; bark greenish grey, warty; leaves large, imparipinnate, 7. 5-15.0 cm long, leaflets oblong, numerous, 5-10 mm long; flowers large, yellow, 2-4 in axillary, corymbose racemes; lomenta woody, nearly straight, jointed, up to 7 .5 cm; seeds reniform, black.
As a weed throughout India
Major chemical constituents
Betaine, achyranthine,hentriacontane, ecdysterone; achyranthessaponins A, B, C, D.
Rasa –katu ,tikta
Guna –laghu, ruksa, tiksna
Virya – usna
Karma –kapha-vatahara, sirovirechana, dipana-pachan, medohara
Chardi, Hridruja,Adhmana, Kandu, Sula, Udara, Apachi, Raktarsas, Visuchika , Krimi, Sidhma, Sadyovrina, Mutrakrcchra
Part used –root, seed, leaf, whole plant, kshara
Therapeutic uses –
- Visucika- The root of Apamarga is taken with water
- Sidhma – Seeds of Mulaka and fresh juice of Apamarga are made into paste and applied externally
(3) Nidranasa- Decoction prepared with Kakajangha ,Aparnarga,Kokilaksa and Suparnika is useful
Dosage – Fresh juice 10-20 ml, Kshara 0.5-2g
Preparations – apamargaksharataila, Sikharighrita
The stem is white, soft, spongy and verylight,commonly called pith. The pith has high insulating properties. The thicker portions of the stems are cut into small bits of 60-90 cm and dried. The bark is removed and the pith is split into thin sheets. The best quality pith is obtained from West Bengal. The pith is dyed in different shades and is utilized for making sunhats, or solar helmets of tropical Asia, toys, artificial flowers, ear tops, lining of the palanquin-tops, and other decorations; it is also used for making bottle cork, fishnet floats, swimming jackets and lifebelts, and paper. Charcoal is also made from it. From the waste, composition corks can be made that are found suitable for soda bottles. The pith is reported to beused as a substitute for zurgical lint. It is employed in the laboratory for embedding plant material for sectioning for microscopic work (Fl Assam, II, 38; Dastur, Useful Plants, 18; Burkill, I, 59; Fl Madras, I, 234; Rama Rao,114; Fl Bombay, I, 364; For Res India, 1941-43, pt!, 65;Mehra et al, Econ Bot, 1975, 29, 39).
The plant may be useful as fodder and as a source of fuel and charcoal. The stems are tied together and used as rafts. The leaves are sometimes used as pot herb. The seeds yield oil. A fibre can be extracted from the bark (Dastur, Useful Plants, 18; Rama Rao, 114).
- The diuretic activity of ‘Ksara’ was found to be due to its high potassium content (Bhide et al., 1958).
- Clinically, administration of the decoction of whole plant lo patients of leprosy has been reported to show encouraging results in lepra reaction as well as the quiescent stage of lepromatous leprosy (Ojha et al., 1966 &Ogha& Singh, 1968).
- The alcoholic extract of the whole plant showed hypoglycaemic activity in albino rats (Dhar et al., 1968).
- The chloroform-soluble basic fraction (from plant) raised the BP of anaesthetized dog, caused initial transitory stimulation of respiration and increased amplitude of contractions of isolated guineapigs heart. It also showed spasmolytic action against vari• ousspasmogens on intestine and uterine muscles of guineapigs and a slight diuretic action in rats (Kapoor& Singh, 1967).
- Achyranthine, produced hypotension, depression of the heart, dilatation of the blood vessels and increase in the rate and amplitude of respiration in anaesthetized dogs. It also showed spasmogenic effect on frog’s rectus muscle and diuretic as well as purgative action in albino rats (Neogiet al., 1970).
- The alkaloidal fraction of the alcoholic extract of root bark inhibited the contractile response of isolated rat uterus suspended in oxygenated modified Ringer solution at 30° to 0.01 and 0.015 units of oxytocin (Gupta &Khanijo, 1970).
- The aqueous and alcoholic extracts of roots caused a sharp and transient fall in BP without any significant action on the respiration of anaesthetized dogs. On frog’s heart it had negative inotropic and chronotropiceffect (Gambhiret al., 1965).
- The saponin mixture isolated from seeds showed a significant increase in the force of contraction of isolated heart of frog, guinea pig and rabbit (Gupta et al., l 972a).
- The diuretic effect of saponin mixture was associated with increase in the excretion of Na & K in urine as found with acetazolamide (Gupta et al., 1972b).
Single Herb Use of Apamarga
Achyranthes Aspera for Cholera
- Make powder of AchyranthesAspera roots. Mix one teaspoon of the powder with warm water. Drink it Or Wash AchyranthesAspera roots with clean water. Grind it to make paste. Add one teaspoonful of the paste in lukewarm water. Let it infuse for 10 minutes. Drink the clear water. Use twice a day.
Achyranthes Aspera for Urine Retention
- Wash the roots with clean water. Grind it to make paste. Add one teaspoonful of the paste in lukewarm water. Infuse for 10 minutes. Drink the clear water. Use it, twice a day.
Achyranthes Aspera for Cough
- Prepare AchyranthesAspera leaves or flowers infusion. Take it, twice a day.
AchyranthesAspera for Cold
- Make an infusion of AchyranthesAspera flowers. Drink it, twice a day.
Achyranthes Aspera for Piles
- Add crushed seeds in your daily meal or Store the water after washing rice. Stir one teaspoon of crushed seeds in it. Drink twice a day.
Achyranthes Aspera for Swelling
- Prepare a decoction of the AchyranthesAspera root. Filter it. Take it, twice a day.
AchyranthesAspera for Skin Diseases
- Make fine paste of AchyranthesAspera leaves. Apply it on the affected part on the skin.
Achyranthes Aspera for Insect Bites
- Apply paste of AchyranthesAspera leaves on the affected part.
AchyranthesAspera for Stomach Ache
- Extract AchyranthesAspera leaf juice. Mix one teaspoon with 4 teaspoons of water. Take once in a day.
Achyranthes Aspera( Apamarga ) for Toothache
- AchyranthesAspera( Apamarga in India ) is a good herbal cure to treat pain in tooth. Regular use of powder made by AchyranthesAspera( Apamarga in India ), solves the problem permanently.
- Burn the dried AchyranthesAspera( Apamarga in India ). Take quarter teaspoon of powder. Add a pinch of salt. Use it as an Tooth powder.
AchyranthesAspera for Wounds
- Wash the wounds with AchyranthesAspera leaf juice. After this, bandage it with leaves.
Achyranthes Aspera as Diuretic
- Drink 30 ml decoction of AchyranthesAspera plant. Have it once a day.
Achyranthes Aspera for Abdominal Diseases
- Boil roots of AchyranthesAspera in water. Consume 40 ml of it once a day.
Achyranthes Aspera for Diarrhea
- Take 3 g dried leaves of AchyranthesAspera with Honey. Take it twice a day.
AchyranthesAspera as Antidote
- Crush leaves of AchyranthesAspera to make paste. Apply it on the toxic bites.
Achyranthes Aspera( Chichri ) for Acne
- Crush AchyranthesAspera( Chichri ) flowers. Add Honey ( Shehad ). Apply on affected parts. Pat dry and wash with normal water.
Achyranthes Aspera for Diabetes
- AchyranthesAspera has Antidiabetic effect. Therefore, it lowers down the blood sugar.
- Crush AchyranthesAspera plant to extract its juice. Take one teaspoon of juice once a day.
Achyranthes Aspera for High Cholesterol
- Take 5 ml plant extract of AchyranthesAspera once a day. It helps in lowering your elevated Cholesterol.
Achyranthes Aspera for Eyes
- Make root decoction of AchyranthesAspera. Cool. Use it to wash your Eyes.
Achyranthes Aspera for Kidney
- Crush leaves of AchyranthesAspera to extract its juice. Take half tsp of it twice a day.
Achyranthes Aspera for Asthma
- Crush dried leaves of AchyranthesAspera to make powder. Add Honey in it to make paste. Take half tsp of it thrice a day.
Achyranthes Aspera for Pneumonia
- Prepare a decoction of AchyranthesAspera plant. Drink 20 ml of it two times a day.
Achyranthes Aspera for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Make an infusion with roots of AchyranthesAspera. Consume 25 ml twice a day.
Achyranthes Aspera for Snake Bite
- Grind the seeds of AchyranthesAspera with water to make paste. Apply it over bitten area.
Achyranthes Aspera for Night Blindness
- Add 1 g dried root powder of AchyranthesAspera in a cup of lukewarm water. Drink it during bed time.
- It acts as a natural diuretic. Hence useful to relieve dysurea (difficulty in urination).
- It is useful to treat adbominal distension as in ascites, liver and spleen disorders.
- It is used in Ayurvedic treatment of ear diseases and leucoderma.
- It is used in treating cold, cough and other respiratory diseases.
- It is used as an ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines.
- It is also used in making Ksharasutra – special threads used in the treatment of abscess and fistula.
How long to use?
It can be used for a period of 2 – 3 months only.
Effect on Tridosha – It balances KaphaDosha.
ApamargaKshara side effects:
- Do not use this medicine for self medication.
- This medicine has to be taken strictly under medical supervision only.
- This medicine is best avoided in pregnant ladies and infants.
- Since it has kshara as ingredient, this might affect the quality and quantity of sperm on long term use. Hence people undergoing medical treatment for low sperm count should exercise precaution.
250 mg to 1 gram in divided dose, per day, along with Trikatuchurna and rock salt, after food or as directed by Ayurvedic doctor.
ApamargaKshara ingredients and how to make?
Completely developed Apamarga whole plant parts are collected, cleaned well, dried completely in sunlight. It is taken in a big iron pan and burnt completely in open air. After it cools down on its own, the ash is collected and mixed with 4 times of water (6 times of water according to other reference) then mixed well, filtered with cloth, into an Iron vessel. These contents are kept for one night as it is. Next day morning the clear supernatent part of water is filtered with a cloth into another vessel. This process of filtering is repeated for 3 – 4 times. Then this water is heated over mild fire, till the water content gets totally evaporated. White colored ApamargaKshara is produced. It is stored in an air tight glass contained. Expiry date: – 5 years, if stored in air tight containers. Once the bottle containing this medicine is opened, it should be emptied within a month or two. Reference: SushrutaSamhita Sutra Sthana 11/11, Rasa Tarangini 14/64, AFI,
Courtesy : The Wealth of India series , DravyaGuna by Dr. J.L.N. Sastry , InidanMateriaMedica by VaidyaBhagwan Dash , DravyaGuna by Dr. GnjanendraPandey