Hemedismus Indicus

Botanical Name: Hemedismus Indicus

Sanskrit Name: Sariva



Vernacular names :

Common Name –Indian sarsaparilla

Hindi and Bengali- Anantamul, Kapuri

English Name-Indian Sarsaparilla

Telugu name- Sungandhipala, Muttavapylagamu

Marathi name- Upalsari, Uparsal

Gujarati Name- Kapuri, Madhuri, Upalasri

Tamil Name- Nannari

Kannada Name- Sogade Beru

Malayalam Name- Naruneenti


Ananta, Anantamula, Asphota ,   Utpala Sariva, Syama, Krisodari, Chandana, Gopi.

Ganas in classical texts:

Charaka : Jvarahara,   Dahaprasamana, Purisasangrahaniya,Stanyasodhana,   Madhura   skandha

Susruta: Sarivadi, Vidarigandadi,   Vallipanchamula

Vagbhata: Sarivadi


Atharva   Parisista quotes ‘Sariva’   (A.P.   5/ I /5). ‘Anuntu’   is   also described   in   the same   text.   (A.P.   1/43/6)

Two varieties of Sariva (Hemedismus Indicus) are known from Charaka’s time. He enumerated   ‘Ananta’ in Kasaya skandha and ‘Gopavalli’ in Madhuru   skandha. Though Charaka and Susruta   quoted   Sariva dvaya   at several   instances, Vagbhata appears to   be quite on   this aspect.

In the Nighantus white (Sveta) and   black   (Krisna) varieties are mentioned. Dhanvantari   nighantu   indicates   that the black variety as Krsnarnlrlu (with   black root). Sodhala considered   the white   variety as Utpalu Sariva.

Bhavamisra described that Krisna Sariva is Characterized by the leaves simile to that of Jambu and possessing great aroma. He further denoted white   variety   as   ‘Gopa’   and black   variety   as ‘Gopa vaIIi’.

Dalhana commented   that Sariva   and   Utpala sariva   are the names of same plant.

Scholars   in   the modern era   have confirmed   the   followingbotanical names for the   above varieties

Sveta   Sariva-   Hemeclismus  indicus   R.   Br.

Krsna Sfirivji- Ichnocarpus frutcsccn«   R. Br.

Since the term   ‘Jambu patru sariva’ is mentioned, Cryptolepis buchanani Roem & Schult is   made as the   botanical source for it.

At present 70-80% of the market samples  of Sariva (Hemedismus Indicus) are Decalepis hamiltonii Wight & Arn   which are bulky in   size and less costly thant H. indicus. Due   to indiscreminate wild   collection D.   hamiltonii is listed as   endangered now. [Still, H.   indicus is abundantly available in wild   but problem with labour involved in collection is the cause for scarcity ]

Controversial Studies

Cakrapani in Cakradutta has given Asphota as Hafaramali .   The commentator of Sidhayogaby Vrnda has also identified it as Afaramallika . So this name Hafarmali is current   in   Bengal for Asphota .

Asphota is also controversial. Some says it is Girikarnica   (   Clitoria   ternatea ), others say it is sariva . But mostly it is identified as Sariva, So Hafarmali was Sariva. But vallaris creeper is known today as Hafarmali and so this confusion. True Sariva is Hemidesmus indicus.   All agree   to it.   The   aromatic roots are being employed for blood purification throughout the length and breadth of India.     It is the nannari of Malbar.

Ananta :

Bengali   K avirajas   use   Ichnocarpus frutiscens   R. B. ( Apacynaceae ) as Ananta , which   is a synonym of Sariva. All this is for passing reference. I only want to show that Vallaris solanacea   roots are being used and sold as Sariva in Dehradun and the origin   of this goes upto Chakrapani   and   Srikanta.   It is high time   we should   set aside now  this   Vallaris and also Ichnocorpus for Sariva and  adopt   Hemidesmus  indicus as true Sariva,     But looking to the   apt   description of Sivadutta , Sariva has leaves like pomegranate.   Leaves   have white streaks on them.   Leaves when plucked give out latex   profusely.     Fruits are like   beaks   and they are full of cotton inside.   Creeper is blackish.

Let us identify real Sariva as Hemidesmus indicus the description   of which exactly   tallies with Sivadutta. Hafarmali is Vallaris.


Shveta Sariva – white variety – Hemidesmus indicusand

Krishna Sariva – Cryptolepis buchanana / Ichnocarpus frutescens

Botanical details

  1. Hemedismus Indicus – A slender twining or prostrate perennial with terete stem.   Leaves -From broadly obovate to   oblong-elleptic, linear or linear-lanceolate,   obtuse or apiculate.

Flowers-   small,yellow or greenish-purple   in opposite, crowded subsessile cymes. Fruits-   follicles.

I.frutescens-   A climbing shrub with rusty-tomentose branches. Leaves-   variable, opposite, elliptic-oblong or lanceolate, tomentose beneath, glabrous above.

Flowers- Purple, minute, in long   terminal and   axillary paciculate cymes.

Fruits- follicles, slender, cylindric, curved.



A slender, laticiferous, twining, sometimes prostrate or semi-erect shrub, occurring over the greater part of India,   from   the upper Gangetic plain eastwards to   Assam   and   throughout central,   western   and southern   India.

Chemical constituents

Hyperoside, rutin, desinine, hexatriacontane, beta – sitosterol;   hemidesminine, hernidesmin-1 and hemidesmin-2.


Rasa – madhura, tikta

Guna – guru, snigdha

Virya – sita

Vipaka –madhura

Karma –tridoshahara, grahi


Jvara,   Kandu,   Prameha, Kasa,   Svasa, Pradara, Aruchi, Agnirnandya,   Atisara.Kushtahara, Shukrala , Amahara , Vishapaha,

Part used



Infusion 50-100 ml, paste 5-10 g, powder 3-5g.

Therapeutic uses

  • Vrina- Sariva root   is claimed   to be useful   for cleansing all types   of wound.
  • Vishama Jvara- Decoction of Patola,   Sariva, Musta, Patha and Katuki is useful.
  • Kustha- Brhati, Uslra, Patola,   Sariva   and Katuki is to be given  for internal   and external use.
  • Urinary: Urinary infections with dark red, cloudy, painful urination; cystitis, urethritis, kidney infections, prostatitis.
  • Nerves: Its alterative and purificatory nature extends to the mind, hence its used in disturbed, angry or irritated emotions from high Pitta . It reduces Vata indirectly by calming the flames of Pitta.


Pinda taila,   Saribadyasava, Mahatiktaka ghrta, Pippalyadi ghrita, Amrita ghrita

Research and studies

The   aq. extract caused   a slight increase in the   urinary flow in rats. Alcoholic & aq. extracts also led to a rise in the BP and   splenic contraction in dog   and   also   contraction of the   isolated guinea pig ileum.   An increase in the  cardiac   rate   in rabbit was   noticed with the .aq, extract (Satoskar et al.,   1962).

A saponin from   it was   found   to have   anti-inflammatory activity   (ICMR,   1968-69).

The PE, chloroform and alcoholic extracts of roots showed antl-bactcrlal activity against Staph. aureus, Staph.   adbus, Sal. typhosa, Vib.   Cholera, Esch.   Coli   etc.   (ICMR Bulletin, 1972).

The essential oil exhibited marked antibacterial activity against B. protens, Pr.   aeruginosa, Staph. pyogenes and   Esch. coli   (Prasad ct al.,   1983).

The   aqueous ethenolic extract of whole   plant   (0.05   mg/ml) showed   antiviral activity against Ranikhet disease virus   (Dharet al.,   1968). The antiviral activity may be clue to the presence of interferon-like   factors   in   the   plant   (Babbar et al., 1970).(6)   The   ethyl   acetate   extract   exhibited   significant

antiinflammatory   activity in both   acute and subacute methods of inflammation   (Dutta et al.,   1982).

The   root   is used   as anti-leprotic (Gupta,   1981); plaque formation suppressant (Narnba et al., 1985); as nematocidal (Kiuchi et al., 1989); as weak antifilarial (Suresh   & Rai,   1990) and as an anti-allergenic   in allergic conjunctivitis   (Sharma et al., 1994).

It showed immunomodulator activity and immune suppressant activity. It decrease the phagocytosis in experimental studies (Atal   et al.,   1986).

The   dried   Indian sarsaparilla roots are medicinal and   constitute   the   HEMIDESMUS or ANANTAMUL which   is official   in   Indian   Pharmacopoeia ;   they were   at one   time   official   also   in   B.P.   The drug comes to the market in small bundles of root pieces, 6 m.-1 ft. long, or as compact bundles of the entire root system of one or more plants tied up with a piece of the stem. The roots are cylindrical, 0.2-0.7   in or more   in   thickness,   some what tortuous,   seldom branched, brownish or   purplish   in   colour,   with a short fracture at the   periphery and   fibrous at the centre. The surface   of   young   roots is generally smooth, but m older roots the surface is transversely cracked and longitudinally fissured. The bark has no characteristic taste or odour and   is easily separable from   the inner tissue surrounding the central wood, which is the officinal part. In the fresh condition the inner cortical tissue is mealy white in colour, but onexposure it becomes dark brown; it has characteristic fragrance and aromatic sweetish taste. The drug as specified in I.P should contain not more than 2% foreign organic matter and 4% ash matter. It should contain alcohol- soluble extractive not less than 15% and water soluble extractive not less than 13-5%. The drug deteriorates with age and fresh roots are preffered (I.P., 253; pharmacognosy of ayurvedic drugs of Travancore- cochin, univ.travancore, Ser. I 1951, 14;I.P.C., 118)

Traditional effects

Hemidismus indica is known to naturally produce a wide variety of beneficial compounds known for their healing and calmative effects. This plant has been the focus of many different scientific studies, and there are over a hundred unique compounds that have been isolated from the roots, stems, leaves and flowers. Some of the many compounds found in this plant include: 2-hydroxy-4-methoxy benzaldehyde, 2-hyroxy-4-methoxy benzenoid, alpha-amyrins triterpene, benzoic acid, beta-amyrins, beta-sitosterol, coumarin, delta-dehydro lupeol acetate, delta-dehydrolupanyl-3-beta-acetate, desmine, glucosides, hemidesmin-1, hemidesmin-2, hemidescine, hemidesmic acid, hemidesmine, hemidesmol, hemidesterol, hemidine, hemisine, hexa triconate acid, hyperoside, indicine, indicusin, lactone, lupanone, lupeol acetate, lupeol octacosonate, medidesmine, p-methoxy salicylic aldehyde, pregnane ester diglycoside desinine, sarsapogenin, sarsaponin, sitosterol, smilacin, smilgenin, stigmasterol, tannin, triterpenoid saponin, and vanillin, as well as many other potentially psychoactive compounds (Kainthla et al. 2006).

Sugandi root is a powerful Ayurvedic dream traveling plant. The most noteworthy effects are the calming, clarifying and tranquil feelings produced by consuming the root tea. After drinking the tea, users describe an overall relaxing, calming sensation that envelopes them with feelings of euphoria and puts the mind at ease. Many avid dreamers drink the tea an hour before they go to bed, reporting that it helps them maintain mental clarity and focus as they drift off to sleep. Later in the night, dreamers report being able to recognize the dream state and to easily achieve lucidity, often four or five times in one night. The roots are also known to help relieve stress by inducing an overwhelming sensation of relaxation, euphoria, and tranquility (Pole 2006).

Courtesy : The Wealth of India series , Dravya Guna by Dr. J.L.N. Sastry , Inidan Materia Medica by Vaidya Bhagwan Dash , Dravya Guna by Dr. Gnjanendra Pandey