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Ayurvedic Herbs A-Z

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Ayurvedic Medicine

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Bala

This is one the most often used Ayurvedic herbs because it simultaneously balances all three laws of the physiology (Vata, Pitta, Kapha),

a rare effect.

  • Bala is primarily known for giving stamina or inner strength.

  • It helps balance proper amounts of the male hormone, testosterone, and increases sexual desire.

  •  Bala has a Vrishya effect, meaning that it enhances the quality and quantity of reproductive fluids (Shukra Dhatu) for conception of healthy offspring.

  • It builds general immunity (the word Bala can actually be translated as immunity).

  • It is a good Rasayana (overall tonic and longevity enhancer).

  • Bala is a good tonic for the lungs.

  •  Bala contains five of the six tastes, a very rare property indicating that it provides nourishment of all aspects of nature's intelligence (the five Mahabhutas).

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Latin Name

English Name

Sanskrit Names

Hindi Names

Sida cordifolia
Linn. (Malvaceae)

Country Mallow

Bala, Vatya

Bariyar, Kharethi

 

 

 Habitat  |  Morphology Description (Habit)  |  Principal Constituents

 Indications  |   Product Range

 

 

Habitat

S.cordifolia is found in moist places throughout tropical and sub-tropical India and Nepal ascending to an altitude of 1,050 m.

Morphology Description (Habit)

A small, downy, erect shrub, with long branches, sometimes rooting at the nodes. The leaves are ovate, or ovate-oblong, very downy on both surfaces; the flowers are tawny-yellow or white; the fruit shows a pair of awns on each carpel.

Principal Constituents

Ephedrine is one of the alkaloids reported to be present. It contains phytosterol and potassium nitrate. The phytosterols have estrogenic activity.

Ayurvedic Energetics
Rasa (taste): Sweet
Virya (action): Cooling
Vipaka (post-digestive effect): Sweet
Guna (quality): Heavy, Unctuous
Dosha effect: VPK=. Mainly clears high pitta and vata. Can increase kapha and ama in excess.
Dhatu (tissue): All tissues. Primarily Nerve dhatu
Srota (channel): Nervous, Reproductive, Urinary, Circulatory

Ayurvedic Action
Balya- strengthening, Brimhaniya- an anabolic, weight increasing herb, Shwaskashara- reduces breathing difficulty, Rasayana- rejuvenative, Hridaya- heart tonic, Vatashamana- pacifies vata and neurological disorsers.
(Charaka, Sushruta, Ashtanga Hridaya Samhita, Bhavaprakasha)
 

Indications

It is used traditionally in cases of spermatorrhea, polyurea, leucorrhea and certain nervine disorders such as monoplegia, sciatica, palsy, etc.

Product Range

Chyavanaprasha.

Parts Used:

Roots, leaves, seeds and stems. Each part has a different therapeutic value and must be prepared in its own way for the maximum benefits.

Traditional Ayurvedic Uses:

This is one the most often used Ayurvedic herbs because it simultaneously balances all three laws of the physiology (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), a rare effect.

  • Bala is primarily known for giving stamina or inner strength.

  • It helps balance proper amounts of the male hormone, testosterone, and increases sexual desire.

  •  Bala has a Vrishya effect, meaning that it enhances the quality and quantity of reproductive fluids (Shukra Dhatu) for conception of healthy offspring.

  • It builds general immunity (the word Bala can actually be translated as immunity).

  • It is a good Rasayana (overall tonic and longevity enhancer).

  • Bala is a good tonic for the lungs.

  •  Bala contains five of the six tastes, a very rare property indicating that it provides nourishment of all aspects of nature's intelligence (the five Mahabhutas).

NOTE: As with most single herbs, Bala should always be taken in balanced combinations with other herbs, to prevent aggravation of any existing congestion.

Indications: arrhythmia, heart failure, paralysis, sciatica, neuritis, epilepsy, insanity, neuralgia, rheumatism, asthma, anorexia, fatigue, chemotherapy, spermatorrhea, gonorrhea, impotence, cystitis, leucorrhea, urinary frequency, diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, chronic fever (Frawley and Lad 1986, 162; Nadkarni 1976, 1135-1137)

Uses:
URINARY: Cystitis, stones, infection, haematuria, polyuria, urgency- high pitta and vata in mutradharasrota.2

NERVES: Pain, neuralgia, sciatica, paralysis neurosis-high vata. An external oil massage using warm Bala siddha taila-- is commonly used for these conditions along with internal treatment.3

REPRODUCTIVE: Infertility, leucorrhoea, apanaksetra congestion. Used to aid the growth of the foetus and keep the mother strong.4

LUNGS: Dry cough, asthma, tuberculosis, hemoptysis- vata/pitta disorders of Lungs.5

FEVER: High temperature from an underlying deficiency and weakness.

HEART: Heart tonic- arrythmia, tacchycardia, irregular pulse, palpitations. As it benefits mamsadhatu and mamsavasrota it is used to strengthen the heart muscle.

Contraindications: Kaphakopa, ama (Frawley and Lad 1986, 162); use with caution in hypertension due to the presence of an ephedrine-like compound. High ama and Kapha.

Combinations are Best

The ayurvedic physicians of Ayurveda do not recommend the use of single herbs for self-care due to several important reasons (see the index page of the ayurvedic herb section for details).

One of the specialties of Ayurveda is the science of herb combining that has been perfected over thousands of years of clinical practice. From this ayurvedic perspective, the study of herbs from scientific research which is based on single ingredient formulas is not very practical. This is because an herb can give a number of different effects depending on the other herbs it is combined with as well as a number of other factors such as dosage, how the herb was processed, etc. If one focuses just on the results of a study based on one ingredient, while it may be interesting, it does not give the full insight into the complete range of effects available from that particular herb.

Dravyguna: root.
ˇRasa: madhura
ˇVipaka: guru
ˇVirya: shita
ˇKarma: corrects apana vayu, stambhana, balya, Vatapittahara, vajikarana, demulcent, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic

Dosage:
ˇChurna: 1 ­ 2 g t.i.d.
ˇKashaya: 100 mL t.i.d.
ˇTincture: dried root, 1:3, 25%; 1 ­ 5 mL t.i.d.

Source:
1 Paranjape
2 Bhavaprakasha
3 Frawley and Ladd
4 Paranjape
5 Paranjape
6 Tillotson

Medical research:

ˇAnti-inflammatory: An ethyl acetate extract of the root and aerial parts of Sida cordifolia showed comparable anti-inflammatory activity with indomethacin, and both the root and aerial parts showed very good central and peripheral analgesic activities at a dose of 600 mg/kg (Kanth and Diwan 1999).

ˇHypoglycemic: A methanol extract of the root was found to possess significant hypoglycaemic activity (Kanth and Diwan 1999).

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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