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Bhringaraj
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Ayurvedic Herbs A-Z

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Bhringaraj

Bhringaraj is commonly used as a deobstruent to promote bile flow and to protect the liver parenchymal tissue in viral hepatitis and other conditions involving hepatic enlargement. The fresh juice of the leaves is given in the treatment of edema, fevers, liver disorders, and rheumatic joint pains; it is also used to improve the appetite and to stimulate digestion. The juice is given with honey to treat upper respiratory congestion in children.

A hair oil prepared from boiling the fresh leaves with either coconut or sesame oil renders the hair black and lustrous. It is popularly used to enhance the memory and has a reputation as an antiaging agent in Ayurveda. An herbal poultice is made with sesame oil and used over glandular swellings and various skin conditions. The leaf juice is also effective when applied externally to treat minor cuts, abrasions, and burns.

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Latin Names

English Name

Sanskrit Names

Hindi Names

Eclipta prostrata (Linn.) Linn.
/ Eclipta alba
(Linn.) Hassk. (Asteraceae)

Thistles

Bhringaraja, Kesharaja, Kesharanjana

Bhangra, Mochkand, Babri

 

 

History  |  Habitat  |  Morphology Description (Habit)  |  Principal Constituents  |  Pharmacology

Indications  |   Product Range  |  References

 

 

History

It was used by Hindus in their Shradh (ceremony for paying respect to a recently deceased person), being placed under and on the pinda. The description of the herb's medicinal properties by arab writers are the similar to their Indian counterparts, and they called it "Kadim-el-bint" in Arabic. Mr. J.J. Wood suggested that E.prostrata would be found eventually of greater service than taraxacum in hepatic derangements.

 

 

Habitat

It grows as a common weed throughout India, ascending up to 6,000 ft. on the hills.

 

Morphology Description (Habit)

An erect or prostrate, much branched, roughly hairy, annual, rooting at the nodes; the leaves are opposite, sessile and lanceolate; the flower-heads are white.

 

Principal Constituents

The herb contains wedelolactone and dimethyl wedelolactone possessing potent antihepatotoxic properties1.The herb is a rich source of ascorbic acid. It also contains an alkaloid, ecliptine. The plant is a good source of thiophene derivatives which are active against nematodes. The occurrence of mono-, di- and trithiophene acetylenes together with a-terthenyl in this species is noteworthy. The petroleum ether extract of aerial parts contains a trithienyl aldehyde, ecliptal, besides stigmasterol and ▀-sitosterol. The roots are very rich in thiophene acetylenes2.

 

Pharmacology

Eclipta is an effective anti-inflammatory agent. It inhibited the higher levels of histamine due to chronic inflammation upto 58.67 percent3 . The ethanolic extract of the dried whole plant E.prostrata and its active constituent, culumbin, exhibited remarkable antihypertensive activity on anesthetized rats. No significant side effects or toxicities have been found either on histopathology of liver, kidney, spleen, heart or on biochemical parameters like SGOT, SGPT, BUN, etc. Moreover, no appreciable changes have been found in body weight and in specific organ weight during the course of investigation on Long Evans rats4.
An alcoholic extract of freshly collected E.prostrata aerial parts exhibited dose-dependent (62.5-500.0mg/kg p.o.) and significant hepatoprotective activity against carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury in rats and mice. The hepatoprotectve activity is further substantiated by its protective role on parameters such as hexobarbitone-induced sleep, zoxazolamine-induced paralysis, bromosulphaphthalin (BSP) clearance, serum levels of transaminases, bilirubin and protein. The extract did not show any signs of toxicity and the minimum lethal dose was greater than 2.0g/kg when given orally and intraperitoneally in mice5.

 

Indications

The herb is used as a tonic and deobstruent in hepatic and splenic enlargements and in skin diseases. The plant juice is administered in combination with aromatics for catarrhal jaundice. The plant possesses antihepatotoxic and anti-inflammatory activities. The fresh plant is considered anodyne and absorbent.

 

Product Range

 

References

1.  Bhargava, K.K. et. al., Ind. J. Chem., 1970, 8, 664.

2.  Singh et. al., Geobios, 1990, 17(1), 35; Das & Chakravarty, Indian J Chem, 1991, 30B, 1052; Singh, Bioact Mol, 1988, 7, 179; Mabberley, 199.

3.  Reddy, K.R.K. et. al., J. Res. Educ. in Ind. Med., 1990, v., 9(4), 43-46.

4.  Rashid, Md , International Seminar-Traditional Medicine, Calcutta, 7-9 November, 1992, Abstr. No. 8.16, 134.

5.  Singh, B. et. al., Phytotherapy Research, 1993, v., 7(2), 154-158; Murthy, T.S. et. al., J. Res. Educ. Ind. Med., 1993, v., 12(2), 41-43.

 

Part used: Whole plant

Traditional Ayurvedic Uses: viral hepatitis, liver disorders, skin and hair care, improves complexion, calm the mind, memory disorders, swollen glands due to upper respiratory viral infection, strengthens spleen, general tonic, pacifies Kapha and Vata.

Bhringaraj is said to prevent hair loss and cellulite. Its excellent rejuvenating herb for the mind.

Ayurvedic Energetics:
Rasa: pungent, bitter
Veerya: heating
Vipaka: pungent
Guna: light, dry

Doshas: Vata-,Kapha- ; Pitta+

Pharmacological Action: hepatic deobstruent and tonic, alterative, emetic, purgative, antiseptic, antiviral

Clinical Research: E. Alba protected guinea pigs against mortality from carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage . In the control group there was a 77.7% mortality rate after 24 hours versus 22.3% in the E. alba-treated group. Serum transaminases were also significantly lower in the treated group. Histopathological examination of the liver revealed a reduction of parenchymal damage in the E. alba-treated animals. Similar hepatoprotective effects have also been reported in rabbits . Gupta, et.al. reported E. alba to possess myocardial depressant and hypotensive effects. There are also reports of clinical improvement in the treatment of infective hepatitis. The alcoholic extract has shown antiviral activity against Ranikhet disease virus.

Traditional Uses: Bhringaraj is commonly used as a deobstruent to promote bile flow and to protect the liver parenchymal tissue in viral hepatitis and other conditions involving hepatic enlargement. The fresh juice of the leaves is given in the treatment of edema, fevers, liver disorders, and rheumatic joint pains; it is also used to improve the appetite and to stimulate digestion. The juice is given with honey to treat upper respiratory congestion in children. A hair oil prepared from boiling the fresh leaves with either coconut or sesame oil renders the hair black and lustrous.

It is popularly used to enhance the memory and has a reputation as an antiaging agent in Ayurveda. An herbal poultice is made with sesame oil and used over glandular swellings and various skin conditions. The leaf juice is also effective when applied externally to treat minor cuts, abrasions, and burns.

Indications: viral hepatitis, hepatic enlargement with biliary stasis, hair hygiene, impaired memory, minor cuts, abrasions and burns.

Formulations and Dosage:
fresh leaf juice: 5-10 ml tid
leaf powder: 3-5 grams bid

Khin, Ma et al Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol., 45:23, 1978.
Devendrakumar, D, et al, J Res Ayur Siddha, 2:32. 1981.
Gupta, SC, Bajaj, UK, and Sharma, VN, Cardiovascular effects of Eclipta alba, J Res Ind Med Yoga & Homeop. 11:3, 91-93, 1976
Dixit, SP, Achar, MP, Bhringaraj in the treatment of infective hepatitis. Curr Med Pract. 23:6, 237-242, 1979.
Dube, CB, Kumar, D., Srivastav, PS. A trial of bhringaraj ghanasatvavati on patients with hepatocellular jaundice, J Natl Integ Med Assoc, 24:9, 265-269, 1982.
Dhar, ML, Dhar, MM, Dhawan, BN, et. al. Screening of Indian plants for biological activity. Ind J Exp Biol. 6: 232, 1968.
Selected medicinal Plants of India, compiled by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Ayurvedic Research Centre, Bombay, 135, 1992
Kapoor LD CRC Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants 169, 1990.

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