Controversial Medicinal Plant Identification in Ayurevda

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Proper identification of medicinal plants has a significant impact on the finished product and therapeutics. In Ayurveda identification of medicinal plants is a major hurdle in laying pharmacopeial standards for formulations. Astavarga (a group of eight medicinal plants; see Table 5.24) is vital part of Ayurvedic formulations like Chyvanprasha and four plants viz, Riddhi, Vriddhi, Jivaka and Rishbhaka have been discussed as possible members of the family Orchidaceae. Although work has been done on identification of medicinal plants mentioned under Astavarga, much remains to be done to identify the true representatives.

Table 7.1 Eight medicinal plants used in Ashtavarga. The plants marked with stars have been reported to be orchids.

S.No.

Ayurvedic name

Botanical name

Family

Part used

1.

Jivaka*

Malaxis muscifera (Lindl.) Kuntze

Orchidaceae

Bulb

2.

Rishbhaka*

Malaxis acuminta D.Don

Orchidaceae

Pseudo-bulb

3.

Meda

Polygonatum verticillatum (L.) All.

Polygonaceae

Rhizome

4.

Mahameda

Polygonatum cirrhifolium (Wall.) Royle

Polygonaceae

Rhizome

Table 7.1 contd...

S.No.

Ayurvedic name

Botanical name

Family

Part used

5.

Kakoli

Roscoea procera Wall. or Fritillaria royeli Hook.f.

Zingiberaceae

Root

6.

Kshira Kakoli

Lilium polphyllum D.Don

Liliaceae

Root

7.

Riddhi

Habenaria intermedia D.Don

Orchidaceae

Root

8.

Vriddhi

Habenaria edgeworthii Hook.f. ex Collett.

Orchidaceae

Root

In Ayurveda pasanbheda is a drug of controversial origin. The plant is widely used in the treatment of kidney ailments particularly kidney stones. Various medicinal plants are used as pasanbheda in different parts of India (see Table 5.25).

Table 7.2 It shows possible representatives of pasanbheda, an Ayurvedic drug of controversial origin.

S.no

Botanical name

Natural order

Parts used

1.

Aerva lanata Juss.ex Schult.

Amaranthaceae

Roots

2.

Bergenia ligulata (Wall.) Engl.

Saxifragaceae

Seeds

3.

Bridelia crenulata L.

Euphorbiaceae

Stem bark

4.

Bryophyllum calycinum Salisb.

Crassulaceae

Leaves

5.

Coleus amboinicus Lour.

Lamiaceae

Leaves

6.

Decalepis arayalpatra Joseph & Chandrasekharan

Periplocaceae

7.

Didymocarpus pedicellata R.Br.

Gesneriaceae

Whole plant

8.

Homonoia riporia Lour.

Euphorbiaceae

9.

Rotula aquatica Lour.

Boraginaceae

Whole plant

Further work on proper botanical identification of pasanbheda is warranted. In the Indian market several commercial lithontriptic preparations are sold for dissolving kidney stones. Some formulations utilize Bergenia ligulata while others Bryophyllum calycinum. The situation is quite confusing for practicing physicians. Further work on proper botanical identification of pasanbheda is warranted.

Studies done on plants like Cratavea nurvala (varun) have shown that the active constituents of the plant including lupeol possess significant antiurolithiatic activity in animal models. Most of the companies marketing herbal products are dependent on animal findings. Clinical data is very limited with Ayurvedic drugs. In the studies that have been done, the pattern remains objectionable or inconclusive. In case of pasanbheda, studies similar to that of Cratavea nurvala should be done for all representatives (mentioned in Table 1.2) so as to understand the mode of action and justify the rationale use of the drug. Botanical identity is of prime importance while creating a formulation.

The list is endless. In the subsequent table we have listed some controversial drugs used in Ayurveda for the benefit of potential readers.

Table 7.3 It Shows Some of the Controversial Medicinal Plant Used in Ayurveda.

S.no

Ayurvedic name

Current representative

Possible representatives

1.

Adhoguda

Euphorbia nivulia Buch.-Ham.

Euphorbia acaulis Roxb., Argyeria petaloides

2.

Agnigurbha

Solanum trilobatum L.

Solanum xanthocarpum Schrad et Wendl., Artemisia vulgaris Willd.

3.

Agnimantha

Premna integrifolia L.

Clerodendron phlomidis L.

4.

Ajagandha

Gynandropsis gynandra L. Briq.

Clemone viscosa L.

5.

Alambusa

Sphaeranthus indicus L.

Mimosa pudica L., Biophytum senstivitum R.Br.

6.

Amarvalli

Cuscuta reflexa Roxb.

Cassyathafiliformis L.

7.

Amla vetasa

Garcinia pedunculata Roxb.

Rheum emodi Wall.

8.

Ansumati

Desmodium gangeticum DC. var. maculatum (L.) DC. (L.) Baker

Uraria picta (Jacq.) L., Pseudarthria viscida (L.) Wight & Arn.

9.

Arjuna

Terminalia arjuna Roxb. W. & A.

Sterculia urens Roxb., Terminalia tomentosa W. & A., Lagerstroemia flos-regina Retz

10.

Arka

Calotropis gigentia (L.) R. Br. ex Ait.

Calotropis procera R.Br.

11.

Asmantaka

Ficus rumphii Blume

Bauhinia racemosa Lam.

12.

Asvaksura

Clitoria ternatea L.

Medicago sativa L.

13.

Asoca

Polyalthia longifolia Thw.

Saraca asoca (Roxb.) De Willd.

14.

Bala

Sida cordifolia Linn.

Abutilon indicum G.Don., Grewia hirsuta Vahl., Sida veronicaefolia Lam., Sida rhombifolia L.

15.

Bharangi

Clerodendron serratum Linn.

Clerodendron siphonanthus (R.Br.) CB Clarke, Gardenia turgida Roxb.

16.

Brahamdandi

Tricholepis glaberrima DC.

Echinops echinatus Roxb., Argemone mexicana L., Xanthium strurmarium Linn., Voluntarella divaricata C.B. Clarke

17.

Ganda durva

?

?

18.

Gandira

Coleus barbatus (Andrews) Benth.

Amaranthus viridis L.

19.

Gojihva

Elephantopus scaber L.

Onosma bracteatum Wall.

20.

Granthiparni

Angelica glauca Edgew.

Clerodendron infortunatum Gaertn.

21.

Käkajangha

Peristrophe bicalyculata Nees

Leea aequata L.

22.

Käkanasa

Pentatropis microphylla W. & A.

Asclepias curassavica L.

23.

Karavi

Strobilanthes callosus Nees

Carum carvi L.

24.

Matsyaksi

Alternanthera sessilis R. Br. ex DC.

?

Table 7.3 contd...

S.no

Ayurvedic name

Current representative

Possible representatives

25.

Mahamundi

Sphaeranthus africans L.

?

26.

Morata

Schrebera swietenioides Roxb.

Elaeodendron glaucum (Rottb.) Pers.

27.

Murva

Marsdenia tenacissima W.& A.

Chonemorpha macrophylla G.Don ., Clemantis triloba Heyne ex Roth. Sansevieria roxburghiana Schult.f.

28.

Parpata

Fumaria vaillanti Loisel

Oldenlandia corymbosa L., Rungia repens Nees, Mollugo oppositifolia L. , Polycarpaea corymbosa (L.) Lamarck

29.

Pitachandana

Jateorhiza palmata Miers

Coscinium fenestartum (Gaertn) Coleb.

30.

Rasna

Pluchea lanceolata C.B.Clarke.

Alpinia galanga Willd., Aristolochia indica L., Vanda roxburghii R.Br.

31.

Rohitaka

Aphanamixis polystachya (Wall.) R. N. Parker

Tecoma undulata (Sm.) G. Don

32.

Rudanti

Cressa cretica L.

Capparis moonii Hook. f. Thoms.

33.

Soma

Ephedra gerardiana Wall.

Periploca aphylla Decne. var. laxiflora Bornm.

34.

Sprkka

Melitotus officinalis

Anisomeles malabarica (L.) R.Br.

35.

Tivariya

Avicennia officinalis L.

Hydnocarpus wightiana Blume.

36.

Tryantika

Delphinium zalil Aitch. & Hemsl.

Gentiana kurroa Royle

37.

Uddalaka

Paspalum scrobiculatum L.

Bauhinia variegata L.

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