Plumbago zeylanica (Plumbaginaceae)
Sanskrit Names: Chitraka English Name: White leadwart Hindu Name: Chita Botanical Name: Plumbago zeylaniea Synonyms: Family: Plumbaginaceae
Long lived herb, 1-2.5 mtrs high. Stem – thin, round, nodular and delicate having vertical striations on it. Leaves – oval shaped resembling bilva leaves. 10cm long, 4cm broad. Stalk of flowers 10-20cm long, having many branches. Fruits – legumes, oval shaped with cover. Sticky to touch. Seeds – each fruit has one oval seed. Roots – finger-like thick, like shatavari; red from outside but white inside, can bend them easily. Roots pungent to taste. Flowering season winter followed by fruiting after a month. Flowers and fruits in winter season onwards. Varieties – Shweta – white, pitta – yellow, rakta – red and krushna. Mainly depending on colours of the flowers. Mostly red and white varieties used in medicine.
== Principle Constituents ==
Classical Categories (Gana)
- Rasa (taste): Katu (pungent)
- Guna (quality): Laghu (light), Ruksha (dry), Tikshna (sharp)
- Virya (energy): Ushana (hot)
- Vipaka (post digestive effect): Katu (pungent)
- Prabhava (Special quality): none
- Dosha Effect: KV- P+
- Dhatus (tissues): Rakta, Meda
- Srotas (channels): Annavaha, Rasavaha
- Roots contain bitter crystalline yellow needle-like active substance, known as plumbagin.
- Arshoghna - relieves piles
- Deepana - stimulates digestion
- Garbhasaya sankocaka - induces uterine contractions
- Garbhsravakara - induces abortion
- Grahi - prevents explusion of excess malas
- Jwaraghna - anti-pyretic
- Katupoustika - katu tonic
- Krumighna - destroys parasites
- Pachana - digests ama
- Pitta Saraka - deceases pitta if given in small amounts
- Rakta Pitta Prakopaka - vitiates blood
- Swedajanana - promotes sweating
- Important Purgative. Roots are bitter, dry, carmative, kahya, hence useful in bowel disorders, de-worming and for dysentery. Good for lucoderma, piles, bronchitis and vata & kapha vitiation cases, kandu, ascitus. Good to increase digestive fire, and to promote appetite. Used for obesity with honey. Effective in liver and spleen disorders. Leaves are aphrodisiac, good for scabies.
- Agni mandya, ajirna (dyspepsia or indigestion), udara (ascitus – collection of fluid in abdomen due to liver failure, kidney or heart disease), gulma (lumps or tumours in abdomen), grahani (IBS, diarrhoea and constipation alternative), yakruta (liver and spleen diseases), guda swellings, amenorrhoea, prasuti roga (to induce uterine contractions) lucoderma, chronic fever, daurbalya (weakness).
- Organs: Liver, duodenum, rectum, spleen, uterus. (Haemorrhoids – chitraka is the best rasayan for all disorders caused due to improper function of agni)
- Central nervous system: stimulates in low dose but sedative in higher dosage. Useful in nerve weakness and vata disorders.
- Circulatory system: Vitiates pitta and reduces ordema, is useful in oedema, liver and spleen disorders and proctitis.
- Digestive system: Good appetiser, digestive. Useful in anorexia, indigestion, abdominal pain, liver disorders, spruce, haemorrhoids and worms. Mainly effective in non-bleeding piles. Enhances the circulation of gastero mucous membrane, thus helps in digestion and absorption.
- Respiratory system: Effective in chronic rhinitis and cough.
- Reproductive system: Caused uterine contractions, cures menstrual disorders and post partum disorders. Also used for impotency.
- Excess use of roots causes toxic signs and poisonous effect and to counter this one has to use pitta-pacifying medications.
- No drug-herb interactions known.
- Parts used: Root bark
- Dosage: 0.4-1.6gms
- Chitarakadi vati, chitaka haritaki churna / vati, chitrakadi churna, agnitundi vati (best for manda agni), pippalyadi mustadi, amalakyadi, aragvadhi, panchakolodi churna.