Bhringaraj (Eclipta alba)

Botanical Name: Eclipta alba
Family: Compositae, Asteraceae
Synonyms: Eclipta prostrata, Cotula alba
Therapeutic Catagory: Hepatoprotective
Ayurvedic Names : Bhringraja, Keshraja
Unani Name: Bhangra
Indian Names: Bhangra, Kalkeshi, Maka

Description:
It is an annual, erect or prostate entirely pubescent herb, often rooting at nodes with opposite, sessile, usually oblong, 2.5 – 7.5 cm long leaves with white appressed hairs. Floral heads 6-8 mm in diameter, solitary, white, achene compressed and narrowly winged.
It grows commonly in moist places as a weed all over the plains of India.Root well developed, cylindrical, greyish. Floral heads 6-8mm in diameter, solitary,white,achenecompressed and narrowly winged.

The herb Eclipta alba contains mainly coumestans i.e. Wedelolactone (I) and Demethylwedelolactone (II), Polypeptides Polyacetylenes, Thiophene-derivatives, steroids, triterpenes and flavonoids. Coumestans are known to possess estrogenic activity (Bickoff et al. 1969) Wedelolactone possesses a wide range of biological activities and is used for the treatment of hepatitis and cirrhosis (Wagner et al 1986:), as an antibacterial, anti-hemorrhagic (Kosuge et al. 1985), as an antidote for snake venom (Mors et al , 1989) and direct inhibition of IKK complex resulting in suppression of LPS-induced caspase-11 expression (Kobori et al 2004)

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Habitat/Occurrence: It is widely distributed throughout India, China, Thailand, and Brazil. In paddy growing areas of India, it occur as common weed. In many parts of India it is grown commercially as a medicinal crop.

Related Species: Four species have been reported so far in warmer parts of America, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Botany: An annual herb.
Stem: Stems and branches are strigose and hairy.
Leaves: Opposite, sessile, oblong- lanceolate; also strigose and hairy.
Flowers: In heads, involucral bracts, axillary, ray flowers ligulate; disk ones tubular.
Fruit: Achene.
Flowering Time: October to December in Indian conditions.
Useful Parts: Whole plant.
Season: Kharif (June, July in Indian conditions)
Propagation: Through seeds

Traditional and medicinal uses:
Plant is bitter, hot, sharp, dry taste and is used in ayurveda for the treatment of Kapha and Vata imbalances. In ayurvedic medicine, the leaf extract is considered to be powerful liver tonic, rejuvenative, and especially good for the hair.A black dye obtained from Eclipta alba is also for dyeing hair and tattooing. Eclipta alba also has traditional external uses, like athlete foot, eczema and dermatitis, on the scalp to address hair loss and the leaves have been used in the treatment of scorpion strings. It is used as anti-venom against snakebite in China and Brazil (Mors, 1991). It is reported to improve hair growth and colour (Kritikar and Basu 1975.and Chopra et al 1955)The expressed leaf juice is applied along with honey is a popular remedy for catarrh in infants. A preparation obtained from the leaf juice boiled with sesamum or coconut oil is used for anointing the head to render the hair black and luxuriant. Plant is rubbed on the gums in toothache and applied with a little oil for relieving headache. Applied with sesamum oil in elephantiasis. Roots of Eclipta alba are emetic and purgative.

In Taiwan, entire plant is used as a remedy for the treatment of bleeding, heamoptysis, haematuria and itching, hepatitis, diphtheria and diarrhoea. In China, as a cooling and restorative herb, which supports the mind, nerves, liver and eyes. The leaf extract is considered to be powerful liver tonic, rejuvenative, and especially good for the hair. A black dye obtained from Eclipta alba is also for dyeing hair and tattooing. Eclipta alba also has traditional external uses, like athlete foot, eczema and dermatitis, on the scalp to address hair loss and the leaves have been used in the treatment of scorpion strings. It is used as anti-venom against snakebite in China and Brazil (Mors, 1991).
Medicinal Properties and Uses: The herb is an Ayurveda and Yunani medicine. According to Ayurveda philosophy Eclipta is bitter, hot fattening, alterative, anthelminticum, and alexipharmic. It is useful in inflammations, hernia, eye diseases, bronchitis, asthama, leucoderma, anaemia, heart and skin diseases, right blindness, syphilis etc. It is reported as beneficial for complexion, hair, eyes, and teeth.

Eclipta alba is mainly used in hair oils, but it has been considered a good drug in hepatotoxicity. In hair oils, it may be used alongwith Centela asiatica (Brahmi) and Phyllanthus emblica (Amla). It may be used to prevent habitual abortion and miscarriage and also in cases of post-delivery uterine pain. A decoction of leaves is used in uterine haemorrhage. The juice of the plant with honey is given to infants with castor oil for expulsion of worms. For the relief in piles, fumigation with Eclipta alba is considered beneficial. The paste prepared by mincing fresh plants has got an anti-inflammatory effect and may be applied to insect bites, stings, swellings and other skin diseases. In Ayurveda, it is mainly used in hair oil, while in Unani system, the juice of Eclipta alba is used in ‘Hab Miskeen Nawaz’ alongwith aconite, croton tiglium, triphala, piper nigrum, piper longum, zinziber officinale, and minerals like mercury, sulphur, arsenic, borax etc. for various types of pains in the body. It is also a constituent of ‘Roghan Amla Khas’ for applying on hair, and of ‘Ma’jun Murrawah-ul-arwah’.

Popular Ayurvedic Formulations: Bhringraj ghrit, Bhringraj taiil, Bhringrajadi churana etc.
Chemical Constituents: The plant contains the alkaloid ecliptine. Other chemicals identified are wedelolactone, wedelic acid, apigenin, luteolin, b-amyrin etc.
Cultivation .

The dried leaves of Eclipta alba have been reported to contain wedelolactone, a complex coumarin and its derivatives dimethylewedelolactone – 7 – glucoside and nor-wadelolactone.

The roots contain polyacetylene substituted thiophenes and leaves have been reported to contain 2.2:5.2:5-terthienylmethanol. The arial part of the plant has been reported to contain phytosterol, ß-anyrin in the n-hexane extract and luteolin – 7 – glucoside, ß-glucoside of phytosterol, a glucoside of a tritepenic acid and wadelolactone in polar solvent extract.

Hentriacontanol and heptacosanol are reported from the roots. The polypeptides isolated from the plant yield cystime, glutamic acid, phenyalanine, tyrosine and methionine on hydrolysis.

Juice: useful to teeth, skin and hairs, indicated for the treatment of Kaphha-vata disorders, cough, bronchitis, worms, asthma, skin diseases, oedema, mucous disorders, anemia, digestive, support and nourished body, choleggue, hepatomegaly, liver disorders, loss of appetite, vertigo, hepatospleenomegaly, piles, indigestion, headache, weak vision, Externally for burns, skin diseases, leucoderma, hair loss, alopecia.

Ayurvedic Uses:
Essential hair tonic .Buy Bhringaraj and supplements on line

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For Thick, dark hair : Apply a mixture of bhringaraj, gooseberry, coconut, almond and olive.

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Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.banlab.com/eclipta.htm
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/CropFactSheets/eclipta.html
www.allayurveda.com
www.en.wikipedia.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_herbs_and_minerals_in_Ayurveda

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