Bhallataka (Semecarpus anacardium)

Botanical Name : Semecarpus anacardium
Family Name:Anacardiaceae
vernacular Name: Sans- Bhallataka, Hind- Bhela. It was called “marking nuts” by Europeans because it was used by washermen to mark the cloths before washing, as it imparted water insoluble mark to the cloth. It’s also known as “Ker” in Kannada.

Habitat :Semecarpus Anacardium (the Oriental Anacardium) is a native of India and is closely related to the cashew.Available throughout india, in semi-green and moist deciduous forests.

Description:It is a deciduous tree, found in the outer Himalayas. The nut is about 2.5 cm long, ovoid and smooth lustrous black. In Ayurveda, the fruit is considered a rasayana for longevity and rejuvenation,and is processed before use, as it is toxic in nature.

 

Properties:
Bhallataka is sweet and astringent in taste, sweet in the post digestive effect and has hot potency. It alleviates kapha and vata dosas and possesses light, unctuous sharp (tiksna) and hot (usna) attributes. It is extremely heat generating, appetizer, digestant, rejuvenative, aphrodisiac herb and alleviates the skin and rheumatic disorders. (Bhavaprakasa Nighantu)

Classical Ayurvedic Preparations:

*Bhallatakasava
*Bhallataka taila
*Bhallataka ksirapaka and ksara
*Tiladi modaka
*Bhallataka modaka
*Amrtabhallatakavaleha
*Sanjivani guti etc.

Bhallataka is used both, internally as well as externally. The fruits, their oil and the seeds have great medicinal value, and are used to treat the wide range of diseases. Externally, the oil, mixed with coconut or sesame oil, is applied on wounds and sores to prevent the pus formation. It soothens and heals the cracked feet, when mixed with fala (Shorea robusta). For better healing of wounds, it works well, when medicated with garlic, onion and ajavayana in sesame oil. The topical application of its oil and swollen joints and traumatic wounds effectively controls the pain. In glandular swellings and filariasis, the application of its oil facilitates to drain out the discharges of pus and fluids and eases the conditions.

Since bhallataka is extremely hot and sharp in its attributes, it should be used with caution. Individuals showing allergic reactions to it, should stop and avoid the usage of bhallataka. It should not be used in small children, very old persons, pregnant women and individuals of predominant pitta constitution. The use of the same should be restricted in summer season. For its allergic reactions like rash, itching and swelling, the antidotes used externally are coconut oil, rala ointment, ghee, coriander leaves pulp or butter mixed with musta (Cyperus rotundus).

Internally, bhallataka is widely used in a vast range of diseases because of its multifarious properties. As it augments the agni, it is extremely beneficial in the diseases like piles, colitis, diarrhea, dyspepsia, ascites, tumours and worms which are caused mainly due to weakened agni. For this, one fruit of bhallataka is hold with tong over a flame and heated slightly. On gentle pressing, the oil starts dripping gradually. This oil is collected on the beatle leaf with small amount of sugar on its surface or in a cup of milk. Approximately 10 drops in children and 15-20 drops in adults are sufficient. It augements the appetite, cleanses the bowels, dispels the trapped gases and eliminates the worms. This is how the bhallataka is used as a household remedy.

Bhallataka is highly praised to treat the piles (haemorrhoids) of vata and kapha types, meaning in non – bleeding conditions. It is an effective adjuvant in the treatment of ascites and tumours. In bronchial asthma and cough, it is one of the best medicament for which, its preparation bhallatakasava is commonly used. It reduces the bronchospasms and their frequency too. Cardiac debility, associated with odema can be treated with great benefit. The milk medicated with bhallataka or bhallataka modaka mitigates the skin diseases like scabies, eczema, ringworm infestations. As a nervine tonic, it is beneficial in the diseases due to vata, like sciatica, paralysis, facial palsy, epilepsy, rheumatic conditions and also asa brain tonic. The combination, bhallataka, haritaki, tila (sesame seeds) powders with jaggery, awards excellent results in chronic rheumatic disorders. Bhallataka is said to augment the memory, as it boosts the sadhaka pitta and nourishes the nervine tissue. It also works well as aphrodisiac by its stimulant action and enhances the seminal fluids. In dysmenorrheal (painful menstruation) and oligomenorrhea (scanty menstruation), the medicated milk or its oil is salubrious. It reduces the urinary output, hence beneficial in diabetes of kapha type,

Bhallataka is the best rejuvenative (rasayana) for skin ailments, vata disorders and as a preventive measure to increase the body resistance. It augments the appetile, improves digestion, eliminates ama and clears up srotasas – the micro channels of all the systems, hence facilitates the nourishment of all the tissues (dhatus). It does not work as an anabokic rejuvenative like bala (Sida cordifolia), satavari (Asparagus racemosus), milk or ghee. Winter is the best season for its usage. One should adopt a bland and cooling diet consisting of rice, milk, butter, ghee. The salt and spices should be strictly restricted and during bhallataka treatment, it is recommended to avoid exposure to sun, heat and excessive sex. The toxic symptoms of its internal use are skin rashes, burning, itching, and excessive thirst and sweating, reductin in urine output with sloky coloured urine, sometimes blood in the urine (heamaturia) may appear. The fresh juice of the leaves of amlika (Tamarindus indica) internally, is one of the antidotes for such symptoms.

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According to Ayurveda :-
It is katu ,tikta, kashaya, ushna, anthelmintic, helpful in deranged kapha, vata, intestinal infections, epistasis, polyuria and piles

Parts Used: Fruits and bark.

Therapeutic Uses:

Fruits: in asthma, ascites, epilepsy, neuralgia, psoriasis and rheumatism; as abortifacient and vermifuge; decoction mixed with milk and butter-fat efficacious in asthma, gout, hemiplegia, neuritis, piles, rheumatism, sciatica, and syphilitic complaintskernel is anthelmintic, cardiotonic, carminative and digestive;
The fruits are acrid, bitter, astringent, digestive, carminative, purgative, liver tonic, expectorant, stomachic, laxative, tonic and oleaginous. The fruit is useful in leucoderma, scaly skin, allergic, dermatitis, poisonous bites, leprosy, cough, asthma, and dyspepsia.
Also act as insecticides, antiseptic, termite repellents and herbicide. It is extremely beneficial in the diseases like piles, colitis, diarrhea, dyspepsia, ascites, tumours and worms. The topical application of its oil on swollen joints and traumatic wounds effectively controls the pain.

The fruit is acrid, hot, sweetish; digestible, aphrodisiac, anthelmintic; stays. looseness of bowels; removes” vata “,” kapha “, ascites, skin diseases, piles, dysentery, tumours, fevers, loss of appetite, urinary discharges; heals ulcers; strengthens the teeth; useful in insanity, asthma.

The rind of the fruit is sweet, oleagenous, digestible, acrid, sharp; stomachic, anthelmintic, laxative; cures ” vata “, bronchitis, leprosy, ulcers, ascites, piles, dysentery, tumours, inflammations, fevers; causes ulceration

The sweet fruit is carminative, tonic, aphrodisiac; lessens inflammation, stomatitis, piles, fever, weakness and paralysis; expels bad humours from the body.

The pulp is tonic; good for piles.

The smoke from the burning pericarp is good for tumours.

The oil is hot and dry, anthelmintic, aphrodisiac, tonic; makes hair black; good for leucoderma, coryza, epilepsy and other nervous diseases; lessens inflammation; useful in paralysis and superficial pain;

oil used externally in gout, leprosy and leucoderma; bark: brownish gum exudate found useful in nervous disorders.

A brown gum exudes from the bark which regard as a valuable medicine in scrofulous, venereal and leprous affections .

The nut is used internally in asthm, after having been steeped in butter-milk, and is also given as vermifuge., debility and in leprous, scrofulous and venereal affections.

Medicinal uses:
Recent studies have shown the fruit to be a good anti-inflammatory agent and effective in various types of cancers.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semecarpus_anacardium

http://www.ayurvedakalamandiram.com/herbs.htm#bhallataka

http://www.herbalcureindia.com/herbs/bhallataka.htm

http://www.motherherbs.com/semecarpus-anacardium.html

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