Sarapunkha (Tephrosia purpurea) Qualities, Usage, Ayurveda Details

Sharapunkha is a famous Ayurvedic herb used in liver cirrhosis and splenomegaly. Its botanical name is Tephrosia purpurea. It belongs to Fabaceae family (Simbi kula and Aparajita upakula). It is called Purple Tephrosia in English.


The herb is very useful in spleen and liver disorders. Sharapunkha undergoes Pungent kind of bio transformation and it is hot in nature.
The leaves are laxative, cholagogue (Pitta saraka), diuretic, blood purifier, wormicidal and antipyretic in nature. So the drug is used in hemorrhoids, obstructive and infective liver disorders, splenomegaly, anemia etc.

Home remedies

Written by Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD

Indigestion, flatulence

Root decoction in indigestion, flatulence, loss of taste/hunger etc:
3-5 grams of root of this plant is taken and decoction is made. This is administered along with half a teaspoon of jaggery or palm jaggery. This improves digestion and hunger and relieves gas (flatus).
General method of preparation of decoction (kashaya) – 1 tablespoon of powder is added with 2 cups of water, boiled and reduced to 1 cup, filtered.

Dry cough, rhinitis

Sarpunkha Leaf juice with honey for dry cough, cold and rhinitis:

Fresh juice of the leaves – 1 – 2 teaspoons is administered along with honey, in all the age groups, preferable in children. This pacifies dry cough, cold and rhinitis.

Bleeding disorders, hemorrhoids

Leaf decoction for bleeding disorders , liver disorders and hemorrhoids:
The decoction prepared out of the leaves acts effectively in conditions like bleeding disorders , liver disorders and hemorrhoids.

Jaundice, hepatitis

Decoction of whole plant with Phyllanthus niruri and cumin seeds in jaundice, splenic enlargement and hepatitis (including infective hepatitis):
Equal amounts of Purple tephrosia , Phyllanthus neruri and cumin seeds are taken and decoction is made. This is advised in 20-30 ml doses, 3-4 times a day, followed by a fat free diet. This is found to be very effective in most of the liver disorders and infective conditions of liver and spleen.


In repeated episodes of pinworm of the children, decoction of Tephrosia and papaya seeds:
The decoction made out of Sarapunkha and papaya seeds is taken early in the morning, regularly for 7-10 days. It helps to cure the complaints of pin worm infestation in young children as well as adults.

Usually the plants of Sharapunkha are found in two different colors, namely white and purple.  Purple variety is more commonly used. White one is rejuvenative- Tephrosia villosa.

Both the varieties are used in challenging Kapha-Vataja disorders, where immunity is lacking and liver appears to be dull. As it corrects the functions of master organ liver in recent days several proprietary liver tonics and laxatives possess Tephrosia as a significant ingredient.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD

Medicinal qualities, Effect on Doshas

Guna (qualities) – Laghu (light to digest), Rooksha (dryness), Teekshna (piercing)
Rasa (taste) – Tikta – Bitter, Kashaya – Astringent
Vipaka – taste conversion after digestion – Katu (pungent)
Veerya – Hot potency
Prabhava – Plihaghna
Pharmacological actions – Hepatoprotective, Analgesic, Anti spasmodic, Anti hyper glycemic

Effect on Tridosha – balances Kapha and Vata.
Yakrut-hara – useful in liver diseases, hepatitis, cirrhosis
Pleehaghna – useful in splenomegaly
Gulma – useful in abdominal tumor / bloating
Vraapaha – brings about quick wound healing
Vishapaha – acts against poisoning
Kasaghna – relieves cough, cold
Asrajit – acts as blood detoxifier
Shwasahara – Useful in dyspnoea, Asthma, Bronchitis and Chronic respiratory disorders.
Jvarahara – useful in fever
Chakshushya – useful in eye diseases
Damshtrajit – useful in insect bites
Shastrasrajit – useful in weapon injuries.


The herb is found in all parts of India.
The purple tephrosia plants are found in dry lands and in hilly regions. It is found in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Part used, Research

Part used: Root, Kshara (alkali powder preparation) of the whole plant.

Its study on efficacy against H Pylori


Sharapunka Kshara – An alkali preparation used widely in liver disorders.
Grahanyantaka Ghrita – Used in acid peptic disorders
Aragwadhadi Ghrita – Used in skin diseases.

Combinations of Sharpunkha

Phalatrikadi kwath along with 5 grams of Sharapunkha (Tephrosia purpurea) is used for the treatment of constipation in elderly people associated with non healing wounds.

Chemical constituents

The leaves are rich with tephrosin, deguelin, isotephrosin, rotenone and osyritin chemical constituents.

Classical categorization

Bh.Pr. Ni – Guduchyadi varga

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Vernacular names, Sanskrit synonyms

Hindi name – Saraponkh, Sarapunkha, Sarpunkha
English name – Wild indigo or Purple tephrosia
Telugu – Vempali Chettu
Marathi – Unhali
Kannada – Egyali
Malayalam – Katamiri
Tamil – Kolingi

Sanskrit Synonyms of Sharapunkha:
Sharapunkham, Sarapunkam
Pleehashatru – useful in splenomegaly
Neelavrukshakruti – Blue color flowered herb
Shimbiphala, Mahaushadhi
Banapunga – Terminal part of its leaf resembles an arrow
Sharapunkha – Shara means arrow. Its leaf, when cut by hand, looks similar to the hind part of the arrow.

Sthanika Karma (Systemic Action)

External use
Anti inflammatory, Ant poisonous, Anti microbial, wounds healing and styptic in nature. Root paste can be applied in conditions like Cervical lymphadenitis, Elephantiasis, Inflammation of the glands etc. Leaf juice can be applied on wounds. Seed and its oil is indicated in skin diseases.

 Internal administration
Digestive System – Carminative, Ant helminthic, Facilitate normal movement of vata dosha. In loss of appetite, , low digestive fire, Liver disorders, Splenomegaly, Helminthiasis, Hemorrhoids, etc. Alkali prepared out of its root is indicated.
Circulatory System – it helps for blood purification. Indicated in generalized edema.
Respiratory system – Expel vitiated kapha dosha. the power of the plant can be used for herbal smoking in respiratory disorders.
Excretory system – Indicated in UTI, Urinary tract infection etc. increases urine production.
Satmikarana –Ant poisonous (In Rat poisoning and in metallic poisoning it can be administered with Buttermilk
Reproductive system – indicated in Dysmenorrhea. uterine stimulant
Tapakrama – Jvaraghna

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