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Sariva: Hemidesmus indicus Benefits, Usage, Dose, Side Effects

Sariva is known as Indian Sarsaparilla. It is different from Sarsaparilla. Its botanical name is Hemidesmus indicus. In Ayurveda system of medicine, it is widely used in the treatment of oligospermia, gastritis, anorexia, menorrhagia etc.

Hemidesmus indicus

Botanical Name– Hemidesmus indicus R.Br
Family – Asclepidaceae (Peripiocaceae) – Arka Kula

Vernacular names

Hindi and Bengali- Anantamul, Kapuri (because root smell resembles Kapoor – camphor)
English Name-Indian Sarsaparilla
Telugu name- Sungandhipala, Muttavapylagamu
Marathi name- Upalsari, Uparsal
Gujarati Name- Kapuri, Madhuri, Upalasri
Tamil Name- Nannari
Kannada Name- Sogade Beru
Malayalam Name- Naruninti

Sanskrit synonyms

Ananta, Anantamula, Asphota, Utpala Sariva, Shyama, Krsodari, Canadana,
Gopi – Sariva protect the person who use it
Saradi – Plant blossoms in Sarad Ritu
Pratanika – Sariva is twinner
Sugandhimula – Root has good Aroma
Gopakanya, Gopangi
Sphota – Fruits of Sariva are dehiscen in nature

Classical categorization

Charaka Sahmita –
Jvarahara – group of herbs used in treating fever
Daha Prashamana – group of herbs that relieve burning sensation,
Pureesha Sangahaniya – group of herbs that improve bulk of feces,
Stanya shodhana – group of herbs that cleanse and detoxify breast milk,
Madhura skandha – sweet tasting group of herbs.

Sushruta- Sarivadi, Vidarigandhadi, Valli pancamula Gana
Vagbhata – Sarivadi Gana.


There are two types of Sariva explained in Ayurvedic books –
Shveta Sariva – white variety –  Hemidesmus indicus and
Krishna Sariva – Cryptolepis buchanani / Ichnocarpus frutescens
Therapeutically both are considered to be similar in action.


Habit- Perennial pros trate or twining shrub. Root stock is woody.

Stem-slender, terete, glabrous or pubescent, striate, thickened at the Nodes.

Leaves- Simple, opposite, variable, elliptic-oblong to linear-lanceolate, glabrous, dark green, often variegated with white above, pale and some times, silvery white and pubescent beneath, reticulate venation,

Inflorescence- Sub sessile cyme

Flower-Pedicel short, clothed with numerous bracts

Fruit- cylindric, tapering to a point at the apex, straight or sometimes slightly curved striate glabrous.

Seed-6 to 8 mm long, ovate-oblong, flattened, black com is silvery white, 25 cm long.

Chemical constitution

Major chemical contained– H. Indicus- Hyperoside, Rutin, desinine, Hexatriacontance, B- Sitosterol; hemidesminine, Hemidesmin-1 and hemidesmin-2.
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna Vijnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)


Cryptolepsis buchanani
Ichnocarpus frutescens
Decalepis hamiltoni

Medicinal qualities 

Rasa (taste) – Madhura (sweet), Tikta (bitter)
Guna (qualities) – Guru (heavy), Snigdha (oily, unctuous)
Vipaka- Madhura – undergoes sweet taste conversion after digestion.
Veerya – Sheeta – coolant.

Effect on Tridosha

Tridoshahara. It balances all the three Doshas.

Hemidesmus indicus - uses

Medicinal uses

Kushtahara – useful in skin diseases
Kanduhara – useful in itching, pruritus
Jvarahara – useful in fever
Mehanashana – Useful in diabetes, urinary tract disorders
Durgandha nashana – relieves bad odor
Shukrala – improves sperm quality and quantity
Atisarahara – useful in diarrhea, dysentery
Amahara – relieves Ama
Vishapaha – anti-toxic
Agnisada – useful in low digestion strength
Shvasa, Kasahara – useful in respiratory conditions, cough, cold, asthma
Pradaranut – useful in menorrhagia.

The black variety of Sariva is similar in action. Its uses are –
Sangrahi – absorbent, useful in diarrhoea
Shishira – coolant
Kaphavatajit – balances Kapha and Vata
Trushna – useful in excessive thirst
Aruchi – useful in anorexia
Raktapittahara – useful in bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, menorrhagia etc.

Part used, dosage

Part used– root
Dosage– – Indian sarsaparilla – water decoction – 50-100 ml, root Paste 5 g, root powder 1 – 3 g

Side effects

There are no known side effects with Sariva.
During pregnancy, consult your doctor before using this herb.
It is safe to use during lactation and in children.

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 of the 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.

Research works on Hemidesmus indicus :
Antimicrobial activity
Anti carcinogenic and cytotoxic potential

Ayurveda medicines

Ayurveda medicines with Hemidesmus indicus as ingredient –
Sarivadyasavam – useful in gout, skin diseases
Mathala Rasayanam – useful in cough, cold, asthma, bleeding disorders
Mahamanjistadi Kashayam – useful in skin diseases, gout, syphilis and non healing wounds
Maha Vishagarbha Taila – useful in sciatica, joint stiffness and tinnitus
Manasamitra Vatakam – Useful in speech problems, depression, psychiatric disorders.

Sarsaparilla Sarbath

Easy method of preparing Sarsaparilla Sarbath. 
Take 100 grams of Sarsaparilla. Add 1 litre of water to it. Boil over mild fire till the water quantity reduces to half a litre. Filter it
Add – 400 grams of sugar / jaggery to it.
Boil it till the total solution attains the consistency of a syrup.
Stop heating.
Allow it to cool down. Store in a cool dry place, in an air tight bottle.
This can be stored for a period of 3 – 4 months without refrigeration.
Whenever juice is to be consumed, you can add half a cup of this with half a cup of hot water and drink.

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