Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay)
Anaemia is a very common clinical condition. It is one of the root causes of many diseases and is also the disease which escapes the diagnosis most frequently.
There are many effective remedies to tackle anaemia and its complications in the core of Ayurvedic treatises.
Gudashtaka is one simple formulation which is highly effective in treating Anaemia.
Gudashtaka is a word made of 2 terms. They are Guda, means jaggery and Ashtaka means eight. The name indicates that the formulation is made up using 8 ingredients including Guda. Since only Guda has been mentioned it is the main ingredient.
Benefits of Gudashtaka:
Gudashtaka when taken regularly:
Increases Agni – Corrects metabolic errors
Increases Varna – Improves colour and complexion
Increases Bala – Increases strength and immunity
Gudashtaka also wards off:
Pandu – Anaemia
Udavarta – Abnormal (upwards) movements of Vata causing various disorders
Pleeha – Spleenomegaly, Hepatomegaly (Pathological increase in the size of Spleen and Liver)
Gulma – Abdominal tumors
Shotha – Oedema, Fluid accumulations in tissues
Since Gudashtaka mainly acts on liver, it is also an effective remedy for many hepatic (liver) disorders and splenic (spleen) disorders. It restores the health of Liver and spleen and enables them to work as an efficient haemopoetic (blood forming) organs.
स व्योष पिप्पलीमूलं त्रिवृत् दन्ती च चित्रकम्।
तत् चूर्णं गुड सम्मिश्रं भक्षयेत् प्रातः उत्थितः॥
एतद् गुडाष्टकं नाम्ना बल वर्ण अग्नि वर्द्धनम्।
उदावर्त प्लीह गुल्म शोथ पाण्डु आमय अपहम्॥(भा.प्र.म.ख.३१/४१,४२)
Sa vyosha pippaleemoolam trivrut dantee cha chitrakam
Tat choornam guda sammishram bhakshayet praataha utthitaha
Etad gudaashtakam naamnaa bala varna agni vardhanam
Udaavarta pleehaa gulma shotha paandu aamaya apaham (Ref – Bhava Prakasha Madhyama Khanda 31/41,42)
Gudashtaka is a simple yet highly effective remedy in getting rid of Splenomegaly, Hepatomegaly, Swelling, oedema and Anaemia. It is an effective formulation made up of just 8 ingredients.
Gudashtaka is a multi-dimensional compound and has been formulated with skill and experience of ancient Ayurveda scholars.
It is an effective combination wherein the formulation works as an appetizer, carminative, laxative, immune-modulator, strength-promoter, block-remover, Vata-regulator, detoxifying agent, diuretic and anti-inflammatory
Pippali – Piper longum
Maricha – Piper nigrum
Shunti – Zingiber officinale
Pippalimula – Root of Piper longum
Trivrit – Operculina turpethum
Danti – Baliospermum montanum
Chitraka – Plumbago zeylanica
Guda – Jaggery
Method of preparation
Equal quantities of the above said medicines (other than jaggery) are taken and pounded in pestle and morter and converted into soft powder.
Their powders are once again weighed and checked for equality in terms of quantity. (Remember, the powders should have equal weight)
All the powders are again pounded together by adding Jaggery. Jaggery should be added in a quantity equal to that of all the other powders taken together.
The resultant powder is sieved through a filter or strained through a sterile cloth so as to obtain a fine powder
The fine powder is preserved in an air tight container
Alternatively, Jaggery can be mixed to the powder of herbs at the time of consumption. The calculation of quantity of jaggery becomes difficult in this case.
3-5 grams or as directed by a qualified Ayurveda physician
How to use?
When it is to be administered, the powder is taken in the advised dosage and mixed thoroughly with jaggery.
When to take?
Early in the morning, on empty-stomach
Anupana (vehicle or co-drink) –
Hot water or hot milk
This formulation should not be prepared or taken without medical advice or supervision. The medicine has strong purgatives which may prove dangerous when taken in an unmonitored way or in large doses.
The formulation should not be taken by pregnant women, children especially infants, old aged people, people having Pitta predominant koshta (mrudu koshta or soft bowel movements) as the medicine has strong purgatives, diabetic and hypertension patients
Patients who have sensitive gut, who are having severe indigestion (sluggish stomach), loose motions (diarrhoea), haemorrhoids (piles), dysentery etc should not consume this compound
Patients who are timid, who do not have tolerance to laxatives and purgatives, those having less physical strength and immunity should not be advised to take this compound
Mode of action
Speciality of Gudashtaka & its mode of action –
The compound can be prepared easily
The compound medicine is palatable because it has good quantity of jaggery, the weird tastes of other compounds are masked
Yakrit (Liver) and Pliha (spleen) are said to be the sites of Raktadhara Kala (layers and membranes helping in the formation of blood cells) and roots of Raktavaha srotas (channels which carry or transport the matured blood cells into the circulation).
When the liver, spleen and its functional components kala and srotas get vitiated or damaged by morbid doshas or circulating toxins or other causes, the blood cells are not formed in a proper way.
The qualitative and quantitative depletion of blood cells leads to various diseases like Anaemia, jaundice, enlargement of spleen, oedema etc.
The channels of liver and spleen may also be blocked by the ama (immature essence of food) caused due to sluggish digestion.
Fluids accumulate in the cells causing oedematous swelling. Anaemia causes many complications and will also put pressure on functions of heart, brain, lungs and other vital organs.
Gudashtaka attends the liver and spleen disorders from the base. It first helps in digesting the ama in the stomach. The hot and pungent herbs like Pippali, Maricha, Shunti, Chitraka and Pippalimula will solve this purpose.
They also help in rectifying errors of metabolism, enhance interest in food and digest the food properly. They will provide strength to digestive organs and liver.
They will also help in cleansing the micro channels of circulation including rakta vaha srotas etc. the blocks of the body are removed. The ingredients will help in flushing the cellular toxins into the gut.
Danti and Trivrit are potential body cleansers. They being good purgatives will flush off the waste products and cellular toxins accumulated in the gut out of the body.
Coming to Jaggery – it is one of the relished and frequently used kitchen inclusions. Known for its taste, it is not only a sweetening agent which enhances the taste of yummy recipes it is also a good medicine.
Being sweet in taste, jaggery has alkaline properties, heavy and hot qualities. It is an excellent remedy for Kapha-vata disorders.
The old jaggery is said to have the properties of Rasayana (anti-ageing, rejuvenation, immunity enhancing, good for body channels and tissues, disease modifying properties).
Old jaggery combats morbid Pitta and Vayu, enhances taste, good for heart, alleviates the morbidity caused by all the 3 doshas, antipyretic, good remedy for the urinary disorders and disorders related to large intestine (corrects mechanism of errors of stool formation and excretion), good laxative, enhances metabolism and corrects errors of digestion, light to digest, is a wholesome food and relieves tiredness and fatigue.
Apart from all these properties, Guda is an excellent remedy for Pandu roga (anaemia) and Prameha (urinary disorders, diabetes). (Ref – Yogaratnakara, Guda prakarana)
As a part of the systemic action of the compound, when the toxins are removed, the appetite and digestion set right and the blocks in the channels are removed, the oedema will decrease.
This enables free circulation of nutrients and oxygen in the body. At the same time liver and spleen will resume office being rejuvenated.
They will start producing blood cells effectively, in good quality and quantity. This will reverse the disease process and establish health and immunity.
The color and complexion are dependent on proper quality and quantity of blood cells in circulation, good liver health and proper functioning of Bhrajaka Pitta located in the skin and the Ranjaka Pitta located in the liver and spleen.
Restoration of liver functions will restore these Pitta’s and their functioning. Once the anaemia is cured, the colour and complexion of the person is stored back.
Summing up –
Thus Gudashtaka is a golden remedy for Liver and Spleen disorders and a medicine of choice for Anaemia and associated disorders. Gudashtaka is a comprehensive health tonic and detoxifying agent.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)