Akhuparni: Ipomea reniformis: Uses, Remedies, Research, Side Effects

Akhuparni Ipomea reniformis is an Ayurvedic plant used for the treatment of swelling, headache, facial palsy, intestinal worms, snake poisoning, diabetes and skin diseases. 

Latin name- Merremia emarginata/ Ipomea reniformis, Ipomoea reniformis
Family- Convolvulaceae

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name – Musakani, Chuhakanni
Bengali name – Indurakani
Gujarati name – Undarakani
Kannada name – Ilikivi gida
Marathi name – Undirkani
Malayalam name – Elichhevi
Tamil name – Elikatu keerayi
Telugu name – Ellika jemudu
Urdu name –  Chukakani

Sanskrit Synonyms

Akhuparni, Mushika parni, Akhu karni- Leaf resemble the ear of rat
Dravanti, Shambari, Bhumichari – The plant spreads quickly
Leeka, Vrushakarni, Bhudarashraya,Bhudaribhava, Krushika, Bahukarnika, Chandi, Pratyakshreni

Morphology

Morphology of Ipomoea reniformis
Akhuparni is a small plant found all over India in the damp, moist regions. Root grows from each nodule of the plant spreading quickly in the ground. The leaf are kidney shaped and resemble the ear of the rat; hence the name Akhuparni. The flowers are small and are seen in the month of September to December. The seeds are smooth, dark brown to black in color.

Properties, part used, dosage

Akhuparni medicinal properties:
Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Ruksha (Dry in nature), Teekshna (Strong)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Vipaka – – Katu (Undergoes Pungent taste after digestion)
Prabhava (Special action)- Krimighna (Act against worms)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphavata shamaka (reduces vitiated kapha and vata dosha)

Part used- Whole plant
Dosage- 10 to 20 ml of fresh juice

According to Bhojana Kutuhalam twelfth chapter, Akhuparni is pungent in taste, hot in potency and alleviates kapha and pitta. It is laxative and treats bloating of abdomen, fever, colicky pain and promotes digestion.

Sanskrit verse

Chemical constituents

Chemical constituents of Merremia emarginata:
The major chemical constituents of the plant are Caffeic, P-coumaric, Ferulic and Sinapic acid esters.

Uses, Indications

Uses of Akhuparni:

  • One should consume decoction of Aakhuparni mixed with sugar in a dose of 30-40 ml to treat case of fever caused by worms.
  • The juice of the leaf of Merremia emarginata is given in a dose of 10-15 ml to control diabetes.
  • To treat rhinitis, Aakhuparni juice and Bhringaraja juice are mixed and used as nasal drops.
  • In snake bite cases the juice of the leaves is given for drinking and the paste is used for application at the site.
  • To treat earache, the drops of the leaf of Merremia emarginata is added with sesame oil and installed as ear drops.
  • The powder of the seeds is mixed with water and made into paste which is applied over the scalp to treat headache.
  • The decoction of the whole plant of Akhuparni is given in a dose of 40-50 ml to treat cough and asthma.
  • To treat distention of bladder, the paste of the plant is applied over the bladder region.
  • The paste of the plant of Merremia emarginata is applied over the area affected with skin diseases.

Traditional uses:
kaphahara – balances Kapha Dosha
Pachani – Digestive, relieves Ama Dosha
Indications:
Mutramaya – Urinary tract disorders
Krumi – worm infestation
Anaha – bloating, fullness
Jwara – fever
Shoola – abdominal colic pain
Arti – relieves pain

Adverse effects

No adverse effect is reported after the use of Akhuparni.

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.

Ayurvedic medicines

Formulation containing Akhuparni:
Krimighna kashaya: This is a medicine in decoction form and is useful to treat intestinal worms.

Brihat Vidyadharabhra Rasa: Brihat Vidyadharabhra Ras is an Ayurvedic medicine in tablet form, used in the treatment ofabdominal pain, digestive disorders etc. This medicine contains heavy metal ingredients, hence should only be taken under strict medical supervision.

Research

Research articles related to Merremia emarginata:
Anti- cancer activity:
The present study was designed to evaluate the invitro anticancer activity of Merremia emarginata Burm.F. The different solvent fraction of whole plant Merremia emarginata Burm.F was subjected for MTT assay. The ethylacetate fraction of whole plant was foundto be cytotoxic against human cervical carcinoma Hela cell lines and human breast carcinoma MCF cell lines. The IC 50value of ethylacetate fraction was 51.57μg/ml against Hela cell lines and 39.6μg/ml against MCF-7 cell lines. 

Anti- inflammatory action: Ethanolic extract of whole plant of (EME)(100, 200 and 400 mg/kg p.o) was studied for its anti- inflammatory activity using carrageenan induced rat paw edema animal model, anti -arthritis activity using complete freund’s adjuvant model and analgesic activity at the same dose level using Hot plate analgesia in mice. The Percentage inhibition with indomethacin and EME in the carrageenan induced paw edema at the dose level 400mg/kg were 82% and 74% at the end of 5hr. The results indicate that treatment of adjuvant induced arthritic rats with EME improves ESR, Hb value and also restores body weight. Significant (P<0.05) inhibitory effect was observed with EME onFCA induced paw edema throughout the study. In radiant tail flick method, the extract at the dose 400mg/kg showed reaction time 5.9± 0.52 (P<0.05). The ethanolic extract possesses anti-inflammatory, anti- arthritis and analgesic activity.

Classical categorization

Charaka- Krimighna mahakashaya
Sushruta – Surasadi gana
Shodala nighantu- Nama sangraha
Raja nighantu- Guduchyadi Varga
Kaiyadeva nighantu- Aushadi varga
Bhavaprakasha nighantu- Guduchyadi varga.
Shaligrama nighantu- Guduchyadi varga
Priya nighantu- Shatapushpadi varga

Scientific classification

Kingdom                     –           Plantae
Division                       –           Spermatophyte
Sub-division                –           Angiospermae
Class                            –           Dicotyledanae.
Sub-class                     –           Metachlamydeae
Order                           –           Tubiflorae
Family                         –           Convulvulaceae.
Genus                          –           Ipomoea
Species                        –           reniformis

Author:
Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: [email protected]

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