Ishwari Aristolochia indica Uses, Adverse effects, Research

Ishwari- Aristolochia indica is an ayurvedic herb useful for the treatment of localized swelling, cases of poisoning by inducing vomiting, skin diseases, cough and painful periods.  

Latin name- Aristolochia indica Linn.
Family- Aristolochiaceae

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Siddha name: Adagam
Hindi name: Isharmul, Isarmul, Hooka bel
English name: Indian Birthwort, Snake root
Arabic name: Zaravande
Assamese name: Jarvande
Bengali name: Ishormul, Isheri
Gujarati name: Sapsan, Ruhimula, Iswarimool
Kannada name: Ishwari Beru, ToppaluKonkani name: Sapsikaddul
Marathi name: Sapasan
Malayalam name: Garudakkoti, Garudakkodi, Karaleyan, Cheriya arayan
Oriya name: Gopikaron
Sinhalese name: Sapsanda
Tamil name: Adagam, Isadesatti, Isura, Isuramuli, lyavari, Karudakkodi, Kirttikkodi, Neya, Perumarindu, Perumaruntu, Perunkilangu, Sarsugadi, Talaichuruli
Telugu name: Ishveraveru, Esvaraveru
Urdu name: Zarawand Hindi

Sanskrit Synonyms

Nakuli, Ahigandha, Arkamula, Garuda, Ishvara, Ishvari, Nakuleshtha, Nakuli, Sunanda, Rudrajata, Ishwari, Naakuli, Arkmuula, Gandhnakuli, Nagadamani


Morphology of Aristlochia indica:
Aristolochia indica is a glabrous, shrubby or herbaceous perennial plant with woody root stock and long, slender, grooved, glabrous branches. It is found mostly in the Himalayan belt near Nepal, South India and Bengal up to an altitude of 3000 feet. The stem part of the climber is woody and thin. The leaves are 2-4 inch in length and 1-2 inch wide, variable, fiddle shaped to linear. It is glabrous with a slightly undulate margin. The flowers are 1-1.5 inch in length, found in small clusters and they appear like hood of the cobra. They are purple colour inside and pale green in the outer rim. They bloom in the rainy season. The fruits are round and are found in the month of November to March. The seeds are triangular and flat. The roots of the plant are long and cylindrical with little bends.  The outer side is brownish with white colour inside. They are bitter in taste and have camphor like odour.

Properties, part used, dosage

Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter), Kashaya (Astringent)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Ruksha (Dry in nature)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes Pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphavata shamaka (reduces vitiated kapha and vata dosha)

Part used- Root, Leaf
Root powder- 1 to 3 g
Leaf juice- 5 to 10 ml

Chemical composition

Aristolochia sp. contains aristolochic acids and aristolactams. The plant Ishwari, especially roots, contains Aristochine, Aristolochene, Ishwaronw, Aristolochine acid, Ishwarane, Cephaeradiones and Aritistolindiquinone.

Uses, Indications

Uses of Ishwari:

  • The powdered root of Ishwari is given with honey in a dose of 3 g fordropsy, leukoderma, tonsillitis and chronic dyspepsia.
  • One pinch of root powder of Aristolochia indica is taken with warm water to treat fever, indigestion, and digestive disorders.
  • The paste prepared from the leaf of the plant is applied over the joints affected with pain and swelling.
  • The paste of the fresh leaf is applied over the forehead with turmeric powder to reduce headache.
  • The powder of the seed of Ishwari is mixed with warm water and applied over joints to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • For leucoderma, skin diseases, wounds and swelling the paste of leaves is applied topically on affected areas.
  • In patients suffering from cough, the juice of the leaf of Aristolochia indica is given in a dose of 5-6 ml to induce vomiting and remove the excessive kapha dosha.
  • Cold infusion from the root of the plant is given in a dose of 40-50 ml to treat dysmenorrhea and difficulty in labor.
  • Decoction of the root of Aristolochia indica is given in a dose of 30 ml to treat retention of urine.
  • The fresh juice of the leaf is administered in a dose of 5-10 ml to induce vomiting in cases of poisoning from scorpion bite and snake bite.

Sanskrit verse

Adverse effects

Excess use of the root and leaf of Ishwari can cause nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. Hence the herb should be used with extreme care.

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

Ayurvedic medicines containing Ishwari:
Gorochanadi vati: Gorochanadi Gulika is a tablet, used in Ayurvedic treatment of fever, pneumonia, cough, cold, bronchitis, asthma, diseases of throat, tonsillitis, chronic fever.

Pukaghanda: It is an Ayurvedic medicine, in granules form. It is used in Ayurvedic treatment of vomitting, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, gastritis, bleeding diseases, anemia and constipation.

Dandrux oil: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic hair oil, used in the treatment of chronic dandruff.

Mathala rasayana: Mathala Rasayanam is an Ayurvedic medicine in lehya form, used in digestive and respiratory diseases.

Mahavishagarbha taila: Maha Vishagarbha Taila is a herbal oil used in Ayurvedic treatment of neuro-muscular conditions, sciatica, tetanus, stiffness and tightness in back and limbs, Tinnitis and lack of tactile sensation. It is used for external application.


Research articles related to Aristlochia indica:
Anti- microbial activity: The present study was designated to evaluate the antimicrobial activities of ethanolic extract of Aristolachia indica L. The antimicrobial activities of the extract against 12 strains belong to bacterial and fungi species were tested by using agar diffusion method. The results showed that ethanolic extract of Aristolachia indica had moderately significant antibacterial and significant antifungal activity. It inhibited the growth of both bacterial and fungal species dose dependently. The inhibition of growth was highest at 100mg/ml as compared to the controls. Ethanolic extract showed stronger antimicrobial activity against the fungi than that of the bacteria.

Nephro- protective action: The aim of the study was to determine the protective effect of Aristolochia indica leaf extract on Gentamicin induced nephrotoxicity in rats using biochemical approaches. Oxidative stress is the main factor in Gentamicin (GM) induced nephrotoxicity. Nephrotoxicity was assessed by measuring the abnormal levels of serum creatinine, urea and sodium and decreased level of protein and potassium. Treatment with Aristolochia indica leaves (500 mg/kg) significantly (p < 0.05) restored the levels of serum creatinine, urea, sodium, protein and potassium. Significantly (p < 0.05) increased the antioxidant defence enzyme levels of SOD, GPx and CAT on treatment with Aristolochia indica. The results suggest that an Aristolochia indica leaf has the potential in preventing the nephrotoxicity induced by Gentamicin.

Classical categorization

Bhavaprakasha- Haritakyadi varga
Raja Nighantu- Mulakadi varga

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Genus: Aristolochia
Species: A. indica

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

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