By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD
The plant Madar is well known as Arka in ayurveda. The name Arka symbolizes the deep penetrating and hot potency of the plant. This herb is related to Ravi graha (Sun) as per Indian astrology.
It is also called Milkweed, Stabragh or Sodom Apple.
Its botanical name is Calotropis procera / Calotropis gigantea The name calotropis refers to one which has beautiful corona of the flower and procera refers to tallness.
The plant is available in two colors-white and bluish red. Red variety of Arka is commonly found and it is used for medicinal purpose.
The white variety is rare and it is used in Tantric practices and used to take away the evil spirits.
Read related: Calotropis gigantea – Arka -Uses, Dose, Side Effects, Ayurveda Details
The leaves are the used part. The flowers are offered to Lord Shiva and the garland of`the leaves is used to decorate Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman.
While preparing the Kshara sutra (alkaline thread) the latex of this plant is used. Ayurvedic literatures like Rasaratna samucchaya, Rasatarangini etc group the plant Arka among the semi poisons (Upavisha).
Read related: Ksharasutra Preparation Method: Detailed Explanation
It is very important to know that the latex of the plant is a big irritantand if it falls on the eyes accidentally especially while collecting the leaves or cutting the plant, one may lose eye sight!
So one should be careful while collecting the plant.
Whole plant is used to prepare the alkali(Arka kshara).
The leaves are used to prepare the oil(Arka taila) and to prepare various Rasashastra medicines. (herbo- mineral formulations).
Arka lavana, Arkadi choorna, Sootikabharana rasa, Ekangaveera rasa, Mahavata vidhwamsarasa etc are the unique preparations of this drug.
The plant is used abundantly by the folk healers and by the village people while treating several minor illness conditions.Few important home remedies and their health benefits are discussed here below-
1.Warmed leaf application over the swelling:
3-4 mature leaves of madar are collected and warmed in its ventral side(fine area). Little sesame oil or any other pain relieving oils (like Dhanvantara taila, Kottamchukkadi taila, Nirgundi taila etc) is applied over it and placed over the swelling or inflamed area.
5-6 days regular fomentation helps to reduce the swelling effectively.
2. Application of the leaf paste over the joints:
Mature leaves are made into fine paste without adding water. If necessary little salt may be added. This paste is applied over inflamed joints. 2-3 days medication helps to reduce the pain and swelling quite effectively.
3. Leaf oil in joint pain and muscular pains:
Leaves are made into paste (50 gram).
To this 200 ml sesame oil.
200 ml water is added and is cooked till the water evaporates completely.
It is filtered and stored.
This can be applied over the painful joints as well as muscular pains. In skin diseases such as eczema also it is beneficial.
Some add betel leaf paste also while cooking this oil.
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4. Dried Flower powder in asthma and chronic cough:
Flowers are collected, dried in sunshade, made into fine powder. 1-2 pinches of this is mixed with little rock salt powder and used for chewing. Or else this combination can be taken along with warm water. It relieves chronic cough, cold, asthma, rhinitis etc.
Ayurveda system of medicine believes-“there is nothing in this universe which is useless;a learner or seeker will use the best part of the plant in treating`varieties of disorders –it may be a single drug or in combinations”. True, unbiased, innovative mind will design the best from each such herbal drug.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD