By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD.
Saptaparna is a bitter herb used for the treatment of fever, arthritis, allergic rhinitis etc.
Botanical name Alstonia Scholaris R Br.
It is appreciated as Indian Cinchona as it is a potent anti malarial action. In English it is termed as Dita tree, Milkwood Pine, White cheesewood tree, Indian devil tree etc.
The trees are found in Karnataka, West Bengal, West coastal area of India and in Kerala.
The tree is considered as the State tree of West Bengal.
The stem bark is the main usable part of this plant; Leaves and flowers are also used for some health conditions.
Dita bark has Ushna veerya(hot in potency) and Katu Vipaka (Pungent bio transformation).It is mainly Kaphavatahara in nature.
The main chemical constituents of the bark are Ditamine, echitenine , echitamine, akuammidine (rhazine), picrinine, strictamine etc.
Saptacchadadi kashaya, Saptaparna ghanavati, Saptacchadadi taila are the unique classical preparations of this drug.
Read related: Saptaparna – Alstonia scholaris: Benefits, Usage in Ayurvedic Treatment
Efficacy is documented for its anti pyretic, anti histaminic, anti inflammatory and anti tussive effects with significant benefits. Its moderate effect with regards to anti arthritic, analgesic and anti cancerous effects are also found.
Few simple and effective therapeutic uses are documented here below-
1. Bark decoction in recurrent and intermittent fever :
Dita bark is collected and its outer skin is removed by scraping. To this small piece of garlic and cumin seeds are added in equal proportions and decoction is prepared. This is administered fourth hourly in a dose of 15-20 ml. This pacifies recurrent and intermittent fever effectively.
General method of decoction preparation is –
1 tablespoon (10 grams) of coarse powder of the herb is added with 2 cups of water. Boiled in open air till the total content is reduced to 1 cup. This is filtered and used.
2. Dita Bark or leaf fresh juice for Obesity and hyper cholesterol:
The fresh bark or leaves are collected and fresh juice is obtained by pounding. Preferably this is administered in early morning. This is very efficacious against the complaints like obesity, hypercholesterol and lipoma.
3. Fine paste of Dita bark along with buttermilk for jaundice:
5-10 gram of the bark is taken and fine paste is made. This is administered along with buttermilk, daily early in the morning for 5-10 days. It is found to be effective in obstructive jaundice cases.
4. Medicated traditional oil of the bark in dandruff and head lice:
The bark of the tree is taken and pounded well and coarse paste is made (25 gram). To this 150 ml sesame oil is added and heated in mild intensity of heat till complete evaporation of the water content. This is filtered and stored. This is used to apply to the scalp. This is effective against the dandruff and head lice.
5. Fine paste of Neem and Saptaparna leaves in abscess:
Neem and Saptaparna (leaves or bark) are taken and fine paste is made. This is added with little salt and warmed. This is applied as poultice in cases of abscess.
Bitter tonics referred in Ayurvedic system and traditional practices have several advantages and they mainly act as free radical scavenging agents and appetizers. In addition, such drugs are anti microbial, bacterio static or bactericidal in nature .Thus the drug strengthens the gut as well as the tissue strength is also enhanced by which prevention and cure-both needs are fulfilled.
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