Chitraka is a very unique ayurvedic herb, used both orally and externally. Ayurvedic texts have explained that all synonyms of fire (agni) holds good for Chitraka. This is due to its fire-like action. i.e it is hot in potency, pungent in taste and undergoes pungent kind of bio- transformation (vipaka). Moreover it causes blisters if applied over the skin surface and leads to burning and ulceration.
Botanical name – Plumbago zeylanica
Ayurvedic texts have explained that all synonyms of fire (agni) holds good for Chitraka. This is due to its fire-like action. i.e it is hot in potency, pungent in taste and undergoes pungent kind of bio- transformation (vipaka). Moreover it causes blisters if applied over the skin surface and leads to burning and ulceration.
Depending upon the flower coloring it is identified with four varieties like white, yellow, red and black.
Red and white are medicinally used aand red one is more hot in potency.
The pungent taste and hot potency of Chitraka is because of irritant chemical constituent of the drug plumbagin. It is vatakaphahara inn nature.
Chitaka Shodhana – purification:
Leadwort is purified by soaking in cow’s urine or lime water for seven days where each day the urine/lime water is changed. Now a days by boiling with milk + ghee also it is purified in pharmaceutical companies.
When used externally it acts as abortificient also. It is the reason people of village sides use it as an abortificient stick and such crude practices are to be avoided and people should be made aware regarding complication of such practices.
Chitaka is one among the Trimada group of herbs. The other two are – Musta – Cyperus rotundus – Khas khas grass and
Vidanga – Embelia ribes – False black pepper.
This combination is useful in intestinal worm infestation.
Important formulations of leadwort are Chitrakadi ghrita, Chitrakadi vati, Chitakadi kashaya, Chitraka hareetaki, Chitrakadi choorna etc.
Root paste with ghee application to the pile mass:
Purified roots of Chitraka are taken and rubbed with cow’s ghee and fine paste is made.This ghee is applied over the external pile mass. Regular application helps to soften or shred the pilemass.
Root processed with buttermilk in haemorroids:
The purified roots are taken (1-2 gram) and rubbed well with buttermilk. Further this paste is consumed along with buttermilk foolowing cooling and carminative and digestive diet. This helps tom pacify haemorroids.
Root skin processed with milk for vitiligo:
Root skin of the leadwort – 100 grams is cooked with 800 ml of milk. Filtered. This milk is curdled. From this ghee is obtained. This ghee is applied over the vitiligo regularly. 8-10 days application turns the color of the lesion into reddish brown and further in association with suitable oral medication if the treatment is continued better results can be found.
Read related: Vitiligo: Ayurvedic Treatment, Medicines, Herbs, Remedies
Purified leadwort root fine paste application over the warts:
Fine paste of the roots is applied over the warts regularly. Meanwhilce blood purifiers are to be administered for better result.
Chitraka powder and neem decoction for washing the necrosing wounds:
Neem decoction is prepared and to this 2-3 pinch of leadwort powder is added and kept for a while .This is filtered and then this solution is used to wash the wounds and necrosed lesions.This helps to purify the wound and eases the process of healing.
General method of preparation of decoction (kashaya) – 1 tablespoon of powder is added with 2 cups of water, boiled and reduced to 1 cup, filtered.
A poison can be a nector if processed properly and used by a skillful person in appropriate dose and vehicle. Chitraka is one such drug which has multi-fold utility and it appears to be a confident drug in the treatment of challenging problem vitiligo/ leucoderma where good research may yield much evolved fruitful remedies. Let’s watch for hopeful tomorrow….to treat leucoderma successfully.
Consult Dr Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD