This article is written by Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD.
Several weeds are used as medicines in Ayurveda. These are more profitable if grown as weed than cultivated. Purple tephrosia is a very good example for it. It acts as laxative, useful in splenomegaly, liver infection, hemorrhoids etc.
Sanskrit name – Sharapunkha, Sarapunkha
Botanical name – Tephrosia purpurea Linn
The leaves and flowers are used in therapeutics.
As collection of mere leaves is difficult, in practice whole plant is used.
The purple tephrosia plants are found in dry lands and in hilly regions. It is found in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
It undergoes Pungent kind of bio transformation and it is hot in nature as per potency wise.
The drug is very useful in spleen and liver disorders.
The leaves are laxative, cholegogue (Pitta saraka), diuretic, blood purifier, wormicidal and anti pyretic in nature. So the drug is used in haemorroids, obstructive and infective liver disorders, splenomegaly, anaemia etc.
The leaves are rich with tephrosin, deguelin, isotephrosin, rotenone and osyritin chemical constituents.
Read related: Sarapunkha – Tephrosia purpurea – Qualities, Usage, Ayurveda Details
Root decoction in indigestion, flatulence, loss of taste/hunger etc:
3-5 gram of root of this plant is taken and decoction is made. This is administered along with half a teaspoon of jaggery or palm jaggery. This improves digestion and hunger and relieves gas (flatus).
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.
Dry cough, rhinitis
Sarpunkha Leaf juice with honey for dry cough, cold and rhinitis:
Fresh juice of the leaves – 1 – 2 teaspoon is administered along with honey, in all the age group, preferable in children. This pacifies dry cough, cold and rhinitis.
Bleeding disorders, haemorrhoids
Leaf decoction for bleeding disorders , liver disorders and haemorroids:
The decoction prepared out of the leaves acts effectively in the conditions like bleeding disorders , liver disorders and haemorroids.
Decoction of whole plant with Phyllanthus niruri and cumin seeds in jaundice, splenic enlargement and hepatitis (including infective hepatitis):
Equal amount of Purple tephrosia , Phyllanthus neruri and cumin seeds are taken and decoction is made. This is advised in 20-30 ml dose, 3-4 times a day, followed with fat free diet. This is found to be very effective in most of the liver disorders and infective conditions of liver and spleen.
In repeated episodes of pin worms of the children, decoction of Tephrosia and papaya seeds:
The decoction made out of Sarapunkha and papaya seeds is taken early in the morning, regularly for 7-10 days. It helps to cure the complaints of pin worm infestation in young children as well as adults.
Usually the plants of Sharapunkha are found in two different colors, namely white and purple. Purple variety is more commonly used. White one is rejuvenative- Tephrosia villosa.
Both the varieties are used in challenging Kapha-Vataja disorders, where immunity is lacking and liver appears to be dull. As it corrects the functions of master organ liver in recent days several proprietary liver tonics and laxatives possess Tephrosia as a significant ingredient.
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