Kandughna Gana: Anti Pruritus Herbs: Review, Benefits, Formulations

This article is written by Dr M S Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD.
The word ‘Kandu’ refers to Itching, in Ayurveda. The drug which has the action of pacifying itching is called Kandughna. Usually the drugs which have the nature of Kapha pacifying (Kaphahara) effect are bringing this action.

If such drugs are having the additional effect of blood purifying, laxative, immuno-modulator, liver stimulant, digestive and bitter tonic, the anti itching property will be multi-fold.

Kandughna Gana

Let us review the quality and action of these drugs one by one in brief-
1. Chandana – Sandalwood – Santalum album-Heart wood
Coolant, blood purifier, complexion enhancer, diuretic,skion detox etc.

2. Nalada (Nardostachys jatamamsi DC.)-Root
Sedative, coolant, anxiolytic, expectorant, immune modulator etc.

3. Kritamala (Cassia fistula Linn.)-Stem bark/Fruits
Blood purifier, circulation provider, laxative, intestinal flora clearant, wormicide etc.

4. Naktamala – Karanja (Pongamia pinnata Merr.)-Stem bark
Blood purifier, antihyperlipidimic, wormicide, anti microbial etc.

5. Nimba – Neem (Azadirachta indica)-Stem bark
Wormicide/anti helmenthic,anti biotic/anti microbial, healing, blood purifier, bitter tonic etc.

6. Kutaja – Connessi (Holarrhena antidysenterica Wall.)-Bark
Anti diarrhoeal, antipyretic, blood purifier, wormicide, wound healing etc.

7. Sarshapa – Mustard – (Brassica nigra Koch.)-Seeds
Digestive, cholegogue, rubificient,wormicide,wound healing etc.

8. Madhuka– Licorice – Glycyrrhiza glabra -Roots
Complexion enhancer, expectorant, antacid, wound healing, natural skin detox, anti oxidant etc.

9. Daru Haridra – Tree Turmeric (stem) – Berberis aristata -Roots
Wound healing, complexion enhancer, hair tonic, blood purifier etc.

10. Musta (Cyperus rotundus) -Rhizome
Digestive, anti diarrhoeal, absorbant, anti imnflammatory etc. 

Qualities, Actions

Qualities in general and actions of Kandugna drugs:
These drugs are bitter or bitter mixed astringent in taste. Few are sweet also, which may act as Pittahara by which the tissue metabolism can be corrected. As the drugs are undergoing pungent kind of metabolic transformation they have the ability to correct the mal digestion due to their cholegogue action and blood purifying ability.

Also depending upon the doshic association the selective combination of the drugs can be used for the associated symptoms during the suffering of itching followed with oozing or burning.

Therapeutic uses

Therapeutic uses of Kandughna gana drugs:
The drugs belonging to this group are useful in the treatment of various conditions where itching is found as main feature. Most of the diseases where Kapha and Pitta are to be drained out of the body can be treated by these selective drugs.

Eczema, psoarioasis, dermatosis, scaling skin disorders, urticarial rashes, allergic skin manifestations etc can be managed by these drugs quite effectively.

Ayurvedic formulations

Formulations containing Kandughna drugs :
Chandanadi kashaya, Aragwadhadi kashaya, Karanjasava, Karanjadya ghrita, Maha karanja taila, Dashanga agada, Nimbamrita kashaya, Mahatiktaka ghrita, Tiktaka kashaya, Tiktaka ghrita, Mustakadyarishtha etc are the formulations which are used widely to treat the itching associated skin problems.


Disadvantages of Kandugna gana drugs:
Even though itching is usually caused by Kapha dosha where Ushna (hot)-Teekshna(penetrative/sharp)-Laghu(light)-Shlakshna(fine) kind of medicines are used , in contrary Vidagdha pitta (partially digested pitta dosha) which may also lead to itching needs the drugs which pacify the pitta dosha,where coolant(sheetala),manda(slow),heavy(guru) medicines are desired.So the drugs should be selected based upon the doshic dominance or else the condition may be worsened.

Simple formulations

Simple formulations that can be made from the above drugs and their application in routine practice:
In case of itching associated with oozing skin lesions the medicines like Aragwadha-Daruharidra-Musta-Sarshapa-Nimba etc are made into decoction and administered in  suitable dose.

In dry and scaling conditions of skin complaints where itching is a dominant  feature Chandana-Nalada-Madhuka etc can be used  in the fine powder/tablet or decoction forms. Or else their fine paste can be mixed with ghee or oil and applied over the skin lesions.

Formulation development opportunities:
Medicated ghee or oils  can be prepared out of the above drugs to apply over the skin lesions, especially in non oozing or dry skin disorders. Topical applicants like gels, ointments and liniments can also be prepared.  Soaps and shampoos as well as bathing powders can also be made with suitable bases and adjuvants.

For allergic manifestations with suitable immuno-modulators and anti histaminic drugs if the above drugs are included potent and safe competitive herbal products can be developed.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD.

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