GajaPippali – Scindapsus officinalis Uses, Research, Medicines, Side Effects

Gaja pippali – Scindapsus officinalis is a plant mentioned in Ayurveda for the treatment of respiratory diseases, indigestion, fever, pain in the joints and in the improvement of the quality of breast milk in lactating women.  

Latin name- Scindapsus officinalis Schoott.
Family- Araceae

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name – Badi pippali, Gaja pippali, Gaja pipar, Gaja pipal
English name – Long pepper
Bengali name – Gajapipal, Dare jhapak, Latpipul
Gujarati name – Moto peepar
Kannada name – Dodda hippali, Gaja hippali
Punjabi name – Gajapeepal
Malayalam name – Anattippali
Marathi – Thorapimpli, Gaja pimpli, Thora pippali
Oriya name – Vushira
Tamil name – Anaittippili, Attittippili
Telugu name – Enugapippalu, Enugatippali

Sanskrit synonyms

Gaja pippali – The term Gaja is used to denote the bigger size of the fruit, with the synonym of Gaja – elephant. The fruit is bigger than pippali fruit
Hasti pippali, Ibha pippali, Cavika, Gajavha, Sreyasi, Kapivalli, Vashira, Kola Valli, Hasti Magadha.

Morphology

Morphology of Scindapsus officinalis
Gaja pippali is a large climber growing in the temperate regions of India. The climber contains about 20-30 leaves, with each leaf about 10-15 cm wide, leathery in nature and ovate in shape. Flowers are densely arranged in spadix, which is cylindrical. The color is spathe green outside and yellow within. Seeds are kidney shaped, 0.4-0.6 cm long and 0.3-0.4 cm wide, smooth, shiny, greyish-brown with a dent.

Properties, part used, dosage

Scindapsus officinalis medicinal properties:
Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light), Rooksha (Dry), Teekshna (Strong)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Ripened fruit is Kapha shamaka (reduces vitiated kapha dosha)

Part used- Fruit
Dosage-
Cold infusion- 5 to 10 ml
Powder- 2 to 5 g

Sanskrit verse

Uses

Uses as per traditional Ayurveda:
Vahnivardhini – improves digestion strength
Balances Kapha and Vata Dosha
Useful in the treatment of
Atisara – diarrhoea, dysentery
Shwasa – asthma and chronic respiratory disorders
Kanthamaya – throat disorders
Jantu – worm infestation  

Remedies

  • Fine powder of Gaja pippali is given in a dose of 2-4 g with honey to treat cough with phlegm, dyspnea and sinusitis.
  • Powder of Scindapsus officinalis is given in a dose of 2-3 g with hot water or ginger juice to improve the digestive power and treat indigestion and fever associated due to it.
  • Paste of Scindapsus officinalis is mixed with paste of leaf of Vitex nigundo, Garlic and applied over joint having pain and inflammation.
  • Cold infusion prepared from Gaja pippali is given in a dose of 10-15 ml after mixing with honey to treat cough.
  • Powder of Ashwagandha, shatavari and gaja pippali is mixed together and given with sugar candy and milk to lactating women to improve the quality of breast milk.

Chemical composition

Chemical composition of Scindapsus officinalis:
The fruits contain two glycosidic substances – scindapsin A and B, which on hydrolysis yield the aglucons, scindapsinidine A and B. Free sugars, rhamnose, fructose, glucose and xylose together with some di-and trisaccharides have been identi?ed in the plant.

Adverse effect

People suffering from hyperacidity and gastric ulcer should avoid use of Gaja pippali or take it under proper medical guidance.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines containing Gaja pippali:
Gudapippali: Gudapippali is used extensively in liver disorders. It is also used in the treatment of spleenomegaly, ascitis, chronic fever, inflammation and advised in digestive complaints of children.

Bhangshil tablet: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine. It is a genito-urinary antiseptic and useful in urinary tract disorders.

Pylapy capsule: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine useful to treat haemorrhoids and anal fissures.

Shringarabra rasa: It is used in the Ayurvedic treatment of fever, indigestion, ascites, tuberculosis, cough, asthma, obesity, vomiting, gastritis, anemia, thirst, bleeding disorders.

Research articles

Research articles related to Scindapsus officinalis:
Anti- oxidant and anti- cancer activity: The antioxidant and anticancer evaluation of Scindapsus officinalis (Roxb.) Schott fruits has been attempted to investigate its antitumor activity. An in-vitro cytotoxic assay using the brine shrimp lethality assay with brine shrimp eggs (Artemia salina) at a dose of 1–10 ?g/ml with the fruit extract was performed by the method described by Mayer et al. Cell viability using the Trypan blue dye exclusion test at a dose of 20, 40, 80, 120, and 160 ?g/ml dissolved in DMSO (final concentration 0.1%), and cytotoxicity using the MTT assay where viable cells convert MTT into a formazan salt were performed. The antitumor effect of the extract is evident from the increase in mean survival time (MST) lifespan, reduction in the solid tumor volume, and also the reversal of altered hematological parameters almost equal to normal. The methanolic extract (100–200 mg/kg/day orally) was found to be cytotoxic on human cancer cell lines. In addition, the methanolic extract had an antioxidant effect as reflected by a decrease in LPO, GST, and GPx (oxidant enzymes), and an increase in SOD and catalase.

Anti- nociceptive activity: In this study, the ethanol extract of S. officinalis (EE0SF) was primarily evaluated through phytochemical screening. The compounds found in the fruit are of pharmacological interest which prompted us to focus the research on its possible analgesic and anti-diabetic activity and whether these effects are of any statistical significance. Phytochemical analysis of ethanolic extract of S. officinalis has indicated the presence of steroid, carbohydrate, flavonoid, alkaloid, tanin, saponin and terpenoid-compounds. The analgesic experiment yielded a significant (P < 0.05) reduction in writhing at both 250 and 500 mg/kg body weight dose of extract in a dose dependent manner. The extract, at a dose of 500 mg/kg body weight, caused a significant (p<0.05) dose dependent inhibition of sucrose absorption in six different segments of the gut and manifested hypoglycemic effects in rats at four different hours.

Hepato- protective action: It has the significant antioxidant property due to presence of flavonoids and phenolic compound and has ability of cytoprotection due to antioxidant property. Hydroalcoholic extract (50%Ethanol) of Scindapsus officinalis fruit was prepared and evaluated for its hepatoprotective Potential against paracetamol-induced hepato toxicity in rats. Alteration in the levels of SGPT, SGOT, ALP, bilirubin, total protein and tissue GSH, GSSG and MDA were tested in both treated and untreated groups. SGPT, SGOT, ALP and bilirubin was enhanced significantly (p<0.05) in Paracetamol (2mg/kg B.wt.) treated group and total serum protein, tissue MDA rise and tissue level of GSH was significantly (p<0.05) reduced in Paracetamol (2mg/kg B. wt.) treated group.

Anti- bacterial activity:­­­­ Aqueous and ethanolic extracts of medicinal plant Scindapsus officinalis (Roxb.) Schott. were evaluated for their antibacterial activity against clinical isolates, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus. Both the ethanolic and aqueous extracts inhibited the growth of the test organisms, while S. typhi showing the highest susceptibility. This research supports the local use of the fruits of the plant Scindapsus officinalis for prophylactic and therapeutic purposes against bacterial infection.

Classical categorization

Classical categorization of HastiPippali:
Dhanvantari Nighantu- Shatapushpadi varga
Bhavaprakasha- Hareetakyadi varga
Shodala Nighantu- Shatapushpadi varga

Scientific classification

  • KINGDOM : Plantae
  • PHYLUM : Magnoliophyta
  • CLASS : Liliopsida
  • ORDER : Alismatales
  • FAMILY : Araceae
  • GENUS : Scindapsus Schott. 

Author:  Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: [email protected]
Click to consult Dr Prashanth BK

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