By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Ayurveda explains certain herbs that are administered orally or applied externally for the maintenance of healthy pregnancy. These are not necessary to be taken on a regular basis. These are advised by Ayurveda doctor when need arises.
Garbha Sthapaka Aushadhas are those herbs which help in stabilizing the fetus and maintenance of pregnancy.
Garbha = fetus
Sthapaka = stabilizing, maintaining
Aushadhas = medicines, herbs
Other name – Praja Sthapaka Aushadhas.
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Garbha sthapaka aushadhas / Praja sthapaka aushadhas – beneficial herbs for stabilizing the fetus and maintenance of pregnancy
Charaka has explained the same herbs in two contexts under two headings i.e. praja sthapanani and garbha sthapanani.
In Sutra sthana chapter 4 (4/18), Charaka enlists 10 herbs and calls them prajasthapanani.
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Prajasthapana Mahakashaya – the 10 herbs which maintains pregnancy as explained by Charaka –
- Aindri / Indravaruni – Citrullus colocynthis
- Brahmi – Bacopa monnieri
- Shatavirya (Neela durva) – Cynodon dactylon
- Sahasravirya (Shweta durva) – variety of Cynodon dactylon
- Amogha (Patala) – Stereospermum chelonoides
- Avyatha (Guduchi) – Tinospora cordifolia
- Shiva (Haritaki) – Terminalia chebula
- Arishta (Katuki) – Picrorhiza kurroa
- Vatyapushpi (Atibala) – Sida rhombifolia / Abutilon indicum
- Visvaksenakanta (Priyangu) – Callicarpa macrophylla
Avyatha is taken either of the Guduchi or Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) or Kadali (Musa paradisciaca).
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Since these herbs are enlisted in category of maha kashaya i.e. great decoctions, it probably means that these herbs shall be used in the form of decoction.
In Charaka Shaarira 8/20, Charaka once again enlists the same herbs and calls them Garbha sthapanani.
These herbs shall be kept in stock always by the physician. The pregnant woman too shall always have these herbs in her vicinity, closer to her.
Similarly the herbs of jivaniya group should be used.
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How to use these herbs?
They are administered in various forms. It largely depends on the consulting doctor. They are usually administered in the form of –
- Amulets of these herbs tied on head or right arm / right wrist
- Milk or ghee prepared using these 10 herbs shall be used for drinking.
- Processed water or cold decoction for bathing during pushya nakshatra.
- Mentioned herbs kept in close contact of the aspiring mother
Ashtanga Hridaya and Ashtanga Sangraha follow same description as mentioned in Charaka Samhita.
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Amulets explained by Kashyapa
Kashyapa enlists the below mentioned herbs and tells that they should be uprooted by enchanting holy hymns according to prjapatya vidhi procedure and tied as amulet on the arm of the aspiring mother. Amulet of these herbs shall be tied on Pushya Nakshatra day.
- Bahupatra – Phyllanthus niruri
- Ananta – Hemidesmus indicus
- Ishwari – Aristolochia indica
- Mudita (Shivlingi) – Bryonia laciniosa
- Brahmi – Bacopa monnieri
- Sahadeva – Vernonia cinerea
- Indravaruni – Citrullus colocynthis
- Jivaka – Microstylis wallichii / Malaxis acuminate
- Rshabhaka – Microstylis muscifera
- Bharangi – Clerodendrum serratum
- Samanga – Rubia cordifolia
- Vata shunga – leaf bud of banyan tree
- Atmagupta – Mucuna pruriens
- Arishta – Picrorhiza kurroa
- Putana – Terminalia chebula
- Keshi – Nardostachys jatamansi
- Shatavirya – Cynodon dactylon
- Sahasravirya – variety of Cynodon dactylon
The amulet of Trivrit (Operculina turpethum) should also be tied to the waist of pregnant woman.
These herbs used as amulets and waist bands help in maintenance of pregnancy.
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Shata Dhauta Ghrita
This is 100 times washed ghee. Learn how to prepare here.
It acts as a natural coolant and styptic, on external application.
When there is unexplained bleeding per vagina during pregnancy, it is applied externally over lower abdomen, around umbelicus to balance down Pitta Dosha and to control bleeding.
Charaka and Kashyapa have prescribed above mentioned herbs during pregnancy but have not specified their indications, period or method of use.
Chakrapani, the commentator of Charaka Samhita has clarified that Garbhasthapana herbs are those which counteract the effect of harmful factors affecting fetus i.e. Garbhoaghatakara bhavas.
After doing so, the same herbs help in maintenance of pregnancy and guard the fetus enabling its stabilization. Thus, these herbs can also be considered as treatment for abortion.
Vriddha Vagbhata has indicated prajasthapana herbs described in sutrasthana after explaining pumsavana vidhi (methods of begetting child of desired sex).
Indu, the commentator of Ashtanga Sangraha says that these herbs prevent abortion.
Kashyapa has advised these herbs to be used in routine by pregnant woman. Routine use of these herbs might be beneficial for maintenance of proper health, growth and development of both, the aspiring mother and the fetus.
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Benefits of Garbha Sthapaka Aushadhas
Herbs mentioned in garbhasthapanani or prajasthapanani group of herbs bestow the below mentioned benefits –
- Helps in maintenance of pregnancy
- Stabilize the fetus
- Promotes health and well being of mother and fetus
- Helps prevent miscarriages and abortions