Vetas (Salix caprea) – Uses, Indications, Dose, Side Effects, Research

By Dr Renita D’Souza
Vetas (Salix caprea) is an Ayurvedic herb used to treat bleeding diseases, renal calculi, fever, rheumatic pain, gastro intestinal problems, vaginal pain, wounds, skin diseases etc

Botanical Name – Salix caprea Family – Salicaceae

Home remedies, vernacular names

Vernacular Names of Salix caprea
Sanskrit Name – Vetasa
Hindi Name – Bed mushk
English Name – Goat willow, Great sallow

Uses of Salix caprea

  • Due to Grahi (absorbent) quality of bark of Salix caprea it can be used in diarrhoea, malabsorption syndrome.
  • Bark is said to possess analgesic, diuretic, cardio tonic and aphrodisiac quality.
  • Its leaves possess antipyretic property. Hence it can be made used to bring down high body temperature.
  • Flowers of vetas is used to improve taste as it possess ruchya quality.
  • The distillate from its flowers (arka) is used in tachycardia and fever cause due to excess of heat. In eye infections and headache, the cloth soaked in distillate is kept locally. In Unani system of medicine it is used in the name Arka bed mushk.
  • Bark paste is used in piles.
  • Due to salicin content in the bark of Salix caprea it is mainly used as a pain relieving agent and used to treat osteo arthritis, rheumatic arthritis, headache, gout, menstrual cramps etc.
  • In Rheumatic arthritis use of bark decoction helps to relieve joint swelling, burning sensation, joint stiffness and pain.
  • It is also made used in wounds, cut and bleeding diseases due to its astringent property.
  • In Vishama and Pittaja fever its bark decoction is used internally.
  • It can also be used to wash wounds or cuts. It stops the bleeding, reduce swelling, burning sensation and inflammation.
  • Bark decoction gargle is used in sore throat.

Qualities, action, uses

Medicinal Qualities Of Vetasa
Rasa (taste) – Tiktha (bitter), Kashaya (ashtringent) – (D.N)
Swaadhu (sweet) – (R.N)
Vipaka (taste after digestion) – Katu (pungent)
Virya (potency) – shita (cold)

Karma (action)
Bhuta vinashana (wards off evil spirits or psychiatric diseases caused by evil spirits)
Deepana – kindles digestive fire Ruchya – improves taste

Indications
Daha – Burning sensation
Shotha – Inflammation
Arsha – Piles
Yoni ruk – vaginal pain, gynaecological disorders
Visarpa – Herpes
Mutrakrichra – painful urination, difficulty to pass urine
Rakta pitta – bleeding disorders
Ashmari – renal calculi
Vrana shodhana – cleanses the wound and helps in fast healing
Kusta – skin diseases

Effect on Doshas Balances Kapha and Vata dosha

Part used, dose, side effects

Part used Bark, Leaves, Flowers

Dosage
Decoction – 50 – 100 ml in divided dose per day Powder – 5 – 10 grams in divided dose per day Flower distillate – 12 – 20 ml

Side Effects of Salix caprea There are no recorded side effects. Seek medical advice for its usage in pregnancy and lactation. High dose and prolong use can cause stomach irritation and constipation. Salicin compound in its bark act as aspirin which has analgesic, antipyretic and anti inflammatory properties hence it is better to avoid in patient allergic to aspirin and should be taken with caution in patient with Kidney disease.

Morphology, controversy, pharmacology

Morphology of Salix caprea It is a small tree growing at a height of 8 – 10 metre. Leaves are 5 – 10 cm long, alternate, ovate to obovate in shape, toothed margins, dark green above, grey and short -hairy beneath. Flowers are silvery catkins. Fruit is a small hairy capsule with numerous small seeds embedded in the hairs. Flowers yield essential oil.

Controversy regarding identification of Vetas herb There are different herbs mentioned as vetasa by different authors – Calamus tenuis – Salix caprea – Salix alba The qualities of Salix caprea resembles the qualities of Vetas herb mentioned in Bhavaprakasha Nighantu.

Pharmacological Activities of Ved mushk Antipyretic, Anti inflammatory, Analgesic, Anthelmintic, Anti bacterial, Haemostatic, Sedative

Distribution, chemistry, research

Distribution Salix caprea is found in Europe, Western and Central Asia. In India it is found in Kashmir and Punjab.

Chemical constituents of Salix caprea Carbohydrates, tannin, steroids, phenolglucosides,vitamins, alkaloids, flavonoids such as rutin (rutine), cynaroside, quercetin, and luteolin, Salicin, salicartin, salireproside etc

Research
Anti inflammatory Activity – A research study conducted to evaluate the anti inflammatory activity of Salix caprea flowers by HRBC membrane stabilisation method have proved its potent anti inflammatory activity. Read more about different species of willow and its Use

Sanskrit verse

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.

Categorization

Classical categorization Charaka Samhitha – Vedanasthapana Ghana Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Guduchyadi Varga Dhanvantari Nighantu – Amraadi Varga Raja Nighantu – Prabhadraadi Varga

Sanskrit synonyms of vetasa
Namraka, Vaanir Vanjula Abhrapushpa Vidula, Ratha Shita

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