Gundra (Typha angustata) – Uses, Actions, Side Effects, Research

By Dr Renita D’Souza Gundra (Typha angustata) is an Ayurvedic herb used to treat bleeding disorders, difficulty to pass urine. It detoxifies breast milk, semen, ovum, menstrual blood and urine. It acts as diuretic and heamostatic.

Botanical Name – Typha angustata Family – Typhaceae Synonyms – Typha angustifolia, Typha bracteata

Uses, qualities, indications

Uses of Gundra

  • Its leaves are diuretic.
  • It is used as an anti – inflammatory agent.
  • Used to induce labour.
  • It can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease due to presence Anti-oxidants, Vitamin C and A.
  • Root stocks are astringent and diuretic.
  • Pollen is astringent, desiccant, diuretic, haemostatic and used to heal wounds.
  • It is used to treat vascular problems. The naringenin content of the plant is used to inhibit the vascular smooth muscles cell proliferation. Excessive proliferation of vascular smooth muscles causes vascular diseases including atherosclerosis, restenosis, and pulmonary hypertension.
  • Pollen extract has ability to enhance the osteoinductive potential of demineralized bone matrix.
  • Used in the study of acid mine water of wetlands
  • Stems and leaves can be used in making paper. They can be woven into mats, chairs, hats etc
  • They are widely used as biomass, fibre, thatching, weaning and have good insulating property.
  • They help in soil stabilisation across the river banks, lakes etc
  • The fruit hairs are used to stuff pillows.

Therapeutic Effects of Gundra

  • Stanya shodana – cleanses breast milk
  • Shukra shodana – detoxifies semen and ovum
  • Rajo Shodhana – purifies impure menstrual blood
  • Mutra Shodana – corrects the defect in urine and its output

Medicinal Qualities Taste (rasa) – Kashaya (astringent), Madhura (sweet) Virya (potency) – Shishira (cold)

Effect on Doshas Balances Pitta dosha

Raktapitta – Bleeding disorders
Mutrakrichra – difficulty to pass urine
Nose bleeding,
Vomiting blood (hematemesis),
Blood in urine (hematuria)
Uterine bleeding Painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea)
Post partum abdominal pain
Lymphadenopathy of the neck (scrofula)
Abscess Alzheimer’s disease

Sanskrit shloka

Morphology, side effects, category

Morphology of Typha angustata
It is perennial aquatic plant grows to a height of 1.5 – 2 meter. It is found along the riverside or in pond. Its leaf is 5 – 12 mm thick. The stem and leaf stand erect. Male and female flowers develop in the dense, complex spikes on the same vertical stem. Seeds are small about 0.2 mm long and attached to a thin hair or stalk.

Classical categorisation
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Guduchyadi Varga
Charaka Samhitha – Stanya jana varga (Read – lactation promoting herbs) Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadi Varga
Dhanvantari Nighantu – Karaviradi Varga

Side Effects of Gundra There are no recorded side effects High dose can cause constipation due to its astringent property. It is contraindicated in pregnancy.

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.

Used part, controversy, synonyms

Part Used of Elephant Grass Leaves, pollen, stem, seed, roots

Controversy Saccharum sara is also considered as gundra. In Bhavaprakasha Nighantu, Gundra is also mentioned as synonym of musta (Cyperus rotundas)

Sanskrit Synonyms
Gundra, Pateraka, Gulma, Sringaverabhamulaka

Research, chemistry, Ayurvedic medicines

Research on Elephant Grass
1. Alzheimer disease and Myocardial Infarction – A review article on Typha angustata has concluded that Typha angustata can be used as antioxidants, medicine for Alzheimer’s disease and myocardial infarction. (Reference – Ashok Kumar K. et al. / International Journal of Phytopharmacology, 4(4), 2013, 277-281)
2. Anti microbial Activity -A study conducted on preliminary phytochemical and anti-bacterial activity of hydro alcoholic extract of rhizome of Typha angustata has showed the significant anti microbial activity of rhizomes.

Chemical constituents of Typha angustata
Tannin, Triterpenes, flavonoids such as Naringenin, Isorhamnetin, Quercetin, Isorhamnetin-3-0(2~G-a-l-rhamnopyrano-syl)- rutinoside, Quercetin-3-0(2~g-l-rhamno-pyranosyl)-rutinoside, Sorhamnetin-3-0-rutinoside, Isorhamnetin-3-0-neohesperidosine, Kampferol-3-0-neohesperidosine and sterols such as alpha-sitosterol, lanosterols, and cholesterol. Its roots contain polysaccharides. It also contains fatty acids like ?linolenic, linoleic.

Ayurvedic medicines with Gundra as Ingredient
Stanyajanana Rasayanam  – Effective Ayurvedic medicine for post natal care. It increases the production of breast milk, improves strength and immunity of the mother.
Mutra Virechaniya Kashaya – It is an Ayurvedic decoction form of medicine used to treat urinary tract diseases. It helps to cleanse bladder and relieve infection.
Stanyajanana Kashaya – It is a decoction form of Ayurvedic medicine which induces the production of breast milk.. It stimulates mammary glands to produce good amount of breast milk in lactating mothers.
Veeratharadiganam Kashaya Choornam – Indicated in the diseases caused by vitiation of vata (apana vata). Acts as a diuretic, used in difficulty to pass urine (dysuria), retension of urine, renal calculi, renal colic etc.
Asthi Sandhanak Lep – It is an herbal paste, applied externally to heal fractures and dislocations. It quickens healing of fractures and calcification of bones. Also helps to reduce pain and inflammation.
Virataradi kashayam – It is a herbal decoction used to treat calculus, gravels, urinary strain and pain and all ailments due to vata disorders.

Vernacular names, classification

Names in different Languages
Hindi Name – Pater, Gound pater
Marathi Name – Ramaban, Pun, Pan kanis
English Name – Lesser Indian Reed mace, Elephant Grass, Small bulrush, cattails
Kannada Name – Apu
Tamil Name – Sambu
Telugu Name – Dabbu Jammu, jammu, jambu.
Bengali Name – Kaaba, hogla
Chinese Name – Chang bao xiang
Pu Japanese Name – Hime-gama

Scientific Classification
Kingdom – Planate
Class – Spermatopsida
Order – Polaes
Family – Typhaceae
Genus – Typha

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