India, the land where Ayurveda, a 5000-year-old remedial science, first originated, is endowed with the goodness of Mother Nature. Curative herbs and spices are growing in every niche, whether they are charted and studied or not. In these unprecedented times, owing to the vicious cycle of a sedentary lifestyle, getting diagnosed with some other health conditions is no longer an uncommon factor. But much to our respite, quite a lot of these herbs and spices hold a remedial solution to a number of health woes. While some have already been studied and formulated for their therapeutic efficacy, there are still a lot of herbs remaining that are yet to get recognition. One such truly miraculous herb or you can call a weed you never recognized growing around the roadside, is Atibala.
What Is Atibala?
Atibala, a.k.a Abutilon indicum is a common roadside weed with beautiful golden-yellow blooms. The weed Atibala which literally translates into ‘extremely powerful,’ is inherently sanctified with anti-inflammatory, antihyperlipidemic, immunomodulatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, antimalarial, diuretic, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, wound healing, and anti-diarrheal properties. Right from the treatment and management of fever, general debility, nervous disorders, headache, muscular weakness, heart diseases, bleeding disorders, paralysis, urethritis, hemorrhagic septicemia, leprosy, syphilis, cataract, boils and ulcers, diarrhea, leg pains, uterus displacement, snakebite, piles, gonorrhea, cough, dry cough, bronchitis, and male sexual disorders, Atibala is an absolute remedy for all.
How To Identify Atibala?
Coming from the Malvaceae family, Atibala is a powerful therapeutic herb with immense medicinal qualities. It is an erect, perennial plant that has a height of about 1–2 meters. It has long tap roots light brown in hue, with a smooth outer surface that can be easily peeled off. Stems are long and cylindrical, whereas leaves are simple, stipulate, and arranged alternately on the stem. Flowers are regular, orangish-yellow, and bisexual in nature. Flowers are usually followed by circular capsules, densely pubescent with radiating carpels forming conspicuous and horizontally spreading beaks. Fruits are green when young, turning gradually to black as they mature, enclosing seeds that are reniform and tuberculate with a hairy exterior.
Common Names Of Atibala
The plant is recognized by various names in different parts of the world. Some of its common English names include Indian Mallow, Chinese Bellflower, Country Mallow, Indian Mallow Abutilon, Indian Abutilon, Indian Lantern Plant, Monkey Bush, Moon Flower, and Twelve O’clock Flower.
In the Indian subcontinent, it goes by the following common names in the corresponding languages:
Malayalam: Uram, Katuvan, Urubam, Vankuruntott, Oorpam, and Tutti
Tamil: Thuthi, Tutti
Marathi: Chakrabhendi, Petari and Mudra
Gujarati: Kansaki, Khapat
Assamese: Jayavandha, Jayapateri
Punjabi: Kangi, Kangibooti
Kannada: Kashmiri, Kath, Turube, Shrimudrigida, and Mudragida
Chemical Composition Of Atibala
Atibala is an extremely beneficial herb as each and every part of the herb, from roots, stems, bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds have curative qualities and is used for therapeutic benefits. The plant as a whole contains mucilaginous compounds, asparagines, saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, and certain essential oils like α-pinene, caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, endesmol, farnesol, borenol, geraniol, geranyl acetate, elemene, and α-cineole 2.
Imbibed with powerful demulcent, laxative, diuretic, aphrodisiac, anti-diabetic, antipyretic, anthelmintic, nerve tonic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, antihyperlipidemic, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, hypoglycaemic, immunomodulatory, analgesic, and wound-healing properties, Atibala is highly significant in treating inflammation, piles, gonorrhea, compromised immunity, haematuria, leprosy, piles, cough, puerperal sickness, chronic dysentery, bronchitis, diarrhoea, bladder inflammation, vaginal infections and fever.
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Although this miraculous herb has been there since a long time and mostly used for herbal remedies. With passing time, the various properties of the herb have gradually surfaced and are now under research for creating formulations directed for different health conditions. Prized as an ‘extremely powerful herb’, it is indicated for the following ayurvedic indications:
- Balya (provides nourishment)
- Amahara (treats indigestion)
- Dahahara (relieves burning sensation)
- Shwasha (relieves breathing difficulties)
- Deepana (enhances stomach fire)
- Pachana (helps in digestion)
- Rochana (stimulates appetite)
- Kupachan (prevents bloating)
- Agnimandya (prevents indigestion)
- Jvara (useful in fever)
- Yakrit Vikara (prevents liver infections)
- Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea)
- Kamala (prevents jaundice)
- Kasahara (Relieves cough)
- Anulomana (improves breathing)
- Shonitasthapana (prevents bleeding)
- Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea)
- Pandu (treats skin disorders)
- Raktadoshahara (blood purifying)
- Vran Ropana (heals wounds)
- Mehahara (treats urinary tract disorders)
- Prameha (manages diabetes)
- Vamana (prevents nausea and vomiting)
- Vamanopaga (treats emesis)
- Varnya (improves complexion)
- Krimihara (relieves intestinal worms)
- Hridaya (treats heart problems)
Health Benefits Of Atibala
Malnutrition, also known as Karshya disease in Ayurveda, chiefly occurs due to the lack of nutrients and improper digestion. Coupled with inherent nourishing components and Balya property, Atibala significantly tackled malnutrition and mineral deficiencies.
Take ¼ - ½ tsp of Atibala powder with honey and water, twice a day, after light meals to overcome malnutrition.
Promotes Male Reproductive Health
Atibala plays a significant in improving men’s sexual health. The herb has powerful spermatogenic properties that are extremely beneficial for treating asthenozoospermia (i.e., sperm motility), teratospermia (i.e., abnormal sperm shape), oligospermia (i.e., low sperm count), hypospermia (low volume of semen), and enhances spermatogenesis (i.e., sperm production). Enriched with antioxidants, it enhances the production of male hormones like testosterone and luteinizing hormone. It also deals with conditions like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation and increases libido during sexual activities.
After light meals, consume a decoction of ¼ - ½ tsp of Atibala powder with honey and water twice daily to treat male sexual dysfunction.
Cures Liver Anomalies
Coined as ‘Sarva roga niramani’, just like the bitter herb Kutki, Atibala inherently possesses potent anti-biliary and hepatostimulative properties, which makes it a magical remedy during conditions like jaundice, in which the liver gets most affected. The plant supports the liver by secreting bile, which in turn helps the liver enzymes to tone down to normal levels. It also cleanses and detoxifies the liver and enhances liver functioning.
Relieves Pain And Inflammation
Thanks to strong pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects, Atibala is extensively used to provide relief in painful conditions like arthritis, muscle spasms, body pain, etc. The pain is due to Rheumatoid arthritis, also known as Amavata, and Osteoarthritis, also known as Shondivata, which generally occurs due to vitiation of Vata Doshas and accumulation of toxins in the joints and bones respectively, can be alleviated by using formulations containing Atibala.
Improves Kidney Functions
The traditional herb promotes the healthy functioning of the kidneys by aiding in the excretion of excess uric acid and maintaining the uric acid level in the kidneys, thereby preventing and treating gout. Thanks to the anti-lithiasis property of Atibala, it prevents the formation of kidney stones, helps to break or reduce the size of the formed ones, and in turn prevents various underlying health conditions like kidney stones, gout, cystitis, and polycystic kidney disease.
Augments Skin Health
Loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, Atibala is used for treating oxidative free radical damage due to the sun rays and hence arrests the various signs of aging like wrinkles, blemishes, fine lines, spots, and dark circles, etc. It is also highly effective in reducing acne, pimples, and different skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, etc., and bequeaths smooth and glowing skin.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer properties of the Atibala root play a chief role in treating different types of ulcers like ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcer, canker sores or mouth ulcers, etc. The bioactive constituents in Atibala help in mending mouth and gastric ulcers. Owing to its Shita and Ropana property, it also helps speed up the healing process in the inflamed mucosal layer and retrieve the skin's original texture.
Apply the paste of 1tsp Atibala and 1tsp coconut oil to the affected to speed up healing.
Effect On Doshas:
This magical hepato-protective herb is hallowed with Madhura (i.e., sweet) Rasa. It is blessed with Snigdho (i.e., oily) and Laghu (i.e., light) guns. It has Sheeto Virya (cold potency) and Madhura Vipaka (sweet metabolic property). The bioactive ingredients in this sweet-tasting herb balance the Pitta (i.e., fire and air) doshas and Vata (i.e., air) doshas, and often an excess of it can aggravate the Kapha (i.e., earth and water) doshas. The various intrinsic properties and doshas help Atibala show a positive effect on the various Dhatus (i.e., body tissues), which are Rasa (i.e., Plasma), Rakta (i.e., Blood), Mamsa (i.e., Muscles), Asthi (i.e., Bones) and Shukra (i.e., Reproductive Fluids).
The precise therapeutic dosage of Atibala may deviate from person to person depending upon their age, health, and severity of the disease. One must consult an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner, as he or she will thoroughly examine the indications and prescribe the effective dosage for the given time.
Roots Powder: 3 - 6 grams
Seed Powder: 1 - 3 grams
Root extract: 250 - 750 mg
Seed extract: 125 - 500 mg
It can be consumed preferably with water and honey, twice a day after meals or as suggested by the ayurvedic doctor.
Atibala Side Effects:
This traditional bitter herb demonstrates no recorded side effects when used in the correct percentage. Since this herb is slowly getting recognised and studies related to its therapeutic efficacy are still ongoing, there is no information available on the safety and efficacy of Atibala in heavy dosages.
There is no reliable information on the effects of Atibala during pregnancy or lactation period; it is suggested that pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid using this bitter herb without the medical supervision of the treating doctor.
Call it a medicinal herb or weed, Atibala is blessed with a quarry of health benefits. Thanks to the goodness of the essential bio-active ingredients, and a host of therapeutic properties, it is widely used for remedying malnutrition, treating flu and feverish conditions, relieving liver problems, managing respiratory diseases, preventing viral infections, curing kidney problems, promoting digestion, augmenting skin health and many more.