Our skin is the largest organ of the body and an actual mirror of our inner health. Although everyone craves spot-less, clear, glowing skin, owing to environmental factors, sedentary lifestyle featuring unhealthy food habits, poor food timings, lack of sleep and exercise, our digestive functions are often impaired all the while increasing AMA in the body. This low digestive fire fails to remove toxins from the body, creating an imbalance of the various Doshas and ultimately showing up on the skin in the form of various woes like acne, pimples, blemishes, and dark spots etc.
If you truly want beautiful skin from the inside, opt for something natural sans any side effects. Well, the age-old Ayurveda brings you one-such miraculous herb with powerful blood-purifying properties in the form of Daruharidra.
What Is Daruharidra?
Dariharidra, a.k.a Indian Barberry is an ancient Ayurvedic plant that is highly significant in treating skin woes, liver problems, gastric anomalies, kidney issues etc. The plant has been used in both Indian and Chinese traditional medicines for more than 3000 years due to its curative qualities. It is also one of the red-listed endemic medicinal plant species of preservation concern and has garnered oodles of attention in recent years due to its rarity and huge demand in the medicinal plant sector. Often mimicking the colour and the properties of Haldi, Daruharidra is also mentioned as Tree Turmeric or Daru Haldi.
How To Identify Daruharidra?
Daruharidra is a deciduous shrub of evergreen origin that goes by the botanical name Berberis aristata and belongs to the Berberidaceae family. It is quite well-known for its juicy and acidic berries which are often consumed raw as a refreshing fruit or cooked up into smoothies and juices.
Daruharidra is an erect, glabrous, spinescent shrub growing up to 2 to 3 meters in length. The bark of the plant is yellowish-brown outside with a yellowish hue on the inside. The leaves are toothed, broad, ovate and deep green. Flowers are yellow, and hermaphroditic whereas the fruits of Daruharidra are ovoid berries. Each fruit includes 2 to 5 seeds whose colour range from yellow to pink. The outer colour of the fruit is aconite violet in hue and the interior juicy flesh is purplish. The fruit is pulpy and has an acidic to sweet taste.
Daruharidra Geographical Distribution And Habitat
Daruharidra is an aboriginal to the Himalayas in India and Nepal. The plant is mostly found in the Himalayas, Nilgiris of the South, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan, in the hilly areas of Nepal, Europe and America. It prefers a temperate and sub-tropical climate and can also thrive in areas with less water retention.
Common Names Of Daruharidra
Daruharidra is an incredible ayurvedic herb that has made its way into almost all cultures. Whether used topically or ingested in a prescribed amount, it helps in treating a lot of health anomalies. Some of its common names in vernacular languages include:
- English: Indian barberry, Tree Turmeric, Darlahad, Nepal Barberry, and Ophthalmic barberry
Sanskrit: Darunisha, Daruharidra, Darvj, Peeta, Peetaka, Kashtarajani, Hemakanti, Peetachandana, Peetadru, Kusumbhaka, Hemavarnavati, Hemakanta, Peetahva, Kantakati, Katankateri, Parjanya, and Pachampacha
Hindi: Daru haldi
Bengali: Daru haridra
Marathi: Daru halad
Gujarati: Daru haldar
Oriya: Daru haldi, Daru haridra
Pharmacological Composition Of Daruharidra
Daruharidra comprises several substantial phytochemicals including bisbenzyl-isoquinoline, proto-berberine, isoquinoline, and other bioactive constituents like flavonoids and phenolic acids. Other phytochemicals that have been isolated from the flowers of Dariharidra include flavonoids like chlorogenic acid, meratin, quercetin, e-caffeic acid, and rutin.
Imbued with these biochemical components, Daruharidra showcases a wide array of curative properties like stomachic, anti-diabetic, antiulcerogenic, anti-dysenteric, anti-diarrhoeal, and bitter tonic, laxative, diaphoretic, and antiseptic, antipyretic properties. These properties of Daruharidra help deal with a host of maladies like skin woes, eye problems, liver problems, diabetes, rheumatism, menorrhagia, piles, blood coagulation, gum swelling, and toothache, ear disorders, gastrointestinal anomalies, leucorrhea, diarrhoea etc.
Ayurvedic Indications Of Daruharidra
Since the ancient ages, Daruharidra is one of the most recognized therapeutic plants that is mentioned time and again in several Puranic texts and scriptures just like the Vedas, Upanishads, Charak Samhita, Sarangadhar Samhita etc illustrating the excellent qualities of this magical herb. The holistic science of Ayurveda acknowledges this as a Rasayani dravya and has actively mentioned in several ayurvedic scriptures and journals for various indications which include:
- Kustha (treats skin disorders)
- Varnya (improves complexion)
- Deepana (enhances stomach fire)
- Pachana (helps in digestion)
- Rochana (stimulates appetite)
- Amahara (treats indigestion)
- Prameha (manages diabetes)
- Trutahara (relieves excessive thirst)
- Vayasthapana (prevents ageing)
- Keshya (treats hair problems)
- Dahahara (relieves burning sensation)
- Triptighno (relieves pseudo-satiation)
- Vamanopaga (treats emesis)
- Shonitasthapana (prevents bleeding)
- Jvara (useful in fever)
- Mehahara (treats urinary tract disorders)
- Arsha (treats piles or haemorrhoids)
- Krichra (treats painful micturition)
- Rasayani (rejuvenates the whole body)
- Balya (improves muscle strength)
- Hikkanigrahana (controls hiccups)
- Pandu (treats anaemia)
- Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea)
- Kamala (prevents jaundice)
- Krimihara (relieves intestinal worms)
- Hridaya (treats heart problems)
Health Benefits Of Daruharidra
Enhances Skin Quality
Bequeathed with antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, Ayurveda acknowledges Daruharidra as a well-known go-to cure for various skin ailments. Owing to its blood purifying qualities and Kapha – Pitta characteristics which help in removing toxins from the blood, it controls sebum production and assists in treating a host of skin infections as well. It not only helps in safeguarding the skin from oxidative radical damage due to the harmful UVA and UVB rays, but also arrests the various signs of ageing like wrinkles, fine lines, blemishes, spots, and dark circles. It is also advantageous for treating allergic conditions like psoriasis, scabies, eczema, acne, pimples, zits, and many more. It is even useful in healing wounds, burns and ulcers.
Make a paste of 1 tbsp aloe vera gel, 1 tsp Daruharidra powder, 1 tsp neem powder, a pinch of turmeric and rose water. Smear this paste all over the face and neck for a radiant, blemish-free glowing complexion.
Remedies Gynaecological Problems
Daruharidra is a definitive remedy for all sorts of hormonal problems. It plays a key role in regulating periods, treating postnatal ailments, and even helps to treat excessive abdominal pain/bleeding. Additionally, it also assists in treating menorrhagia (abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding), metrorrhagia (abnormal bleeding from the uterus in between regular menstrual cycle), amenorrhea (absent menstruation), and also provides substantial solace from abdominal cramps due to dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation). The Kashaya property of the herb also helps in dealing with Shweta Pradara or leucorrhea.
Remedies Liver Anomalies
Daruharidra acquires potent hepatoprotective and hepatostimulative properties which makes it a magical remedy during jaundice and other liver anomalies like fatty liver, and cirrhosis, in which the liver gets most affected. Owing to the presence of the active ingredient Berberine, Daruharidra helps to decrease the level of triglycerides, and liver enzymes in the blood. The root extract provides support to the liver functioning by secreting bile which in turn enables the liver enzymes to tone down to normal levels. It also purifies the liver by removing AMA and promotes liver functioning.
Daruharidra depicts strong anti-diabetic properties which play an exemplary role in pacifying the blood sugar levels in the body. The biochemical components Berberine and Berberol provide beneficial treatment for introducing insulin therapy in diabetic patients with suboptimal glycaemic control. Additionally, the β-pancreatic cells, which assist in the production of insulin become extremely active in the consumption of the extract of Daruharidra. It also diminishes the breakdown of starch into glucose which in turn steers to low blood glucose levels in the body and maintains a proportional diabetic reading.
The dominant anti-bacterial and anti-diarrhoeal properties of Daruharidra are extensively used for removing bacteria from the intestines that cause diarrhoea and other intestinal illnesses. When consumed in prescribed amounts, it can be employed for treating a type of diarrhoea known as AMA ATISARA i.e., acute diarrhoea characterized by slimy bowel, sticky, full of mucus and emanating a foul odour. This herb not only eliminates the toxins from the body but also effectively reduces the frequency of stools and even treats dysentery.
Effect On Doshas:
The humble Daruharidra is blessed with Katu Rasa (i.e., pungent taste) and Tikta Rada (i.e., bitter taste) and Laghu (i.e., light) and Rukshna Guna (i.e., dry quality). It inherently characterizes Ushna Virya (i.e., hot potency) and Katu Vipaka (i.e., pungent metabolic taste). These amazing properties of Daruharidra help in specifying Pitta (fire and air) dishes and Kapha (earth and water) doshas whereas an excess of it can aggravate the Vata (air) doshas. Owing to the innate properties and doshas, Daruharidra has an optimistic effect on the various Dhatus or body tissues comprising Rasa (i.e., Plasma), Rakta (i.e., Blood), Mamsa (i.e., Muscles), Majja (i.e., cartilage), Asthi (i.e., Bones) and Shukra (i.e., Reproductive Fluids).
Daruharidra is available in churna, kwath and gutika forms. One can consume it alongside honey or milk to conceal the pungent taste. The efficacious therapeutic dosage of Daruharidra may differ from person to person relying upon the age, body strength, impacts on appetite, severity of the disease and condition of the patient. It is rigorously advocated to consult an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner as he or she would assess the patient’s indications and prescribe the required dosage.
Powder/ Churna: ¼ - ½ tsp twice a day or as prescribed by the ayurvedic doctor or practitioner.
Tablet/ Capsule/ Gutika: 1 – 2 tablets/capsule twice a day or as prescribed by the ayurvedic doctor or practitioner.
How To Prepare Kwath Of Daruharidra?
The Boil ¼ - ½ Daruharidra powder on 2 cups of water till the quantity reduces to half. Take 1-2 tsp of this decoction along witan h equal quantity of water once a day before meal or as prescribed by the ayurvedic doctor or practitioner.
Daruharidra Side Effects:
Although intake of Daruharidra is considered stable in measured quantities and doesn’t show up any documented side effects. An excess of it can cause severe diarrhoea, vomiting and excessive sweating.
Daruharidra is an herb of hot potency and can cause uterine contractions. So, women, who are pregnant or trying to conceive, should avoid consuming Daruharidra without a doctor’s consultation. Even women who are breastfeeding or having children should avoid using it without consulting a doctor.
Since Daruharidra reduces blood sugar levels, people taking diabetic medications must not consume both without a doctor's approval.
This incredible yellow powder that mimics turmeric is known since time immemorial for its extensive therapeutic properties. Thanks to the essential bio-active ingredients and the array of amazing health benefits, Daruharidra is widely used for augmenting skin, regulating diabetes, boosting immunity, treating ulcers and wounds, preventing oral problems, enhancing digestion, and diminishing hair woes, reducing risk of cancer and many more.