Be it heavy menstrual bleeding, irregular periods, missed ones or persistent abdominal cramps, menstrual problems are quite common and there is no rescue from these anomalies at that time of the month. Even though it’s the twenty-first century and the Gen X populace has reached the moon and attained success in almost every field, it is still a taboo to talk about this significant biological process in our society. And owing to this, several gynecological problems and emotional glitches that women face during the menstrual cycle or throughout the year, often gets unnoticed, untreated and the sad part is, it is sometimes not even considered serious by the family.
The uneasy and uncomfortable situation that arises every month can make anyone cranky and can adversely affect their mood. So, instead of feeling shy or embarrassed, come out in the open and talk about these issues, as trust us when we say, you are not alone, there are many who want to do the same!
Although, these hormonal and menstrual anomalies are bothersome and cannot be avoided altogether, there are several ways to calm the underlying symptoms and provide relief from the pain. And one such spectacular Ayurvedic herb that brings respite to these menstrual woes is Dhataki.
What Is Dhataki?
Dhataki, coined as the Fire Flame Bush is a shrub belonging to the family Lythraceae that goes by the botanical name Woodfordia fruticosa L. It is native to India but also widely available in Madagascar, Pakistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, Ceylon, Nepal, Indonesia and China. In India, Dhataki is extensively distributed in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and West Bengal. It thrives well in waste lands and open grasslands but also cultivated in gardens during the summer months. Not only does this plant has immense curative qualities but also economical uses.
Dhataki is a branched, deciduous shrub with spreading branches reaching a height up to 5-12 mt. Branches are normally long and multi spreading with a stem that is fluted and long. The bark of the shrub is smooth and reddish brown in hue. Leaves are broad, lanceolate and pale on the lower side. This shrub bears numerous flowers that are bright red in color, thus the name fire flame bush. Fruits are usually capsules that are ellipsoid and membranous and contain numerous very minute, brown colored shining seeds. Flowering mainly happens in the month of February to April whereas fruits appear from April to June.
Synonyms Of Dhataki
Dhataki is known by different names in different parts of the world. It is chiefly known as Fire Flame Bush, Red Bell Bush, Shinajitea, Woodfordia, Dahawai flower in English. In the Indian subcontinent, vernacular names of Dhataki include Dhawai, Dawi, Dhawai phool, Dhaura, Jaju, Santha in Hindi, Velakkai, Dhathari-jagri, Dhattari in Tamil, Tamarpushi, Tatire, Tatiripushpi, Thathiri, Thathiripoovu in Malayalam, Dhaarhupushpika, Dhaathaki, Godari, Jargi Seringi, Errapurvu, Seringi, Sirinji. In Telugu, Dhawani, Dhavdi, Dhavadina in Gujarati, Tamrapuspi, Bela, Taamra pushpin, Daathakee kusumka in Kannada, Dhai, Dawai, Dhai phul in Bengali.
In Ayurveda, it is known by the Sanskrit terms Bahupuspika, Parvati, Agnijvala, Agnijwala, Dhalaki, Dhataki, and Dhauri.
Ayurvedic Indications Of Dhataki
Ayurveda, the holistic science of herbal remedies has extensively mentioned this herb time and gain in several ayurvedic scriptures and journals for various indications which include, Varnya (improves complexion), Kshayajit (treats tuberculosis), Deepana (enhances stomach fire), Pachana (helps in digestion), Rochana (stimulates appetite), Anulomana (improves breathing), Vamana (prevents nausea and vomiting), Sonisthapana (treats bleeding), Chakushya (treats eye problems), Garbhaprada (treats infertility), Vamanopaga (treats emesis), Mehahara (treats urinary tract disorders), Rasayani (rejuvenates the whole body), Vayasthapana (prevents ageing), Jvara (useful in fever), Kasahara (Relieves cough, Shwasha (relieves breathing difficulties), Amahara (treats indigestion), Dahahara (relieves burning sensation), Prameha (manages diabetes), Trutahara (relieves excessive thirst), Hikkanigrahana (controls hiccups), Kantya (relieves sore throat), Triptighno (relieves pseudo-satiation), Hridaya (treats heart problems), Balya (improves muscle strength), Gulmajit (useful in abdominal tumours), Shonitasthapana (prevents bleeding), Pandu (treats anaemia), Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea), Kustha (treats skin disorders), Kamala (prevents jaundice), Krimihara (relieves intestinal worms), Kanthya (improves voice), Arsha (treats piles), Krichra (treats painful micturition) and Pushtida (good for nutrition).
Phyto-chemical Components Of Dhataki
The primary chemical component present in Dhataki flowers are tannins, cyaniding, octasonal, diglucoside, and beta-sitosterol. Leaves show the presence of ellagic acid, polystachoside, pelargoidine-3 and 5-diglucoside. Dhataki also shows a composite of other phytochemical constituents including woodfordin A, B, C, D, E and F, trimeric hydrolysable tannins, tetrameric hydrolysable tannins, lupeol, betuline, betulinic acid, urosolic acid, olealonic acid and sitosterol.
Imbued with potent anti-inflammatory, anti-androgenic, antioxidant, anti-diabetic, acrid, astringent, styptic, astringent, anti-ulcer, digestive, expectorant, depurative, uterine sedative, constipating, antibacterial, febrifuge, alexiteric and wound healing properties, Dhataki holds high significance in treating a host of disorders including menstrual disorders, skin infections, liver problems, stomach problems, jaundice, fever, allergy, asthma, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, rheumatic arthritis, bleeding, diabetes etc. Additionally, it is a magical remedy for treating numerous gynaecological problems and hormonal anomalies like menopause, menstrual disorders, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, leucorrhea, yeast infection and breast tumors.
Benefits Of Various Plant Parts
Deemed as one of the ‘Divyaushadhi’, the Dhataki shrub is highly beneficial for almost all health woes. The various parts of the plant are primarily used for the following anomalies:
The bark is chiefly used for the treatment of conditions such as excessive thirst among diabetic patients, opium-addiction, leprosy, and dysentery.
The flowers offer multi-faceted benefits. Be it dried, extracted, or powdered form, the flowers of Dhataki have numerous curative qualities. They are chiefly used for treating and managing diarrhoea, bleeding issues, menorrhagia, wounds, nasal and rectum bleeding, etc., worm infestation, mouth ulcers, and herpes. Additionally, the fresh juice extracted from the flowers can be applied topically in cases of headaches that occur due to the vitiation of Pitta dosha. Even dried flowers consumed alongside honey, treats loose motions and is also beneficial for treating heart problems. The decoction of the flower is beneficial for treating toothaches as well as vaginal and anal prolapse. It also helps to treat menstrual pain as well as leucorrhea.
The roots of this shrub helps in cases of rheumatism, foot problems, lumbar, rib fractures, mouth disorders, etc.
Health Benefits Of Dhataki
Coined as a powerful female-friendly herb, Dhtataki is a boon bestowed on womenkind for treating numerous hormonal problems. Menorrhagia, also known as heavy menstrual bleeding or Raktapradar in Ayurveda chiefly occurs due to an aggravated Pitta dosha. Dhataki flowers having Sita (cold) and Kashaya (astringent) qualities balances the vitiated Pitta Doshas and controls heavy menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia. Additionally, being a powerful uterine tonic, regular use of this herb imbued formulation improves fertility when an individual is trying to conceive.
Leucorrhea, a.k.a Sweta Pradara in Ayurveda is a thick, white discharge from the female genitals. According to Ayurveda, an imbalance in the Vata Doshas usually causes leucorrhea. Ayurveda classifies Dhataki, as a herb with powerful astringent propert which plays a vital role in the treatment of leucorrhea. It helps to control aggravated Kapha and reduce the symptoms of leucorrhea. Apart from vaginal discharge, it also holds high significance in regulating periods, treating postnatal ailments, and even helps in treating excessive abdominal pain/bleeding.
Powdered Dhataki flowers when consumed along with milk and sugar, helps treat menstrual problems, especially bloody leucorrhea.
Fights Respiratory Issues
Powered with powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, and anti-asthmatic properties, Dhataki is considered to be a well-known traditional remedy for all sorts of respiratory troubles. It is quintessential in treating the common cold, sore throat, cough and flu symptoms. Being a Kapha pacifier, it actively thins and loosens catarrh particles within the chest and nasal cavities and hence eases breathing and helps the body to get rid of mucus. It is also beneficial for treating asthma and other bronchial conditions.
Apart from dysentery, the potent anti-bacterial and anti-diarrhoeal properties of Dhataki is extensively used for removing bacteria from the intestines that cause diarrhoea and other intestinal infections. When ingested alongside nagarmotha (i.e., Cyperus rotundus) and sonth (i.e., Zingiber officinalis), it can be used for treating a type of diarrhoea known as AMA ATISARA i.e., acute diarrhoea where the bowel is slimy, sticky, full of mucus and has a foul odour. This formulation not only removes the toxins from the body but also effectively reduces the frequency of stools.
Take two tbsp of honey or a cup of buttermilk along with Dhataki powder to treat diarrhoea or dysentery.
Augments Skin Health
An aggravation of the Pitta doshas within the body, may often lead to different types of skin infections, eczema, acne and poor complexion. Sanctified with antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, Ayurveda acknowledges Dhataki as a well-known absolute remedy for various skin conditions. Owing to its blood purifying qualities which helps in removing toxins from the blood, it helps in treating a host of skin infections as well. It not only helps in shielding the skin from oxidative radical damage due to the harmful UVA and UVB rays, but also reduces the risk of the various signs of aging like wrinkles, blemishes, spots, fine lines, and dark circles. It is also beneficial for treating allergic conditions like acne, pimples, zits, psoriasis, scabies, eczema and many more.
Make a paste of 1 tbsp aloe vera gel, 1 tsp dried Dhataki flower powder, pinch of turmeric and rose water. Apply this paste all over the face and neck for a radiant, blemish-free dewy complexion.
The abundance of hypoglycemic property in Dhataki holds high significance in alleviating the blood sugar levels of the body. The production of insulin from the pancreatic β-cells becomes active on taking the bark powder. It helps to reduce the breakdown of starch into glucose which in turn leads to low blood glucose levels.
Take equal quantities of dried Dhataki flower’s powder, Lodhra powder, and Sandalwood powder. Take 1 tsp of this mixture along with honey thrice a day for regulating blood sugar levels.
The abundance of anti-inflammatory and digestive qualities in Dhataki helps in promoting digestion, assimilation and passage of food through the body Not only does it effectively prevent gastric spasms but can also help treat conditions like diarrhoea, constipation, gastritis, abdominal pain, abdominal distension, Gerd etc. It also facilitates the absorption of nutrients from the food and hence incorporating this incredible herb in your diet can help get your digestive process back on track.
Promotes Oral Health
Blessed with potent anti-microbial properties, Dhataki helps in neutralizing microbes that promote dental plaque. Be it in the form of a mouth wash or essential oil, the abundance of germ-killing properties of the flowers of Dhataki helps in eliminating bad breath and bacteria from the oral cavities and thus prevents swelling, bleeding and other oral problems. It also helps in treating throat infections, bleeding gums, dental abscesses, canker sores or mouth ulcers.
A mixture of Dhataki flower powder, heated powdered borax crystals and honey provides huge relief when massaged on affected tooth and gum.
Heals Wounds And Ulcers
Imbued with anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, Dhataki plays a pivotal role in treating different types of ulcers like ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcer, canker sores or mouth ulcers, etc. The active component in this formulation actively promotes tissue regeneration, facilitates wound healing and sometimes even helps in gradually treating the scar tissue.
Epistaxis also known as nose bleed usually occurs due to aggravation of Pitta doshas. Imbued with hemostatic and astringent properties, Dhataki thickens the blood, constricts blood vessels, reduces inflammation and thereby restricts nose bleeds.
Effect On Doshas
This magical detoxifying herb showcases Kashaya (i.e., astringent) Rasa. It is blessed with Rukhsha (dry) and Laghu (i.e., light) gunas. It has Shita Virya cold potency) and Katu Vipaka (pungent metabolic property). Owing to the dry and light qualities, the herb may aggravate the Vata doshas if taken in excess. The herb helps to cut through the thick rheum matter caused due to increased kapha doshas, and it also reduces pitta and kapha doshas in the head and chest, thus helping to uphold a normal body temperature. Additionally, being a Pitta pacifier, dhataki detoxifies the kidney, liver and blood, while simultaneously fortifying the vital organ and enhancing cellular growth and tissue regeneration. In accordance to the intrinsic properties and doshas, Dhataki portrays 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).
Dhataki is widely available in the form of churnas, asavas, kashayams and even as dried flower powder. Owing to its pungent-bitter taste, one can consume it alongside honey, sugar or milk to mask the taste.
The precise therapeutic dosage of dhataki may vary from person to person depending upon the age, severity, and condition of the patient. One must consult an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner, as he or she will thoroughly examine the indications and prescribe the effective dosage for a specific period of time.
Dhataki Side Effects
Imbued with potent bioactive components, this traditional herb exhibits no recorded side effects when used in the correct proportion. It is extremely effective in regulating hormones and treating different gynecological and reproductive issues in women. But care should be taken that Dhataki is not taken in excess, as an overdosage may lead to delirium.
Since there is no reliable information of the effects of dhataki during pregnancy or lactation period, hence it is suggested that pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers should avoid using this humble herb without medical supervision.