Kantakari is an excellent medicinal herb and one of the key elements of the Dashmula (ten roots of ayurvedic formulation). It is also known as “Indian nightshade or Yellow berried nightshade”, which goes with the botanical name Solanum virginianum, and belongs to the Solanaceae family. This medicinal plant is widely distributed all over India and grows well on sandy soil. Kantakari is highly valuable for treating respiratory problems like common cough, cold and asthma owing to its expectorant nature, which helps to clear the mucus from the respiratory passage and prevent asthmatic attacks. As per the ayurvedic manuscript, taking Kantakari powder along with honey or water helps in stimulating digestion by promoting the Agni (digestive fire).
Kantakari is a perennial herb with bluish-purple blossoms. The root is cylindrical and is 10-45cm long with many small rootlets. While its stem is green with young branches covered with numerous hairs. The external surface of the herb is light green and turns yellowish-green upon drying. Leaves are elliptical in shape, bearing globular shape fruit 0.8to 1 cm in diameter. The ripe fruit is yellowish in colour with a white hue and the unripe one is multi-coloured with green and white strips. It is indigenous to Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, found along roadsides and wastelands. The entire plant, fresh or dried is used to make several ayurvedic formulations.
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Synonyms Of Kantakari
This herbal plant is known by different names in different regions of the world including Febrifuge plant, Wild eggplant, Yellow -berried nightshade in English. Other common names in vernacular Indian languages include:
- Hindi - Ringani,Katali,Katai
- Punjabi- Kandiyari
- Tamil - Kantankattiri
- Bengali - Kanitkari
- Kannada - Nelagulle
- Gujarati - Bhoringni
- Telugu - Callamulag
- Marathi - Bhui ringani
- Malayalam - Kantankattiti, Kantakariccunta
- Sanskrit - Vyaghri, Nidigdika, Kshudra, Kantakari, Duhsparsha
Kantakari is packed with certain vital nutrients including carbohydrates, fatty acids, and amino acids. It is also rich in phytochemical compounds such as alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, saponins, coumarins, beta-sitosterol and solasodine.
Also Read: Karanja: Uses, Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, And Precautions
Kantakari is bestowed with numerous beneficial traits that support curing health ailments and improving overall health. Some of these properties include:
- Kapha pacifying
- Vata pacifying
Kantakari is one of the most valuable medicinal herbs used since times immemorial in ayurvedic treatments. This herbal powder is beneficial in treating respiratory problems like asthma, cough and cold. Applying a paste of Kantakari powder to the joints helps in easing joint pain. Massaging Kantakari juice with an equal amount of water on the hair scalp averts hair fall and promotes the growth of a stronger and voluminous mane.
Therapeutic Health Benefits of Kantakari
Asthma is an airway inflammatory chronic lung disorder. Kantakari plant can be largely used to control symptoms of asthma and maintains the healthy functioning of the lungs. Histamine is a chemical in the human body that acts as a mediator for asthma. The potent antihistaminic nature of Kantakari extract averts airway narrowing caused by histamine. Apart from this, Kantakari formulation dilates the bronchioles and reduces the swelling and formation of mucus. Also, Kantakari powder averts sinusitis, common cold, and other respiratory allergies.
Treats Urinary Problems
The natural diuretic property of Kantakari herb increases the urine output and eliminates harmful toxins from the system. This herb brings down blood pressure by flushing out salt from the body. Further, the antibiotic trait of Kantakari impedes the growth of bacteria and remedies symptoms associated with urinary tract infection like burning micturition, excessive micturition, back pain, vomiting and weakness.
Also Read: Pashanbhed: Uses, Health Benefits, Ayurvedic Indications, Dosage, Side Effects And Precautions
Augments Liver Health
Hepatoprotective and antioxidant qualities of Kantakari extract inhibit the oxidation of healthy cells by averting free radicals’ damage. This medicinal formulation is valuable in regenerating new cells, boosting the metabolism of the liver, and optimising the proper functioning of the liver.
Kantakari extract works well to improve digestion and treats indigestion problems. Aggravated Kapha dosha causes Agnimandya (weak digestive fire) which is the primary cause of indigestion. Having Kantakari powder aids to optimise Agni (digestive fire) and eases the digestion of food. This is attributed to the Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) qualities of Kantakari.
Supports Hair Growth
The main reason for hair fall is aggravated Vata dosha which results in dryness or flakiness of hair. Kantakari herb is highly effective in preventing hair fall and promoting the growth of hair owing to its Vata pacifying traits. Regular application of Kantakari juice on the hair scalp strengthens hair roots and averts hair fall.
Effects on Dosha
This wonder herbal medicine has pungent (katu)and bitter (tikta) Rasa. Kantakari is bestowed with Rooksha (dry), Teekshan (piercing) and laghu (lightness) gunas. It has Vipaka-katu (which undergoes pungent taste changes after digestion) and Veerya (Ushna) hot potency. It helps in balancing Vata and Kapha doshas and increases pitta dosha.
Dosage of Kantakari
Kantakari is readily available in the form of powder, tablet, tonic and juice. The appropriate dosage of this herbal formulation may vary from person to person depending upon the age, effects on appetite and severity of the health condition of the patient. It is strongly suggested to consult an ayurvedic practitioner, as he or she would evaluate the patient's indications and prescribe the right dose for a specific time.
This herbal formulation is generally safe to use when taken in prescribed amounts. However, its usage in Pitta disorders should be taken with caution, owing to its hot potency (Ushna Veerya) which may cause some discomfort.
Since there is no scientific information regarding the use of this herbal medicine in pregnancy and lactation, it is strictly advised to avoid or consult your doctor before taking Kantakari during pregnancy or breastfeeding.Also, people taking allopathic medications for diabetes or hypertension should avoid or consult with a doctor before using this formulation.