Karkatshringi (Pistacia integerrima) is a well-known medicinal plant from the family of Anacardiaceae. Also called crab’s claws in English, this plant is native to India to India is mostly found in Himalayan altitudes of 500 to 2500 m. In ayurveda, all parts of this plant have been extensively described for their therapeutic properties as Karkatshringi contains various important phytoconstituents that have tremendous healing potential.
The different parts of the plant like leaf, bark, root, and galls contain power-packed metabolites which are substances used by the body to break down food particles. The bark and root of this plant contain terpenoids and flavonoids. Terpenoids have been found to be useful in the prevention and therapy of several diseases, including cancer. Karkatshringi also consists of antimicrobial, antifungal, antiparasitic, and antiviral properties. Among all the parts, the galls are more used in folk medicines as they contain many health benefits.
Common Names Of Karkatshringi
Hindi: Kakdashingi, Kakarsingi, Kakra, Kakkatasimgi
English: Crab’s Claw
Bengali: Kakra, Kakrashingi, Kandashringi
Gujrati: Kakadasingi, Kakra, Kakarshingi
Marathi: Karkadasringi, Kakra, Kakarsingi, Kakadshingi
Malayalm: Karkatasringi, Karkktakasingi
Tamil: Karkata, Singi, Kakkatashingi
Telgu: Kakarashingi, Kakatakashrungi, Kakarasimga
Urdu: Mastagi desi
Punjabi: Kakar, Drek, Gurgu, Kakkeran, Kakkrangehe, Sumak, Tungu, Tanbari
Chemical Constituents Of Karkatshringi
Karkatshringi galls have been used in traditional medicines since times immemorial for the treatment of many chronic ailments since it contains various important phytoconstituents. Primarily it has two isomeric triterpenic acids-pistacienoic acids A and B besides tannins, triterpene alcohol-tirucallol, beta-sitosterol, tetracyclic triterpenes, alpha-piene, beta-piene, camphene, amino and dihydromalyalic acid.
Karkatshringi is also composed of the following important constituents:
- Ascorbic acid
- Nicotinic acid
Karkatshringi has been mentioned in several ayurvedic scriptures and journals for various indications. Karkatshringi is one of the major ingredients of various type of ayurvedic formulation like the dasamularista, chayavanaprasa and shringyadi churna which are used in the treatment of diseases like swasa (asthma), yakshma (tuberculosis), ajeerna (indigestion), hridyaroga (heart disease), jwara (fever) and yakrit roga (liver disorders).
Potent Health Benefits Of Karkatshringi
Clears Respiratory Tract
An excellent expectorant, karkatshringi gall helps in loosening thick mucus accumulated in the air passages making it easy to be expelled out. It’s potential bronchodilatory activities help clear congestion and increase the flow of air to the lungs aiding easy breathing and dilating the respiratory air passages.
Besides curing upper and lower respiratory tract infections, karkatshringi improves overall immunity preventing the body from recurrent infections like cough and colds, allergies, and recurrent sinus infections.
Increases Sperm Count/Aphrodisiac
Karkatshringi acts as a powerful spermatopoietic agent. This helps the increase of sperm count in men besides increasing the quality of the sperm. Aphrodisiac properties also aid in increasing libido and sexual desires in men.
Anti-diarrheal and antimicrobial properties of karkatshringi help to manage the diarrhoea. It works by slowing down the movement of the gut thus stopping infection-causing harmful bacteria in the large intestine.
Reduces Skin Infections
Karkatshringi gall and leaves possess potent anti-inflammatory properties. This helps in reducing all kinds of inflammation, pain and infection associated with various skin diseases.
Effect On Doshas
Nature has bestowed the Karkatshringi plant with Tikta and Kashaya Rasa, Laghu, Rukshna Guna, Ushna Virya and Katu Vipaka properties. The hot and bitter potency of this powerful herb aids in balancing the Vata and Kapha Doshas in the body thus keeping many diseases at bay.
The primary part used in the consumption of this plant is the gall of this plant. The general recommended dosage - is 1/4-1/2 half teaspoon powder or 2 to 3 grams of extract. Consulting an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner is recommended.
There are not many potential side effects of karkatshringi. However, sometimes it may have a mild irritant effect on the skin.
During pregnancy or lactation period, it is suggested that pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should take precautions and avoid using these plant extracts without the medical supervision of the treating doctor.