Pittapapada or Fumitory is a robust medicinal herb widely distributed as a weed across the plains of India. The entire plant is used largely in Ayurvedic, and folkloric systems of medicine and it is known by the botanical name FlumariaIndica. In the traditional systems of medicine, the plant is famed for its incredible therapeutic properties including anthelmintic, diuretic, diaphoretic, laxative, stomachic, sedative, hepatoprotective, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, analgesic, prokinetic, laxative, dermatological, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, reproductive, anticholinesterase, and smooth muscle relaxant. Potent medicinal qualities of this herb aid to treat several health conditions like dyspepsia, skin infection, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, fever, jaundice, leprosy, and syphilis. Additionally, the plant is valuable in purifying blood in those suffering from liver and skin problems.
Pittapapada is a small, branched plant that grows in plain and lower hilly regions, which is a diffusely spreading herb with watery latex. This plant is found across the Himalayas that shows huge variation in height and grows up to 15 to 60 cm. It bears small rose to purple colour blossoms, that are borne in racemes of 15-20 flowers. The fruit is elongated, bracts are longer, and is one seeded with a bitter acrid and astringent taste.
Common Names of Pittapapada
English- Fine leaf fumitory, Indian fumitory
Hindi - Pittapapada, Dham Gajara, Pitpara, Pitpapda
Tamil - Tura, Tusa
Telugu - Parpatakamu, Chatarasi
Punjabi - Shahtara
Malayalam - Parppadakam
Bengali - Shotara, Pipapapra, Bandhania
Marathi - Pittapapra
Gujarathi - Pittapapdo
Kannada - Parpataka, Kallu, Sabbasige
Punjabi - Shahtara, Pittapapara
Assamese - Shahtraj
How Did The Name Pittapapada Originate?
The word Pittapapada finds its origin in Sanskrit and derives its English name Fumitory because of its flower's appearance, which is translucent and looks to be smoky.
Chemical Components Of Pittapapada
The key chemical components of this herbal plant include methyl fumarate, protopine, bicuculine, fumariline, tetrehydrocoptisine, narceimine and narlumidine. All the parts of the plant are valued and used for their indispensable medicinal and therapeutic purposes.
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The use of this herbal plant has been mentioned in Sushruta and Charaka scripts to treat blood disorders and fevers. While the Sushruta manuscript values Pittapapada for treating illnesses caused due to urinary infections and cough.
In the Unani system of medicine, the Fumaria plant is remarkably valuable in treating blood disorders, syphilis and other skin woes. While it is also used as a blood sanitizing mix in Unani medicine.
Health Benefits of Pittapapada
Vomiting develops due to an imbalance of all three doshas, mainly Pitta and Kapha Dosha. This imbalance of dosha is a result of various eating behaviours like having food that is excessive Teekshna (sharp), Kashaya (pungent), Amla (sour), Vidahi (which causes a burning sensation), Guru (heavy and oily foods), Ati-Sheeta (cold foods) and Apakwa Ahaara (intake of raw/uncooked) in nature. This results in the formation of Ama leading to poor digestion and other gastrointestinal woes. Pittapapada herb supports easing vomiting by pacifying Pitta and Kapha doshas.
Pittapapada is a strong digestive stimulant. Laden with appetite stimulant and Rochaka (taste enhancer) traits, this herbal plant assists in breaking down food and stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, thereby enhancing the absorption of nutrients. Moreover, it also helps to ease abdominal gas, bloating, distension, and cramps. Pittapapada extract works as an amazing natural remedy for a range of digestive issues and improves gut function.
Improper eating habits, impure water, toxins, mental stress and Agnimandya (weak digestive fire are the root causes of diarrhoea (Atisar in Ayurveda). All of these factors are responsible for the worsening of Vatta dosha which brings fluid to the intestine from several tissues of the system and mixes with the faeces that leading to loose watery motions or diarrhoea. Thanks to the Grahi (absorbent) property of Pittapapada which aids in the control of diarrhoea and absorbs the excessive loss of water and lowers the frequency of loose stools.
Poor digestive fire (Mand Agni) results in weak digestion, where the ingested food may not get assimilated and leads to the formation of Ama (toxic remains in the body). This eventually leads to anorexia or loss of appetite (Aruchi in Ayurveda). This condition results in the imbalance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas. Pittapapada is a strong ayurvedic medicine that helps in improving anorexia owing to its Pitta-Kapha pacifying nature. Further, this herbal medicine averts the formation of Ama and enhances the taste sensation due to its Rochaka (taste improving) quality that further aids in increasing appetite
Heals Insect Bite
Pittapapada is credited to have Sita (cold) properties which help in soothing the area bitten by the insect and reduce pain, swelling and itching.
Effects On Dosha
Pittapapada is empowered with laghu (lightness) guna (qualities) and tikta(bitter) rasa (taste). It has vipaka katu (undergoes pungent taste after digestion and sheeta (cold potency) veerya. It is known to balance Kapha and Pitta Dosha and mildly increase Vata dosha.
According to Bhojana Kutuhalam manuscript, Pittapapada relieves pitta and rakta dosha, treats jwara, thirst, diminished Kapha dosha, giddiness and grahi (improves absorption). This herbal plant is a potent cholagogue (pitta saraka- that promotes the flow of bile) as well.
Dosage of Pittapapada
Pittapapada herbal medicine is available in the form of powder and decoction. The appropriate therapeutic dose of Pittapapada may vary from person to person depending on their age, the severity of the health condition and the effects on dosha. It is recommended to consult an ayurvedic practitioner, as he or she will evaluate the patient’s condition and prescribe an accurate dosage for a specific period.
Pittapapada is generally well tolerated and considered safe when taken in the prescribed dose by most people. Also, this herbal extract has no side effects on children, as it is one of the main ingredients of the herbal formulation Aravindasavam, which is used to improve stamina, body weight and digestive power in children.