Sadabahar also known as the ‘ever-blooming blossom’ is a well-known flower that has secured its place both in modern medicine and herbal remedies. Clad by the vernacular names, ‘Madagascar Periwinkle’ in English, ‘Nayantara’ in Bengali, ‘Ushamalari’ in Malayalam, and ‘Sadapushpa’ in Hindi, the plant shows extensive health benefits and is used for treating a host of health anomalies including diabetes, sore throat, lung congestion, skin infections, eye irritation and even reduces the risk of cancer.
Coming from the Apocynacea family, Sadabahar goes by the botanical name Catharanthus roseus. It is of evergreen origin and grows to a height of 1-2.5 meters. Although the plant is native to Madagascar, it is found to be growing throughout the world. The flowers of Sadabahar usually come in two varieties, one dark pinkish-purple and the other milky white.
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Chemical Components Of Sadabahar
The host of bioactive constituents present in Sadabahar include reserpine, ajmalicine, catharanthaine, lochnerin, serpentine, lochnericin, vinorelbine, vincamine, and vindesine. Several researches done in the late 1950’s suggest two more alkaloids present in Sadabahar, i.e. vincristine and vinblastine are still used in the treatment of certain blood cancers. Extracts from this flower have also found its way as an alternative treatment for grave health conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, Wilms tumour, lymphomas, Kaposi’s sarcoma, neuroblastoma, Hodgkin’s disease etc.
According to the holistic science of Ayurveda, Sadabahar portrays Tikta Rasa (i.e. bitter taste), Rukshna Guna (i.e. dry qualities) and Ushna Virya (i.e. hot potency). Owing to the intrinsic properties, Sadabahar alleviates the Vata (i.e. air) and Kapha (i.e. earth and water) Doshas. The ayurvedic properties of the herb bestow the following prabhabs on the body including Kshayapaha (i.e. improves exhausted body tissues and treats chronic respiratory conditions like tuberculosis), Kshataksheenahara (i.e. helps in wound healing), Kapha-hara (expectorant), Madakari (hypnotic), Varnya, and Agni-Vriddhikar Prabhava (i.e. effects on the body). Also Read: Introduction To Ayurveda: Learn About Vata, Pitta And Kapha Doshas
Health Benefits Of Sadabahar
Diabetes, also known as Madhumeha in Ayurveda is an aggravation of the Kapha doshas which usually occurs due to the lowering of the functioning of Agni (i.e. digestive fire) causing a spike in the blood sugar levels within the body. The excellent hypoglycaemic property of Sadabahar plays a significant role in alleviating blood sugar. The production of insulin from the β-pancreatic cells becomes active in taking this flower extract. It helps to reduce the breakdown of starch into glucose which in turn leads to low blood glucose levels. Also Read: Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Ways To Use Sadabahar For Diabetes:
- Dry, powder fresh sadabahar leaves and store it in a glass container. Take 1 tsp of the dried leaf powder by infusing it with water or fresh fruit juice on an empty stomach every morning to keep diabetes under control.
- Chew 3-4 leaves of the Sadabahar plant throughout the day to prevent sudden blood sugar spikes.
- Boil freshly plucked Sadabahar flowers in water. Allow it to steep and then strain. Drink this bitter liquid early morning on an empty stomach to manage diabetes.
Remedies Respiratory Anomalies:
Sadabahar is an effective ayurvedic remedy for all sorts of Kapha aggravating disorders. The bulk of active constituents in this flower offers an ultimate remedy for treating respiratory disorders like asthma, bronchitis, COPD, cough and cold symptoms. It also helps in removing mucus deposits from the respiratory tract and provides relief from sore throat, cough and congestion.
Manages High Blood Pressure/ Hypertension:
Sadabahar acts as a natural antihypertensive agent which normalises the blood pressure levels and keeps it under check. It holds high significance in high-pressure conditions. By improving the heart functions, it enhances cardiovascular endurance which brings the blood pressure to a stable level and maintains balanced readings. Thanks to the cardio-tonic property of Sadabahar, extracts of this beautiful flower and leaves are quite beneficial in treating mild to moderate hypertensive conditions and prevents pre-hypertensive activity.
Improves Cognitive Functioning
Sadabahar is a potent traditional remedy to increase the functioning of the brain. The powerful antioxidants and flavonoids present in it improve the memory capacity, concentration, calmness, focus, and alertness of an individual. Being a brain tonic and stimulator, people consuming extracts of sadabahar have improved memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities. The neuroprotective elements in the plant not only prevent loss of memory by slowing early aging of brain cells but also facilitates proper blood circulation in the brain tissues and relieve tension from the brain.
Augments Skin Health
Loaded with alkaloids and skin-enhancing constituents, Sadabahar plays a pivotal role in treating oxidative free radical damage due to the sun rays, and hence treats the various signs of aging like wrinkles, fine line, spots, dark circles, etc. It is also highly effective in case of skin infections like eczema, rosacea and actively helps in reducing acne, pimples and bequeaths a smooth and glowing skin.
Make a paste of the fresh leaves of Sadabahar, Neem and mix it with turmeric powder and rose water to get a smooth paste. Apply this pack evenly onto the face and allow it to dry. Later wash off with cool water. When done on alternate days, this face pack is extremely effective against acne and other skin infections.
Regulates Menstrual Flow
Most women nowadays are troubled with some or other menstrual issues, with irregular periods topping the list. Sadabahar holds high significance in regulating periods, treating postnatal ailments, and even helps to treat excessive abdominal pain/bleeding. Additionally, it also subdues the pain during dysmenorrhea and encourages easy flow during the menstrual cycle. For women suffering from PCOD, intake of sadabahar extracts actively helps in purifying the blood and restores uterus health leading to regular, healthy menstrual cycles.
Just make a decoction of 6-8 sadabahar leaves in water and have it regularly to have regular periods.
Facilitates Wound Healing
Laden with anti-microbial and healing properties, Sadabahar effectively heals wound and prevents skin infections. The soothing effects of the flower extract not only prevents itching and burning sensation but also helps in disinfecting the wound or bite to prevent further spreading of the infection.
Just make a paste of turmeric and sadabahar leaves and apply it on the wounds 2-3 times a day to speed up healing process.
Wards Off Cancer
The abundance of potent anti-cancer, antimetastatic and antimutagenic properties in the leaves and flowers, make sadabahar a potent alternative treatment of certain cancerous condition. Not only does it increase the immune power and vitality of the patient but also reduce the size of the tumor and prevent further metastasis. The presence of active ingredients vincristine and vinblastine is especially useful in the case of Leukemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Sadabahar Side Effects
Although Sadabahar has innumerable health benefits, it is strictly mentioned to consult an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner before consuming it. On intake of excessive quantities of sadabahar extracts, it can cause certain side effects including diminished blood pressure levels, constipation, etc.
Since time immemorial, this incredible flower has been in use for its extensive health benefits. Apart from its ornamental use, it has gained immense popularity in modern medicines and ayurvedic applications for its use in regulating diabetes, enhancing skin health, treating respiratory disorders, managing hypertension and many more. On consuming it in accordance with doctor’s approval, one can benefit from the myriad uses of this vibrant flower.