Shalparni is one of the most powerful herbs used in the traditional system of Ayurveda that fosters indispensable medicinal and therapeutic benefits. The leaves of Shalparni resemble the leaves of Shaala, hence it is also known as Shaalparni. The root of this plant is one of the herbs in Dashmoola laden with numerous ayurvedic properties. This herbal medicine has a soothing and sedative effect which balances neurological imbalances and controls the nervous system, venous and arterial systems. Shalparni is endowed with anthelmintic, anti-catarrhal, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, nervine tonic, and digestive characteristics. This ayurvedic formulation is effective in mitigating enteric fever, and respiratory problems, and strengthening the immune system.
Shalparni is a shrub with a woody stem, 2-4 feet in height, that goes with the botanical name Desmodium gangeticum and belongs to the family Fabaceae. Branches are covered with soft hairs, while the leaves are unifoliate, ovate, oblong, and pubescent beneath that grow up to 15 cm in length. Florals are purple/white in colour and pods are thin, flat, curved carrying 6-8 nodes and bear hair-like structures. Flowering and fruiting happen in the month of August and November. It is grown widely in tropical Africa, the Indian subcontinent, China, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia. While in India it is distributed in the forest and waste lands, plain and western Ghats and north up to Sikkim, at a height of 1500m.
Synonyms of Shalparni
This herbal plant is known by different names in vernacular Indian languages:
- Hindi - Sarivan,Salaparni
- Sanskrit - Vidarigandha, Anshumati , Shalaparni
- Bengali - Shalapani
- Marathi - Salavan
- Gujarati - Shalavan
- Telugu - Gitanaram, Kolakuponna, Nakkatokaponna
- Tamil - Pulladi, Moovilai
- Malayalam - Pullati, Moovial
- Kannada Nariyalavona, Murele honne
Uses Of Shalparni
This herbal plant has been used since times immemorial of treating several health maladies. It is attributed to having antipyretic traits, that help in controlling and reducing symptoms of fever. While its strong anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator actions aid in clearing phlegm from the trachea making breathing easier and relieving respiratory problems.
Shalparni is also used in ayurvedic medicine for treating premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction, owing to its Vrishya action. Additionally, the pitta and shotthar balancing actions of Shalparni herb lessen inflammation at the anal site thereby effectively remedying piles.
Shalparni is loaded with a wealth of bioactive compounds including N-dimethyltryltryptamine, Hypaphorine, Hordenine, Caudicin, Gangetin-3H, Gangetinin and Desmodin, these compounds are known to deliver umpteen health benefiting properties.
The use of Shalparni has been mentioned in several ayurvedic scriptures and textbooks by the sages. Ayurvedic indications of Shalparni as mentioned in Charaka Samhita include:
- Angamardhaprashamana - helps to relieve myalgia
- Shothahar - anti-inflammatory actions, reduces inflammation
- Balya- improves strength
- Snehopaga - used in panchakarma treatment
- Madura sknadha - sweet taste
Effects on Dosha
Shalparni is Guru, Snigdha (oily, heavy) in nature. It is valuable in jwar, shwas, atisara or Doshatrayahara and rasayan. It is both tikta (bitter) and Madhur(sweet) in taste after digestion. It has potential kriminashak, vishnashak, kshaya or kas nashak qualities. Further, it balances the vata and kapha doshas.
Health Benefits Of Shalparni
Shalparni is extremely valuable in controlling bronchitis. According to Ayurvedic medicine, bronchitis is termed Kasroga and it is caused by poor digestive function. Unhealthy diet habits and improper elimination of wastes lead to the formation of Ama (toxic remains in the system due to poor digestion) in the form of phlegm in the lungs. This leads to bronchitis. The potent Ushna and Kapha pacifying nature of Shalparni herb reduces Ama and gets rid of excess mucus from the lungs, thereby offering respite from the symptoms of bronchitis.
Shalparni is well-known to enhance gut health and offer relief from gastritis, diarrhoea, nausea and flatulence is also suggested for the management of anorexia. Further, this herbal formulation helps to treat peptic ulcers, by lessening acid secretion and increasing the release of mucins that safeguards the intestinal lining and cells.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disorder where disruption of Vata dosha and accumulation of Ama (toxic remains) takes place in the joints. The Ama gets accumulated in the joints resulting in severe joint and muscle pain. Shalparni extracts help to reduce Ama owing to its Ushna potency and vata balancing property. Thus, regular use of this herbal medicine offers respite from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis such as pain and swelling in the joints.
Male Reproductive Health
This powerful herbal supplement is highly suggested for boosting men’s reproductive health. Shalparni is attributed to possessing Vrishya (aphrodisiac) traits that augment male sexual performance by increasing the blood flow to the penis and improving the quality and quantity of semen. Furthermore, taking this supplement helps to correct premature ejaculation and promotes vitality and strength.
Topical application of Shalparni aids in easing headaches caused due to stress. The vata pacifying nature of Shalparni is valuable in relieving pain and relaxing the strained muscles. Applying Shalparni leaves powder or juice extract on the forehead alleviates headache and fatigue-related symptoms.
The effective therapeutic dosage of Shalparni may differ from person to person depending upon their age, the severity of the disease and health condition. It is suggested to consult with an ayurvedic practitioner before having it. Shalparni is available in the form of root powder, extract and kwath.
When taken in the appropriate dosage Shalparni is well tolerated and does not have any side effects. However, an overdose of this herbal medicine may show serious toxic reactions.
Shalparni may be involved in allergic and irritant skin reactions, so it is advisable to consult with your ayurvedic practitioners before taking it. There is not enough scientific evidence on the effects of Shalparni during pregnancy or lactation period, it is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using this herbal extract without medical supervision. Also, there is no reliable information on its effects on managing diabetes. So, consult your doctor before taking Shalparni in case of diabetes.