Digestive disorders are quite common nowadays. With the phased lockdown and work from home still in effect, the quantity and timing of food has literally gone haywire. Staying at home, people have become more lethargic and hence facing a number of digestive issues like acidity, flatulence, constipation etc. But if you are looking for a herbal and alternative way to treat these digestive issues, the absolute answer is Sorrel leaves, a green leafy vegetable that not only prevents digestive anomalies but also enriches the body with loads of nutrition.
Want A Panacea To Uplift Overall Health? Try Some Of Our Incredible Ayurvedic Formulations!
What Is Sorrel?
Sorrel, also known as Indian sorrel is a creeping leafy green that is a delicate, herbaceous and low-growing plant about the height of 30 cm. Sorrel goes by the botanical name Oxalis corniculata and belongs to the Oxalidaceae family and the plant resembles quite a lot like the common yellow wood sorrel, i.e. Oxalis stricta.
The plant is usually found growing in gardens, lawns, grassland, agricultural fields, and plant nurseries. The plants are found thriving in the temperate and subtropical regions across Asia, Europe and North America. In Asia it is found in India, China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Taiwan and Japan. And in India, it is mostly found in open gardens, grasslands, riversides, mountains, and along the roadsides.
The plant has smooth, palmately compound leaves that are divided into three heart-shaped leaflets, which are bright green on the upper surface, and purplish to dark red on their under surface. One unique characteristic feature of the plant is that it folds up the leaves at night or during stress and opens them in the morning. Sorrel has yellow coloured five-petalled flowers that usually blooms from May to October. The flowers give rise to capsulate fruits that are hairy, tomentose, and sub cylindric. Seeds are usually long, rough, egg-shaped, and dark purplish-brown in colour. On ripening, the capsule bursts open to spread the seeds everywhere in the garden giving rise to more creeping sorrel herbs.
Though the plant is considered a weed in different parts of the world, yet it is traditionally used in alternative medicines and are extensively used for treating various diseases and health anomalies.
Common Names Of Sorrel
Sorrel is popularly known by different names in different parts of the world. It is known as Yellow wood-sorrel, Inda, Indian Sorrel, Creeping wood-sorrel, Creeping oxalis, Yellow oxalis, Creeping ladies-sorrel, Sour-grass wood-sorrel, Creeping yellow wood-sorrel, Creeping lady’s sorrel, Procumbent yellow-sorrel, Yellow procumbent wood-sorrel, Creeping sorrel, Creeping woods, Jimson Weed, Clover sorrel, Sheep sorrel, Sour grass, Wood sorrel, and Yellowwood sorrel.
In India, the various vernacular names include, Amrit Sak, Tinputiya, Amrul, Khatti booti, Amrulsak, Cukatripati, Tinpatiya, Changeri, Ambilosa, in Hindi, Puliarai, Puliyarai in Tamil, Pulichinta in Telugu, Kottampulichan, Poliyarala, Pulichan, Pulichappadi, Puliyarei, Puliyarel, Pulisanthala, Pulivayila, Puliyarila, Pulliparel in Malayalam, Amrul, Umulbet in Bengali, Ambolee, Teen Panaki, Rukhadi, Changeri, in Gujarati, Ambutee, Ambti, Bhui Sarpati, Ambatee, Bhinsarpati in Marathi, Khatmittha, Amrul, Khatkal, Khattibootee, Suruchi in Punjabi.
Ayurveda knows this plant as Chaangeri, Amlikaa, Amlapatrikaa, Chukrikaa, Chukraa, Chhatraamlikaa in Sanskrit, Puliyarai in Siddha, Ambutaa bhaaji, Amutaa saag in Unani.
Ayurvedic Indications Of Sorrel
Time and again, the holistic science of Ayurveda has widely mentioned about Sorrel or Changeri in several ayurvedic scriptures and journals for various indications which include Deepana (enhances stomach fire), Pachana (helps in digestion), Rochana (stimulates appetite), Mehahara (treats urinary tract disorders), Rasayani (rejuvenates the whole body), Anulomana (improves breathing), Vayasthapana (prevents ageing), Jvara (useful in fever), Kasahara (Relieves cough, Shwasha (relieves breathing difficulties), Amahara (treats indigestion), Hikkanigrahana (controls hiccups), Kantya (relieves sore throat), Triptighno (relieves pseudo-satiation), Visarpa (treats herpes), Hridaya (treats heart problems), Chakushya (treats eye problems), Krichra (treats painful micturition), Shonitasthapana (prevents bleeding), Dahahara (relieves burning sensation), Anidra (treats insomnia), Trutahara (relieves excessive thirst), Balya (improves muscle strength), Gulmajit (useful in abdominal tumours), Pandu (treats anaemia), Raktamandala (treats ringworm infections), Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea), Kustha (treats skin disorders), Kamala (prevents jaundice), Medhya (improves intelligence), Varnya (improves complexion), Krimihara (relieves intestinal worms), Kanthya (improves voice),and Arsha (treats piles).
Chemical Constituents Of Sorrel
The major chemical components of the Indian sorrel include flavonoids, phytosterol, phenol, tannins, isovitexine, vitexine, and volatile oils. The herb also contains various essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, linolenic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, tartaric, malic acid, stearic acid and citric acid. The array of nutritional components that account for the wealth of healthful benefits include Vitamins A, B9 and C, proteins, calcium, phosphorous, iron, niacin, beta carotene water and fat.
Sorrel/ Changeri Ayurvedic Formulation
Over time, more and more people are getting dependent on ayurvedic or traditional ways to treat digestive anomalies since these herb-based formulations are much more effective in case of digestive anomalies. And sans any side effects, they not only treat the particular problem but also diminishes underlying symptoms. One such potent Sorrel formulation is Changeri Ghritam.
This ghee-based sorrel or changeri formulation is whipped up with 14 herbal ingredients, each with nutritive properties of its own. It is used for a preparatory procedure for Panchakarma and curative applications as well.
Changeri svarasa (sorrel juice) - Oxalis corniculata
Nagara/Shunthi (Ginger)- Zingiber officinalis
Pippali mula (Long pepper root) - Piper longum
Pippali (Long pepper fruit) - Piper longum
Hastipippali (Gajapippali) - Scindapsus officinalis
Shvadamishtra (Gokshura) - Tribulus terristris
Dhanya/ Dhanyaka (Coriander) - Coriandrum sativum
Chitraka - Plumbago zeylanica
Bilva/ Bael – Aegel marmelos
Patha - Cyclea peltat
Yamanika (Yavani) - Trachyspermum ammi
Sarpi/ Goghrita (Cow ghee)
Dadhi/ Godadhi (Curd)
Wash the herbs thoroughly under running water.
Pour the cow ghee in a large vessel and start warming it up.
When the ghee becomes fluid, add the herbs one by one.
Boil the herbs in cow ghee.
Switch off the flame and put on a lid to allow the herbs to steep.
Strain the mixture to remove the herb parts and pour the jelly-like substance in a bowl.
Lastly, add the curd to it and give it a whisk.
Store in a cool, dry place for future use.
Pharmacological Actions of Changeri Ghritam
Digestive: Facilitates digestion
Anti–inflammatory: Reduces various pains and inflammations by acting on body mechanisms.
Antiseptic: Inhibits growth of microbial substances and prevents infections.
Carminative: Preventing the formation of flatulence.
Venotonic: Enhances venous drainage.
Hepatoprotective: Prevents damage to the liver.
Tonic: Restores or improves health and well-being.
Therapeutic Uses Of Changeri Ghritam
This highly beneficial formulation is used for the following conditions including Anaha (distension of abdomen due to obstruction to the passage of urine and stools), Mutrakricchra (dysuria), Pravahika (dysentery), Grahani (malabsorption syndrome), Arsha (haemorrhoids), Gudabhransha (prolapse of the rectum), and Kaphavataroga (disease due to Kapha and Vata Dosha).
¼ -½ tsp alongside warm milk or luke-warm water twice a day before meals or as suggested by the ayurvedic doctor or practitioner.
Sorrel Leaves Health Benefits
Sorrel is a traditional remedy for treating a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders like indigestion, constipation, flatulence, esophagitis, heartburn, diarrhoea, peptic ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and stomach pain. Thanks to the potent carminative nature of the herb, the formulations containing sorrel or changeri help in breaking down the food particles in the stomach and intestine, enhance the secretion of the digestive juices and thereby increases the absorption of essential nutrients through the intestines. It also helps to eliminate abdominal gas and in turn reduces abdominal distension, bloating and gaseous cramps. Also Read: 5 Herbs For A Healthy Digestive System
Irritable bowel syndrome or Grahani is mostly caused due to unhealthy dietary choices, excessive intake of food particles which are difficult to digest, intake of foods that cause allergy, intake of foods low on nutrients, overeating, eating at irregular intervals, and other physical and mental factors like emotional problems, stress, etc. IBS can cause both diarrhoea and constipation. The use of this herb offers an absolute remedy for treating this painful disease. Additionally, sorrel also treats abdominal cramps and abdominal distension. Also Read: Irritable Bowel Syndrome: 5 Incredible Ayurvedic Herbs To Relieve IBS
Prevents Diarrhoea And Dysentery
The potent anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties of Sorrel leaves are extensively used for removing bacteria from the intestines that causes diarrhoea, dysentery and other intestinal infections. When ingested alongside nagarmotha (i.e. Cyperus rotundus) and sonth (i.e. Zingiber officinalis), it can be used for treating a type of diarrhoea known as AMA ATISARA i.e. acute diarrhoea where the bowel is slimy, sticky, full of mucus and has a foul odour. Sorrel not only removes the toxins from the body but also effectively reduces the frequency of stools. It is highly effective against dysentery caused due to Entamoeba histolytica and the shigella bacteria causing bacillary dysentery and the bacteria Escherichia coli causing Enteropathogenic adhesion. Also Read: Diarrhoea: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Remedies Skin Infections
Sorrel leaves play a key role in treating various skin infections. The abundance of antioxidants in the potent herb is highly effective in removing harmful free radicals from the body and its antipruritic nature alleviates itching sensation caused due to allergic conditions like eczema, psoriasis, scabies, patchy skin, acne, sunburn etc. Several studies show that Sorrel has potent anti-bacterial properties that are extensively used for removing bacteria from the body. The bioactive compounds present in this traditional herb not only prevent worm infestation but also treats wounds and improves healing.
Apply a paste of the sorrel leaves over insect bite or any skin infection to get relief from pain and inflammation and also reduce redness and itching.
Cures Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which an individual suffers from self-starvation. It is also attached to mental health as the individual suffers from low weight issues, fear of gaining weight, lower self-esteem and an intense desire to reduce weight. Additionally, the person also has a loss of hunger or desire to eat any food. Sorrel leaves being a natural digestive and appetizer aids in the digestion of food, improves appetite and ensures that the person eats properly. Also Read: Do you really know what Anorexia is?
Make a solution of 15 ml of sorrel leaf juice and 30 ml of buttermilk. Consume 20-30 ml of the sorrel leaf solution twice a day or as suggested by the doctor.
What Are Sorrel Leaves Good For?
Sorrel Leaves For Bad Breath
Bad breath or Halitosis is not only a sign of poor oral health but also a cause of public embarrassment. It can occur due to bad teeth, gum swelling, dental decay or gastrointestinal issue. Being antiseptic and antimicrobial in nature, sorrel leaves not only treat underlying digestive issues but also prevents swelling of gums, bleeding gums, gingivitis, accumulation of bad bacteria in the teeth etc.
You can chew 2-3 sorrel leaves or brush the teeth using dry sorrel leaves to eliminate foul smell from the mouth.
Sorrel Leaves For Bleeding Piles
The haemostatic action of the sorrel leaves plays a key role in treating and curing haemorrhoids and the calming and cooling after effect relives from the pain of bleeding piles.
Dry and grind sorrel leaves and stems. Mix 10 gm of this dried plant alongside buttermilk and drink it twice a day to halt the bleeding of piles.
Sorrel Leaves For Headache
Sorrel leaf holds high significance in providing relief from chronic headaches, tension, etc. Normally, a headache occurs due to excessive workload, stress, anxiety, etc. It helps soothe irritated nerves, calms the brain and improves nerve function. Also Read: Five Common Types Of Headaches: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Massaging the forehead with a mixture of sorrel leaf paste and onion juice helps to relieve headaches and provide a soothing and cooling effect.
Sorrel Leaves For Insomnia
Sorrel leaves help to reduce the levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone and thereby attenuates stress and improves the quality, duration and provides a peaceful sleep.
Mix 1tbsp each of sorrel leaf juice and castor oil and massage it on the forehead to treat insomniac conditions and get a good night’s sleep.
Sorrel Leaves For Ulcers
The glycoprotein secretions of the herb have been found in various studies to be extremely effective in treating different types of stomach ulcer including peptic and ulcerative colitis and even treat colic pain.
Apart from the innumerable health benefits of the herb, Sorrel leaves are known for their culinary uses too. The leaves of this plant are quite sour and tangy in nature and can be brewed as a tea by steeping the leaves in hot water for about 10 minutes, and then slightly sweetening it by adding a dollop of honey. The tea can be enjoyed piping hot or as ice tea after chilling. Sorrel leaves can also be cooked as a pot-herb along with other greeneries, sprinkled atop salads or used in regular curries to give that tangy taste to the cuisines. Even, the vibrant yellow flowers are used as a garnishing ingredient on salads.
Effect On Doshas:
Touted for their digestive qualities, the wonder herb Sorrel, is sanctified with Kashaya (i.e. astringent taste) and Amla Rasa (i.e. sour taste) and Laghu (i.e. light) and Rukshna Guna (i.e. rough quality). It inherently portrays Ushna Virya (i.e. hot potency) and Amla Vipaka (i.e. sour metabolic taste). Being rough and light, it appeases the Vata doshas (i.e. air) and Kapha (earth and water) doshas, whereas having a sour metabolic after taste and hot potency, the herb often aggravates the Pitta (fire and air) doshas. The presence of the intrinsic essential properties and doshas, the herb has a positive effect on the various Dhatus (i.e. body tissues) which are Rasa (i.e. Plasma), Rakta (i.e. Blood), Mamsa (i.e. Muscles), Asthi (i.e. Bones) and Shukra (i.e. Reproductive Fluids). Also Read: Introduction To Ayurveda: Learn About Vata, Pitta And Kapha Doshas
The ayurvedic properties help in portraying the following main Prabhab on the body which are, Grahini (absorbent), Grahani (treats malabsorption syndrome), Vranaropana (treats pimples and acne), Arsha (useful in haemorrhoids), Saamavate hita (useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis), Asthibhanga (treats bone disorders and spinal problems), Gala Roga ( treats throat disorders) and Kushtha nashini (useful in skin diseases).
The effective therapeutic dosage of Sorrel may vary from person to person depending upon the age, body strength, effects on appetite, severity, and condition of the patient. It is strictly recommended to consult an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner as he or she would evaluate the patient’s indications, past medical conditions and prescribe an effective dose for a specific period.
Sorrel Leaf Juice: 5 – 10 ml along with water or as prescribed by an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner.
Sorrel Side Effects
The sorrel plant is quite beneficial in limited dosage but in case it is eaten every day on large quantities, it can inhibit calcium absorption in the body. The sorrel leaves should not be consumed in large amounts since the high concentration of oxalic acid in it can bind up with the body’s supply of calcium leading to nutritional deficiency. People suffering from rheumatism, gout, urinary tract disorder, diabetes, high cholesterol or obesity are fairly warned not to consume these leaves without doctor’s approval.
Sorrel offers a traditional herbal remedy for treating umpteen health problems including indigestion, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and loss of appetite. Apart from being a digestant, it also used for treating diarrhoea, dysentery, headache, skin problems like eczema etc. Imbued with potent therapeutic properties and nutritional components, enjoy the benefits of this sour digestive herb.