SARAPUNKHA, Tephrosia purpurea


Latin name: Tephrosia purpurea

English name: Wild indigo

Sanskrit/Indian name: Sarapunkha

Medicinal parts used: Seeds, Leaves and Roots

Sarapunkha is a polymorphic, perennial herb with glabrous imparipinnate leaves and re-curved pods. It contains rotenone, which possesses insecticidal and insect-repellent properties. The plant grows throughout India and Western Himalayas, up to an elevation 1500 meters. It is bitter and astringent in taste, pungent is the post digestive effect and has hot potency. It has a special potency as bhedana ā€“ an accumulation breaking herb.

The Sanskrit word sarapunkha literally means sara ā€“ an arrow and punkha ā€“ the wings; that is, if both the ends of its leaf are held and pulled, edges like that of an arrow are formed. Hence, the name sarapunkha, it is also called as pliha satru meaning an enemy of the spleen (splenic diseases).

Therapeutic use:

  • The alcoholic extract of Tephrosia has glucose lowering effects and has the ability to prevent the body from the oxidative damage due to diabetes.
  • Tephrosia extract has the property to healing the duodenal and gastric ulcers.
  • Tephrosia extract has cancer preventing effect on external application and it has also tumor cell proliferation inhibition effect.
  • It has anti-allergic effect which significantly reduces the WBC population in blood and decreases the Eosinophil infiltration in blood. The inhibitory effect of ethanolic extract of T. purpurea on late-phase allergy could be attributed to the inhibition of leukotriene synthesis.
  • The methanolic extract of Tephrosia has got remarkable inhibitory effect against Helicobacter pylori mediated gastroduodenal disorders.
  • The aqueous extract of T. purpurea was found to be effective in reducing the formation of and dissolving existing calcium oxalate and magnesium ammonium phosphate stones.
  • The aerial part is used to prevent the hepatotoxicity and have hepatoprotective power.

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