SARSAPARILLA - Sugandhi, Sariva, Anantmoola - Hemidismus indica (Asclepiadaceae)
Sariva smells sweet and is also known as sugandhi ‘the fragrant one’ in Hindi. Its red colour relates to its affinity for the blood and it treats all conditions with heat or toxins in the blood; dermatological, musko skeletal, urogenital, gynaecological.
Part Used : Root
- Rasa (taste) Sweet, bitter, astringent
- Virya (action) Cooling
- Vipaka (post-digestive effect) Sweet
- Guna (quality) Light, unctuous
- Dosha effect VPK-
- Dhatu (tissue) Plasma, blood, muscle, reproductive
- Srota (channel) Digestive, circulatory, nerve, female reproductive
Alterative, febrifuge, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-miscarriage, vulnerary, fertility tonic, demulcent.
Benefits skin problems, Destroys toxic poisons, Improves the complexion, Used in fevers, Relieves burning sensations, Benefits urinary problems, Cools pitta and inflammations, Alleviates bleeding disorders from heat, Aromatic, Clears an excess of all three doshas, Improves the quality of sperm
Nutritional disorders, fever, skin diseases, urinary disorders, diarrhoea, leprosy, asthma, piles, and ulcerations.
SKIN : Its cooling, sweet and bitter flavours and affinity for rakta dhatu clears inflammation from the skin; used in eczema, psoriasis, urticaria, acne rosacea and acne from aggravated bhranjaka pitta. It ‘cleans’ the blood, reduces lymphatic swellings, stops itching and reduces suppuration. The root powder is used to treat STDs that are damp and hot. It is a specific for acne. Also of great benefit in burning sensations (daha) anywhere around the body. It is used as an external paste or as a cream to benefit the above skin problems.
URINARY : Urinary infections with dark red, cloudy, painful urination; cystitis, urethritis, kidney infections, prostatitis. It stimulates the mutravahasrotas to clear excess water without straining the kidneys.
GIT : Useful herb for stimulating the appetite in pitta prakriti without aggravating any acidity. It rectifies agnimanda and sluggish digestion. Used in inflammation of the mucus membranes throughout the body. Also used in hot, smelly and watery diarrhoea with excess vata drawing pitta downwards.
ARTHRITIS Its specific anti-inflammatory action is indicated when the joints are hot, red and inflamed. Also useful in acute and chronic gout.
NERVES : Its sweet and cooling quality nourishes sadhaka pitta and the mind. Hence its use in disturbed, angry or irritated emotions from high pitta aggravating the equilibrium of the mind.
GYNAECOLOGY : Traditional use for maintaining pregnancy and preventing habitual miscarriages. Also may be of benefit for menorrhagia caused by pitta overflowing from its channel in arthavasrotas (uterine system). Its nourishing effect on rasa dhatu helps to increase the quantity and quality of breast milk.
MALE FERTILITY : Classified as shukrakalam, a sperm-increasing herb, it is of value in fertility problems and low libido. Its saponin content is considered to have a steroidal effect that enhances the production of testosterone.
- Neem, Manjishta, Guduchi, Gotu kola, Sandalwood, Licorice for skin inflammation.
- Coriander, Gokshura, Sandalwood for urinary infections.
- Coriander, Fennel, Cumin for pitta digestion.
- Haritaki, Bilva, Kutaja in diarrhoea.
- Guduchi, Daruharidra and Turmeric for inflammatory arthritis.
- Gotu kola, Rose, Brahmi for ‘hot’ emotions and disturbed pitta.
- Ashoka, Manjishta, Shatavari, Roses for bleeding.
- Gokshura, Ashwagandha, Safed Musali, Shatavari in male infertility.
1 – 10g per day dried
Hot infusion of the root-bark with milk and sugar is a good alternative and tonic, especially for children in chronic cough and diarrhoea.
For ulcers and swellings paste of the root is applied to cleanse and cure. Milky juice is dropped into inflamed eyes ; it causes copious lachrymation and afterwards a sense of coolness in the part.
For vomiting, nausea etc., root is well boiled in water, stained off and the drugs ground with a little asafoetida and made into a thin paste and then mixed with ghee. This is given in the morning to stop vomiting etc.
* Sariva spreads throughout the circulatory system and cools any area of excessive heat.
* Another name for it is Anantmool ‘the eternal root’ as its root spreads for a long way underground and it survives periods of climatic stress (eg droughts).
* Svatasariva , White sariva (Hemidismus indicus) and Krsnasariva, Black sariva (Cryptolepis buchanani) are mentioned in the texts.