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Compilation on Pseudarthria viscida on ayurvedic view point

India and Traditional Medicine
“We are the birds of the same nest,
We may wear different skins,
We may speak different languages,
We may believe in different religions
We may belong to different cultures
Yet we share the same home- Our Earth”

Translated from the sacred Vedic text, Atharvaveda, these humble lines of poetry capture the essence of a nation synonymous with diversity , biological , cultural , ethnic, racial ,in all facets of life and existence and yet harboring a subtle oneness, a oneness found on infinite tolerance and universal acceptance .Famed to have been the largest trading and oldest seafaring civilization, India has been a subject to influxes of people through out it’s history, some coming under arm to loot and conquer, others moving in to trade an settle. India received both these people and accepted them as her own, along with their culture and tradition.
India’s history begins not with the independence in 1947, but more than 4500 years earlier, when the Indus valley civilization flourished over the northern region of the subcontinent. With its complex culture and specialized artifacts, this civilization had refined and advanced knowledge in every field including in that of medicine, even dentistry as later discoveries have revealed. The much disputed and very significant Aryan invasion took place during 1500BC. Aryans were a group of nomadic people from Central Asia equipped with a highly refined Indo-European language. They assimilated the existing indigenous Dravidians into their culture and redefined the existing norms and knowledge regarding daily and seasonal routines for health, law and administration, rites regarding birth and death and every other aspects of life. This was later known as the Vedas. Vedas are classified into 4-Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. Of which Ayurveda is considered as the Upaveda or a limb of Atharvaveda.
Around the same time ayurveda was further divided into eight branches of medicine. The Ashtangas or the eight part of ayurveda consist of Kaya Chikitsa (general medicine),Bala Chikitsa(Pediatrics), Shalakya Chikitsa (ent), Graha Chikitsa (psychiatry), Jara Chikitsa (Gerontology), Agadatantra (toxicology), Salya Chikitsa (Surgery), Vrsa Chikitsa (Fertility ).There were also 2 schools of ayurveda at that time. They were the Atreya School of medicine and the Dhanvantari School of medicine. While the Atreya School of medicine were mainly physicians Dhanvantari School of medicine were surgeons. These two school of medicine made ayurveda more scientifically verifiable and reliable medical system. Through research and testing they expelled the wrong concepts and corrected the doubts. Consequently ayurveda started to grow as a respected and widely accepted medical system in India. People from various countries came to India to study this highly gifted branch of medicine. It soon started to spread to different parts of the world like China, Tibet, Greece, Rome, Egypt, Afghanistan, and to Arabia. Different countries started to send their physicians to study ayurveda and to practice and spread it in their country along with their own system of medicine.
But durin the British colonial rule in India, the importance f ayurveda started to decline as the English started to promote their system of medicine and started to impose ban on practicing ayurveda. As a result there was a great gap in the development of ayurveda medicine. On one hand when the allopathic system of medicine was gaining huge popularity ang acceptance among the people the demand for ayurveda was decreasing.
But in the early 20th centaury, ayurvedic physicians started to organize themselves into professional groups .This step proved to be a renaissance for Ayurveda and its physicians. India today is rapidly developing nation, with an economy depending on Agriculture and IT sector. Along with time ayurveda has also regained its place in the mind of people. More over the common people has also realized the importance and power of ayurveda. As such ayurveda efficiently caters the need of majority of people with average living standards and also supplements mainstream medicine in curing chronic illness and compacting harmful side effects
Today it is the awakening period of ayurveda, a rebirth with improved strength and potency. However every one should have to accept the fact that tomorrow is the day for ayurveda
Dravyaguna is a branch of ayurveda which can be correlated to the materia medica of the modern medicine.The ayurvedis texts define Dravyaguna vijanan as the saience dealing with the guna, karma, prayoga and other therapeutical uses of a dravya or a drug. Ayurveda has given great importance for the study of dravya guna as it gives knowledge of drugs-which are considered as the weapons of the physicians to fight against their enemy called roga or disease. A vaidya who does not possess a good knowledge about Dravyaguna vijana is considered as a soldier who is ina war and does not know how to use it effectively. The proper knowledge of Dravyaguna will only provide a good result.

Ayurveda can be said to be built on 4 pillars. They can be elaborated as The Physician, Dravya, A good nurse, and an obedient Patient. The importance of dravya is further stressed here by considering it as one among the four important pillars of ayurveda. A building is not stable until os unless it has strong pillars to support it. Like that Dravyaguna gives a good basement for the building up of the rest of the building. Stronger the basics stronger will be the building. Like wise it is important for the vaidya to study the Dravyaguna to be successful in this field.

So every physician should give importance for the study of Dravyaguna as it is an important pillar of ayurveda and also helps in treatment. With out this a physician cannot be able to cure a patient

Drug introduction
The drug which has been studied in this work is the classical drug called as Saliparni. Saliparni is common classical drug which has been mentioned in various ayurvedic classical texts. It is a commonly available plant with a wide range of uses.

Like with some ayurvedic drugs, there is confusion regarding the identification and nomenclature of the plant. While the vaidyas in the northern part of India consider it as the species Desmodium gangeticum, the vaidyas of the south identifies it as the species Pseudarthria viscida. Since the work has been done in south India the species Pseudarthria viscida has been studied and explained in this work.

History of saliparni.
Saliparni has been used as a potent ayurvedic drug from the period of Samhitas. The drug has been mentioned in various ayurvedic texts like Carka Samhita, susruta samhita, ashtanga hridaya, ashtanga samgraha etc. various preparations which contain Saliparni are mentioned in these samhitas. The drug has also found its place in ayurvedic nighantus or dictionaries like that of Bhavaprakasha, kaiyadeva nighantu, adarsha nighantu etc

However like some ayurvedic drugs it is not clear that when the physicians started to use Saliparni as a medicinal plant. Also the period of discovery of its medicinal property is also unknown.

But it should be noted that even today Saliparni is used as potent drug both in single and combined form curing many diseases.

About the drug
Sanskrit name – Salaparni, Saliparni

Vernacular names –
Hindi – Sarivan
Bengali – Shalapani
Tamil – Neermalli
Telugu – Meyyakuponna
Malayalam – Muvila

Latin name – Pseudarthria viscida Linn

Family – Papilionacea

Kulam – Shimbi kulam

Ganam –
(a) According to Caraka
Angamarda prasamana, blya, snehopaga,shvythuhara, madhura skandha
(b) According to Susrutha
Vidarigandhadi, lagupancamula

Upakula - Aparajitha


The various synonyms according to various ayurvedic texts are,

<1> vidarigandha – The arises as the kanda or the stem has the smell similar to that of vidari(Ipomea digitata)

<2> amsumati –It is named so due to the shape of it’s root which resembles the rays of sun

<3>Salaparni – The name orginatd due to its similarity to the leaves to that of leaves of sala tree (shorea robusta)

<4> Sthira – It is so called, as its root exists in the land for a long period of time.

<5> Dirghapatra – As it has long and narrow leaves

<6> Dirghamula – This name arised due to its long roots

<7> Dhirghangi – This name originated due to its long limbed branches.

<8>Ekamula – It is named so as it has a single root

<9> Saliparni – The name originated due to its resemblance of its leaves to the leaves of that of Sali or Paddi

<10> Vrihiparni – The name aroused due to the similarity of its leaves to that of Vrihi or a Bear

These are the various synonyms widely used to refer Saliparni in the nighantus like Saligrama nighantu and Dhanvantari nighantu
Distribution and habitat

Saliparni is a common plant found in almost all districts of southern parts of India. It is mainly seen in areas from southwards of the river Godavari. It is very common in Kerala, where it is found in areas of sea level to up to that of 3000feet in the hills. It grows well in the dry gravelling soil under cover and also as undergrowth in damp forest. It is mainly seen as a weed and grows wildly through out.

It is villous or viscid, pubescent, semi erect, or more often diffusely creeping “Desmodium like” perennial under shrub up to 2 feet high with several slender, mostly prostrate or tailing branches with long internodes often rooting at the nodes, bearing palmately trifoliate leaves almost invariably marked with pale green or greenish white irregular patches. They have elongate filiform racemes of small bright purplish or pink flowers and very sticky or adhering pods about three fourth of an inch long and quarter inch broad.

External morphology

Branches are many. They are 2-4 feet long or even longer. The branches are covered with soft fine grayish white pubescence.

Leaves are pinnately trifoliate, alternate, and stipulate. Stipules are free and hairy. The leaves are lanceolate, subulate or cuspidate. They are 4.5-6mm long deciduous. They have leaflets with filiform stipules below. Lateral leaflets are rhombiform or ovate. They are present one or two inches either way. The terminal one, to be rhomboid ovate. Petioles are densely hairy and half to one inch long.

They have a fairly long terminal erect hairy raceme often with one or more smaller branches arising from the axils of the uppermost leaves.


Flowers are many, small, deep purple, red or pink color. They are arranged in distantly placed fascicles of 2 to 4 or comparatively long spreading, filiform pedicels jointed or articulated close beneath the calyx. Bracts are narrow lanceolate subulate calyx about a tenth of an inch long, hairy canpanulate left to middle in 2 obscure lips, 5 toothed- the upper two subconnate forming an upper lip
Corolla is nearly twice as long as the calyx. They are papilionaceous, exerted and with petals nearly equal.
Stamens are diadelphous- nine and one. Anthers are uniform. Ovary is sub sessile and many ovules. Style short subulate or filiform


A flat compressed or slightly inflated linear oblong indehiscent one celled legume half to three quarters of an inch long and about one fourth an inch broad. With its chamber continuous with in. the valves of the fruit are membranous transversely, veined and closely covered with many stiff hooked viscid hairs. The sutures are densely ciliate but not usually intended or only slightly indented.


Seeds are varying from four to six. They are brownish black in color, compressed and some what reniform in structure.


The transverse section is circular. It shows a central strand of wood, a narrow bark and a thin dark brown strip of cork.
The cork tissue is compressed of 10-15 rows of thick walled rectangular cells. Those towards the periphery often have dark brown contents. A distinct phellogen with a few rows of phelloderm within is made out
The cortex is comparatively narrow and composed of oblong cells. A noteworthy feature of this region is the presence of short tangential rows or series of very large thin walled cells filled with brownish contentswithin the broadened distal ends of the medullary rays. Small irregular groups of sclerenchyma also occur here. The medullary rays are 2-3 and their cells are loaded with stacks. The phloem is of usual type. The xylem or wood is composed of a large portion of wood fibers, a small amount of xylem. Parenchyma and xylem vessels, in addition to the medullary rays. The xylem parenchyma cells contain starch
There is no pith at the centre

Officinal part

Roots are the commonly used part however the whole plant is also used

Chemical constituents

Root contain yellow resinous matter, oil, alkaline substance and 6% ash


There exists a controversy and dilemma in identifying the two classical drugs Saliparni and Prisniparni.
In the northern parts of India Saliparni is identified as desmodium gangeticum where as in the southern belt which includes states like kerala it is identified as pseudarthria viscida. And moreover desmodium gangeticum is used as prisniparni here. Many commentators of ayurveda materia medica also identify Saliparni as desmodium gangeticum. This has caused confusion in the meanings of Sanskrit words Saliparni and prisniparni.
Even Bhavamisra has made the same mistake. This can be seen from the following quotation where he says simhapucchi can be used in the place of prisniparni ,forgetting the fact that he had given the name simhapucchi as a synonym to prisniparni.he had used the synonym triparni for salaparni where triparni means a plant with three leaves, this proves that prisniparni a plant with one leaf cannot be designated as triparni. It is in the light of the above statements that we consider salaprni as pseudarthria viscida

Substitutes and adulterants

Even though a controversy exists in regard to identification of species, some species of Desmodium are used as substitutes. The commonly used varieties are Desmodium tilaefolium and desmodium polycarpous.
Adulterants are rare. This is due to the fact that Saliparni is common plant and grows through out India.

Identifying characters

The plant can be identifying the following characters


The roots are comparatively narrow, woody, dark brown in color with the surface profusely lenticellate and some what warty but not hard. The surface skin is thin and exfoliating. It has a light brown inner layer. There is a thin strand of wood in the center


the cork tissue is comprised of 10-15 rows of rectangular cells with fairly thick walls
the cortex is a narrow zone. A conspicuous and noteworthy feature of this region is the presence of few celled groups in tangential rows of very large thin walled cells with brownish contents, small groups of sclerenchyma also occur
the wood is composed of large proportion of wooden fibres

Taste and Odour
The roots have astringent taste but no special odour

Rasa Pancakam

Rasa - Madhura, Tikta

Guna- Guru, Snigdha

Veerya - Usna

Vipaka – Madhura

Dosa karmata

Saliparni helps in controlling all the three doshas equally. Thus it is a tridosa samaka dravya

Properties and action

Angamarda prasamana, nadi balya, deepanam, snehanam, anulomana, stambhana, krimighna, hrdya, sothahara, sonitha sthapana, kaphanihsaaraka, vrsya, muthrala, jwaraghna, balya, brmhana, rasayana

Action on different systems

Nervous System – cures
(1) Nadi dourbalya
(2) Vata vyadhi
(3) Dourbalya
(4) Sira sula

Digestive system – cures
(1) Agni mandya
(2) Koshta vata
(3) Atisara
(4) Vamana
(5) Arsa

Rheumatic – cures
(1) Vata rakta
(2) Anga marda
(3) Sotha

Cardiovascular system – cures
(1) Hrd roga
(2) Rakta vikara
(3) Hrcchula

Reproductive system – cures
(1) Sukra dourbalya
(2) Mudhagarbha

Respiratory system – cures
(1) Kasa
(2) Yaksma
(3) Ksaya

Urinary system – cures
(1) Mutrakrchra
(2) Prameha

It is used against Visama jwara

It is also used in Bala roga

Therapeutic uses

It is used as an alternative, anti helminthic, anti catarrahal, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, nervine tonic, anti diarrheal, stomachic and tonic. Drug is useful in asthma, brain disorders, fevers, inflammation, vomiting, and in bites like that of scorpion bites

The drug possesses astringent taste. It is used in general anescara, consumption, cough, diarrhea, fever including enteric fever, piles, respiratory disorders vomiting and worm infections

Studies show it as a Bronchodilator, Vasopressor, Analgesic, Antipyretic, Cardio tonic and stimulant action.


The average dosage of Saliparni decoction is 50-100 ml


The drug is used as an ingredient of a number of official preparations of classical remedies such as Agastya haritaki rasayana, Brahma rasayana, Dasamula kwatha churna, Vidaryadi churna kwatha, Eladi gritha, Dasamula gritha, Dasamula satpalaka, Dadhika grtha, Sudarshana churna, Dhanvantara ghrita, Narayana taila, Madhuyastiyadi taila, Sahaccaradi taila, Manasamitra taila, Salaparnyadi kwatha, Laghu pancamula kwatha, Dasamularishta


Saliparni is a classical medicinal plant which has reference in almost all ayurvedic texts. It is a common plant in the southern parts of India which has wide use as medicinal plant.
Even though there are many medicinal preparations in ayurvedic texts, no important and serious research works have been done to discover its medicinal properties completely

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:27 PM

    It is a nice information about Muvila