Aparajita (Clitoria ternatea)
Aparajita has several synonyms in Ayurvedic scriptures like gokarnika, ardrakarni, girikarnika, supuspi, mohanasini, sveta etc. It is one of the herbs mentioned in all ancient scriptures of Ayurveda. The great sage Caraka has categorized it as sirovirecana- usefil in cleansing nasal therepy (Caraka Samhita. Sutra-4) In Raja Nighantu it is cited as caksusya- beneficial to eyes in ophthal mopathy. In Dhanvantari Nighantu it is mentioned as visadosaghni – which alleviates toxins. Sustruta has also mentioned it as visaghna – which eliminates toxins.
Aparajita grows throughout India. It is a beautiful-looking plant, hence cultivated in gardens. It is a perennial twining herb having 7 leaflets, which are elliptic and obtuse; There are few varieties with white, violet and blue flowers. The pods are 5-7 cm long, flat with 6 to 10 seed, in each pod. The flowers resemble in shape to cow’s ear, hence the synonym- gokarnika.
The botanical name of aparajita is Clitoria ternatea and it belongs to family Fabaceae, Pipilionaceae. The root bark contains starch, tannin and resin. The seeds contain a fixed oil, a bitter acid resin (the active principle), tannic acid, glucose (a light brown resin) and ash. The taste of the seeds is brittle and contains a cotyledon, which is full of granular starch. From leaves, clitorin and kaempferol have been isolated. A lactone-aparajitin from leaves, sitosterol from seeds, taraxerol from roots and sitosterol and anthoxanthin from seed are isolated (Ind. J. Pharm. 1968, 30, 167.) Isolation and identifi-cation of cyanine chloride and kaempferol from the flowers has been done. From seed-oil palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids are yielded. Six acylated anthocyanins A, B, C, D, E and F are isolated from blue flowers along with kaempferol and its 3- glucoside, robinin, quercetin and 3-glucoside and ternatins A and B are partially characterized
Two varieties, blue and white flowered, are mentioned in Ayurvedic texts. Aparajita is bitter in taste (rasa), pungent in the post digestive effect (vipaka) and has cold potency (virya). It alleviates all the three dosas. It possesses light (laghu), dry (ruksa) and sharp (tiksna) attributes. It alleviates ama, oidema, toxins (visa) and pain. It is a valuable medicament for skin diseases. (Kaiyadeva Nighantu).
The roots, seeds and leaves are used for medicinal purpose; Aparajita is used both, internally as well as externally. Externally, the paste of the roots, of white flowered variety, is applied in skin diseases and simultaneously, the seeds fried in ghee are powdered and given orally, with hot water. The same variety of roots is salutary in guinea worm infestation, to expel them out, by their topical application. The paste of its leaves, combined with little salt is applied in retroauricular adenitis, with great benefit. The seeds mashed with honey, applied topically, in tonsillitis render excellent relief. In migraine, the root juice instilled into nostrils helps to ward off kapha.
Internally, aparajita is used in various diseases. It works well as an appetizer, digestant, and vermicide and digests ama. The powder of its roots or seeds, combined with sunthi of fennel is recommended in ascites, with hot water. Being sharp in attribute, it breaks down the accumulations of dosas and malas. The sticky phlegm in cough and asthma is relieved, when the root juice with milk is given. It works well as febrifuge especially in gout. In glandular swellings like cervical adenitis, the root powder or juice is valuable. The decoction of its roots alleviates the burning sensation in the vagina, effectively. In habitual abortion, the roots of white varity, mashed in milk are given orally to avert the abortion and stabilize the foetus. The juice of its leaves mitigates the toxins. The fresh leaves juice, combined with ginger juice, effectively controls the excessive sweating. It is also used to promote the intellect (medhya).
Classical Ayurvedic Preparation
- Aparajita bija curna
- Mula curna