SVARNAKSIRI (Argemone Mexicana)
The Sanskrit word svarnaksiri literally means that which exudes golden colored latex. The herb has numerous synonyms delineating its yellow latex. Viz. kancanaksiri, suvarnaksiri, kanakaksiri, pitadugdha, suvarnadugdha, hemanga, kancani, hemavati etc; in ancient scriptures of Ayurveda. Maharishi Charka has categorized the herb as bedaniya – accumulation breaking herbs. Raja Nighantu and Bhavaprakasa have also mentioned the various properties and uses of the plant.
The plant is commonly found along the road sides and waste places. It grows all over India, mainly in hot climate, at an altitude of 1000-1500 meters. The prickly annual is much branched, about 1 meter in height, with yellow lates. The leaves are simple, sessile, variegated with white and veins white. The flowers are large, 5 cm in diameter and bright yellow in color. The fruits, 2-4 cm long, prickly capsules. The seeds numerous and black in colour.
The botanical name of svarnaksiri is Argemone mexicana and it belongs to family Papaveraceae. From the plant, protopine nitrate, berberine nitrate, ceryl alcohol and succinic, tartaric and maleic acids, glucose and fructose isolated. A flavonoid – isorhamnetin–7–diglucoside, from flowers and isorhamenetin-3, 7- diglucoside, also from flowers. Detection of hydroxy, epoxy and keto fatty acids in seed oil, myristic, palmitic, oleic and linoelic acids also found. Out of six alkaloids isolated, four identified as heletrine, sanguinarine, protopine and allocryptopine, determined in leaves and roots respectively of Vietnames plant. New phenolicargemixitin-isolated from seeds and characterized. Presence of argemixitin in seeds not confirmed, liteolin and eriodictyol isolated. Protopine, allocrytopine, berberine, sanguinarine, reticuline, cheilanthifoline, scoulerine from flowering fruiting plant.
Svarnaksiri is bitter in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates kapha and vata doshas. It possesses light and dry attributes. It is mild laxative, wound cleanser and antiseptic in properties. It is useful in diseases like fever, edema, Dysurea, urinary calculi, burning sensation, blood and skin disorders.
The roots, seeds, latex and seed oil have great medicinal value. The herb is used externally as well as internally. Externally, the latex, leaves juice and seed oil is applied in skin diseases and wounds, healing properties. The paste of its roots is applied on scorpion sting, with great benefit. In rheumatic disorders, the paste of its seeds is applied or seed oil is used for massage. In the diseases of eye, like night blindness, corneal ulcer and pterygium, one drop of latex mixed with ghee, is instilled into eyes. (Gana Nighantu)
Internally, the solid extract of the whole plant or seed is used in dyspepsia and flatulence, as they are mild laxative also. The root powder (3-4gm) is salutary in tapeworm infestation. It sometimes causes nausea and vomiting. The latex is extremely useful in edema, urinary stones and blood and skin disorders. The decoction of roots is a valuable panacea for dysuria. The seed oil is benevolent in flatulent dyspepsia and abdominal pain. The powder of seeds is commonly used in cold, cough and asthma. In burning sensation of the body, the whole plant juice is recommended with milk. The juice of roots works well as a blood purifier, whereas, the latex alleviates edema.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
Svarnaksiri bija choorna
Svarnaksiri bija taila.