VAMSA (Bambusa Arundinacea)
Vamsa is one of the herbs mentioned in all ancient scriptures of Ayurveda. It has various synonyms like yavaphala, sataparva, karmuka, sabdamala, suparva, dhanusya, dhridaparva, kicaka etc. Acarya Vagbhata has mentioned two varieties of vamsa, like ghana (solid) and randhra (hollow). Susruta has described various properties of its gum resin-vamsa rocana as a tonic, blood purifier, febrifuge and alleviates cough, tuberculosis, bronchial asthma, burning micturation etc.
The plant grows wild all over India, mainly in forests of western and southern parts of the country. It grows up to 1500 – 2000 meters elevation. It is an erect, 15-35 meters tall, thorny tree , with many stems. The plant is hollow between the joints, with 2-3 alternate thorns on the stem. The leaves sheathing, linear, 20 cm long and 2 cm broad, lanceolate, tapering in the pointed tips. The flowers in bunches, yellow or yellowish green in long panicles. The fruits are oblong grains, resembling like yava fruits, hence called as vamsayava.
The botanical name of vamsa is Bambusa arundinacea and it belongs to family Graminae, Poaceae. Vamsarocana or Vamsalocana, the siliceous concretion, which comes out from bamsa is also known as vamsakapura, tavaksiri or tugaksiri. It contains silica 90% or silicon as hydrate of silicic acid, peroxide or iron, potash, lime, alumina, vegetable matter. The grains of the plant contain water 11.0%, starch 73.1%, albuminoids 11.86%, fiber 1.7% and ash 1.2%. The young shoots containing cyanogenic glycoside are poisonous. The glycoside is gydrolysed by an enzyme also present in the shoots when they are cut and soaked in water
Vamsa is sweet and astringent in taste, sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. The seeds are bitter in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and have hot potency. The gum resin is astringent and sweet in taste, sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. All these, mentioned above, alleviate kapha and pitta doshas. The seeds aggravate pitta and vata doshas, whereas the sprouts aggravate all the three doshas. The chief properties of vamsa are diuretic, wound-healer and cleanse the urinary bladder. Vamsarocana is anti-tussive, anabolic and a general tonic. The seeds have vermicidal property. Vamsa is used in the diseases like dermatitis, wounds, edema, blood disorders etc. Vamsarocana is a rejuvenative for lungs and is salutary in cough, asthma, tuberculosis and urinary disorders and the seeds (vamsayava) in helminthiasis. (Kaiyadeva and Dhanvantari Nighantu)
The roots, leaves, sprouts, fruits and the gum resin – vamsarocana, have great medicinal value. Vamsa is used both, internally as well as externally. Externally, the paste of roots is panacea for various skin disorders and discoloration. The sprouts are beneficial in dressing the wounds. The burnt ash of roots is useful in ringworm infestations and premature hair loss. Internally, vamsa is used in vast range of diseases. The decoction of the sprouts is beneficial in anorexia, dyspepsia and worms. Vamsarocana (bamboo manna) is useful in various disorders like hyperdipsia, diarrhea, vomiting, Rakta pitta, heart diseases, cough, asthma, fever, tuberculosis and a general tonic in convalescents. The leaves are cooling, emmenagogue, hence, beneficial in dysmenorrhea. The roots are diuretic, tonic, depurative, laxative and cooling; they are used in skin diseases, burning sensation, arthralgia, general debility and dysuria. The fruits are salutary in diabetes whereas, the seeds are useful in obesity to reduce fats. The decoction of roots is an antidote for arka (Calotropis procera) poisoning.