PASANABHEDA (Bergenia ligulata)
Since ancient times, this plant has been recognized for its actions on the urinary tract, especially, its litholytic properties. The Sanskrit word pasanabheda literally means, that which breaks the stones. It has various synonyms in Ayurvedic scriptures, describing the same property, viz. asmaghna, asmabhedaka, nagabhedana, silabheda etc. Maharsi caraka has categorized it as mutra virecaniya – a diuretic herb. Susruta has mentioned it as mutrakrcchrahara – alleviates dysuria.
The plant grows all over India, in rocky beds of streams, up to 1000-3000 meters elevation. It is found in the foot hills of Himalaya, Khasi hills and Assam. It is a much branched perennial growing 60-180 cm in height. The stems are short and thick the leaves ovate, 12-25 cm in diameter, rather sessile and are rounded at the apex. The flowers are white, pink or purple, and flowering occurs in April and May. The fruits, orange red drupes, subglobose. The roots are red in color and 2-5 cm in thickness.
The botanical name of pasanabheda is Bergenia ligulata and it belongs to family Saxifragaceae. Pasanabheda used in Ayurvedic practice often contains B ciliate and B, stracheyi rhizomes in addition to B. ligulata. Bergenin from roots isolated and its structure elucidated.
Pasanabheda is astringent and bitter in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It has a special potency as a litholytic and is also anti-diabetic. It alleviates all the three doshas. It possesses light. Oily and sharp attributes. It is used in various diseases like urinary calculi and diseases, wounds, raktapitta, heart diseases, splenic pathology, vaginal diseases and menorrhagia.
The roots of pasanabheda have great medicinal value. Externally, the paste of roots is beneficial in wounds associated with edema. Its anti-inflammatory property finds a use in the treatment of abscesses and cutaneous infections. In children, the massage of gums, with root powder, is salutary in teething troubles.
Internally, in Ayurvedic practice, pasanabheda, as its name suggests, is used as a litholytic agent for urinary calculi. In urinary symptoms, associated with calculi, the decoction of its roots by itself is a valuable panacea. In burning micturition, the combination of pasanabheda, Shilajit, pippali and ela (cardamom) is given along with rice water, with great benefit. This also exerts diuresis, hence, useful in urinary ailments. In strangury, associated with burning micturition, pasanabheda and dhanvayasa (Fagonia Arabica) roots, haritaki (Terminalia chebula) and goksura (Tribulus terrestris fruits, and aragvadha (Cassia fistula) pods, together, are used in a form of decoction, with honey. The root powder of pasanabheda, by itself, is used as an adjunct in diabetes mellitus. It particularly helps women, in diseases like leucorrhea, menorrhagia and dysmenorrheal. It is an effective remedy for haemorrhoids, diarrhea, dysentery, heart diseases, raktapitta and splenic disorders (Bhava prakasa). It relieves the obstructed phlegm in respiratory catarrh, like cough and colds. In Kashmir, the plant is called as Jakhmehayata and is used for dressing the wounds and abscesses, in the form of a poultice. Pasanabheda is useful as an antidote in opium poisoning.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
Pasanabheda mula curna etc.