Bharngi (Clerodendrum serratum)
The Sanskrit work bharngi literally means that which is glorious. Another name of the same plant, bhrguja, implies a relation of the plant with the great sage Bhrgu. It has various synonyms describing its peculiarities like kharasaka – with rough leaves, padma – flowers look like that of lotus, vatari – an enemy of vata dosa, kasaghni – which alleviates cough etc. Susruta and Bhavamisra have also described the medicinal properties of the plant particularly for respiratory complaints viz. asthma. Susruta has mentioned it as a panacea for epilepsy and also as stanyasodhaka – lactodepurant Vagbhata has cited its usefulness in cough due to kapha and vata. Caraka has categorized it as purisa sangrahaniya – gives form to faeces
Bharngi grows throughout India upto 1500 metres height. It grows in Eastern Himalaya, Nepal, Kumao, Bengal and Bihar, in abundance. It is a perennial shrub, growing 0.3-3.0 metres in height. The leaves are 7-15 cm long and 5 cm. broad, rough, serrate and tapering at the apes. The flowers are blue, fragrant and the plant looks beautiful during flowering. The fruits are purple drupes and succulent. The flowering and fruiting occurs during April and November.
The botanical name of bharngi is Clerodendrum serratum and it belongs to family Verbenaceae. From the bark the sapogenin mixture contains three major triterpenoid constitutent’s oleonolic acid, queretaroic acid and serratagenic acid. The root bark yields a glycoside material, phenolic in natures. D – Mannitol is isolated from the bark with a yield of 10.9 % . The powdered stem contains D- mannitol, D- glucoside of sitosterol, sitosterol and cetyl alcohol. Alcoholic extract and saponin isolated from root bark caused release of histamine from lung tissue.
Bharngi is bitter, pungent and astringent in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has hot potency (virya). It alleviates kapha and vata dosas. It possesses light and dry attributes. It is useful in asthma, cough, fever, worms, burning sensation of the body and wounds. (Raja Nighantu)
The roots and leaves ofbharngi have great medicinal value. The plant is useful, both, internally as well as externally. The leaves are useful as an external application for cephalalgia and ophthalmia. The pulp of the leaves applied externally, mitigates the glandular swellings and hastens the wound healing. The juice of its leaves is applied on the lesions in erysipelas. The root paste applied on the forehead alleviates headache.
Internally bharngi is used in vast range of diseases. It is an appetizer, lacative and digests ama, hence is beneficial in anorexia, tumours and distaste. The decoction of bharngi root is extremely effective in oedema over body, especially due to kapha. The plant works well as a blood purifier. The decoction of sesame seeds (tila), mixed with ghee, jaggery, trikatu powder (sunthi, marica and pippali) and bharngi root powder is the best medicament for amenorrhea and uterine tumours (rakta gulma).
Bharngi is the most valuable herb to take internally in respiratory ailments and for all fevers in general. Traditionally in Konkan, the leaves are used as vegetables in malarial fever. As bharngi effectively liquefies the mucous, it is salutary in respiratory problems like colds, bronchitis, bronchial asthma and tuberculosis. In such conditions, varied combinations of bharngi are recommended. The juice of its roots and ginger relieves bronchospasms in asthma. In cough due to kapha and vata, the jam prepared of sesame oil, jaggery, bharngi and sunthi is beneficial. It works well with pippali, sunthi and jaggery to curb the spasms and bouts of cough. In hiccup, the root powder is given along with sugar, or its jam. The combination of bharngi and pippali (2: 1) wih honey, is also an effective remedy for hiccup. The decoction of bharngi roots is benevolent in worm infestations.
- Bharngi sura
- Bharngi guda
- Bharngi avalcha
- Bharngyadi kvatha etc.