SHALLAKI (Boswellia serrata)
Shallaki is one of the herbs mentioned in all ancient scriptures of Ayurveda. It has various synonyms portraying its peculiarities, like gajabhaksya – ingested by elephants, rasa, susrava and bahusrava denotes the exudation of oleo gumresin from the tree, surabhi – aromatic etc. Bhavamisra and Caraka have categorized it as sirovirecaniya – cleansing nasal therapy and purisavirajaniya – gives colour to the stool. Susruta has cited it as stambhana-anti diarrhoeal.
The plant grows widely on dry hills throughout India, especially, in Maharashtra (Vidarbh), Orissa, Rajasthan, Gujarat and South India. It is a deciduous medium – sized tree, with ash colored bark, 1-2 meters in diameter, peeling off in thin flakes. The leaves are opposite, variable in shape, resembling to those of nimba leaves, ovate or lanceolate. The flowers are small, fragrant, and white, in axillary racemes. The fruits are trigonous drupes, triangular, 1 cm in diameter and three-valued. The seeds are hard, compressed and pendulous.
The botanical name of Shallaki is Boswellia serrata and it belongs to family Burseraceae. The gum contains arabinose, galactose, xylose, diastatic enzymes, gala-cturonic acid, rhamnose and digitoxose. The volatile oil obtained from gum oleoresin contains pinene, phellandrene, sesquiterpene alcohols and anisaldehydephenols. Aqueous fraction contains polysaccharides A and B. The anti inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties are attributed to the presence of boswellic acid and related to triperpene acids. A new diterpene alcohol-serratol-isolated from gum resin and characterized. Isolation and structure of boswellic acid and its acetylderivative (VII) from resin
PropertiesShallaki is bitter, sweet and astringent in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has hot potency. It alleviates kapha and vata doshas. It possesses light and dry attributes. It is a wound healer and anti-diarrhoeal in properties and is used in the skin diseases, wounds, haemorrhoids and blood disorders.
The gum oleo-resin of Shallaki is called as Gandhabiroja or Kunduru . It is pungent and bitter in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates vita and kapha doshas. It possesses sharp (tiksna) attribute and is aromatic. It is a good blood purifier and is used in the diseases like menorhagia, fever, hyperhidrosis and diseases of the oral cavity.
UsesThe gum, bark skin and leaves of Shallaki have great medicinal value. Externally, the cream preparation of its gum is applied in chronic wounds, to promote the healing. The paste is applied in rheumatic disorders and cervical adentitis to relieve the pain and swelling. The anjana (Herbal medicines applied to the eyes) of its gum, mixed with honey, is applied in the diseases of the eye with great benefit. In chronic cough and asthma, the inhalation of the gum vapors is salutary.
Internally, Shallaki is used in vast range of diseases. As it is an appetizer, digestant, alleviates vata, deodorant and astringent in properties, it is a valuable remedy for anorexia, diarrhea, dysentery, colitis, flatulence, piles and halitosis. Shallaki being diuretic is salutary in Dysurea and gonorrhea. It particularly helps in raktapitta and cardiac debility. The diaphoretic property is benevolent in various dermatoses, as well as in fever. It gives excellent results in cases of sexual debility. The bark skin mashed in milk, mixed with honey, works well in dysentery. The discoloration of faeces due to vitiation of pitta is normalized with the gum of Shallaki. The herb is widely used in arthritis and in general debility.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
- Shallaki niryasa (gum)
- Decoction of bark – skin of Shallaki.