TAVAKSIRA (Curcuma angustifolia)
Tavaksira is one of the herbs mentioned in ancient scriptures of Ayurveda. It has numerous synonyms like yavaja, payaksira, gavayodbhava, talaksira, talasambhuta, vamsya, vamsaksiri, parthivi, godhumasambhuta etc. acarya Vagbhata has mentioned it as a remedy for raktapitta, tuberculosis, asthma, cough, burning sensation of the body, distaste and as an alleviator of pitta dosha. Traditionally, a tasty khira or pudding is made by cooking rhizome powder of Tavaksira with milk and sugar, until thick and is used an general tonic for children. The powder of rhizomes is applied in mucous membrane of the oral cavity, in stomatitis, as a domestic remedy.
The plant grows from Kumao regions up to Nepal, at an altitude of about 1000 meters; it is also cultivated throughout India. An erect slender branched herb grows 90-180 cm in height, with fleshy cylindrical rhizome. The leaves are ovate-oblong or ovate – lanceolate, 30-45 cm long and 5-8 cm broad, with rounded base and acute tip. The flowers pinksh-whith, 2 cm long, is in clusters.
The botanical name of Tavaksira is Curcuma angustifolia (Synonym-Maranta arundinaceae) and it belongs to family Scitaminaceae. Many other species like Curcuma leucoriza, C, Montana, C, aromatica, C, rubesens etc. are found in Himalayas. Tavaksira contains chiefly starch, sugar, fat and resins. Detection of a and b pinenes, (-) ar-curcumen, (+) borneol and zingiberol in rhizome oil of C. angustifolia by GC.
Tavaksira is sweet in taste, sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates vata and pitta doshas. It possesses light and oily attributes. It is beneficial in diarrhea, dysentery, colitis, Rakta pitta, burning sensation of the body and sexual debility in males. It is used especially in the diseases like tuberculosis, asthma and conditions due to vitiated pitta dosha.
The rhizomes of Tavaksira have great medicinal value. They are used externally as well as internally. The powder of rhizomes with honey is applied on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity, in stomatitis. It also promotes the healing of stomach ulcers.
Internally, Tavaksira is used in various diseases. It is extremely beneficial in diarrhea, dysentery and colitis as it is astringent. The rhizome powder cooked in milk is given along with sugar, in irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis to alleviate the irritation and facilitate the healing of ulcers. Tavaksira is an effective remedy in edema due to cardiac debility, as it accords diuretic action. The herb is commonly used as a general tonic is debility, tuberculosis and also as an aphrodisiac. In Rakta pitta, it is a very effective herb as it alleviates the pitta dosha and has astringent property, hence, helps to arrest bleeding. Starch obtained from rhizome (arrowroot0 is astringent, sweet, refrigerant, tonic, aphrodisiac, emollient, febrifuge, expectorant and rubefacient. It is useful in dysentery, diarrhea, dyspepsia, cough, bronchitis and also as a nourishing food for infants, invalids and convalescents. It is the main ingredient in biscuits, cakes, puddings, jellies and face powders.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
Tavaksira kanda choorna (Rhizome powder).