DRAKSA (kismis) (Vitis vinifera)
Draksa, the wine grape, is a well known berb throughout the world. It is one of the herbs mentioned in all Ayurvedic scriptures and has been used for medicinal purposes, since centuries. It has several synonyms in Ayurvedic texts like hima – cool, yaksmaghni-anti-tubercular, amrta phala – ambrosia, phalottama - the best amongst fruits etc. Maharsi Caraka has categorized draksa as sramahara – relieves fatigue, snehopaga oleating adjunctive, virecanopaga adjunct to purgation, kanthya – beneficial for the throat , kasaghna – antitussive and raisins as jvaraghna – antipyretic and raisins, also as brmhaniya – bulk promoting. Susruta has mentioned draksa as hrdya – beneficial for the heart
Draksa is cultivated throughout India, especially, in Punjab, Kashmir, Maharastra and Andhra Pradesh. A shrub, with a thick trunk and numerous, long, tortuous, irregular straggling branches. The leaves are simple, alternate, on long, spreading smooth petioles, stipules small. The leaf – blade 5-10 cm long, roundish, palmately veined. The flowers are small, green, in panicled cymes. The fruits are bluish black, purplish or greenish berries, ovoid to globose. The seeds are pear shaped, 2-4 in number.
The botanical name of draksa is Vitis vinifera and it belongs to family Vitaceae. The fruits contain 72-77% water, 15-18% sugar etc. From fruits, cholesterol, sisterol and ergosterol have been isolated. In the red grapes, 3-monoglucosides of delphinidin, cyaniding, petulinidin, peonidin, maloidin and corresponding acetyl and coumaryl glucosides are detected by HPLC. Three ellagitannins – brevilagin 1, vitilagin and isovitilagin are isolated from the leaves. In roots, betulinic acid, lupenol, heptacosanol, triacontanol, stigmasterol and triacontanyl tridecanoate identified. Jasmonic acid is identified in buds, leaves and young fruits (Chem. Abstr. 1988, 109, 3855). Also (+) catechin, (-) epicatechin and (-) epicatechin – 3 – gallate isolated.
Draksa is sweet and sour in taste , sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency . It alleviates vata and pitta dosas. It possesses oily, mild laxative , soft attributes. It is a mild laxative, anabokic and aphrodisiac in properties. It is used in the diseases like urinary disorders, burning sensation of the body, raktapitta, fever, general debility, asthma, thirst and tuberculosis.
The fruits of draksa have great medicinal value and are used only internally. Draksa is one of the best fruits praised in Ayurveda, as a tonic and anabolic agent. It works as anabolic to muscle tissue (mamsa dhatu) and seminal fluids (sukra dhatu). The black raisins, (dried fruits) 10-15 gm, are recommended orally to relieve the headache, due to vitiation of pitta dosa because of constipation. It is used to alleviate the thirst, relieve flatulence and as a mild laxative. As it alleviates pitta, it is salutary to curb burning sensation, agitation and thirst in fevers. Draksa is highly praised mmedicament for respiratory ailments, as it strengthens the lungs, relieves the mucous, especiall in tuberculosis. The raisins are recommended as tonic in tuberculosis to regain the bodyweight. The decoction of raisins works well as a laxative, aphrodisiac and also improves the acuity of vision. The cold infusion of draksa and fennel given along with rock candy mitigates hyperacidity effectively. The raisins are commonly used as a tonic in convalescene. In epistaxis (nosebleed), the decoction of draksa, yastimadhu and guduci (10 gm each) is the best remedy.
Draksasava, one of the most famous preparation, is effective in tuberculosis, bronchitis, bronchial asthma and is a commonly recommended general tonic. Draksa augments the urinary output, hence is valuable in dysuria and burning micturition. It is salutary as an aphrodisiac as well as uterine tonic. In burning sensation of the body, due to vitiated pitta, in exanthamatous fevers like measles and chicken pox, draksa is used with great benefit.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
- The raisins (dried fruits) are used in the preparations like Pancakolasava