UDIMBARA (Ficus Racemosa)
It is a one of the herbs mentioned in all ancient scriptures of Ayurveda. Udumbara is considered sacred to God Dattaguru. Udumbara has various synonyms like yajnanga, yajniya, yajnayoga, yajnyasara etc. suggesting its use in ritual sacrifice. It is one of the ksiri viksa – on cutting or plucking the leaf, lates oozes out. It is one of the plants from a group, called pancavalkala, meaning the thick bark skins of five herbs, viz. udumbara, vata, asvattha, parisa and plaksa. The decoction of pancavalkala is used internally or for giving enema in bleeding per rectum and vagina (Raja Nighantu). Maharishi Charka has categorized udumbara as mutra sangrahaniya anti-udumbara as mutra sangrahaniya – anti-diuretic herb. Susruta has described the properties of the plant, like astringent, promotes callus healing in fractures (bhagna sandhaniya), alleviates Rakta pitta, burning sensation and obesity, and useful in vaginal disorders.
The plant grows all over India in many forests and hills. It is frequently found around the water streams and is also cultivated. The tree is medium tall, growing 10-16 meters in height. The rich green foliage provides a good shade. The bark is reddish grey and often cracked.
The leaves are dark green, 7.5-10 cm long, ovate or elliptic. The fruit receptacles 2-5 cm in diameter, pyriform, in large clusters, arising from main trunk or large branches. The fruits resemble the figs and are green when raw, turning orange, dull reddish or dark crimson on ripening. The seeds tiny, innumerable, grain-like, the outer surface of the bark consists of easily removable translucent flakes grayish to rusty brown, uniformly hard and non-brittle.
The botanical name of udumbara is Ficus racemosa (Syn.F. glomerata) and it belongs to family Moraceae. New tetracyclic triterpene-glaunol acetate isolated from leaves, bark and heartwood and characterized two leucoanthocyanins isolated from stem bark. Isolation of sitosterol and unidentified long chain ketone from bark. Ceryl behenate, lupeol, its acetate, amyrin acetate isolated from stem bark. Glauanol isolated from fruits. Hentriacontane, sitosterol, glauanol and glucose isolated from fruits. Isolation of lupeol, sitosterol and stigmasterol from trunk bark. Isolation of sitosterol, glucoside, lupeol, friedelin from stem bark.
Udumbara is astringent and sweet in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has hot potency. It alleviates kapha and pitta doshas. It possesses heavy and dry attributes. It is anti-diarrheal, promotes wound healing and formation of callus in fractures. (Kaiyadeva Nighantu)
The roots, bark-skin, fruits, lates and leaves of udumbara have great medicinal value. Udumbara is used both, internally as well externally, externally; the latex is applied on chronic infected wounds to alleviate edema, pain and to promote the healing. The tender leaf buds are applied on the skin, in the form of paste, to improve the complexion; the decoction of leaves is salutary in washing the wounds for better cleansing and healing. The decoction of its bark-skin is an effective gargle in stomatitis and sore throat. Application of latex alleviates the edema in adenitis, parotitis, orchitis, traumatic swelling and toothache.
Internally, udumbara is used in vast range of maladies. The decoction of bark skin is extremely useful in diarrhea, dysentery and ulcerative colitis. In children, the latex is given along with sugar to combat diarrhea and dysentery. The cold infusion of ripened fruits mixed with sugar, is salutary in Rakta pitta is effectively controlled with the decoction of bark-skin. In diabetes, the ripe fruits or bark-skin decoction is beneficial, as it works well as anti-diuretic. The decoction of leaves is an effective remedy in glandular swelling, abscess, chronic wounds, cervical adenitis etc. In uterine bleeding, abortion, leucorrhea and vaginal bleeding the decoction of its bark-skin is given orally, as well as in a form of basti (enema). The latex mixed with sugar is benevolent in sexual debility in males. The juice of its fruit is a panacea for hiccup. The powder of the bark-skin works well as an anorexient, hence, beneficial in gyperphagia-bhasmaka
Classical ayurvedic Preparations