GAMBHARI (Gmelina arborea)
Gambhari is one of the herbs mentioned in all ancient scriptures of Ayurveda, as one of the member of brhat pancamulas. Acarya Vagbhata has cited gambhari, one of the members from the group dasamulas, as a pacifier of vata dosa (vata samsamana). The great sage Caraka has categorized gambhari as sothahara – relieves oedema, virecanopaga – adjunct to purgation and its fruit as dahaprasamana – relieves burning sensation of the skin. In Ayurvedic texts, gambhari has numerous synonyms like kasmari – a beautiful tree , sriparni- has beautiful leaves, madhuparnika- has leaves with sweetish taste, pita rohini – has yellow flowers etc.
Gambhari grows throughout India is moist deciduous forests like Himalaya, Nilagiri, alongwith eastern and Western Ghats. The tree attains height upto 20 metres, and the bark grayish white, exfoliating in thin flakes. The leaves 10-25 cm long, 8-20 cm broad, heart-shaped, tapering towards theapex. The flowers are reddish yellow in colour; resemble to those of vasa flowers. The fruits are ovoid drupes, orange yellow when ripe and have sweetish odour, with 1-2 seeds. The seeds are hard and oblong. The fruiting occurs in May and June.
The botanical name of gambhari is Gmelina aroborea and it belongs to family Verbenaceae. Luteolin is isolated from the leaves. A new coumarin glycoside – apiosylskimmin is isolated from the roots, Nonsaponifiable fraction of wood extract contained (18-C 30 wax alcohols, C 28(33.1) and C 30 (14.7%) predominating, along with sitosterol, stigmasterol, campesterol, betulinol, Saponifiable fraction contained oleic and linoleic acids and relatively higher amount of saturated fatty acids. From the leaves, apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, hentriacontanol and sitosterol have been isolated. A new lignan – arboreal is isolated. Six new lighnans are also isolated from the heartwood. New compounds like arboreol, gmelanone, 6-bromoisoarboreol, 4 – hydroxysesamin, gmelofuran, gummadiol are also isolated and their structure is characterized.
The rots of gambhari are bitter, astringent and sweet in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and have hot potency, and heavy attribute. The roots alleviate vata and kapha dosas. The fruits are sweet in taste, sweet in the post digestive effect and have cold potency. The fruit alleviates the pitta dosa. It possesses heavy and oily attributes. (Raja Nighantu)
The roots, fruits and the leaves of gambhari have great medicinal value. Externally, the paste of the leaves is applied on the forehead to alleviate the headache, especially in fever. To mitigate the burning sensation of the body, fresh juice of leaves is massaged, with great benefit.
Internally, the roots and fruits of gambhari are used in vast range of diseases. The fruits are recommended in raktapitta, excessive thirst, dysuria, sexual debility in males and habitual abortion. The roots alleviate flatulence, augment the appetite and are salutary in piles, being mild laxative. The cold infusion of candana, ustra, gambhari works well with sugar, to alleviate the thirst. Gambhari roots are helpful in ascites due to vata, as adjunct. The fruits are beneficial as anabolic in tuberculosis to hasten the healing ofcavitation in the lungs. Whereas, the roots alleviate the cough. As the fruit is cooling, it effectively pacifies the pitta dosa and rakta dhatu (blood). Hence, is the drug of choice for raktapitta. The ripened fruit is valuable in heart diseases due to vata. The cold infusion of tea prepared from gambhari fruits is extremely beneficial, mixed with honey and wugar, in fever of pitta origin. Urdhvaga raktapitta, vomiting and burning sensation of the body. For hyperacidity, the gambhari leaves, apamarga roots and the bark-skin of salmali are mashed with cow’s milk and are given orally. In dysuria, the decoction of its roots is benevolent. The decoction of gambhari, sariva and guduci roots is an effective medicament for fever of vata type. The fruit alleviates the thirst and burning sensation in fever due to vitiated pitta dosa. The decoction of its roots skin alleviates the uterine oedema in the postpartum period and also augments the quantity of breast milk. The leaves juice, milk and sugar are recommended in inflammatory conditions of urinary bladder and dysuria. Gambhari is a well known bitter tonic and the fruits as general tonic in debility.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
- Sriparnyadi kvatha
- Sriparni taila
- Brhatpancamula kvatha
- Dasmularista etc.