JAPA (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)
Japa enjoys an important place among medicinal herbs used to promote the growth and preserve natural colour of the hair. It is one of the commnly used ingredients in hair-oil preparations available in the market. Japa has various synonyms in Ayurvedic texts like java, pindauspa, audrapuspa, rudrapuspa etc. There is a mention of three varieties of japa, namely red, white and yellow in Nighantus.
Japa is commonly found all over India. Because of its attractive and colourful flowers, the ornamental plant is cultivated in houseyards and gardens. The herb grows 2-3 metre s in height and has a pale grey or whitish bark. The leaves, bright green in colour, simple ovate, entire at the base and coarsely toothed at the apex. The flowers are pedicillate and complete. The corolla about 5 cm in diameter consists of 5 petals. The roots are cylindrical, offwhite in colour and taste sweet and mucilaginous.
The botanical name of japa is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and it belongs to family Malvaceae. Quercetin-3- diglucoside and cynidin-3-sophoroside isolated from deep yellow flowers. All above compounds and kaempferol-3-xylosylglucoside is isolated from ivory white flowers. Isolation and syntheses of 8- nonynoic and 9- decynoic acids and their methyl esters is done. Four new aliphatic estersmethyl 1-0-oxo-11- octadecynoate
Japa is sweet and bitter in taste, sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates, predominantly, the pitta dosa. It possesses light and oily attributes. It is used in diseases like diarrhea, colitis, menorrhagia, and leucorrhea and for promotion of hair growth.
The flowers, leaves and roots of japa are used for medicinal purpose. The herb is used both, internally as well as externally. The medicated oil of its leaves is commonly used, externally, to prevent hair-fall. The petals combine well, with olive oil for healthy growth and colour of the hair. In China a dye is prepared from the petals of japa to colour the hair black and also eyebrows. Japa is beneficial in alopecia areata, for which the juice of flowers is commonly used.
Internally, the juice of the leaves, combined with sugar, is the medicament for vitiated pitta dosa. The buds of japa fried with ghee, are given along with rock candy and nagakesara (Mesua ferrea) to alleviate leucorrhea. In bleeding haemorrhoids, the roots mashed with milk are benevolent. The roots mashed with water are useful in diabetes, as adjunct. In burning sensation with fever and urinary ailments, the fowers are extremely beneficial. The roots are used to treat menstrual disorders and cough. The seeds and the leaves are used in treating gonorrhoea. The popular preparation japa taila contains other ingredients like musta, usira, tagara etc. Is used as a hair tonic.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
Japa taila etc.