PUSKARAMULA (Inula racemosa)
Puskaramula is one of the herbs mentioned in all Ayurvedic scriptures. It possesses various synonyms like kasari an enemy of cough, sulahara – pain killer, svasari – an enemy of breathlessness, kasmira – grows abundantly in Kashmir, sughandhika – fragrant etc. The great sage Caraka has categorized it as hikka nigrahana – stops hiccup and svasahara – hana – stops hiccup and svasahara – alleviates the breathlessness, asthma. Also, he has cited it as the best medicament for pleurisy along with cough and asthma. Puskaramula is highly acclaimed to be the drug of choice for pleurisy (parsvasula).
The plant grows in temperate and alpine Western Himalayas from 1300 to 4500 meters elevation. The plant is a stout herb growing 0.33-2 meters in height. The stem is grooved, rough and very hairy. The leaves are elliptical, large, 3-6 cm long and 2-3 cm broad, and have long petioles. The fruits, slender achene’s, 0.4 cm long, bearded with 0.75 cm long pappus hairs. The flowers are yellow, many in heads, 0.5-1 cm in diameter. The fresh root is brown and becomes grayish on drying. The fresh roots resemble in aroma of camphor.
Botanically, puskaramula is known as Inula racemosa and belongs to family Asteracear, Compositae. On extraction of the plant with hexane and isolation , the compounds obtained are dihydroisoalan tolactone, isoalantolactone and alantolactone. From the roots, sitosterol, octadecanoic acid and D-mannitol have been isolated also. Two biologically active new sesquiterpene lactones., inunal and isoalloalantolactone are isolated. Alantolactone, isoalantolactone and dihydroisoa – lantolactone isolated from roots. A germacranolide – inunolide – from root oil. Also alloalantolactone isolated from roots and characterized. Two new sesquiterpene lactones inunal and isolloalantolactone – isolated and characterized
It is bitter and pungent in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has hot potency. It alleviates kapha and vata doshas. It possesses light, unctuous and sharp attributes. It is one of the best herbs used in pleurisy.
The herb can be used both internally, as well as externally. The roots of puskarmula are used for the medicinal purpose. Externally, the paste of its roots is used effectively, in dressing the wounds and ulcers as the herb possesses antiseptic property. It alleviates the pain along with the oedema. The essential oil of the roots of puskaramula show antibacterial and antifungal activity and is moderately effective against S. aureus, Ps aeruginosa, B. subtillis and mildly against E. coli and B. anthracis. The paste of its roots is specially recommended, to be applied on the chest in pleurisy and inflammatory conditions of pleura, to mitigate the pain. In hoarseness of the voice, the roots are chewed and the juice is gulped.
Internally, puskaramula is useful to boost the appetite and to digest ama – undigested toxic metabolites. Hence it is beneficial in anorexia (loss of appetite) and dyspepsia (indigestion). It also alleviates the flatulence and abdominal pain. Puskaramula is the highly praised panacea for cough, hiccup and bronchial asthma. It reconciles the pulmaonary functions by abolishing the bronchospasm, relieving the mucous and hence, the obstruction in bronchial asthma. It also effectively curbs the frequency of paroxysms of bronchospasms, when the root powder is licked with honey. Puskaramula works well in pleurisy, even tubercular, by ameliorating the infection, fever, pain and th cough. It imparts a stimulant action on the heart and reduces the breathlessness due to cardiac asthma. Being a diaphoretic in action, it reduces the fever, especially of vata and kapha origin. As it destroys ama, it reopens the channels and exerts anti-inflammatory property; it is extremely beneficial in rheumatic joints. It is an efficacious adjunct in the treatment of obesity, to reduce the excessive body fats. In anaemis and general debility, it is salutary as a general tonic. Puskaramula restrains the itching sensation and oozing in the skin diseases and thus facilitates the wound healing. It is pacifying to the brain and helps in strengthening it in mental debility. The herb also accords a stimulant action to genital system in both the sexes. In males it works well as an aphrodisiac and in females, it augments the quantity of menstrual bleeding. Thus, it can be used both, in amenorrhea as well as dysmenorrheal. It possesses a mild diuretic property, hence is used with benefit in dysuria.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations