MADAYANTIKA (Lawsonia inermis)
Madayantika is one of the herbs mentioned in all ancient scriptures of ayurveda. Caraka has included it in the treatment for several diseases. Susruta has mentioned its use as pittadosahara alleviates the pitta dosa. Madayankita is traditionally used for colouring the palms and soles of brides at Indian weddings. The forms part of auspicious prewedding rites in many parts of India. It is also used for coloring the mails, for dyeing hair, beard and eyebrows. The famous perfume Heena is prepared from the flowers of madayantika.
It grows wild in several parts of India. But is usually cultivated in hedges. It is also cultivated for commerce in Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. A much-branched shrub grows 4-6 meters in height, with four – angled branches, often ending in spines. The leaves, 2-4 cm long, opposite, often acute and sharp-pointed. Flowers small, white or pinkish, fragrant, in cymes. The fruits are gobose capsulea and pea-sized. The seeds numerous, smooth and pyramidal.
The botanical name of madayantika is Lawsonia inermis and it belongs to family Lythraceae. The leaves contain 12.5% colouring pigment from which Heena dye is prepared. The leaves also contain as alkaloid-lowsone, along with a colouring pigment – quinine. A soluble matter, 2 – hydroxyl – 1.4 - napthoquinone resin and tannin, gallic acid, glucose, mannitol, fat, resin and mucilage are also present in the leaves. Luteolin, its 7-0 glucoside, acetacetin – 7 – o – glucoside. Laxathone I, II,lawsone and sitosterol glucoside isolated (Fitoterapia 1980, 51, 153).Apigenin- 7 – glucoside, apigenin – 4 glucoside, luteoline – 7 – glucoside and luteoline 3- glucoside isolated from leaves. Fraxetin, scopoletin and esculetin also isolated from leaves. Two new xanthones – laxanthone I and II isolated and characterized and laxanthone III also isolated and characterized. Isolation of phenolic glucosides-lawsoniaside and lalinoside and their characterization.
Madayantika is bitter and astringent in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates kapha and pitta doshas. It possesses light (laghu) and dry (ruksa) attributes. It is used in skin diseases and the burning sensation of the skin. The seeds are anti-diarrhoeal and liver stimulant. The flowers are beneficial to the heart: induce the sleep and promote the intelligence. The leaves are diuretic, pain killer, reduce edema, cleanse and heal the wounds.
The leaves, flowers and seeds are used for medicinal purpose. The external application of the paste of its leaves is useful in burning hands and feet, headache, skin diseases like scabies and ringworm. For hair dyeing, madayantika used along with nilini (Indigofera tinctoria) gives excellent results. Madayantika decoction is an effective gargle in stomatitis and sore throat.
Internally, madayantika is used in vast range of diseases. It in one of the best herbs used to alleviate the burning sensation of body (daha prasamana) like usira, candana, madhuka flowers. For alleviating the burning sensation of the body, the fresh juice of leaves (10 ml), cow’s milk (100 ml) and rock candy (5gm), together, is recommended. It also ameliorartes the burning micturition and gravels. In dysentery, the juice of leaves combined with cumin powder, is given along with the ghee and rock candy. It is recommended to consume half cup of leaves juice with one cup of milk, four days prior to menses, to boost the menstrual flow in oligomenorrhea. In cough, the leaves juice works well with turmeric powder and jaggery to relieve the phlegm. The juice of its leaves induces vomiting, hence always given along with the milk and rock candy. The decoction of its bark skin relieves fever. The decoction of flowers is beneficial to alleviate headache, induce sleep and also to promite intelligence. The madayantika tea is beneficial in heart diseases. The seeds are given along with ghee to combat diarrhea and bleeding. As an adjunct, the juice of leaves is given with cow’s milk in diabetes. The decoction of the whole plant is said to be a divine drug for leprosy. Madayantika is beneficial in raktapitta and blood diseases also.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
- Madayantyadi curna
- Mahanila ghrta etc.