SYONAKA (Oroxylum indicum)
Syonaka is one of the herbs from the group – dasamula. Dasamula literally means ten roots. It is a combination of the roots of ten herbs, used together. It comprises of five big or major roots (brhat pancamula) and five small or minor roots. The brhat pancamula are bilva, syonaka , patala (Stereospermum suaveolens), kasmari and agnimantha whereas, the laghu pancamula are salaparni , prsniparni , brhati, kantakari (solanum xanthocarpum) and goksura (Tribulus terrestris). The popular preparation Dasamularista is used by Ayurvedic physicians since ages, for the treatment of vitiated conditions of vata dosha, like rheumatic disorders. Syonaka is one of the herbs mentioned in all ancient scriptures of ayurveda. Charka has categorized it as sothahara – relieves edema, anuvasanopaga – adjunct to oily enema, virecanopaga – adjunct of purgation, purisa sangrahaniya – gives form to the faeces and sitaprasamana – relieves cold sensation on the skin. Another variety of syonaka called as aralu, in fact is an entirely separate plant (Ailanthus excelsa.)
The plant grows all over India in deciduous forests and in moist areas. It is a medium sized deciduous tree growing 8-12 meters in height. The bark is grayish brown in color with corky lenticels. The leaves, very large, 0.5-1.5 meter in length, 2-3 pinnate, leaflets 12 cm long and 8 cm broad. The flowers are reddish-purple outside and pale, spinkish-yellow within, numerous, in large erect racemes. The fruits are flat capsules, 0.33-1 meter long and 5-10 cm broad, sword-shaped. The seeds numerous, flat and winged all around, except at the base. The plant flowers in June-July and bears fruits in November.
The botanical name of syonaka is Oraxylum indicum and it belongs to family Bignoniaceae. Baicalein, its 6-glucuronide and 7-glucuronide, scutellarein, its 7- glucoronide isolated from leaves and stem bark. In addition, oraxylin A, chrysin and scutellarine – 7 – rutinoside isolated from stem bark. Prunetin and sitosterol isolated from heartwood. A new flavone glucuronide – oroxindin – isolated from seeds and characterized. The seed oil contains caprylic, lauric, myristic, palmitic, palmotoleic, stearic, oleic and linoliec acids. Baicalein – 7- O gentiobioside isolated from seeds of Nepalese plant.
Syonaka is astringent and bitter in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates all the three doshas. It possesses light and dry attributes. It is used in rheumatic disorders, diarrhea, cough, diabetes and cystitis.
The skin of roots of syonaka is used for medicinal purpose, both, externally as well as internally. Used externally as a paste of its skin of roots, it dries up the discharges and promotes the wound healing. The tub bath with its decoction relieves the swelling and pain in rheumatic disorders. The medicated oil of syonaka in sesame oil base instilled into ears mitigates the pain in otitis. The decoction of its sroot-skin is an effective gargle in stomatitis. The root skin is also useful in dressing the wounds in soft chancre (upadamsa).
Internally, syonaka is a panacea for arthritis and rheumatism. The decoction of the roots is commonly used for arthritis. In diarrhea and dysentery the decoction combined with mocarasa (gum of samali Bombax malabaricum)., is given along with honey. Syonaka also stimulates appetite, improves digestion and is vermicidal. It digests the ama from circulation, promotes diuresis and ameliorates cystitis. It also promotes diphoresis, hence, beneficial in fever. As it causes constipation, it is better followed by castor oil. Syonaka siddha ghrta is given internally, as well as enema (basti) in prolapse of the rectum and proctitis. In vata disorders due to obstruction of the channels, arthritis, rheumatic fever etc., syonaka relieves the pains and alleviates vata dosha. Syonaka is salutary in cough, asthma and hiccup due to kapha.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
- Syonaka putapaka
- Syonaka sidda ghrta
- Brhatpancamulyadi kvatha etc.