KHARJURA (Phoenix dactylifera)
It is one of the herbs mentioned in ancient scriptures of Ayurveda. Kharjura has various synonyms like simhi, duraruha, kharaskandha, kasaya, kharjurika, haripriya, nisreni, duspradharsa etc. Maharsi Susruta has mentioned the four varieties of kharjura viz. madhu kharjura, bhu kharjura, panda kharjura and raja kharjura, of which he has praised panda kharjura as one of the best amongst the sweet fruits. Caraka has categorized it as sramahara – relieves fatigue, virecanopaga – an adjunct to purgation therapy and also as brmhaniya (a bulk promoting herb).
Kharjura is a native of North America, Egypt, Syria and Arabia. It is cultivated in Sindh and Punjab. A tall palm grows 25-35 meters in height. The trunk is about 1 meter in diameter, covered by petiole bases, the base surrounded by a mass of root suckers. The leaves, 3-5 meters long, grayish green, pinnate. The lower pinnate modified into spines, 15-25 cm long and 2-3 cm broad. Flowers are unisexual, in long spadices, males white and females greenish in color. The fruits, oblong berries, 2-4 cm long, brownish yellow and single seeded.
The botanical name of kharjura is Phoenix dactylifera and it belongs to family arecaceae. Phoenix sylvestris is commonly known in English as the wild date palm. In all Ayurvedic formulations for Kharjura Phoenix dactylifera is used. Isolation of three new flavonoid, sulphates-quercetin 3 – glucoside sulphate, luteolin – 7 – glucoside disuphate and chrysoeriol – 7 – glucoside disulphate from fruits. Hemicellulose isolated from pollen grains contained arabinose (46.0), galactose (25.0), xylose (18.0), rhamnose (9.0) and uronic acid (2.0%) Chem. Edible matter contains carotene as vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, nicotinic acid, ascorbic acid, sucrose, invert sugar, galactose etc.
Kharjura is sweet and astringent in taste, sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates vata and pitta doshas. It possesses heavy and oily attributes. It is beneficial to the heart and is used in diseases like tuberculosis, debility, raktapitta, burning sensation etc.
The fruits, leaves roots and seeds have medicinal value. Externally, the powder of its roots is applied topically or the gargle with the decoction of roots is effective to alleviate toothache. The seed mashed with water is used as a paste to apply on style, to reduce the pain and inflammation.
Internally, kharjura is used in many diseases. The squash of its fruits is recommended in rheumatoid arthritis. The powders of its dried fruits, almond, raisins and rock candy are mixed in equal quantity and given along with honey in raktapitta with great benefit. Kharjura alleviates vata and is a nervine hence salutary as a brain tonic. The vata diseases like lumbago, sciatica etc responds well with kharjura. It is beneficial in enlarged spleen, cardiac and sexual debility. It effectively alleviates the excessive thirst, vomiting and hiccup. In tuberculosis with cavitations, the fruits work well as a tonic. In convalescence and general debility, it boosts up the energy level. Kharjura mantha is one of the simplest preparation, where in the fruits are crushed and churned with water. This is extremely beneficial to athletes for quick energy regain. Another preparation Kharjuradi leha, is a preparation of sit with pippali, raisins and rock candy, which is given along with ghee and honey in bronchial asthma and hiccup. Kharjurasava is a commonly used preparation of it with pippali, raisins and rock candy, which is given along with ghee and honey in bronchial asthma and hiccup. Kharjurasava is a commonly used preparation in the treatment of anemia, tuberculosis, piles, hepatitis and diabetes.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
- Kharjura mantha
- Kharjuradi leha
- Kharjurasava etc.