ERANDA (Ricinus communis)
Eranda has been freely used all over India since centuries. In day to day life, it is commonly used as a purgative. Ayurvedic Samhitas have praised it as an asset in treating rheumatic disorders. Though Mararsi Caraka has acclaimed it to be the best amongst the purgatives, Acarya Vagbhata has not included it under purgatives. Eranda is categorized as caksusya – benefical to eyes, bhedaniya disintegrates foceal matter, angamarda prasamana – relieves bodyaches.
The plant grows throughout the tropical areas of India. Eranda is very variable in habit and appearance. In tropical regions the tree reaches the height upto 10-12 metres, whereas, in temperate regions a slender, woody, branching bush reaches upto 1-2 metres in height. The leaves alternate, palmately lobed with seven serrate lobes. The flowers monoecious, male flowers shortly stalked and female ones, sessile. The fruits are blunt, greenish, tricoccus capsules. The seeds are ovoid, flattened, shining and pinkish-grey in colour.
The plant is classified into two types viz. white and red. The white variety is commonly used in medicine. The botanical name of eranda is Ricinus communis and it belongs to family Euphorbiaceae. The seeds contain 45% of fixed oil, which consists glycerides of ricinoleic, isoricinoleic, stearic and dihydroxystearic acids. The seeds have lipases and a crystalline alkaloid, ricinine. The leaves and the stem also contain ricinine. Detection of palmitic (1.2), stearic (0.7), arachidic (0.3), hexadecenoic (0.2), oleic (3.2), linoleic (3.4), linolenic (0.2), ricinoleic (89.4%) and dihydroxy stearic acids as esters in castor oil by GLC
Eranda has sweet, pungent and astringent tastes, sweet post digestive effect and a hot potency. It alleviates vata and kapha dosas. It possesses heavy, unctuous, sharp and subtle attributes. Eranda is the drug of choice in treating diseases of vata associated with ama (samavata).
The seeds, seed oil, leave and the roots of eranda have great medicinal value. The plant is equally useful, both internally as well as externally.
Externally, eranda is effectively used in the diseases of vata associated with pain and swellings. For this prpose, the seed oil massage or fomentation with its hot leaves relieves the symptoms in the diseases like arthritis, sciatica, rheumatism, gout, mastitis and skin diseases. The leaves or the pulp of the seeds, made hot and applied on abdomen relieve the flatulence. The massage with eranda oil purifies the breast milk in mothers. Eranda oil also acts as a cleansing agent for the eyes. It cleans the eyes and facilitates the removal of any foreign bodies in the eyes. It is also beneficial in conjunctivitis. Eranda oil massages soothens the dry and coarse skin.
Internally, eranda is used as a potent drug in treating diseases of vata viz. arthritis, sciatica, facial palsy, paralysis, bodyache, tremors, headache etc. The drugs commonly used to treat these conditions contain eranda and guggulu. The preparations Simhanada guggulu and sadanga guggulu work well in alleviating these ailments. As a purgative, eranda oil is seldom given by itself because of its unpleasant taste. It is usually given with the decoction of sunthi or triphala or with tea, in the dosage 10 to 50 ml. depending on the constitution and grade of constipation. The decoction of eranda seeds, guduci and vasa, mixed with eranda oil, is a very effective remedy for raktapitta.
Hepatitis can be effectively treated with the fresh juice of eranda leaves and sugar. The juice alleviates pitta and acts as a cholegogue also. In chronic arthritis and rheumatic conditions, the decoction of eranda roots, rasna roots and sunthi rhizomes is the best panacea to alleviate vata and pain. Guggulu and eranda is the best combination for the same. Eranda oil works well as a palliative treatment, given with the milk, in inguino – scrotal hernia. In ascites, eranda oil works well, with the decoction of dasamulas. Eranda oil relieves constipation and increases the appetite, hence is effective in treating piles. It is also benefical in cough, colds and asthma due to vitiation of kapha and vata dosas. It alleviates the cardiac pain and lumbago, caused due to aggravation of vata. The tender leaves of eranda ground in water are given orally and the pulp of its leaves is applied locally, in cases of serpant bite. The same remedy is effective in opium and vatsanabha intoxication. Eranda oil, by its hot, unctuous, heavy and laxative attributes, effectively alleviates vata dosa and hence remains the drug of choice in vata diseases.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
- Erandamuladi kvatha
- Erandasaptaka kvatha
- Gandharva haritaki
- Simhanada guggulu
- Sadanga guggulu etc.