SUDDABA (Ruta Graveolens)
Ancient compilations on Ayurveda do not appear to have included suddaba in the pharmacopoeia. However, later, many references are available describing the medicinal properties of this plant. Though cultivated throughout India, it grows abundantly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Suddaba is commonly used in the ailments of women and the children.
The plant grows in abundance in Iran and Afghanistan and to some extent in India. An aromatic perennial shrub grows 0.33-1 meter in height. The leaves are compound, pungent and obviate-oblong. The flowers are small, numerous, yellow, in spreading corymbs. The fruits, capsules, are tiny, globosely and seeds are tiny, blackish, triangular in shape.
The botanical name of suddaba is Ruta graveolens (syn. R. chalepensis) and belongs to family Rutaceae. From different parts of the plant, kokusaginine and skimmianine isolated. Other alkaloids isolated from the plant and characterized – graveoline, graveolinine, 2-3 –dihydroko-kusaginine, gamma– fagarine, dictamine, arborine and arborinine. Rutamine, rutacridone isolated and characterized. From different parts of the platn, isoimperatorin and psoralen isolated.
Rutamarin, kokusaginine, xanthotosin, chalepensis and skimianine isolated. Three quaternary alkaloids – ribalinium, rutalinium and N-methylpatydesmin. A new coumarin – angustifolin – isolated from aerial parts along with scoparone, 6, 7, 8, trimethoxycoumarin and an alkaloid graveolin. Isolation of a new alkaloid- chaloridone and a new coumarin- rutalpin-from roots and determined their structure.
Suddaba is bitter in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has hot potency. It alleviates kapha and vata doshas, but aggravates the pitta dosha. It possesses light, dry and sharp (tikshna) attributes. It is useful in cough, cold, fever, flatulence, abdominal pain and worm infestations.
The whole plant, especially the leaves have great medicinal value. The herb is used internally as well as externally. In vata diseases, the leaves are mashed in alcohol and the paste is applied externally to alleviate the pain. In paralysis, the paste mixed with honey, is recommended for external application. The juice obtained from the leaves is instilled into ears in otitis, otorrhoea and otalgia. The paste of the leaves is applied on serpant bite and scorpion sting.
Internally, the leaves juice is given to children in helminthiasis. The plant is a keen stimulant for digestive system and is salutary in loss of appetite, flatulence, constipation, abdominal pain etc. The herb is acrid, bitter, thermogenic, diuretic, laxative, tonic and emmenagogue. It is useful in vitiated conditions of kapha and vata, strangury, fever, amenorrhea, epilepsy and hysteria. The oil acts as a stimulant for uterine contractions, hence is benevolent in difficult labour, dysmenorrheal and also regulates the menstruation. The potent diaphoretic property is useful in fever and various skin disorders. In children, it is salubrious in cough and cold infusion of suddaba is useful in these conditions. In worms, the fresh juice of the plant mixed with coriander seeds is recommended. The leaves are boiled in milk and given in cough. Also, the plant juice is massaged on the body in fever.