ROHITAKA (Tecomella undulate)
Rohitaka is one of the herbs mentioned in all ancient Samhita of Ayurveda. Two varieties of rohitaka have been mentioned viz. rakta (red flowered) and shweta (white flowered). The red variety has various synonyms like rohita, rohi, dadimapuspaka, plihaghna, rakta – puspa, plihari, plihasatru etc. whereas the white variety has numerous synonyms like sita, sitanga, sitapuspa, laksmivana, janavallabha etc. Maharishi Charka has categorized the red variety of rohitaka as balya (a tonic).
Rohitaka grows well in Rajasthan, Punjab, and Gujarat and in Himalaya’s up to 1000 meters elevation. It is a medium sized tree growing 3-5 meters in height. The leaves are squarish, alternate, rounded at the tips with undulated margins. The flowers in spikes, bright orange-red in color. The fruits are 15-20 cm long pods, 8 mm broad, thin, flattened and slightly crooked. The seeds are winged, 2cm long and 8 mm broad. Rohitaka blooms in the month of April of May and bears fruits, thereafter.
The botanical name of rohitaka is Tecomella undulate and it belongs to family Bignoniacea. A new glucoside tecomin-isolated from bark and its structure determined. Lapachol, veratric acid, sitosterol, dehydrotectol, a wax alcohol ferulate, n-triacontanol and tecomelloside isolated from heartwood and bark. Rutin, quercetin, luteolin-7- glucoside and sitosterol isolated from flowers. A new iridoid glucoside 6-0 veratryl cataposide isolated. Tectol and dehydro- lapachone isolated from roots. From the leaves, n-alkanes, n-octacosanol, stigmasterol, campesterol, amyrin and oleanolic acid isolated. A new chromone glucoside undulatoside A- isolated and characterized. Another new chromone glycoside undulatoside B-isolated from bark along with sitosterol glucoside. (Indian J. Chem. 1979, 17B, 40). Isolation of a new iridoid glucoside – undulatin and its structure determined.
Rohitaka is pungent, astringent and bitter in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates kapha and pitta doshas. It has a special potency (prabhava) as bhedana – accumulation breaking herb, plihasankocaka – contracts the spleen and as a bhutapidanasaka – averts the evil powers. It possesses light and dry attributes. It is used in the diseases like ascites, liver and spleen disorders, obesity, tumors, blood disorders, flatulence, abdominal pain and cough.
The bark-skin of rohitaka has great medicinal value and is used for medicinal purpose, externally as well as internally. Externally, the paste of its bark skin is applied on traumatic wounds, associated with haematoma. It also promotes the wound healing. In conjunctivitis, the juice is instilled into eyes, with great benefit.
Internally, the powder of bark skin is given along with ghee in gaematoma. Rohitaka is specially recommended in ascites with hepatosplenomegaly. It is an excellent blood purifier and cholegogue, hence, rewarding in hepatitis. The special property, lekhana – a reducing herb, of rohitaka is salutary in obesity. It is also visaghna – an anti – toxin, hence beneficial in poisons. Rohitaka being a potent blood purifier, it is extremely useful in syphilis, gonorrhea and gout. As a keen stimulant for digestive system, it is rewarding in the treatment for piles, anorexia, flatulence, tumors and worm infestations. In leucorrhea, the pulp of the roots is given along with rice water. The decoction of bark-skin, as an adjunct, is salutary in diabetes mellitus. The popular preparation – Rohitakarista – is used in liver and splenic diseases, piles, colitis, jaundice and edema.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
- Rohitaka ghrta
- Rohitakadya choorna
- Rohitaka loha.