UDIMBARA (Ficus Racemosa)
Usira is one of the best refrigerant herbs that cools and calms the entire body and mind, with its influence spreading throughout the circulatory, digestive, reparatory, and urinary and nervous systems. It enjoys an important place among medicinal herbs in India since ancient times. The great sage Charka has categorized it as varnya – complexion improving herb, dahaprasamana – refrige rant, angamarda prasamana – relieves body pains, chardi nigrahana – anti – emetic, stanya janana- galactogogue and svedapanayana- alleviates the excessive sweating. It has been cited also to be jvaraghna – anti- pyretic, pacana- digestant, trsnaghna- relieves the thirst and raktapittahara- mitigates blood diathesis (Madhava Nidana).
The plant grows all over India, and is also cultivated, in the plains and lower hills up to 1200 meters elevation. The commercial importance of roots is confirmed from the incidence of leving duty on vetiver roots by the king of Kannauj in 12 th century. It is a densely tufted perennial grass, with aromatic roots and rhizomes. The leaves are narrow, linear, 25-50 long and 1 cm broad, erect with compressed sheaths. The flowers grey, purplish, in slender racemes 10-30 cm in length. The fruits are oblong grains; the roots are hairy and aromatic. The plant grows 1-1.5 meters in height and flowers in June.
The botanical name of usira is Vetiveria zizanioides and it belongs to family Graminae / Poaceae. A volatile oil resins, coloring agents, iron oxide and lime salts have isolated from the plant. Khusimal, zizanol and isovalesenol are isolated from essential oil together with a new sequiterpene alcohol (I) which was characterized. A new epoxy alchoholkhusinol oxide-isolated from oil and its structure established Cyclopacamphenol, epicyclocopacamphenol, vetiselinenol and zizanol isolated and their structures elucidated Tetrahedron
Usira is bitter and sweet in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates pitta and kapha doshas, but aggravates the vata dosha. Usira possesses light and dry attributes. As it is fragrant, is deodorant. It is also diuretic and a rejuvenative. It alleviates the blood diseases, excessive thirst, dysuria, fever, skin disorders and the burning sensation of the body (Kaiyadeva Nighantu)
The roots of usira have great medicinal value and are used for medicinal purpose. It is used both, internally as well as externally. The paste of usira and sandal wood is applied on skin, in burning sensation. In prickly heat, the paste of usira, coriander fruit and musta is applied with benefit. The paste of usira roots is applied by itself to alleviate the burning sensation, excessive sweating and foul body smell. It is also beneficial in various skin ailments to improve the complexion of the skin. Usually, the thin paste of its roots is applied in summer season, to pacify the vitiated pitta. To control the excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), it is used externally and internally also. Orally, the fine powder of its roots, approximately 2-3 grams, is given with rock candy and milk. It ameliorates the burning sensation of the body.
Internally, usira is useful in various diseases. Because of its bitter taste, it is an appetizer and digestant, and cold potency aids in alleviating vomiting, excessive thirst and also arrests bleeding. Hence, it is benevolent in treating anorexia, dyspepsia, thirst, vomiting and diarrhea. It also destroys ama, so effectively used in diarrhea of pitta type. The decoction of usira, musta, dhanyaka, bilva, lajjalu, dhataki, lodhra and sunthi is given with honey to mitigate diarrhea associated with the fever and bleeding. It is also effective to treat colitis due to vitiated pitta. The cold infusion works well to control vomiting. The root powder of usira, combined with honey, relieves the phlegm and so used in asthma, coughs and hiccup. In such conditions, the smoking of usira root powder in a form of cigarette is often recommended. Sadangodaka is beneficial to quench the thirst. Usira is a valuable blood purifier, destroys ama and toxins. To alleviate the burning sensation, it works well with sugar. In the bleeding disorders, Rakta pitta, the decoction of usira, chandana for better results.
It also serves to strengthen the nerves and imparts a pacifying effect on brain in nervine debility due to pitta. In hysteria, unconsciousness and chronic alcoholism, the decoction of usira, jatamansi and parpata is used with benefit. Usira alleviates the vitiation of pitta and works well a lactodepurant and galactogogue. The cold infusion with sugar imparts a diuretic action and alleviates dysuria of pitta type. Many a times, the decoction of the roots of usira, iksu and darbha alongwith raktacandana is of special benefit in dysuria. The general burning sensation of the body is tackled, by giving the misture of usira, rose petals, karcura and rock candy alongwith the milk. The cardiac pan is said to get relieved with the mixture of usira and pimpala mula, when given along with ghee.
The cold infusion or decoction of usira and patha is commonly recommended in treating fever. In treating erysipelas, the decoction of usira, amalaki, sariva and musta is very effective. (Ashtaang Hridya, chikitsa sthana. The bleeding per rectum and anal canal in Rakta pitta is controlled by the milk, medicated with usira, kamala and sunthi.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
Usiradi quathUsiradi choorna