Gudhal or Japa is a popular plant in India which can be commonly found in many households and is easily available. The plant has been used in Ayurveda as a remedy for many ailments and diseases such as fevers, menorrhagia, gonorrhoea, blood vomiting, stomachic troubles, irritable geneto-urinary tract conditions, swellings, boils, ulcers and for hair strengthening as well.
Quick facts about Gudhal or Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
- Sanskrit name: Japa
- English name: Hibiscus
- Hindi or common name: Gudhal, Gurhal or Japa
- Scientific name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
- Rasa: Kashaya, Tikta
- Guna: Laghu, Ruksha
- Virya: Sheeta
- Vipaka: Katu
- Dosha: Pacifies Pitta and Kapha and intensifies Vata
- Karma: Pittahara, Kaphavatashamaka, Arshavinashi, Keshya, Garbharodhi, Sangrahi, Vishahara, Hridya
The plant today is mainly used as an ornamental one. It can be found in most tropics and subtropics. Gudhal or Hibiscus belongs to the family of Malvaceae. The plant grows to a maximum height of about 2 meters. It is a bushy plant with medium sized leaves- about the size of an average person’s palm. The leaves have serrated tooth-like structure which is entirely harmless. The flowers of the plant are generally red in colour but occasionally, they can be white, yellow and pink as well. The flowers come with five petals and unlike their appearance, the flowers lack scent.
The bio-chemicals found in Gudhal or Hibiscus plant include β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, taraxeryl acetate and three cyclopropane compounds and their derivatives. Flowers contain cyanidin diglucoside, flavonoids and vitamins, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid (Ghani, 2003). Quercetin-3-diglucoside, 3,7-diglucoside, cyanidin- 3,5-diglucoside and cyanidin-3-sophoroside-5- glucoside have been isolated from deep yellow flowers.
- Control of diabetes: Diabetes control is perhaps one of the very important health benefits that many people seek. Now, diabetes can be controlled with the use of Gudhal or Hibiscus. The leaf extracts of the plant have been tested to significantly control blood glucose levels.
- Lowers hypertension or blood pressure: Blood pressure can be regarded as a cousin to diabetes and it is also equally responsible for a large number of deaths. Control of hypertension is just as important as the control of diabetes. Gudhal leaf extracts have also been tested to be effective against hypertension, as some studies have revealed.
- Anti-fertility properties: One of the traditional uses of Gudhal plant has been its use as an anti-fertility agent or contraceptive. Studies have shown that the plant extracts given to lab animals inhibited the fertility and prevented conception. This property can be exploited for the current times as an easy contraceptive, unlike synthetic contraceptive pills which bring in many side effects than stopping pregnancy.
- Abortifacient properties: The plant not only possesses anti-fertility properties, but it has also been traditionally used as an abortifacient. Tests on the plant extracts have resulted in eliminating pregnancies in the very early stages.
- Stops diarrhoea: The leaves of the plant have been in use in Ayurveda for a long time as a cure for diarrhoea. A paste of the leaves can be taken to completely cure diarrhoea. The presence of spasmogenic and spasmolytic bio-chemicals has been listed as one of the reasons for its use in controlling diarrhoea.
- Analgesic or pain-killing properties: The leaf extracts have also showed analgesic properties. Tests on animals with induced pain showed a significant control of pain after administering with the leaf extracts.
- Anti-microbial properties: The extracts of Gudhal have shown significant anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. This is perhaps one of the reasons for the plant being used traditionally in Ayurveda for skin diseases, burns and boils to inhibit infections.
- For good hair: The use of Gudhal leaves is another traditional therapy for good hair. The leaves are crushed and applied along with soap nut on the scalp for healthy, good looking hair and perhaps to stop hair loss, if used on a regular basis.
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- S G Joshi, 2008, Medicinal Plants, pp 255. Oxford & IBH Publishing Pvt Ltd.
- Khalsa, Tierra, 2008, The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs, pp 145. Lotus Press, WI, USA.
- Anil Kumar, Ashatha Singh, 2012, Review on Hibiscus rosa sinensis, International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Vol. 3 (2) Apr – Jun2012.
- Lalit Kumar, Gunosindhu Chakraborthy, Vijay Singh, Avijit Mazumder. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis: A Review on Divine Herb. JAPHR, 2012, Vol 2, Iss 4, pp 9-18.
- Gilani AH, Bashir S, Janbaz KH, Shah AJ. Presence of cholinergic and calcium channel blocking activities explains the traditional use of Hibiscus rosasinensis in constipation and diarrhoea. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Nov 14;102(2):289-94. Epub 2005 Sep 22.
- Img Src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hibiscus_Brilliant.jpg