Shankhpushpi is considered as one the very important herbs in Ayurveda. Many contemporary Ayurvedic practitioners and authors believe that Shankhpushpi is a gift of nature. It is regarded as alexiteric and tonic to improve memory and to tone brain.
Quick facts about Shankhpushpi or Convolvulus pluricaulis
- Sanskrit name: Shankhpushpi
- English name: Shankhpushpi
- Hindi or common name: Shankhpushpi
- Scientific name: Convolvulus pluricaulis
- Rasa: Katu, Kashaya
- Guna: Guru, Sara, Snigdha, Pichchila
- Virya: Ushna
- Vipaka: Madhura
- Dosha: Balances and alleviates all the three doshas viz Vata, Kapha and Pitta
- Karma: Medhakrita, Svarakara, Grahabhutadi doshaghna, vashikaranasiddhida
The plant, Shankhpushpi is often found in India and neighbouring country Myanmar. The plant can be found in variety of places including sandy and rocky surfaces particularly in North India. This plant belongs to Convulvulaceae family and usually flowers during September and October. The flowers can range between white to light pink in colour.
Research into the chemical constituents in Shankhpushpi had found presence carbohydrate-D-glucose, maltose, rhamnose, sucrose and starch, and certain other bio-chemicals which include glacial acetic acid, scopoletin, three coumarins, β-sitosterol, tropane alkaloids, kaempferol, convoline, convolidine, convolvine, confoline, convosine, palmitic acid (66.8%), linoleic acid (2.3%), and straight chain hydrocarbon hextriacontane, 20-oxodotriacontanol, tetratriacontanoic acid and 29-oxodotriacontanol.
- Reduces gastric ulcers: Gastric ulcers are generally caused when the stomach produces more acid than required and in cases where the eating habits are irregular. In such cases, excess acid can rupture the stomach lining from the inside causing lesions or ulcers. Studies have shown that Shankhpushpi is a very good herb that can reduce gastric ulcers by healing the lesions faster and also by strengthening the mucus membranes and mucosal cells.
- Reduces stress: Classically, Shankhpushpi was one of the few drugs that were used to reduce stress levels and put the brain in a relaxed state. Studies on animals with induced stress showed that Shankhpushpi possesses stress and depression reducing properties. Further investigations into the process of stress reduction have to be done.
- Controls neurotoxicity levels: Shankhpushpi is not only a stress reliever and an anti-depressant, but it can also reduce the effect of toxins in the brain. Studies on lab animals administered with aluminium chloride showed an increased level of neurotoxicity. But administering Shankhpushpi extracts reduced neutrotoxicty to a significant extent. Further investigation into the neurotoxicity reducing effects has to be taken up.
- Improves memory: Simple memory tests such as pole-climbing apparatus, passive avoidance paradigm and active avoidance paradigm tests were conducted on lab animals which showed an improvement in memory after administering with shankhpushpi extracts.
- Analgesic properties: Pain killing or analgesic is one of the important properties of shankhpushpi plant. These pain killer properties are very much useful in dealing with rheumatic pains, arthritis, osteoarthritis, etc. The pain killer effects produced by Shankhpushpi were very similar to a morphine induced ones.
- Can cure hyperthyroid: Thyroid gland is an important gland which regulates the rate of metabolism in our body by producing thyroid hormones. Excess of thyroid hormones can lead to hyperthyroidism disease. Hyperthyroidism can be reduced by taking shankhpushpi extracts on a regular basis.
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- Sankhapuspi, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India, Part 1, Vol 2, pp 155.
- Hetal Amin, Vyas, Harisha, Shukla, 2011, A Comparative Pharmacognostical and Phytochemical Study of Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis Linn) tablet with Bhavana and witout Bhavana, International Journal of Research in Ayurveda & Pharmacy, Vol 2, Iss 5, pp 1457 to 1460.
- Sairam, Rao, Goel, 2001, Effect of Convolvulus pluricaulis Chois on gastric ulceration and secretion in rats. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol 39, Iss 4, pp 350-354.
- Dhingra, Valecha, 2007, Evaluation of the antidepressant-like activity of Convolvulus pluricaulis choisy in the mouse forced swim and tail suspension tests, International Scientific Literature, Vol 13, Num 7, pp 155-161.
- Bihaqi, Sharma, Singh, Tiwari, 2009, Neuroprotective role of Convolvulus pluricaulis on aluminium induced neurotoxicity in rat brain, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 124, Iss 3, pp 409–415.
- 6. Neeraj Sethiya, Mishra, 2010, Review on ethnomedicinal uses and phytopharmacology of memory boosting herb Convolvulus pluricaulis, Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism Vol 22, Iss 1, pp 19-25.