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All about Anantamoola

All about Anantamoola


Anantamoola has been used in the traditional system of medicine for many years. Anantamool is also known as Sariva in Sanskrit. It is different from Sarsaparilla. In Ayurveda system of medicine, it is widely used in the treatment of oligospermia, gastritis, anorexia, menorrhagia, fever, burning sensation and local swelling.  

Botanical Name - Hemidesmus indicus R.Br  
Family – Asclepidaceae (Peripiocaceae) - Arka Kula  

Vernacular names  

Hindi and Bengali - Anantamul, Kapuri (because root smell resembles Kapoor - camphor)  
English Name - Indian Sarsaparilla  

Classical categorization  

Master Charaka, in his traditional treatise Charaka Sahmita has classified Anantamoola in different categories. A look on that categories give a hint on the medicinal benefits of Anantamoola 

Jvarahara - group of herbs used in treating fever. Because of its cooling and bitter nature, it is helpful in reducing body temperature.  
Daha Prashamana - group of herbs that relieve burning sensation. Because of its cooling property, it is used locally as application to relieve burning sensation. For this purpose, a paste of the herb powder is made with rose water and applied locally. This remedy is also useful in inflammation, burns, to reduce the burning sensation and pain.  
Pureesha Sangahaniya - group of herbs that improve bulk of feces,  
Stanya shodhana - group of herbs that cleanse and detoxify breast milk. Due to its sweet and unctous nature, it is used to detoxify breast milk.  
Madhura skandha - sweet tasting group of herbs.  


There are two types of Sariva explained in Ayurvedic books -  
Shveta Sariva - white variety  Hemidesmus indicus and  
Krishna Sariva - Cryptolepis buchanani / Ichnocarpus frutescens  
Therapeutically both are considered to be similar in action.  

In some treatises,  
White (shweta) and  
Black (Krishna) varieties are mentioned.  
Dhanvantari nighantu indicates that the black variety as Krishnamoola (with black root).  
Shodhala Nighantu Nighantu are herbal materia-medica when translated broadly )  has considered the white variety as utpala sariva. 

Bhavamishra described that Krishna Sariva (black variety) is characterized by the leaves similar to that of jamun and possessing great aroma. He further denoted white variety as Gopa and black variety Gopavalli. 

At present 70 - 80% of the market samples of Sariva are Decalepis hamiltonii, which are bulky in size and less costly than Hemidesmus indicus. Due to indiscriminate wild collection Decalepis hamiltonii is listed as endangered now. Still Hemidesmus indicus is abundantly available in wild but problem with labour involved in collection is the cause for scarcity. 

Chemical constitution  

Major chemical contained - H. Indicus - Hyperoside, Rutin, desinine, Hexatriacontance, B - Sitosterol; hemidesminine, Hemidesmin - 1 and hemidesmin - 2. 

It has volatile oil 0.225 percent, P - methoxy salicylic aldehyde,B - amyrius, tetra cyclic triterpene alcohol, tanin ,saponin,glycoside.  
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna Vijnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)  

Medicinal qualities  

Taste - Sweet, bitter  
Qualities - Heavy, oily, unctuous  

Potency Coolant. 

Taste conversion after digestion – undergoes sweet taste conversion after digestion 
Effect on Tridosha - It balances all the three doshas. Because of its sweet, unctuos and heavy nature, it balances vata 

Because of its cooling, sweet nature, it balances pitta 

Because of its bitter properties, it balances kapha.  

Medicinal uses:

( on the left-hand side are the uses as described in materia medica and on the right are English translations)  

Deepana - appetite enhancer 

Pachana - digestive in nature 

Rochana - taste enhancer 

Anulomana carminative 

Rakta shodhaka - blood purifier 

Shotahara - reduces swelling 

Vrishya - aphrodisiac 

Daha prashamana - reduces burning sensation 

Kushtahara - useful in skin diseases  
Kanduhara - useful in itching, pruritus  
Jvarahara - useful in fever  
Mehanashana - Useful in diabetes, urinary tract disorders  
Durgandha nashana - relieves bad odor  
Shukrala - improves sperm quality and quantity  
Atisarahara - useful in diarrhea, dysentery  
Amahara - relieves Ama ( Ama is the endogenous material produced in the cells/channels due to faulty metabolism and digestion and is a causative factor of many disorders)  
Vishapaha - anti - toxin  
Agnisada - useful in low digestion strength  
Shvasa, Kasahara - useful in respiratory conditions, cough, cold, asthma  
Pradaranut - useful in menorrhagia.  
The black variety of Sariva is similar in action. Its uses are -  
Sangrahi - absorbent, useful in diarrhoea  
Shishira - coolant  
Kaphavatajit - balances Kapha and Vata  
Trushna - useful in excessive thirst  
Aruchi - useful in anorexia  
Raktapittahara - useful in bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, menorrhagia etc.  

Therapeutic uses: 

Vrana – Root is claimed to be useful for cleansing all types of wound. The paste of the drug is applied locally to treat any wounds or ulcerations, insect bites, filariasis, skin diseases, herpes. 

Vishama jwara – Decoction along with Patola (Trichosanthes dioica), Musta (Cyperus rotandus), Patha (Cissampelos pareira) and Katuki (Picrorhiza kurroa) is useful in reducing the body temperature in case of fever, burning sensations. 

Kushtha – Along with Brihati (Solanum indicum), Ushira (Vetiveria zizanioides), Patola (Trichosanthes dioica) and Katuki (Picrorhiza kurroa) is to be given for internal and external use in cases of skin aliments. 

Conjunctivitis - because of its cooling nature, the liquid extract of this is used to irrigate eyes in conjuctivitis. 

For local burning and swelling - because of its cooling and properties to releive burning sensation, the paste of this drug is applied locally to reduce all types of swelling and burning sensation anywhere in the body locally. 

Part used, Dosage  

Part used - root  
Dosage -  
Indian sarsaparilla - water decoction - 50 - 100 ml,  
root Paste 5 g, 
root powder 1 - 3 g  

Side effects  

Hemidesmus indicus is safe for most individuals when consumed in the recommended doses. But some studies have reported that when the herb is taken in larger amounts, it may cause some side effects such as stomach irritation.  
Also, during pregnancy, consult your doctor before using this herb.  
It is safe to use during lactation and in children.  

Ayurveda medicines  

Ayurveda medicines with Hemidesmus indicus as ingredient -  
Sarivadyasavam - useful in gout, skin diseases  
Mathala Rasayanam - useful in cough, cold, asthma, bleeding disorders  
Mahamanjistadi Kashayam - useful in skin diseases, gout, syphilis and non - healing wounds  
Maha Vishagarbha Taila - useful in sciatica, joint stiffness and tinnitus  
Manasamitra Vatakam - Useful in speech problems, depression, psychiatric disorders.  

Sarsaparilla Sherbet 

Easy method of preparing Sarsaparilla Sarbath.  
Take 100 grams of Sarsaparilla. Add 1 litre of water to it. Boil over mild fire till the water quantity reduces to half a litre. Filter it.  
Add - 400 grams of sugar / jaggery to it.  
Boil it till the total solution attains the consistency of a syrup.  
Stop heating.  
Allow it to cool down. Store in a cool dry place, in an airtight bottle.  
This can be stored for a period of 3 - 4 months without refrigeration.  
Whenever juice is to be consumed, you can add half a cup of this with half a cup of hot water and drink.

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