Dravya is a fundamental and inevitable factor to human life. The likenesses of Dravya and human body from its molecular level made it an essential part of Ayurveda. Five basic principles, namely Rasa (taste), Guna (quality), Vipaka (post digestive taste ), Virya (potency), and Prabhava (unexplained effect) collectively known as Rasapanchaka clarifies pharmacodynamics in Ayurveda. Martynia annua Linn is commonly found in dense clumps on roadsides, degraded moist and dry deciduous forest, waste lands, and throughout India. In folk medicine, decoction of whole plant is administered in patients with pneumonia and cold fever. The leaves of the plant are consumed in times of scarcity and also given in case of epilepsy, and its juice is gargled for sore throat. The fruits are used for the treatment of asthma; the seeds are applied locally for itching and eczema. The roots are boiled with milk and taken as a tonic, and they are made into a poultice and applied in case of snake bite. In tribal pockets of Satpura Plateau in Madhya Pradesh, root paste of M. annua Linn is used in folk medicine to treat cancer and rheumatism, but to accept it in current clinical practice, it is essential to recognize the basic Rasapanchaka of the drug. By knowing the pharmacodynamics, the physician safely prescribes the drug on apt conditions. In this study, Rasapanchaka of M. annua Linn plant root was found with the help of healthy volunteers. Study results revealed Kashaya and Madhura are the Rasa and Anuras of the drug and Ushna and Snigdha are the chief Guna. It is an Ushna Virya drug and its Vipaka is Katu.
Keywords: Rasapanchaka, Martynia annua Linn, Rasa, Guna, Vipaka, Virya
| Introduction|| |
Nature has provided a complete storehouse of remedies to cure all ailments of mankind. The information of drugs has been collected over thousands of years as a result of man’s curiosity toward nature, so that today we possess a lot of successful recourse for ensuring health care. Therapeutic utilization of plants is conveyed since ancient time in India, China, Greece, and so on.
India is one of the richest reservoirs of biological diversity on the planet. It is home to a great variety of ethno-medicinally significant plant species.
Martynia annua Linn is commonly found in dense clumps on roadsides, degraded moist and dry deciduous forest, waste lands, and throughout India. In folklore practices, decoction of whole plant is administered in the patients with pneumonia and cold fever. The poultice of its roots is used as an external application in case of snake bite. Roots of M. annua Linn are boiled in milk and taken as a tonic in folklore. In tribal pockets of Satpura Plateau in Madhya Pradesh, root paste of M. annua Linn is used to treat cancer and rheumatism. The juice of the leaves is used as a gargle for sore throat, and the leaf paste for wounds of domestic animals. The unripe fruits of M. annua are found to have antioxidant activity, and the ash of fruits mixed with coconut oil is used to cure burns. The roots are also used as local sedative and as an antidote to scorpion stings. Seed oil is used for treating abscesses and itching and skin infections. The seeds of M. annua are used for the prevention of graying of hair. The whole plant is used for the treatment of fever, hair loss, scabies, and abscess on the back.,
Identification of medicinal plants mentioned in Ayurveda is based on morphological characteristics, that is, shape, color, taste, odor, texture of leaf, flower, fruit, stem, root, and latex. Plant possesses attributes viz. Rasa, Guna, Vipaka (post-digestive effect), Prabhava, and Karma (action) and therapeutic uses.
Rasa, Guna, Vipaka, Virya, and Prabhava collectively known as Rasapanchaka are the fundamental principles of Ayurvedic pharmacology based on which every action of a drug has been explained.
The objective of this study was to assess Rasapanchaka of M. annua Linn by experimental study.
Rasa, Vipaka, Guna, Virya, and Prabhava are the five components of Rasapanchaka, and these are the basic descriptors of Ayurvedic pharmacology, that is, Dravyaguna Vigyana. Among these set of parameters, Rasa is the only quality, manifested by the substances that make a gustatory appeal. Tastes of substances are six, that is, Svadu (sweet), Amla (sour), Lavaṇa (saline), Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter), and Kaṣaya (astringent). Rasa refers to the total subjective experience arising on placing any substance in the mouth. The characteristics for the identification of each Rasa are well documented in Ayurvedic classics.
Morphology of M. annua
M. annua Linn is herbaceous, stout, erect, branched, clammy pubescent, annual plant growing to a height of 0.25–1 m, and covered with dense glandular sticky hairs. The stems are erect and usually woody at base.,,,
Leaves are kidney shaped, opposite with lamina reniform, 15–23cm wide, cordate, sinuate lobed, flaccid, apex acute, base cordate, margins entire to shallow sinuate to be toothed, palmately veined, petiole 9–14cm long, and sticky-topped glandular hairs present on both the upper and lower leaf blade surfaces.
Flowers are bell shaped, purplish white, with dark purple markings and ill smelling having racemose inflorescence. Pedicels are 1–2cm long, with thickening. Calyx is approximately 15–20mm long. Corolla is approximately 55–65mm overall, tube is approximately 35–45mm long.
Corolla is funnel form, campanulate, spotted on the inner surface, with the spots yellow, pink, or purple. Stamens are two.
Fruits are hard, bilobed, and woody with two sharp recurved hooks.
Seeds are brown to black, two in each pod.
Morphological characters of M. annua Linn plant and root as shown in [Figure 1] and [Figure 2], respectively.,
Whole plant of M. annua Linn is used in pneumonia and cold fever. The leaves of the plant are consumed in times of scarcity and also administered in patients with epilepsy, and its juice is gargled for sore throat. The fruits are used for the treatment of asthma; the seeds are applied locally for treating itching and eczema. The roots are boiled with milk and taken as a tonic, and they are made into a poultice and applied in case of snake bite. In tribal pockets of Satpura Plateau in Madhya Pradesh, root paste of M. annua Linn is used in folk medicine to treat cancer and rheumatism, but to accept it in current clinical practice, it is essential to recognize the basic Rasapanchaka of the root of M. annua.
| Materials and methods|| |
Collection of the Drug
M. annua Linn plant was collected from herbal garden of Government Ayurvedic College, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India. The drug was accurately identified by a taxonomist, Department of Botany, Regional Ayurved Research Institute, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. The roots of the plant were washed, shade dried and powdered, and stored in an airtight container.
Criteria for Selection of Volunteers
Thirty healthy volunteers of either sex, irrespective of religion, caste, and Prakriti, between the ages of 20–30 years, were selected.
Different published articles concerning the evaluation of Rasa, Guna, Vipaka, Virya, and Prabhava, that is, Rasapanchaka, in which the assessment method is derived from the Ayurvedic principles, are searched and thoroughly reviewed.
This assessment for Rasa, Guna, Vipaka, and Virya (potency) is conducted as a single-blind trial on the basis of structured questionnaire.Rasa assessment study design is based on the characteristic given for each Rasa in the Samhithas. The local reflex actions related to tongue, buccal cavity, throat, palate, nose, and eyes were identified.
Guna is assessed primarily based on its action on the Agni (digestive function) and Kostha (alimentary tract). Vipaka (post-digestive effect) is assessed based on its action on the elimination of urine and stool, and Virya (potency) is assessed based on the exothermic or endothermic reaction in the distilled water.
Method of Administration
For the assessment of Rasa, 30 healthy volunteers were asked to wash their mouth with water. Then, 2g drug was orally administered in a powder form, and as per Sharangdhar samhita, dose of Churna is one Karsh (12g), and in previous research work pertaining to the assessment of Rasapanchaka dose of research drug, 5g twice a day for 7 days was administered; hence, in this study for the assessment of Guna, Vipaka, and Virya, the same powdered drug was administered in a dose of 5g twice a day with lukewarm water for 7 days. Proper personal histories have been obtained from all the selected volunteers related to parameters as criteria for assessments, and pro forma for assessment criteria is attached as Annexure 1.
Duration of administration was 7 days.
| Observations and results|| |
After administering the drug, volunteers were requested to record the immediate appraisal of taste as yes or no. Characteristics perceived and judged by each volunteer were tabulated and analyzed.
The observations, which were found in the evaluation, are tabulated in [Table 1].
When the drug was given initially for the estimation of Rasa based on the direct contact with tongue, choking feeling in throat was the major subjective reaction reported by 93.3% volunteers, dryness in the tongue was experienced by 70% volunteers, sweet coating inside the mouth by 50% volunteers, salivation was experienced by 23.3% volunteers, cleansing the mouth by 10% volunteers, pleasurable sensation in body, stimulation of tip of the tongue, clearing of the throat, feeling of temporary loss of taste perception, and stiffness of tongue was experienced by 3.3% volunteers.
When the drug was given for 1 week orally at the dose of 5g to 30 healthy volunteers, improvement in both digestion and assimilation was observed. The drug induced the formation of excessive Sweda in 73.3% volunteers as compared to their natural condition. This can be attributed to the property of Ushna Guna. In 33.3% volunteers, there was a decrease of dryness in the body. This can be attributed to the property of Snigdha Guna.
The most reliable and adoptable criterion for the judgment of Vipaka is the action of the drug in the elimination of urine and stool. None of the volunteers had reported to have an increased elimination of urine and stool with this study. Rather 40% volunteers had relative suppression in the passage of stool and urine when compared to routine pattern. Katu Vipaka obstructs the excretion of stool and urine, whereas the Madhur and Amla Vipaka promotes it. So the Vipaka of the drug can be interpreted as Katu.
The Virya of the drug is determined based on the exothermic or endothermic reaction in the distilled water, appetite, sleep, stool, and urine.
Reaction in Distilled Water
A total of 100mL of distilled water was taken in a conical flask and the temperature was noted. Approximately 10g of root powder was added and mixed thoroughly and again the temperature was noted immediately, after 1 and 24h.
Initially water temperature was 29°C; immediately after adding the drug, it was 29.8°C; after 1h, it reached 29.6°C; and the temperature noted after 24h was 29.6°C. The temperature of distilled water increased after the addition of root powder, it is indicative of exothermic reaction. Appetite was increased in 50% volunteers, whereas sleep was decreased in 40% volunteers, and in 60% volunteers, no change was observed in their sleep habit. A total of 50% volunteers had relative suppression in the passage of bowels and urine.
Based on these observations Ushna Virya Dravyas shows exothermic reaction in distilled water and increases appetite, decreases sleep, decreases stool and urine.
| Discussion|| |
The assessment of Rasa, Guna, Virya, and Vipaka helps in understanding the probable pharmacological outcome of the drug. Rasa is the special sense experienced through Rasanendriya (tongue or taste buds) by an individual while consuming a drug. Six types of Rasas, namely Madhura, Amla, Lavana, Katu, Tikta, and Kashaya are mentioned in ayurved. Rasa of any drug will be perceived by their individual characteristics. In this study, it was observed that the taste of M. annua Linn root powder produced choking feeling in throat in 93.33% volunteers and dryness in the tongue in 70% volunteers, which are the characteristics of Kashaya Rasa. In addition to this, some of the volunteers also observed the characteristics of Madhura Rasa, that is, sweet coating inside the mouth (30%) and pleasurable sensation in body (one volunteer).
On the basis of these data, it can be finalized that the Rasa of the M. annua Linn root is Kashaya Pradhana Madhura Anurasa.
Guna is defined as a character, which will remain in a drug with inherent relationship. At the same time, Guna will remain inactive and maintain noninherent relation with the action. Generally, Tikta and Kashaya Rasa drugs will have Ruksha and Laghu Gunas, but it is not always observed. It is observed that there is an increased digestion, assimilation, perspiration, and decreased dryness. These are the characteristics of Ushna and Snighdha Guna, respectively. Therefore M. annua Linn having Ushna and Snighdha Guna.
Vipaka is the factor, which is the final outcome of the biotransformation of Rasa through the action of Jatharagni (digestive fire). With the current trial drug, none of the volunteers reported to have easy and increased elimination of urine and stool, on the basis of that, Katu Vipaka of Dravya can be considered.
Virya is the factor, which is responsible for producing drug action. Mainly, Ushna (hot) and Sheeta (cold) are the two Viryas described in Dravyaguna and are said to be the main virtue by which the drug shows its action. Many research workers showed the exothermicity and endothermicity of different drugs experimentally, with an inference that Ushna Virya drug shows exothermic reaction, and Sheeta Virya drug shows endothermic reaction. It was observed that there is an exothermic reaction in distilled water as well as increase in appetite and decrease in sleep, stool, and urine excretion. On the basis of these observations, the drug M. annua Linn was concluded as Ushna Virya.
Prabhava is described as Achintya (non-derivable) Virya and Prabhava cannot be derived by Rasa, Guna, Vipaka, and Virya. But as Prabhava exhibits well targeted therapeutic effects, can be assessed if any therapeutic effect is found to be not in linear with the Rasa, Guna, Vipaka and Virya or if such therapeutic action is not found in drugs with similar organoleptic characters.
| Conclusion|| |
The drug is used in managing various illnesses by folklore practitioners. M. annua Linn is used as a tonic, an antipyretic, and an antioxidant, it cures itching and skin infections, sore throat, and is an antidote to scorpion stings. This study revealed that Kashaya and Madhura are the Rasa and Anuras of the drug, and Ushna and Snigda are the chief Gunas. It is a Ushna Virya drug and Vipaka is Katu. Further extensive research study needs to be carried out.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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Rahul K Gupta,
Dr. Rahul K. Gupta, PhD Scholar, Department of Dravyaguna, Mahatma Gandhi Ayurved College Hospital and Research Centre, Wardha (H), Maharashtra.
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
[Figure 1], [Figure 2]
[Table 1], [Table 2]