Rudraksha in Ayurvedic medicine
Posted November 13, 2008on:
Rudraksh is a tree distributed in different parts of India. Its hard tubercled nuts are made into rosaries and bracelets and are also used in making necklaces and buttons. There is considerable demand for the beads in India. Owing to limited occurrence of the species in the country, commercial supplies of these beads are not available form indigenous sources and the bulk of the requirement is met by imports from Nepal, Malaya and Indonesia. The rosaries are sold in India mostly at places of pilgrimage. As Rudraksh herb thrives in warm localities with a high and well-distributed rainfall, having good drainage. For the natives and traditional healers of Chhattisgarh, Rudraksh is not a new herb. They are aware of the nuts since time immemorial. In different forests of Chhattisgarh many Elaeocarpus species have been reported. Seeing its demand, now many innovative herb growers have started its plantation in Chhattisgarh. They are getting positive results from initial trials. The traditional healers of Chhattisgarh suggest the natives to wear the necklaces of Rudraksh in order to protect themselves from evil spirits. But as it is costly and beyond rich of common natives, this use is not much popular. In the name of Rudraksh, adulteration of inferior species is common. The healers informed me that they have other promising and cheap substitute to Rudraksh necklaces.
I have given such details in my previous articles. The traditional healers are not much aware of its other medicinal properties and uses. During my ethnobotanical surveys in Chhattisgarh plains, I have observed its use in treatment of common fever. The healers rub the Rudraksh seed with Shahad (Honey) and give it to patients internally. It is promising remedy in hyper pyrexia. I am giving the details of its botany and reported medicinal uses, I have noted form the reference literatures. Botanically, Rudraksh (E. Sphaericus syn. E. ganitrus) is a medium sized evergreen tree with a spreading hand some crown leaves simple, oblong-lanceolate, sub-entire or irregularly crenate, decurrent into the petiole, glabrous, acute or acuminate; Flowers white in dense racemes in old leaf axills; Fruits globose or some what obovoid purple drupes, stone tubercled, longitudinally groved, generally 5- celled and 5 – seeded. Rarely seven – celled. The religious natives consider it lucky. According to Ayurveda, fruits are sour, appetiser, sedative and useful in treatment of cough, bronchitis, nerve pain, epilepsy, migraine etc. It is also considered beneficial in treatment of hypertension. Its use in treatment of high fever is not reported in these literatures. I am proud to write that the traditional healers of Chhattisgarh are using it for this purpose. I am trying to find out the fact that how these healers have discovered this promising use. After successful trials of Rudraksh plantation in Chhattisgarh, we will try to establish it as potential medicinal crop. Through the on-going surveys I am trying to gather more information on its traditional uses in Chhattisgarh
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From Research Note by Pankaj Oudhia