Bhringaraj ( Eclipta Alba ), the beauty herb

What should I do to remain energetic and look beautiful?" is an important question which many patients pose to a Vaidya. Everyone likes to remain youthful. Many use cosmetics these days; however, to look good, it is necessary to apply your mind to diet and lifestyle, in addition to cosmetics. To keep the body fit and looks good, super power has given us many herbs. Though human body is the most beautiful and complex creation of the super power, harmony with nature, ayurvedic lifestyle is a must to keep it so.

Amongst various herbs entering the cosmetics department, Bhringaraj comes readily to the mind. It is an excellent hepato tonic. These days the liver diseases have increased in number. Liver is the mother who guards our health to maximum, while kidney is father who protects from evil influence of toxins. Under functioning liver causes slowing down of agni, the digestive power. The reduced digestion causes fatigue, exhaustion and weakness, which spoils beauty. Increase of acidity of digestive track, mucous and stickiness in stools, jaundice etc are consequences. Use of bhringraj reduces the swelling of liver and kindles true hunger, the digestive agni. Smoking, alcohol, beetle leaves chewing, excess of tea-coffee increase liver burden, but Bhringraj causes adequate bile secretion. In most of the stomach diseases, Aamdosha is the dominating dosha. Worms and undesirable microbes grow in such ama and cause low stomach pain, piles, sounds in the intestines after food, bloating, flatulation, foul smell in flatulation. Under these circumstances, fresh juice of Bhringraj leaves can be taken every morning empty stomach, 2-3 ml, for three to six weeks. This improves tone of liver, spleen and digestion. If the dose is exceeded, vomiting or vomiting sensation can occur. The swelling on esophagus occurs when one takes hot, spicy, fried or foods containing chillies for long time. This swelling progresses into peptic ulcer into stomach or duodenum. This can result into ulceration as well as hiatus hernia. In all these cases fresh bhringaraja juice (swaras in traditional texts) gives very beneficial results. Those who can not obtain or make fresh juice, can bring leaves, let them dry in shade and make powder. This powder must be mixed in fresh leaves juice to make small tablets. The tablets can be taken about 250 mg empty stomach and at bed time as a liver tonic.

The Bhringraj is a well known hair tonic, helping to stop hair loss. If hairs are turning gray prematurely, the color will return to natural. Increases R.B.C. in blood. Due to reduced exhaustion one can easily go on staircases without panting. Bhringraj also helps in elimination of worms. The anxiety reduces for those doing intelligent work. Due to improvement in the liver tone, the blemishes on face also lighten and bringing natural color to the face. The raw undigested ama reduces, helping dissolving the extra `Meda'. What is not well known about Bhringaraj is that it helps in dissolving this `Meda' albeit very slowly. Urine, sweat and motions eliminate the extra `Meda'. In all ayurvedic texts, Bhringaraj is praised as a Rasayana and causing Vajikarana. Bhringaraj, if used properly, can reduce sexual weakness, by improving liver. Liver has an important role in sexual life. Bhringaraj is almost an elixir in several other respects. Thus migraine headache, vertigo, the heat getting rejected (burning sensation) through feet soles and palms, feverish feeling but thermometer shows normal temperature, whole body is felt as hot only by patients, etc are some of ailments, where Bhringaraj is the herb of first choice.

Bhringraj is useful not only as hair grower, but also in night- blindness. One shloka in ancient texts translates thus: A person who takes bhringaraj swarasa early morning empty stomach, and keeps certain food restrictions (Pathya), he becomes strong and with rich semen (Bal and Veerya yukta) and lives hundred years. This experiment can be carried out for about two months every year, when fresh bhringraj leaves are available plenty.

Few other receipe using Bhringaraj are as follows:

  • If one takes Amalki, sesame seeds and bhringaraj juice in the same order, he will not have any ailments of five senses.
  • The well known medicine Sutshekhar Ras used for hyper acidity, GERD, (amlapitta, vidagdha ajirna) is also made by using fresh juice of bhringaraja as binder. Aarogyavardhini Ras is another medicine for liver, prepared by using Bhringaraj swaras as binder, though many pharmacies use neem juice also as binder, reducing cost. This tablet differs in cost according to bhasmas used in preparation, and almost 200% variation can be seen in Indian pharmacies.
  • Well known medicine for worms of all types, i.e. Krumi Kuthar is also made by using Bhringaraj fresh juice as binder.
  • Thus Bhringaraj reduces Kapha, increases Haemoglobin, strengthen bones, and acts as tonic for eyes, brain, intestines, liver, spleen.The Bhringaraj oil is best hair tonic. While Brahmi oil makes brain cool, Amalki oil makes hair very smooth, Bhringaraj oil reduces dandruff, removes old hair and grows fresh hair. The pores in the scalp open due to this oil. Hence the name `Keshranjan'.
  • Few more uses of this king herb are also in order. Useful in skin diseases too. Gives Relief in Leucoderma. Along with other medicines, acts as supportive in epilepsy, (Apasmara, achaki, khech etc), excess urination (Mutratisar). With ajwain powder, it is powerful pitta pacifier.
  • Gargling with Bhringaraj decoction helps in tooth pain, gum bleeds, pain, swelling.

In response to the queries  author would say that Bhringaraj and Jatamasi will make an excellent combination, and what is offered is best remedy that can be communicated over the net, where real problems of patient, the root cause of hair loss can not be ascertained. However, the combination is not harmful in any manner.

Dr Shirish Bhate (shirishbhate@yahoo.com)

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Dr.Savitha Suri is an ayurvedic Consultant Physician. She has an experience of 26 years in the field of ayurveda. The content is copyrighted to Dr.Savitha Suri and may not be reproduced on other websites. You can contact her for free online ayurvedic consultations at drsavithasuri@gmail.com
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