Uses, Benefits, Qualities, Remedies, Research

Uses, Benefits, Qualities, Remedies, Research


By Dr Renita D’Souza
Gajakarna is a plant with large leaves resembling elephant ears. Known as Leea in English, it is used both for culinary and medicinal purposes. It is used to treat wounds, pain, worm infestation, anemia, swelling, snake byte, typhoid, fracture, cancer etc. It is also called Hastikarna.
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Botanical Name – Leea macrophylla
Synonym – Leea angustifolia M. Laws
Family – Vitaceae

Vernacular Names
English Name – Leea
Hindi Name – Hatkan, Hastikarna, Hastikarn, Palaash, Samudraka
Bengali Name – Dholasamudra
Marathi Name – Dinda, Gajakarni
Assamese Name – Kath tenga
Malayalam Name – Njallu
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Medical Qualities

Taste – bitter
Potency (virya) – hot
Taste conversion after digestion (vipaka) – sweet
Shitajwara – fever with cold and chills

Effect on Tridoshas
Balances vata and kapha dosha
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Medicinal Uses, Remedies

  • For birth control – Hastikarn root paste is consumed with a glass of milk every month as a single dose.
  • Male sexual debility – the powdered tuber is used. Root powder is taken once a day for 7 days.
  • Wounds, Sores, Guinea worm, Ringworm – the roots are made paste and applied externally as a poultice.
  • Cancer – Powdered leaves are mixed with honey and taken. Bark powder can also be consumed to treat cancer.(b,g, j )
  • Inflammation – Leaf juice is used externally in boils, arthritis, gout and rheumatism. It is considered as a good local anti inflammatory agent.
  • Anti aging – Dried root powder is mixed with clarified butter and consumed in the morning.
  • Pain, Paralysis – Crushed leaves and roots are mixed with oil and applied externally to relieve body pain and paralysis.
  • Typhoid – Stems and roots of this plant are made into a paste with leaves of Kalanchoe pinnata. It is taken in the dose of ¼ teaspoonful with 1 teaspoon honey thrice daily for 7 days. If it is not cured than it is taken for another 7 days.
  • To expel intestinal worm – root infusion is consumed.
  • Skin diseases – root paste is applied externally.
  • To increase the sperm count – Small cut pieces of roots are soaked in water for 4–5 hours and its mucilaginous extract is consumed.
  • Jaundice – Root paste or powder is used to treat jaundice.
  • Rheumatic pain – crushed roots are applied to the effected areas.
  • Kidney problems – root paste is consumed with milk.
  • Bone Fracture – root paste mixing with goat milk is applied as E bandage.
  • Chest pain – root paste is applied externally.
  • To expel fetus – roasted rhizome and tuberous roots are used.
  • Lower back pain – fresh root paste prepared with water is applied externally on waist.
  • Bleeding – leaf paste applied externally to stop bleeding.
  • Boils – leaf paste is applied externally to burst the boil.
  • Tetanus – leaf paste is applied to the whole body.
  • Tonsillitis – leaf extract is mixed with warm water and used for gargling and drinking.
  • Snake byte – Seeds crushed in water is given orally until it causes vomiting
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Part Used
Roots, Tubers, leaves, Seeds

Gajakarna Tubers

Qualities
Vikashi – produces looseness of joints
Taste conversion after digestion (vipaka) – sweet
Sangrahi – Absorbent, can be used in diarrhea
Effect on Tridoshas – balances vata and pitta dosha

Gajakarna Tuber are as effective as tuber of vanasurana and it is indicated in various diseases like –
Pandu – anemia
Shotha – swelling and inflammation
Krimi – intestinal worm infestation
Pliha – spleenomegaly
Gulma – abdominal tumor
Aanaha – fullness of abdomen or abdominal distention
Udara – ascites
Grahani – Sprue-syndrome
Arshas – piles
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Gajakarna Roots

Effect on Tridoshas
Balances pitta and kapha dosha

Indications
Meha – diabetes
Trishna – excess thirst
Aruchi – anorexia
Krimi – intestinal worm infestation
Visha – poisoning, toxic condition
Murcha – fainting
Mada – intoxication

Leea macrophylla seeds

  • The seed extract contains carbohydrate, protein, glycosides, phenolics, and saponin.(c)
  • Seeds are usually made powdered or chewed.

Morphology, Distribution

Morphology
Leea macrophylla is a shrub growing up to 1-2 meter tall. Leaves are large like elephant ears, alternate, simple, ovate-cordate in shape, serrate at margin, glabrous to sparsely hairy above, sparsely to densely hairy beneath. Flowers are white in corymbose cymes. Fruits berry, subglobose or globose-depressed, contain seeds and black in color when ripe.(A)

Distribution
Leea macrophylla is found native to North-Eastern India. It is distributed to the relatively hotter parts of India, central and eastern Nepal, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.
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Wild Variety of Gajakarna

Taste – sweet, bitter
Potency (virya) – cold
Snigdha – unctuous
Grahini – absorbent

Indications
Pittaja jwara – fever of pitta origin
Daha – burning sensation
Trishna – excess thirst
Asra – blood disorders
Jantugni – worm infestation
Pandu – anemia
Meha – diabetes

Effect on Tridoshas
Balances vata, pitta, kapha dosha

Sanskrit Synonyms
Madani, Vanmali

Culinary Uses

Sanskrit Verses

Chemical Composition

Hastikarna leaves contain phenolic constituents such as flavonoids, leucoanthocyanidins, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, syringic acid and gallic acid. (d)

Research

Wound Healer – The research study conducted to investigate wound healing property of Leea macrophylla have proved significant wound healing property of ethanolic extract of Leea macrophylla .

Controversy

Some authors consider Kajakarna as Bhupalaash, Rakta eranda and some also consider it as bigger variety of Manakanda.
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Sanskrit Synonyms

Gajakarna, Hastikarna – leaves are large like elephant ears
Hastikanda, Hastipatra,
Shulakanda, Atikanda,
Brihatpatra – leaves are large
Atipatra, Sukarna
Twagdoshari, Kushtahanta – relieves skin diseases
Girivasi, Nagaashraya – it is grown in hilly regions

Categorization

Classical Categorization
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Shaka varga
Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadhi varga
Raja Nighantu – Mulakaadi varga
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