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Biological Effects of Ayurvedic Formulations


Ayurveda makes use of several classes of medicine in the treatment of diseases. According to Sarhgadhara Samhita, composed in the 13th century A.D. and considered to be the authoritative text on ayurvedic pharmacy, expressed juices (svarasa), decoctions (kvatha), spirituous liquors (asava, arista), oils (taila), clarified butter (ghrta), electuaries (avaleha), pastes (lipa), powders (ciirna) and pills (gufika) are the important classes of medicines. Instructions for preparing these dosage forms are also available in it (Murthy 2017). Ayurvedic medicines are prepared using plant parts, such as roots, bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds and gums, and minerals and animal products (Parasuraman et al. 2014). These medicines bring about a wide range of effects on the body. This chapter deals with the various biological effects of a few representative ayurvedic formulations.

Ariṣṭa and Āsava (Fermented Liquids)


Abhayarista is traditionally prepared by the fermentation of decoction of Terminalia chebula, Vitis vinifera, Embelia ribes and Madhuca itidica (Anonymous 1978a). Intake of Abhayarista before meals induces laxative action and also corrects constipation (Prajkta 2015). It possesses antioxidant activity (Lai et al. 2010) and is effective in decreasing inflammation, pain, itching and promotes vein elasticity in the perianal area (Odukoya et al. 2009). It is helpful in mild ascites and dropsy, relieves urinary obstruction, increases digestive power and is of value in enlargement of the liver and spleen and in anemia (Mutha et al. 2013). It can also be effectively used in the management of internal bleeding and piles (Shekhawat et al. 2017).


Amrtarista is a polyherbal hydroalcoholic preparation which is used as a remedy for all types of fevers (Wadkar et al. 2016). It contains 5-8% of self-generated alcohol and also water, with the help of which its absorption takes place in the body. Its main content is Amrta (Tinospora cordifolia), which is a natural immunity booster and has antipyretic action. Amrtarista is also effective in the management of chronic malaria (Sapra 2013), disorders of the liver and spleen, indigestion and rheumatoid arthritis (Taksale and Parulkar 2017). It also possesses antioxidant properties (Wadkar et al. 2016).


Aragvadharista is useful in the management of piles, foul wounds, leukoderma and intestinal parasites (Sekar and Mariappa 2008). It is specially indicated in Kitibha (psoriasis) type of kusdha (skin disease) (Anonymous 2014). It is even effective in treating chronic skin conditions featuring lumps in the armpits or groin, such as hidradenitis suppurativa (Chavhan et al. 2017).


Asokarista is specially indicated in gynecological disorders including amenorrhea, metrorrhagia, menorrhagia and dysfunctional uterine bleeding (Shikha and Vidhu 2015). It contains herbs having balya (immune-modulator), rasayana (rejuvenation), dTpamya (carminative), pacanlya (digestive), midhya (brain tonic) and hrdya (cardiotonic) properties (Vaidya 2013). It has good reducing power, and superoxide as well as free radical scavenging activity (Geeta 1995; Dushing and Laware 2012; Meena and Gaurav 2014; Katakdound 2017). It tones up uterine musculature and normalizes menstrual flow (Meena and Gaurav 2014). It is administered to enhance endometrial receptivity to avoid abortion. It is also effective in ovulation disorder (Mundewadi 2009). It nourishes the blood and the reproductive system, maintains the healthy production of female hormones, helping to regulate the menstrual cycle and ease the transition into menopause (Kumar et al. 2013). It is useful in premenstrual syndrome and menstrual discomforts. It can be effectively used in the treatment of menopause-associated symptoms and can promote the quality of life of a menopausal woman (Tomar et al. 2017). It helps in relieving backache and abdominal pain, reduces irritation, improves strength and stamina and ensures active and energetic life throughout the month (Oberoi et al. 2016).


DasamUlarista, prepared from dasamUla, is traditionally used as an analgesic as well as an anti- arthritic agent. Therefore, it is especially used to reduce inflammation. It provides strength to postpartum women and helps the uterus to regain normal size and shape. It is effective in cough, rheumatism, ovulation disorder (Nagarkar and Jagtap 2017) and polycystic ovary syndrome (Karandikar 2018). DasamUlarista has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory activity in carrageenan-induced rat paw edema models and cotton pellet-induced granuloma (Parekar et al. 2012).

Also, it is known that Dasamularista has peripheral as well as central analgesic activity in various animal models (Bhalerao et al. 2015).


Draksarista is a formulation with draksa (raisins) as the chief ingredient. It is primarily indicated in digestive impairment, respiratory disorders, weakness (Alam and Gupta 2018) and sciatica (pain which may arise from compression and/or irritation of one of five spinal nerve roots which give rise to each sciatic nerve). It is also effective as an appetizer. The mechanism of action of Draksarista is similar to that of the commonly used N.S.A.I.D.s. Hence, its traditional use in arthritis and lumbago stood the test of time, not by a mere placebo effect, but by the potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory molecules in this age-old ayurvedic medicine (Kabir et al. 2012).


Jirakdrista is used in irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, phthisis, postpartum fever and postpartum debility. It mainly acts on the digestive system and improves the digestive capacity. It reduces flatulence, bloating, excessive thirst, loose stools, and mucus content in the stool. It is also indicated in the management of respiratory disorders (Arun et al. 2016).


Kanakasava is a traditional formulation containing Dhatiira (Datura metel), Vasa (Adhatoda vasica), Dhataki (Woodfordia fruticosa) and Draksa (Vitis vinifera) as major ingredients. It is used in the treatment of pulmonary diseases including cough and asthma (Sadhna and Abbulu 2010). It also possesses immuno-stimulating properties (Sarker et al. 2014).


Kumaryasava is an ayurvedic formulation containing Aloe vera as the major crude drug, along with 17 other minor ingredients. It possesses antioxidant activity (Manmode et al. 2012) and is used in the treatment of liver disorders (Kataria and Singh 1997; Khan et al. 2015), abdominal lumps, epilepsy, digestive impairment and menopause (Bhaskar et al. 2009). According to Yogaratnakara, Kumaryasava helps in correcting the hormonal axis of sex hormone and cures the condition of amenorrhea (Kalaiselvan et al. 2010). It is also effective in improving the quality of life physically and mentally during the phase of menstruation affected by pain and it can be administered in dysmenorrhea associated with premenstrual syndrome (Lai et al. 2017).


Pippalyasava is a very good remedy which cures quickly tuberculosis, abdominal lumps, emaciation, irritable bowel syndrome (Sreedas and Girish 2013), anemia and piles (Singh et al. 2011). Pippalyasava is used as a carminative and in the treatment of dysentery and cough (Mansuri and Desai 2019).


Due to its unique processing, Vasarista becomes a very potent medicine and is therefore administered in a very low dose of 1 Masa, corresponding to 1 ml as per metric conversion. It acts as an expectorant and hence is effective in bronchitis and asthma (Santosh et al. 2003; Kamble et al. 2018).

Cūrṇa (Powders)

Avipattikara Cūrṇa

Avipattikara curna is a polyherbal ayurvedic formulation consisting of 14 ingredients viz., Zingiber officinale. Piper nigrum, Piper longum, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica, Emblica officinalis, Cyperus rotundas, vida lavana, Embelia ribes, Elettaria cardamomum, Cinnamomum tarnala, Syzgium aromaticum, Operculina turpethum and cane sugar (Chauhan et al. 2015). It is used as a remedy for hyperacidity, indigestion, anorexia, urinary retention, constipation and piles (Ram et al. 2009; Gyawali et al. 2013). Research evidence shows that Avipattikara ciirna possesses significant gastroprotective activity (Singhal 2016). An experimental study also suggests anti- ulcerogenic effect of Avipattikara curna (Gyawali et al. 2013). Another study reports that hydroalcoholic and methanolic extract of stem bark of Operculina turpethum (one of the main ingredients of Avipattikara ciirna) has enhanced ulcer preventive and protective activities w'hen compared to ranitidine (Ignatius et al. 2013). In vitro study reveals that aqueous and methanol extracts of Avipattikara ciirna exhibit antioxidant properties (Kaushik et al. 2009).

Dāḍimāṣṭaka Cūrṇa

Dadimastaka ciirna is a polyherbal formulation containing pomegranate as the main ingredient. It is mainly used in gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, indigestion, dysentery and loss of appetite (Pooja and Bhatted 2015; Priya and Hegde 2017; Narang and Herswani 2018; Narang et al. 2019). Dadimastaka ciirna is prepared by blending the pow'ders of the constituent herbs with sugar and traditionally it is recommended to take 3-5 g of the formulation with warm water or rice soup after the meal. However, it should be used cautiously with diabetic patients. The presence of several potent herbs makes this formulation ideal for treating digestive diseases (Narang and Herswani 2018).


The main ingredient is Haridra (turmeric), which is a potent anti-allergic drug, recommended in various allergic conditions, including skin allergies like itching, blisters and so on (Thakkar 2006; Mahima et al. 2012). It is also a well-known immunomodulator (Bhakti et al. 2009; Ailani et al. 2019) and is effective in the management of allergic rhinitis as well as urticaria (Sason and Sharma 2016; Gupta and Mamidi 2016a). Haridra is proven to have antihistaminic properties. It helps in promoting the physical and mental health of the patient (Bhakti et al. 2009; Dhiman 2014). It is found to be very effective in relieving uterine fibroid and inflammatory disorders (Arbar and Verma 2016).

Puṣyānuga Cūrṇa

Pusyanuga ciirna is one popular formulation described in Ayurveda. Pusyanuga ciirna consists of 25 crude herbs and one mineral drug gairika (red ocher) (Anonymous 1978b). Pusyanuga ciirna is prescribed for disorders like menorrhagia, leucorrhoea and disorders of the female genital tract (pradara roga) (Bhuvaneswari and Seetarama 2017; Shailajan et al. 2017). It is also found effective in polycystic ovary syndrome (Khandelwal and Dipti Nathani 2016).

Rajanyādi Cūrṇa

Rajanyddi ciirna is composed of eight crude drugs. This formulation is reputed to stimulate digestion and cure all diseases of children (Panchal and Rajani 2017). It is used in agnimdndya (impairment of digestion), diarrhea {atisard), fever (jvara), jaundice (kamala), pandit (anemia) and respiratory distress (svasa) (Nigamanand et al. 2016; Panda et al. 2017)

Rāsnādi Cūrṇa

Rasnddi curna is applied to the apex of the head and rubbed for a few seconds. This powder induces warmth in the head and keeps nasal congestion and related symptoms at bay (Janagal et al. 2017). Sirolepa (application of herbal paste on the scalp) with Rasnddi curna is indicated in fever, diseases occurring above the clavicle, giddiness and delirium (Chandran et al. 2018).

Vaiśvānara Cūrṇa

Vaisvanara curna is prepared by mixing appropriate quantities of rock salt, Trachyspermum ammi, Carum roxburghianum, Zingiber officinale and Terminalia chebula in a specific ratio. It is effective in the treatment of arthritis, constipation, abdominal pain, amavdta (rheumatoid arthritis), gulma (lump in the abdomen), hrdrdga (heart diseases), siila (pricking pain), pflha (splenic disorder) and granthi (swellings). It is also recommended for use as vidana samana (analgesic), sotha prasamana (anti-inflammatory) and vdtdnuldmana (facilitator of the natural movement of vdta, Anonymous 1978b). It helps in improving appetite and removal of abdominal gas and acts as a laxative. Trachyspermum ammi is a potent stimulant, antispasmodic and carminative in action, which are very helpful in digestive disorders (Bairwa et al. 2012). Similarly, antidiarrheal and antispasmodic effects of Carum roxburghianum, anti-emetic, anti-ulcerogenic, anticholinergic effect of Zingiber officinale and prokinetic effect of Terminalia chebula (Tamhane et al. 1997; Malhotra and Singh 2003; Khan et al. 2012) are responsible for the effectiveness of Vaisvanara curna in gastric disorders. In vitro efficacy of Vaisvanara ciirna as an antiurolithic agent (Ashok Kumar et al. 2013) and a laxative agent (Ashok Kumar et al. 2014) has been reported recently.

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