Ashoka (Saraca indica)

Ashoka (Saraca indica): The Symbol of Feminine Vitality in Ayurveda

Basonym of Drug: The medicinal herb known as Ashoka is scientifically referred to as Saraca indica.

Main Synonyms: In Ayurveda, Ashoka is known by various synonyms, including:

  1. Ashoka
  2. Hemapushpa
  3. Vanjulam
  4. Ashokabriksha
  5. Kankeli

Regional Name: Ashoka is also known by different names in various regional languages. Some common regional names include:

  • Hindi: Ashoka
  • Bengali: Ashok
  • Kannada: Ashoka
  • Malayalam: Ashoka
  • Marathi: Ashoka
  • Tamil: Ashokam
  • Telugu: Ashoka

Botanical Name: The botanical name of Ashoka is Saraca indica.

Family: Ashoka belongs to the Caesalpiniaceae family.

Classification of Dravya (Gana) as described in Charak and Sushrut: In the classical Ayurvedic texts of Charak and Sushrut, Ashoka is classified as follows:

  • Charak: Ashoka is categorized under the group of “Stanyashodhana,” which means it is used to purify and maintain the health of breast milk in lactating mothers.
  • Sushrut: In Sushrut Samhita, Ashoka is classified as an “Agnikrit,” indicating its ability to balance digestive fire and promote digestion.

External Morphology: Ashoka is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree with dense, dark green foliage. The tree bears beautiful, fragrant, and ornamental orange-red flowers in clusters, which adds to its aesthetic appeal.

Useful Parts: The useful parts of Ashoka are primarily the bark, leaves, flowers, and seeds.

Important Phytoconstituents: Ashoka contains various phytochemicals, including tannins, flavonoids, glycosides, and essential oils.

Rasa Panchaka: The Rasa Panchaka (five tastes) of Ashoka is as follows:

  • Rasa (Taste): Bitter (Tikta), Astringent (Kashaya)
  • Guna (Quality): Light (Laghu), Dry (Ruksha)
  • Virya (Potency): Cool (Shita)
  • Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): Pungent (Katu)

Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala: Ashoka primarily pacifies the Pitta and Kapha doshas. It acts on the Rakta (blood) dhatu and has an effect on the Mutra (urine).

Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications): Ashoka is utilized in Ayurvedic medicine for various therapeutic purposes, including:

  • Women’s Health: Ashoka is particularly beneficial for women’s reproductive health. It supports the healthy functioning of the female reproductive system, regulates menstrual cycles, and helps manage menstrual disorders like dysmenorrhea.

  • Uterine Tonic: Ashoka is considered a potent uterine tonic and is beneficial in conditions like uterine fibroids and other uterine abnormalities.

  • Postpartum Care: Ashoka is often used to support postpartum recovery and promote lactation in new mothers.

  • Antipyretic: Ashoka has antipyretic properties and may help in managing fever.

  • Digestive Health: Ashoka aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system and alleviates digestive disturbances.

Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose): Ashoka can be administered in various forms, including decoctions, powders, and extracts. The dosage and mode of administration depend on the specific condition and the individual’s constitution. Commonly used forms and doses include:

  • Decoction: 50-100 ml, once or twice a day
  • Powder: 3-6 grams, once or twice a day
  • Extracts and Formulations: As prescribed by an Ayurvedic practitioner

Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations): Ashoka is an integral component of several Ayurvedic formulations used for women’s health and postpartum care.

Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects): Ashoka is generally safe when used in prescribed doses. However, it is advisable to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner before using it during pregnancy and lactation.

Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures): Ashoka should be used under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. Proper dosing and considering an individual’s specific health conditions are essential aspects of its therapeutic application.

Shodhana (If Required): Ashoka does not typically require shodhana (purification) procedures.

Ashoka, the symbol of feminine vitality, plays a vital role in promoting women’s reproductive health and overall well-being. Its unique properties make it a cherished herb in Ayurveda, offering comprehensive support for women’s health concerns.

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