Ativisha (Aconitum heterophyllum)

Ativisha (Aconitum heterophyllum): The Potent Antidote of Ayurveda

Basonym of Drug: The medicinal herb known as Ativisha is scientifically referred to as Aconitum heterophyllum.

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

  1. Vishatinduka
  2. Vatsanabha
  3. Atiya
  4. Akopana
  5. Vishalya

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

  • Hindi: Atis
  • Bengali: Ativisha
  • Kannada: Ativisha
  • Malayalam: Atividayam
  • Marathi: Ativisha
  • Tamil: Atividayam
  • Telugu: Ativishamu

Botanical Name: The botanical name of Ativisha is Aconitum heterophyllum.

Family: Ativisha belongs to the Ranunculaceae family.

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

  • Charak: Ativisha is categorized under the group of “Vishaghna,” which means it possesses antidote properties and can counteract poison.
  • Sushrut: In Sushrut Samhita, Ativisha is classified as “Vishahara,” indicating its effectiveness in treating poisoning and toxic conditions.

External Morphology: Ativisha is a perennial herb with greenish-brown roots and stems. The leaves are broadly ovate, and the flowers are pale blue or violet. The plant has a distinctive, pungent odor.

Useful Parts: The useful part of Ativisha is the rhizome (root).

Important Phytoconstituents: Ativisha contains various alkaloids, including aconitine, pseudaconitine, and heterophylline, which contribute to its medicinal properties.

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

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

Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala: Ativisha primarily pacifies the Kapha and Vata doshas. It acts on the Rakta (blood) and Asthi (bone) dhatus and has an effect on the Purisha (stool).

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

  • Antidote for Poisoning: Ativisha is a potent antidote for various poisonous substances and is used in cases of snake bites and poisoning.

  • Fever and Infections: It is beneficial in reducing fever and treating infections.

  • Digestive Disorders: Ativisha helps in managing digestive disorders like diarrhea and dysentery.

  • Respiratory Conditions: It is used in respiratory ailments like cough and bronchitis.

  • Gastrointestinal Disorders: Ativisha aids in the treatment of gastric ulcers and peptic ulcers.

Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose): Ativisha is commonly administered in the form of a decoction. The dosage depends on the specific condition and the individual’s constitution. Commonly used doses include:

  • Decoction: 30-60 ml, once or twice a day

Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations): Ativisha is an important ingredient in various Ayurvedic formulations, especially those used to treat poisoning and fever.

Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects): Ativisha should be used with caution, as it contains potent alkaloids that can be toxic in high doses. It should only be used under the supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.

Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures): Ativisha should be used judiciously and only when required. It is essential to consult an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner for its proper administration and dosing.

Shodhana (If Required): Ativisha rhizome may undergo shodhana (purification) procedures to reduce its toxicity before use.

Ativisha, the powerful antidote of Ayurveda, is highly valued for its ability to counteract poisoning and manage various health conditions. Its cautious use under expert guidance ensures its safe and effective therapeutic application.

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