Basonym of Drug

The basonym of the medicinal plant Gunja is Abrus precatorius.

Main Sanskrit Synonyms

Gunja is known by several names in Sanskrit, each reflecting its unique properties and uses. Some main Sanskrit synonyms include:

  1. Gunja: Refers to the seeds of the plant, symbolizing its significance in traditional rituals and practices.
  2. Raktika/Tamra/Tamrika: Denotes the plant’s red-colored seeds, indicating its vibrant appearance.
  3. Krishnala: Describes the black and red seeds, highlighting the dual colors of the seeds.
  4. Kakanasa: Signifies the resemblance of the seeds to the eyes of a crow, connecting its appearance with nature.
  5. Durmoha: Excess intake causes unconciousness.
  6. Bahuvirya: It is a high potent herb.

Regional Name (Vernacular names)

Gunja is recognized by various regional names, showcasing its prevalence and importance across different cultures and regions. Some common vernacular names are:

  • English: Rosary pea, Crab’s eye
  • Hindi: Gunja, Rati, Ghunghachi, Chanoti, Rotti
  • Tamil: Kundumani, Cuncumani
  • Bengali: Latkan,Kunja
  • Telugu: Gonyali,Muriminj
  • Marathi: Gunja
  • Gujrati: Chamothi

Scientific Classification of Dravya

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Angiosperms
  • Class: Eudicots
  • Order: Fabales
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Genus: Abrus
  • Species: precatorius

Classical Classification of Dravya (Gana)

Sushruta Samhita: In Sushruta’s classification, Gunja is categorized as a “Visha Dravya”,”Moola Visha” indicating its toxic nature.

Bhavprakash Nighantu: Guduchyadi varga, Upavisha

External Morphology

Gunja is a slender, twining shrub that can grow up to 5 meters in height. It bears pinnately compound leaves, with small leaflets arranged alternately along the stem. The plant is known for its distinct scarlet and black seeds, which are enclosed in a bright red pod.

Useful Parts

The seeds of Gunja are the most utilized parts for their medicinal properties. However, the entire plant, including leaves and roots, also holds therapeutic value and is used in traditional preparations.

Important Phytoconstituents

Gunja owes its pharmacological effects to a variety of phytoconstituents present in different parts of the plant. Some of the notable constituents include:

  • Abrin: A potent toxin found in the seeds, which can be fatal if ingested.
  • Alkaloids: These compounds contribute to the plant’s toxic and medicinal effects.
  • Flavonoids: These are antioxidant compounds present in various parts of the plant.
  • Triterpenoids: They are responsible for anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory actions.

Rasa Panchaka:

Rasa (Predominant Taste): Tikta (Bitter), Kashaya(Astringent) [Madhura(sweet)- Roots]

Guna (Property): Laghu(Light), Ruksha(Dry),Teekshna(Penetrating) [Snigdha(Unctuous)- Roots]

Veerya (Potency): Ushna (Hot)

Vipaka (Post-digestive effect): Katu(Pungent)

Prabhava: Vriddhiprada (Promotes growth)

Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala:

Dosha: Pacifies Kapha and Vata doshas; [Tridoshahara- Roots and Leaves]

Dhatu (Tissues): Acts primarily on Rasa (plasma), Rakta (blood), and Asthi (bones)

Mala (Waste Products): Supports elimination of Ama (undigested toxins)

Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications):

Gunja is indicated in various health conditions, including:

  1. Worm Infestations (Krimi Roga): Gunja is traditionally used to expel various types of intestinal worms and parasites from the digestive tract. It is particularly effective against roundworms and tapeworms, making it valuable in treating worm infestations.

  2. Skin Disorders (Twak Roga): Gunja’s anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties make it useful in managing various skin conditions. It can be applied topically to treat skin infections, eczema, itching, and other dermatological issues.

  3. Rheumatoid Arthritis (Amavata): Gunja’s potential to alleviate inflammation and pacify aggravated Vata and Kapha doshas makes it beneficial in managing joint disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. It may help reduce pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints.

  4. Digestive Issues (Agni Dushti): Gunja’s mild digestive stimulant properties can be utilized to improve digestion and address sluggish digestion. It may help enhance appetite and alleviate digestive discomfort caused by ama (undigested toxins).

  5. Respiratory Problems (Shwasa-Roga): Gunja’s warming and expectorant properties can be used to address respiratory issues like cough, asthma, and bronchitis. It may help in expelling mucus and clearing the respiratory passages.

  6. Inflammatory Conditions (Shotha): Gunja’s anti-inflammatory properties contribute to its potential in managing various inflammatory conditions in the body, including swelling and pain.

  7. Fever (Jwara): In some cases, Gunja may be used as an adjunct to other herbs to help reduce fever and manage associated symptoms.

Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose):

Gunja is used in different formulations and dosages based on the specific condition and individual’s constitution. It is generally administered in the form of decoctions, powders, or pastes. Dosage should be taken under expert supervision due to its potential toxicity.

Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations):

Gunja is a crucial ingredient in certain Ayurvedic formulations, including:

  • Krimighna Kashayam: A decoction used for expelling worms and parasites.
  • Gunjadi Churna: A powdered formulation for managing skin disorders and worms.
  • Gunjabhadra Rasa: This herbal formulation is used in the treatment of muscular dystrophy.
  • Neelibnringadi Tailam: It is used to treat premature graying, baldness, split hairs, hair loss, scalp itching and dandruff.
  • Sarivadi Vati: It is an Ayurvedic tablet used in treating hearing problems such as tinnitus, ear infection etc.
  • Gunja Taila: It is used in skin disorders.

Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects):

Gunja seeds contain the toxic compound abrin, which can lead to severe poisoning if ingested. The symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and even death. Extreme caution is necessary when using Gunja, and it should never be consumed internally.

Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures):

In case of accidental ingestion or poisoning, immediate medical attention is crucial. Activated charcoal and supportive care may be administered to counteract the effects of the toxin.

Shodhana (Purification method):

Due to its toxic nature,Gunja seeds is processed by using Godugdha (cow’s milk) or Kanji or Nimbu swarasa.

Gunja’s multifaceted properties make it a versatile herb in Ayurvedic medicine. However, its toxicity underscores the importance of proper knowledge, usage, and expert guidance to harness its potential benefits while avoiding harm. Always consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before using Gunja for any therapeutic purpose.

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Note: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with a qualified healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of any other medical condition.

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