Shalaparni(Desmodium gangeticum)

Basonym of Drug

Shalaparni, a revered herb in Ayurveda, is scientifically known as Desmodium gangeticum. Let’s embark on a journey to unravel the diverse dimensions of this botanical treasure.

Main Sanskrit Synonyms

Shalaparni’s significance is mirrored in its Sanskrit synonyms, each encapsulating its unique attributes. Some primary Sanskrit synonyms of Shalaparni include:

  1. Shalaparni: The very name signifies the plant’s characteristic “leaflet-like” appearance, contributing to its botanical identity.
  2. Shwetaparni: “Shweta” translates to “white,” emphasizing the plant’s light-colored flowers or its potential to promote a state of purity.
  3. Vidarigandha: It smells like Vidari.
  4. Anshumati: It has fibrous root.
  5. Sthira: It strengthens the body.
  6. Dirghanghri: It has very log root.
  7. Guha: Its roots goes very deep in soil.
  8. Shophaghni: It reduces oedema.

Regional Name (Vernacular Names)

Shalaparni’s influence is acknowledged across regions through vernacular names:

  • Hindi: Salparni, Sarivan
  • English: Country borage, white head, hog weed
  • Tamil: Pulladi
  • Telugu: Gitanaram
  • Malayalam: Pullati
  • Marathi: Salavan
  • Bengali: Shalparni

Scientific Classification of Dravya

Shalaparni finds its place in the scientific classification as follows:

  • Kingdom: Plantae (Plants)
  • Clade: Angiosperms (Flowering plants)
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Clade: Rosids
  • Order: Fabales
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Genus: Desmodium
  • Species: gangeticum

Classical Classification of Dravya (Gana)

Charaka Samhita: Angamardaprashmana, Balya, Madhuraskandha, Snehopaga, Svayathuhara.

Sushruta Samhita: Vidharigandhadi, laghu Panchmoola

External Morphology

Shalaparni’s distinctive external features contribute to its botanical identity:

  • Leaves: The leaves are trifoliate, resembling a “Shala” or “Shala leaflet,” contributing to the herb’s Sanskrit name.
  • Flowers: Shalaparni bears white or pale pink flowers that bloom in clusters.
  • Fruits: The plant produces small, flat pods containing seeds.

Useful Parts

Shalaparni’s therapeutic value resides in various plant parts:

  • Roots
  • Whole Plant

Important Phytoconstituents

Shalaparni’s pharmacological attributes are attributed to various phytoconstituents, including:

  1. Alkaloids: Shalaparni contains alkaloids that contribute to its potential therapeutic effects.
  2. Flavonoids: These compounds are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may play a role in Shalaparni’s benefits.

Rasa Panchaka:

Rasa (Predominant Taste): Shalaparni primarily embodies the “Madhura” (sweet) and “Tikta” (bitter) taste, contributing to its unique characteristics.

Guna (Property): The qualities of Shalaparni encompass “Guru” (heaviness) and “Snigdha” (unctuousness), shaping its pharmacological properties.

Veerya (Potency): Shalaparni’s potency is classified as “Ushna” (hot), implying its soothing and cooling influence on the body.

Vipaka (Post-digestive Effect): Shalaparni’s post-digestive transformation (Vipaka) is “Madhura” (sweet), indicating its potential to provide nourishment even after digestion.

Prabhava: Shalaparni’s unique efficacy, known as “Prabhava,” manifests in its specific ability to promote well-being beyond its basic taste and properties.

Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala:

Dosha: Shalaparni primarily works to balance all three doshas (Tridoshashamaka)

Dhatu: Shalaparni’s effects extend to the “Rasa” dhatu (plasma), “Mamsa” dhatu (muscle tissue), and “Meda” dhatu (adipose tissue), reflecting its potential benefits in these tissues.

Mala: Shalaparni’s ability to balance the doshas contributes to its effect on the balanced elimination of waste products (malas) from the body.

Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications):

Shalaparni’s therapeutic applications encompass a variety of health concerns, highlighting its potential to address various imbalances:

  1. Joint Health: Shalaparni’s balancing effect on Vata dosha makes it valuable in managing joint discomfort, stiffness, and conditions like arthritis. Its cooling nature can help soothe inflamed joints and support overall joint mobility.

  2. Muscle Wellness: The influence of Shalaparni on the “Mamsa” dhatu (muscle tissue) underscores its potential to promote muscle health and function. It may aid in maintaining muscle tone and flexibility.

  3. Digestive Harmony: Shalaparni’s “Madhura” taste and cooling potency contribute to its role in maintaining digestive balance. It may help alleviate symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and other digestive discomforts.

  4. Respiratory Health: Shalaparni’s soothing properties can extend to the respiratory system. It may help manage conditions like cough, bronchitis, and respiratory congestion, providing relief and comfort.

  5. Nervous System Support: Its ability to balance Vata dosha can have a positive impact on the nervous system. Shalaparni might help in managing nervous tension, stress, and promoting a calm and balanced state of mind.

  6. Skin Wellness: Shalaparni’s cooling properties may be beneficial for skin-related imbalances. It could help manage skin inflammation, irritation, and promote overall skin health.

  7. Female Health: Shalaparni’s Vata-balancing potential can extend to female health concerns. It might help manage discomfort associated with menstrual cycles and support overall reproductive well-being.

  8. Liver Health: Its potential to balance Pitta dosha can be advantageous for liver health. Shalaparni might contribute to promoting healthy liver function and supporting detoxification processes.

  9. Anti-inflammatory Effects: Shalaparni’s anti-inflammatory properties may aid in managing conditions characterized by inflammation, such as arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.

  10. Cardiovascular Health: Its potential to balance doshas can contribute to maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Shalaparni may help manage blood pressure and support overall heart health.

  11. Immune Support: Shalaparni’s potential to balance doshas may contribute to its immune-supporting properties. It might aid in enhancing the body’s natural defense mechanisms.

  12. Metabolic Balance: Its effect on doshas and tissues might play a role in maintaining metabolic balance. Shalaparni could help support healthy metabolism and digestion.

Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose):

Shalaparni is typically administered in various forms:

  1. Decoction: The traditional way to consume Shalaparni is by preparing a decoction from its parts. A recommended dosage would be around 50-100 ml, under professional guidance.

Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations):

Shalaparni is often a key ingredient in various Ayurvedic formulations, contributing to their potential therapeutic effects. Some formulations containing Shalaparni are:

  1. Dashamoola Kwath: This formulation often combines Shalaparni with other herbs from the Dashamoola group to support overall well-being.
  2. Dashamoolarishtam: A fermented formulation used for post-partum care.
  3. Amritarishtam: A fermented formulation used in fever.
  4. Mritasanjeevani Sura: It is used to improve immunity and to gain weight.
  5. Shalaparnyadi Kwath: It helps to manage fever due to its antipyretic property.

Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects):

Shalaparni, when used in appropriate dosages and under professional guidance, is generally safe and well-tolerated. However, excessive consumption may lead to digestive discomfort or adverse effects on some individuals.

Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures):

In case of adverse effects due to Shalaparni consumption, consider these measures:

  1. Dosage Adjustment: If digestive discomfort occurs, adjusting the dosage and seeking professional advice can help alleviate the issue.

Shodhana (Purification Method):

Shalaparni doesn’t typically require specific purification methods before use.


Shalaparni, scientifically known as Desmodium gangeticum, emerges as a jewel in Ayurveda’s treasure trove of healing herbs. Its Rasa Panchaka, therapeutic indications, and potential formulations underline its potential contributions to holistic health. Responsible and informed use, guided by a qualified practitioner, ensures that Shalaparni’s benefits are harnessed while minimizing any risks. This article provides insights into Shalaparni’s multi-faceted nature and its potential to enhance well-being, underlining Ayurveda’s profound approach to holistic health.

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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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