Ushira (Vetiveria zizanioides)

Basonym of Drug:

The basonym of the medicinal plant Ushira is Vetiveria zizanioides.

Main Sanskrit Synonyms:

In the realm of Ayurveda, Ushira is known by various Sanskrit synonyms, each encapsulating its distinctive attributes. Some primary Sanskrit synonyms of Ushira include:

  1. Ushira/Nalada : This is the primary Sanskrit name for Vetiver grass. It also signifies “fragrant” or “aromatic,” which reflects the plant’s characteristic pleasant aroma.

  2. Sugandhimula : “Sugandhimula” translates to “having fragrant roots.” This name emphasizes the aromatic quality of the plant’s roots, which are used in various preparations.

  3. Jalvasa: It grows near water resources like pond,river.
  4. Amrunala/ Mrunalaka: It looks similar to lotus stalk.

Regional Name (Vernacular Names):

Ushira is recognized by different vernacular names across regions:

  • English: Vetiver, Khus
  • Hindi: Khas
  • Tamil: Vettiver
  • Kannada: Lavancha
  • Telugu: Vettiveru
  • Malayalam: Ramacham

Scientific Classification of Dravya:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Monocots
  • Order: Poales
  • Family: Poaceae (Graminae)
  • Genus: Vetiveria
  • Species: zizanioides

Classical Classification of Dravya (Gana):

Charaka Samhita: Stanyajanana, Chhardinigrahana, Dahaprashamana, Tiktaskandha, Varnya, Shukrashodhana, Angamardaprashmana, 

Sushruta Samhita: Pittashamana, Sarivadi, Eladi

Vagbhata: Sarivadi

Bhavprakash Nighantu: Karpooradi Varga

External Morphology:

Ushira, or Vetiver, is a perennial grass that grows up to 1.5 meters in height. It has a robust and densely tufted root system that is highly aromatic. The leaves are long, thin, and linear, arranged in a fan-like manner. The inflorescence consists of erect spikes that bear small, fragrant flowers. The root system of Ushira is known for its distinct aroma, which is widely used in perfumery and as a cooling agent.

Useful Parts:

The most important and utilized part of Ushira is its roots. The roots are harvested, cleaned, and processed to extract the essential oil or used for various medicinal and aromatic purposes.

Important Phytoconstituents:

  1. Vetiverol: Vetiverol is a major constituent responsible for the distinct and pleasant fragrance of Ushira. It contributes to the plant’s aromatic quality and makes it valuable in perfumery and aromatherapy.

  2. Khusimol: Khusimol is another key compound responsible for the characteristic scent of Ushira. It is a sesquiterpene alcohol that contributes to the earthy, woody, and sweet aroma of the plant.

  3. β-Vetivone: This compound adds to Ushira’s fragrance complexity and is often used in perfumery. It has a unique scent profile that complements the other aromatic compounds found in the plant.

  4. α-Vetivone: Similar to β-vetivone, α-vetivone is a sesquiterpenoid that contributes to the fragrance of Ushira. It has potential anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties.

Rasa Panchaka:

Rasa (Predominant Taste): Tikta (Bitter), Madhura (Sweet)

Guna (Property): Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Dry)

Veerya (Potency): Sheeta (Cooling)

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

Prabhava: Shita-prashamana (Cooling)

Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala:

Dosha: Ushira has a balancing effect on “Pitta” and “Kapha” doshas, while it can aggravate “Vata” dosha in excess.

Dhatu (Tissue): It primarily acts on Rasa (plasma), Rakta (blood), and Mamsa (muscle) dhatus.

Mala (Waste Products): Ushira supports the elimination of waste products through its diuretic and mild laxative properties.

Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications):

Ushira is beneficial in managing various health conditions, including:

  1. Pitta Dosha Imbalance: Ushira has a cooling effect on the body, making it beneficial for managing conditions associated with excess Pitta dosha. It helps alleviate symptoms like acidity, inflammation, and heat-related issues.

  2. Jvara (Fever): Ushira’s cooling properties make it useful in managing fevers by helping to bring down body temperature and providing relief from fever-related discomfort.

  3. Raktapitta (Bleeding Disorders): Due to its cooling nature, Ushira is used in managing Raktapitta, a condition characterized by spontaneous bleeding. It helps promote clotting and reduce excessive bleeding.

  4. Atisara (Diarrhea) and Grahani Roga (Irritable Bowel Syndrome): Ushira’s cooling and astringent properties help manage conditions like diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome by reducing inflammation and promoting healthy bowel movements.

  5. Pruritus (Itching) and Kandu (Skin Itching): Ushira is used to alleviate itching and skin irritation due to its cooling and soothing properties. It may be used externally to relieve itching.

  6. Daha (Burning Sensation): Ushira’s cooling nature is employed to alleviate sensations of burning, especially in conditions like gastritis, acidity, and skin disorders.

  7. Stress and Anxiety: The calming and cooling properties of Ushira make it useful in managing stress and anxiety. It can help relax the mind and promote a sense of tranquility.

  8. Visarpa (Erysipelas) and Other Skin Infections: Ushira’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties are utilized in managing skin infections like erysipelas and other bacterial or fungal skin conditions.

  9. Kasa (Cough) and Shwasa (Respiratory Disorders): Ushira is used to manage respiratory issues by its expectorant and bronchodilatory properties. It helps clear the respiratory passages and soothe the airways.

  10. Netra Roga (Eye Disorders): Ushira is used in Ayurvedic eye washes and drops to soothe and cool the eyes, providing relief from eye strain and discomfort.

  11. Praseka (Excessive Salivation): Ushira’s astringent and cooling qualities can help manage excessive salivation.

  12. Aruchi (Loss of Appetite): Ushira’s aromatic properties can stimulate the appetite and aid in digestion.

  13. Visha Harana (Detoxification): Ushira is included in formulations to aid in detoxification and help remove toxins from the body.

  14. Rati Roga (Sexual Disorders): Ushira is believed to have aphrodisiac properties and may be used to support sexual health and vitality.

  15. Mutrakrichra (Dysuria): Ushira’s diuretic properties support the healthy flow of urine.

Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose):

Ushira can be used in various forms for therapeutic purposes:

  • Decoction: Ushira decoction can be prepared by boiling the roots in water. It is commonly used in the treatment of fever and urinary disorders.
  • Powder: Ushira root powder can be taken internally to manage bleeding disorders, fever, and excessive thirst.
  • Oil: Ushira oil is used in external applications to alleviate burning sensations, itching, and inflammation.

The dosage and form of administration may vary based on the specific health condition and the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner.

Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations):

Ushira is a key ingredient in various Ayurvedic formulations, some of which include:

  1. Usheeradi Kashaya: Usheeradi Kashaya is a decoction made from Ushira and other cooling herbs. It is used to manage conditions associated with excess heat and inflammation in the body, including fever and urinary tract infections.
  2. Ushirasava: Ushirasava is a fermented Ayurvedic liquid preparation that contains Ushira as a key ingredient. It is used to alleviate conditions associated with excess heat in the body, such as fever, burning sensations, and skin disorders.
  3. Shadangapaniya: It is useful in Fever.

Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects):

When used in appropriate amounts and under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner, Ushira is generally considered safe. However, excessive use might lead to increased Vata dosha and cause issues like dryness, lightness, and nervousness.

Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures):

In case of any adverse effects or imbalances, the following remedial measures can be taken:

  • Vata Imbalance: If Ushira leads to increased Vata, it can be balanced by consuming warm, nourishing foods, practicing regular oil massages, and engaging in calming activities.
  • Dryness: To counter dryness caused by excessive Ushira, maintaining hydration, applying moisturizing oils, and consuming nourishing foods is recommended.

Shodhana (Purification Method):

There is no specific purification method mentioned for Ushira. However, using organic or naturally grown plants and ensuring proper cleaning and processing of the roots can enhance its quality.

Please note that the information provided is for educational purposes and should not replace professional medical advice. It’s advisable to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before using Ushira for any therapeutic purposes.

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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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