Bhanga – Cannabis sativa

Introduction to Bhanga (Cannabis sativa)-

  • Botanical Name of Bhanga is Cannabis sativa.
  • Family of Bhanga is cannabinacae.

Ayurveda, science of life needs basically the knowledge of drugs comprehensively for the purpose of therapeutics, Pharmaceutics and the objects of preservation of health, prevention of diseases and curative measures. Works on the particular medical plants are going on for the consolidation, compilation and presentation of material that is related to the particular drugs in the English medicine, by combining the Sanskrit explanation of the drug with the modern pharmacognosy.

bhanga - cannabis sativaHere is an article on medicinal plant Bhanga (cannabis sativa) is presented to you. The drug has been mentioned from the Vedic period itself in the name of “Vijaya” in therapeutics. Recent studies on this drug have proved its role in the therapeutic as antispasmodic, anesthetic, aphrodisiac, appetizer, expectorant etc. Also, the plant carries Ethno-botanical importance, which also included its use in religion purpose like in the worship of lord Shiva.

Cultivation and import and export of the drug and related products are under the license of Govt. of India, as per legislative procedures.


Literary Review of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) is the drug famous for its Narcotic resin. In classics this drug is famous by the name Bhanga, Vijaya etc. There is no exact reference told in Samhitas like Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Vagbhata’s Ashtanga Hridayam does not include in the therapeutics but the use of the drug beings from the Nighantu period.

  • Bhavaprakasha mentions the therapeutic effect of the drug in Atisaradhikara chapter.
  • Raja nighantu gives the effects and therapeutic uses of Bhanga.
  • In the Shodala nighantu, there is a reference of Bhanga.
  • In Nasadhikara, Bhavaprakasha mentioned the therapeutic use of Bhanga.
  • Chakradatta mentioned in the kushtha chikitsa, it is having the property of removing the external germs.
  • In modern texts of medicinal plants there is a wide explanation of drug (cannabis sativa) for its narcotic utilities.

Systemic Classification of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

  • Kingdom – Plantae
  • Sub kingdom – Phenerogamae
  • Division – Angiospermae
  • Class – Dicotyledon
  • Subclass – Monochlamydeae
  • Series – Unisexuales
  • Order – urticales
  • Family – Cannabinaceae
  • Genus – Cannabis
  • Species – Sativa

Vernacular Names of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

Bhanga (cannabis sativa) has different name in different locale and language, have a look below –

  • Arabic – Hinab, Kanab, Kinnab, Naba tulqunenals
  • Assami – Dai ma
  • Bengal – Bhang, Ganja, Sidhi
  • Burma – Ben, Bin, Sechaub, Sejarbim
  • Kannada – Bhangi, Bhangigida, Bhangisoppu
  • Chinese – Fuma, ma , Tama, Tang ma
  • Deccan – Ganja, Sidhi
  • Dutch – Hennip, Indische hennepkrid , Kennip
  • English – Indian hemp
  • French – Cannibis, Canaban, Candi, Caneba, Cannab, Chambric, Chamust, Canvre indien, chauvetion
  • German – Hanf, Indischer
  • Greek – Kannabis
  • Gujrati – Bhang, Ganja
  • Hindi – Bhang, Charas, Ganja, Ganjaekaper, Gur
  • Hungarian – Indiai Kinder
  • Italian – Canapa, Canape, Canape Indiana
  • Kashmir – Bhangi
  • Konkani – Bhang
  • Madagascar – Jea Sarama
  • Malaya – Foh Mah
  • Malayalam – Cherukam hava, Ginjinachilachi, Kanecharachetto
  • Marathi – Bhang, Bhanga, chajmada
  • Mexican – Maerihuana
  • Morocco – Hutchis
  • Rumanian – Canipa
  • Russian – Konaplya
  • Spanish – Bhangane de la India, Cannamo, Canamo Indiana
  • Swedish – tlamp
  • Tamil – Bhangi, Ganjam , Kalpam, Korkkamuchi
  • Telugu – Bhagiaku, Ganjachettu, kalpa mechettu
  • Turkish – Hint heneviri

Distributions and Habitat of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

Bhanga is distributed throughout India, wild variety in the west Himalayas and Central Asia. It is cultivated in tropical and temperate regions, in warm valleys of Himalayas, in Himachal Pradesh, and in adjoining plains from Kashmir eastwards to Assam. It is also grown in Uttar Pradesh , Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. Some wild variety growth is reported from Tamil Nadu, Rajastan, Bihar and Kerala. Bhanga usually grows almost in all parts of India, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq.

Parts Used of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

  • Tender Leaves
  • Seeds
  • Resin

Tender leaves and seeds in a tender branch is called ‘Bhang’

Female cluster flower containing resin is called ‘Ganja’

A substance resembling resin derived from this plant is called ‘Charas’.

Chemical Composition of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

Following chemical constituents are found in Bhanga (cannabis sativa) – Cannabinoids, resinous exudates, cannabidiol, cannabinol, cannatrichomere, cannabicitran, canbicyclol Cannabispiran, iso cannabrispiran, dehydro cannabispiran, tetrahydrocannabinol, 1-dehydro cannabidiol and other phinolic compounds along with eugenol, guacol, amino acids c-glycosy – favamaids.

Ayurvedic Properties of of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

  • Rasa – Tikta
  • Guna – Laghu , Ruksha, Theekshna, Vyavayi
  • Veerya- Ushna
  • Vipaka- Katu
  • Prabhava – Madaka, Nidrajanaka, Mohakara.
  • Doshaghnata – Vata Kapha Shamaka

Purification of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

Bhanga is purified by giving Swedana in Dola Yantra, using Ksheera as drava dravya for one Prahara (3 hours). After swedana, it is washed, dried and roasted with Ghee on a low flame.

Actions of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

  • Sangyahara (Anesthetic/ sedative)
  • Vrishya (Aphrodisiac)
  • Deepaka (Appetizer)
  • Stambaka
  • Pitta rechaka (Purgative)
  • Pralapaka (Convulsing)
  • Pachaka (Digestive)
  • Mutrala (diuretic)
  • Nadi Uttejaka (nerve stimulant)
  • Kapha Nissaraka (expectorant)
  • Swedya (causes perspiration)
  • Nidra Janaka (sedative)

Indications of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

  • Akshepaka (convulsions)
  • Mootra krichha (dysuria)
  • Nidranasha (Insomnia)
  • Agnimandya (loss of appetite)
  • Jwara (fever)
  • Kasa(cough) and shwasa (asthma)
  • Atisaara (diarrhea and dysentery)

Dosage of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

  • Bhanga Patra (leaves) – 2-4 grains
  • Ganja – 1-2 grain
  • Charas – ½ grain

Bhanga is a poisonous herb and used as narcotic. It is not recommended for minors and should not be taken without doctor’s advice.

Bad Effects of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

After oral administration, within ½ an hour, the toxic symptom appears. It occurs in 2 stages –

  1. Primary Stage

In this stage the symptoms are like –

  • Vertigo
  • Excessive laughing
  • Incoherent Speech
  • Delirium
  • Tingling Sensation in skin
  • Numbness in skin
  • Feeling laxity
  • Drowsiness

Also, in this stage the person sometime becomes violent. After drowsiness, patient enters into secondary stage.

  1. Secondary stage

The intoxication becomes more severe and the person passes into a stage of deep sleep. Generally this doesn’t cause death of patient. But if patient dies, it is due to respiratory arrest. Emergency treatment is necessary, so hospitalization is required.

Therapeutic Uses of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

Bhanga is a poisonous herb. It is not recommended for minors and should not be taken without doctor’s advice.

  1. Bhanga and ganja are used as appetizer, nervous stimulate and in bowel complaints.
  2. Seeds are roasted and eaten along with food to increase taste and appetite.
  3. Leaves are used as snuff and given internally to relieve pain and smelling orchitis, leaf juice destroys worms.
  4. Syrup prepared from cannabis indica is given in small doses during convalescent stage after diarrhoaea.
  5. Seed and seed oil is diuretic, anti diarrhoeal, beneficial in chronic rheumatism and has action like ergot in delivery cases.
  6. Plant is used as tonic, analgesic, anti septic useful in gonorrhoea, meanorrhagia and Cholera.
  7. Decoction of plant is also used in dysentery.

Vishitha Yoga (Pharmaceutical Preparations) of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

  • Jatiphaladi choorna
  • Vijaya vatika
  • Madanananda modaka
  • Indrasara choorna
  • Vedanantaka rasa
  • Kameshwara modaka

Photographs of Bhanga (Cannabis sativa) –

Bhanga - cannabis sativa Bhanga - cannabis sativa Bhanga - cannabis sativa Bhanga - cannabis sativa Bhanga - cannabis sativa Bhanga - cannabis sativa Bhanga - cannabis sativa bhanga - cannabis sativa

Image source- 

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