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Arishtaka – Sapindus trifoliatus

Introduction of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus – 

The herb Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus is ascribed with extra ordinary healing and occult power and is widely used in Visha roga (poison and toxicity). Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus is commonly known as Ritha in Hindi and used to wash hairs for its rejuvenation and growth.

  • Botanical name of Arishtaka is Sapindus trifoliatus.Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus
  • Family name of Arishtaka is Sapindaceae.

Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus has other two varieties, viz –

  • Sapindus laurifolius Vahl.
  • Sapindus mukorossi Gaertt.

Literary Review of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus – 

Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus is mentioned in various Ayurvedic classics.

  • Arishtaka is described in the nighantu, mainly as abortoficiant.
  • Pandit Narahari mentioned it as a good remedy for Kushtha (skin diseases), Kandu (itching), Visha (toxicity) and Visphota (boils).
  • Prof. P.V. Sharma considered that Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus is south Indian variety and Sapindus mukorossi is north Indian variety.
  • Bhavaprakasha mentioned it as a good remedy for snake bite.
  • Kaiyadeva nighantu mentioned it as a good remedy for krimi rogas (worm infestation). Also it is used in kushtha (skin disease), visarpa (erysipelas), kandu (itching) etc.
  • Dhanwantari Nighantu is the one, that gives elaborated idea of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus with its action and uses.

Varieties of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus –

  1. Chhota Ritha – Sapindus trifoliatus
  2. Bada Ritha – Sapindus mukorossi

Vernacular Names (names in different languages) Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus – 

  • English – Soap nut
  • Hindi – Ritha
  • Sanskrit – Arishtaka
  • Kannada – Kookata Kayi
  • Malayalam – Chavakagi maram
  • Telugu – kunkudu chetu
  • Tamil – Pannonkottai
  • Bengal – Bara Mitha
  • Urdu – Ritha
  • Gujarati – Arothan

Useful Parts of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus – 

  • Fruit (nut pulp or epicarp)
  • Leaves, root and bark.

Chemical Constituents of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus – 

The fruits of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus contain saponin 11.5 %, sugar 10 %, and some mucilage.

Seeds yield 30% oil, It is a rich source of n- licosanic.  Acid

Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus also contains –

  • Hederagin
  • Oleanotic acid
  • Sapindic acid
  • Sapindocide A & B
  • Trifolioside II

Ayurvedic Categorization of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus – 

Charaka Samhita – Prajasthapanadi

Vagbhatta – Guduchyadi Gana, Pheniladi Gana

Ayurvedic Properties of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus – 

  • Rasa – Tikta, katu
  • Guna – Laghu, Teekshna
  • Veerya – Ushna
  • Vipaka – Katu
  • Doshaghnata – Tridoshahara

Therapeutic Uses of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus –  

External Uses – Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus is used externally for various ailments.

  • Anti inflammatory – A paste of pulp with vinegar on suitable liquids is applied topically.
  • For poison – Pulp of fruit is applied over affected parts.
  • Antihelmintic – Roots and fruits both are given as antihelmintic.
  • Antiseptic – Fruit pulp (epicarp) of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus is taken and applied over particular area.
  • In Snake bite – Fruit mixed with water and used as anjana.
  • In Shotha (inflammatory conditions) – A paste of pulp with vinegar is applied topically.
  • Sandivata (osteoarthritis), Amavata (rheumatoid arthritis) – Upanaha sweda (paultice) with leaves and bark.

Internal Uses of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus – 

  • Digestive system – Carminative, appetizer, antacid and anti helmentic in nature.
  • Circulatory System – It is a blood purifier.
  • It is used in rheumatoid arthritis, gout and paralysis.
  • Respiratory System – The powder of fruits of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus is used in bronchitis and asthma as decongestant.
  • Urinary System – It is diuretic and reduces ph of urine. It is also used in nephritis condition.
  • Skin – It is anti pruritic hence used in dermatitis, leprosy, skin eruptions, boils and glandular infections.
  • Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus is useful as Garbhapathaka (prevents miscarriage). Fruit pulp is given in this condition.
  • For Vamana – Fruit or Pericarp of fruit is given internally.
  • In Asthma – Few drops of a thick solution of pulp is placed for snuff in the nose.
  • Diarrhoea – Pulp is given internally.

Actions of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus –

  • Vamaka (emetic)
  • Rechaka (purgative)
  • Krimighna (anti helmintic)
  • Madaka (sedative)
  • Rakta shodhaka (blood purifier)
  • Kushthaghna (cures sking ailments)
  • Lekhana (exfoliation and scrapping)
  • Vedana sthapana (analgesic)
  • Shodhana (detoxification)

Indications of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus –

  • Krimi Roga (worm infestation)
  • Medo Roga (obesity)
  • Rakta Roga (disease related with blood)
  • Kushtha Roga (skin diseases)
  • Kandu Roga (itching)
  • Visha Roga (toxicity and poison)
  • Shotha Roga (inflammatory conditions)
  • Vedana Vikara (painful conditions)
  • Kasa shwasa Roga (respiratory illness)
  • Visphota (boils)

Dosage of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus – 

Choorna (powder) – 1 – 3 gm

Kwatha (decoction) – 20 ml

Available Medicines with Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus as an ingredient – 

Vatari  Guggulu

Photographs of Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus – 

(Click on image to zoom)

Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus Arishtaka Sapindus trifoliatus

(Image source –