Medicinal Plant Shweta Chandana: Exploring Nature’s Healing Touch
Basonym of Drug
The botanical wonder known as Shweta Chandana is scientifically referred to as Santalum album. This name holds a significant place in the realm of both botanical studies and traditional medicine.
Main Sanskrit Synonyms
In the ancient and revered texts of Ayurveda, Shweta Chandana is adorned with various Sanskrit synonyms that highlight its unique attributes and therapeutic potential. Some of the main Sanskrit synonyms of Shweta Chandana include:
- “Shweta” translates to “white” in Sanskrit, which directly refers to the pale color of the heartwood of the sandalwood tree.
- “Chandana” signifies “sandalwood,” emphasizing the specific botanical identity of the plant and its aromatic wood.
- The term “Chandana” is a general reference to sandalwood, a well-known and revered aromatic wood with a history of cultural, religious, and medicinal uses.
- It highlights the importance of this plant as a source of fragrant wood and its integral role in various traditions.
- “Gandhapushpa” translates to “fragrant flower” in Sanskrit.
- This synonym accentuates the delightful fragrance that emanates from the crushed leaves and wood of Shweta Chandana.
- “Sugandha” means “fragrant,” while “Druma” translates to “tree” or “plant.”
- “Sugandha Druma” collectively emphasizes the plant’s aromatic nature, underscoring its significance in perfumery and aromatherapy.
- “Suvarna” means “golden” or “precious,” and “Chandana” signifies “sandalwood.”
- This synonym portrays the high value and preciousness attributed to the plant, perhaps alluding to its historical and cultural significance.
- “Hema” translates to “gold,” while “Chandana” refers to “sandalwood.”
- “Hemachandana” metaphorically likens the sandalwood’s quality to that of gold, highlighting its esteemed value and properties.
Regional Name (Vernacular names)
Shweta Chandana enjoys a diverse range of regional names, a testament to its wide recognition and utilization across various cultures and communities. Some of the vernacular names for Shweta Chandana include:
- Hindi: Safed Chandan
- English: White Sandalwood
- Bengali: Shvet Chandan
- Marathi: Shvet Chandan
- Tamil: Sivalinga Pattai
- Telugu: Pachcha Chandanam
- Kannada: Shveta Chandana
- Gujarati: Safed Chandan
- Malayalam: Swetha Chandanam
- Urdu: Safed Sandal
Shweta Chandana is scientifically classified as Santalum album. It belongs to the Santalaceae family.
Classification of Dravya
Shweta Chandana’s classification is as follows:
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Sub-Kingdom: Phanerogamia
- Division (Phylum): Angiosperms
- Class: Dicotyledons
- Order: Thymelaeaceae
- Family: Santalaceae
- Genus: Santalum
- Species: Album
Classification of Dravya (Gana) as described in Charak and Sushrut
Charak : Daha Praashman, Angamardadi prashman, Trishna nigrahan, Kandughna, Vishaghna, Varnya
Sushrut : Guduchyadi, Patoladi, Priyangvadi, Salasaradi, Sarivadi
Vagbhat : Guduchyadi, Patoladi, Priyangvadi, Sarivadi
Shweta Chandana is a visually captivating evergreen tree, standing as a testament to nature’s elegance. The tree possesses heartwood that boasts a distinctive pale yellow to whitish hue, which lends the plant its “Shweta” or white characteristic. Its leaves are leathery and exude a delightful fragrance when crushed. The flowers of Shweta Chandana are small and unassuming, yet they emanate an exquisite aroma.
The heartwood of Shweta Chandana, renowned for its aromatic and medicinal properties, stands as the most prized and utilized part of the plant.
Shweta Chandana owes its therapeutic prowess to an array of potent phytoconstituents, each contributing to its holistic healing potential. Some noteworthy constituents found in Shweta Chandana are:
Santalols: These are the primary aromatic compounds responsible for Shweta Chandana’s distinctive fragrance. They also hold anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Terpenes: Terpenes, including alpha- and beta-santalene, contribute to the plant’s aromatic nature and potential therapeutic benefits.
Sesquiterpenes: Shweta Chandana is rich in sesquiterpenes, which are compounds with anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory effects.
Santalbic Acid: This compound exhibits potential antioxidant and neuroprotective properties, making it valuable in traditional medicine.
Flavonoids: These plant pigments possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, potentially contributing to the plant’s health benefits.
Tannins: Tannins, known for their astringent properties, are also present in Shweta Chandana.
Rasa (Predominant Taste): The predominant taste (Rasa) associated with Shweta Chandana is “Tikta” (bitter) and “Madhura” (Sweet). This taste is known for its cleansing and detoxifying properties.
Guna: Shweta Chandana is characterized by the Guna (quality) of being “Laghu”(light) and “Ruksha” (Dry). This quality contributes to its ease of digestion and assimilation.
Veerya: The Veerya (potency) of Shweta Chandana is “Sheeta,” signifying a cooling energy. This cooling potency is valuable for balancing excess heat and inflammation in the body.
Vipaka: Shweta Chandana undergoes “Katu”(Pungent) Vipaka, which means it develops a sweet post-digestive effect. This sweet effect further enhances its overall balancing nature.
Prabhava: Shweta Chandana is recognized for its unique “Prabhava” or special influence. This special effect contributes to its holistic healing potential, making it stand out among other substances.
Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala:
Dosha: Shweta Chandana primarily acts on balancing “Pitta” and “Kaapha” dosha due to its cooling nature and Ruksha guna. It helps soothe and pacify excess Pitta, which is associated with heat and inflammation.
Dhatu: Shweta Chandana predominantly affects the “Rakta” dhatu (blood tissue) due to its cooling and detoxifying properties. It supports the healthy formation and circulation of pure blood.
Mala: Shweta Chandana assists in promoting healthy elimination of “Mala” or waste products from the body. Its mild laxative action supports the regularity of bowel movements.
Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications):
Shweta Chandana finds its application in a wide range of health conditions, serving as a valuable therapeutic aid in:
Heat-related Disorders: Shweta Chandana’s cooling nature makes it a valuable ally in managing conditions associated with excess heat in the body. It is commonly employed in cases of fever, especially when there’s a sensation of intense heat, restlessness, and irritability.
Skin Irritations and Inflammation: Shweta Chandana’s ability to pacify Pitta dosha extends to the skin. It is utilized to soothe skin irritations, redness, and inflammation caused by conditions such as rashes, hives, and minor burns. Its anti-inflammatory and calming effects offer relief and comfort.
Hyperacidity and Gastritis: In Ayurveda, hyperacidity and gastritis are often attributed to aggravated Pitta dosha. Shweta Chandana’s cooling quality helps alleviate acidity, heartburn, and discomfort in the digestive tract by reducing excess heat and acidity.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): The cooling and diuretic properties of Shweta Chandana make it useful in addressing conditions like UTIs. It aids in promoting urination, flushing out toxins, and providing relief from burning sensations during urination.
Bleeding Disorders: Shweta Chandana’s ability to cool and constrict blood vessels makes it beneficial in managing bleeding disorders. It may be employed to support conditions such as heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) and nosebleeds (epistaxis).
Pruritus (Itching): Shweta Chandana’s application can help alleviate itching and discomfort associated with various skin conditions, offering a soothing and calming effect.
Ocular Irritation: Its cooling properties extend to the eyes, making it valuable in managing eye discomfort, redness, and irritation due to environmental factors or prolonged screen time.
Mouth and Throat Conditions: Shweta Chandana is employed in managing conditions like mouth ulcers, sore throat, and bad breath due to its cooling and antimicrobial properties.
Pitta Disorders: In general, Shweta Chandana is used to balance Pitta dosha and its associated disorders, which include inflammation, irritation, and excessive heat.
Aromatherapy and Relaxation: The aromatic essence of Shweta Chandana is utilized in aromatherapy to induce relaxation, reduce stress, and create a calming environment.
Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose):
Shweta Chandana is traditionally administered in various forms and dosages based on the individual’s constitution and specific condition:
- Powder: 1-3 grams of Shweta Chandana powder can be taken with honey or water, once or twice a day.
- Decoction: Shweta Chandana can be used to prepare a cooling decoction, usually 20-30 ml, taken once or twice daily.
- Topical Application: A paste of Shweta Chandana can be applied externally to soothe skin irritations and burns.
Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations):
Shweta Chandana is often used as a key ingredient in several important Ayurvedic formulations, including: