Uses and health benefits of Bhringraj
In Ayurveda, Bhringraj is quite popular because of its health benefits. We use it as a medicine to increase hair growth, reduce aches, to protect the liver and heart, to cure gastric ulcers and skin diseases. Additionally, it treats respiratory problems, epilepsy, dysentery and improves the condition memory and immunity. Therefore, it has been used as an ayurvedic medicine and effective home remedy in India for centuries.
The botanical name of Bhringraj is Eclipta prostrata, or Eclipta alba. It has 4 species with flowers of different colors. We use white and yellow varieties extensively for medicinal purposes. The bioactive compounds present in Bhringraj are oroboside, ursolic acid and luteolin etc which treats different health-related problems.
Active agents present in Bhringraj
Bhringraj is rich in coumestans i.e. wedelolactone (I) and demethylwedelolactone (II), polypeptides, polyacetylenes, thiophene-derivatives, steroids, triterpenes, and flavonoids. Besides these, there are thiopene derivatives e.g. Ecliptal; saponins viz., hentriacontanol, 14-heptacosanol; flavonoids e.g. Luteolin-7-O-glucoside; alkaloids and polypeptides are present in Bhringraj.
Health Benefits Of Bhringraj
If you check any ayurvedic hair oil or tonic, you can find bhringraj prominently in it. It is also the main component of traditional medicinal systems such as ayurveda, siddha, and unani. From treating hair problems to skin problems, Bhringraj plays a major role. Here are some health benefits of Bhringraj:
Improves Hair Growth
The literal meaning of Bhringraj is “king of hair”. It is widely known to be a hair-vitalizing herb and traditionally, we apply the ground paste of the leaves on the scalp and hair to increase hair growth and decrease graying. You can massage its hair oil on the scalp before washing the hair or you can leave it overnight. You can also take a leaf extract orally to aid hair growth from within.
Bhringraj not only tackles hair loss but also prevents premature graying. According to a research, the extract of the leaves helped rejuvenate new hair at a faster speed than the time taken by a medicine used for hair growth. There is a chemical compound, β-sitosterol, present in it that helps in improving hair growth.
Bhringraj is useful in easing different types of everyday aches and pain, such as a migraine, a toothache, stomach pain, muscular pain etc.
The fresh leaf extract of the plant has been used as one of the best remedies to relieve pain in many Indian communities. Therefore many ayurvedic medicines use it to ease pain, inflammation, and swelling. It is always better to take Bhringraj instead of a non-narcotic analgesic to reduce pain.
Relieves Asthma And Bronchitis
When the leaf extract of Bhringraj is used to keep asthma under control, a decoction of the whole plant along with honey eases bronchitis.
Bhringraj works effectively in treating respiratory tract disorders, for example, asthma and bronchitis. The main cause behind these conditions is the inflammation of airways. Due to inflammation, the airways fails to carry air properly to or from your lungs, symptoms like shortness of breath and wheezing occur. But Bhringraj may be able to ease these problems as it has anti-inflammatory properties. It has been seen in one animal study that injecting or inducing an extract of Bhringraj nasally can help in bringing some relief. Asthma caused by exposure to allergens can be managed by components like oroboside, wedelolactone, and demethyl-wedelolactone.
Heals Skin Diseases
You can use the paste of Bhringraj powder on the skin to brighten and improve the condition of the skin. Since ancient times it has been used for fair complexion and for skin diseases. Studies reveal that it reduces fungal infections, for example, skin infections of athlete’s foot and ringworm. Anybody can take the paste of the Bhringraj leaf and apply on the affected area to treat these conditions. Traditional medicinal practices also advice to apply leaf paste on the boils and the plant paste on eczema.
Many of us have Forgetfulness. Most of the times we forget where we left our important things like wallet or keys. When you realize that your memory is getting a little dodgy, you can take Bhringraj.
Mix a quarter of a teaspoon of Bhringraj powder with a tablespoon of aloe vera gel and a pinch of black pepper and take it regularly. It will improve your memory and brain power. People also add Bhringraj with Brahmi, jatamansi, and shankha pushpi (1 teaspoon each) and steep in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. This memory-boosting tea can also help alleviate stress.
The taste of this herb is bitter but its cooling properties can help balance Pitta dosha. In ayurvedic treatment, it is used as an infusion or decoction of a medicated oil or medicated ghee.
You feel too much restless by suffering from diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, fever and dysentery. According to researches, Bhringraj combats the Shigella dysenteriae bacteria which cause bacillary dysentery. To treat this condition, a decoction of the whole plant is given orally. Some healers also recommend taking the juice of bhringraj leaves along with honey to treat dysentery.
Bhringraj can treat epilepsy. Research shows that this plant has anticonvulsant properties. So, it may help change GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain that has an anti-epileptic and calming effect. Compounds such as luteolin and wedelolactone in it may cause this sensation. Traditional healers usually give the ground leaves of Bhringraj with pepper and garlic juice to treat epilepsy.
Every time our bodies come in contact with harmful germs of the environment. As our immune system fights with these invaders, we do not fall ill immediately.
Studies show that extracts of Bhringraj can increase white blood cell count and antibody production and both of them are necessary for our body to fight off germs. Therefore, we should take Bhringraj to enhance the immunity of our body.
Protects Your Liver
In Ayurveda, it is used to treat jaundice and to cure liver enlargement. The juice of the leaves or plant extract may be given either alone or along with other components such as honey, punarnava, or pepper for liver disorders.
Our liver works hard to eliminate toxins from the body. Bhringraj can protect your liver damage that occurs due to harmful chemicals. One animal study was done on two groups of animals in which one group of animals were treated with this Ayurvedic herb before administering the toxic chemical, carbon tetrachloride meant that the decaying rate due to liver damage was reduced to 22.2% from the 77.7% found in untreated animals. Components such as demethyl-wedelolactone and wedelolactone are highly beneficial as they are antihepatotoxic in nature and help revive liver cells.
Heals Gastric Ulcers
A stomach ulcer makes you feel gnawing, heartburn, burning pain, and nausea. But, you can be free from these problems by taking Bhringraj. Most of the time, stomach ulcers are more problematic for people who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), for example, aspirin for long periods or in high doses. It has been found out by an animal study in which administering an extract of the leaves before treating ulcers with aspirin significantly reduced gastric inflammation and also reduced the development of gastric ulcers. This type of result also found when stomach ulcers were stimulated using alcohol.
Treats Snake Bite
Since ancient times, it has been used to treat snake bites and scorpion stings in many traditional households. And research shows that it can actually reduce the venom. Rural healers usually use juice or decoction of the whole plant for the treatment of snake or scorpion bite. But it is always advisable for immediate consultation of a doctor when somebody is bitten by a poisonous snake. You can still use it to relieve the inflammation or pain from other less dangerous insect bites.
Diabetes gives rise to various health problems such as kidney disease, heart disease, nerve damage, and eye problems. It works effectively in lowering blood sugar and some animal studies indicate that administering the leaves can lessen blood sugar levels significantly. These studies also reveal that Bhringraj stimulates the secretion of insulin. Traditionally, people take the juice of its leaves by boiling these leaves with the leaves of other medicinal plants in an earthen vessel.