What is Hemidesmus Indicus? Benefits, Uses & Side Effects of Indian Sarsaparilla - User Guide

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. What is Hemidesmus Indicus? 
3. Morphology & Chemical Compounds
4. Ayurvedic properties of Hemidesmus Indicus
5. Health Benefits of Hemidesmus Indicus
6. Uses of Hemidesmus Indicus
7. Traditional Formulations and Recipes
8. Side Effects of Hemidesmus Indicus
9. Tea Recipe of Hemidesmus Indicus
10. Frequently Asked Question

1. Introduction

Hemidesmus Indicus, also known as Indian Sarsaparilla or Anant Mool, is a perennial plant that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It is known for its medicinal properties, particularly in treating skin disorders, inflammation, and digestive issues. In this article, we will explore the benefits of Hemidesmus Indicus, how to use it, and its potential side effects. Additionally, we will provide a refreshing tea recipe that incorporates this herb.

2. What is Hemidesmus Indicus?

Anantmool botanical name is Hemidesmus Indicus Root, some other common names are Ushba, Indian sarsaparilla, Anantamul. It is mainly found throughout India commonly in Bengal and extending Maharashtra to Travancore. Indian Sarsaparilla is a perennial twining or creeping herb with a woody fragrant rootstock.

Its roots are traditionally used to treat a wide variety of illnesses in Ayurveda. In the ancient Indian Ayurveda science, the plant has been mentioned as an important medicine. In 1867 it was admitted to the British Pharmacopoeia.

The root of the Indian sarsaparilla plant contains a variety of compounds, including saponins, flavonoids, and alkaloids, which are believed to be responsible for its medicinal properties. It has been used to treat various ailments, including skin diseases, respiratory infections, digestive problems, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Indian sarsaparilla is typically consumed as a tea or decoction, and it can also be taken in the form of capsules or powders. While Indian sarsaparilla has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, scientific research on its effectiveness is still limited. As with any herbal supplement, it is important to talk to a healthcare professional before using Indian sarsaparilla for medicinal purposes.

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3. Morphology & Chemical Compounds

Morphology of Indian sarsaparilla

Indian Sarsaparilla Leaves 

The leaves are simple, shortly petioled, opposite, variable, smooth, acute, and striated down the middle with white silvery color. The mature leaves are generally broad lanceolate, sometimes ovate or oval.

Hemidesmus Indicus leaves

Indian Sarsaparilla Flower 

They are greenish-purple crowded in axillary cymes with opposite axils. The flowering time of Indian Sarsaparilla is October.

Hemidesmus Indicus flower

Indian Sarsaparilla Fruits 

Fruits are cylindrical and long up to 10 cm, are paired, cylindrical, pointed, and slender. Fruits are mature in January.

Indian Sarsaparilla Roots

The roots are cylindrical, slightly twisted aromatic roots, and brown-colored bark. The roots contain resins, tannin, and glycoside, it also contains essential oils that’s why the odor of the herb is due to coumarin. The roots yield a steroptency which is supposed to be a volatile acid.

Hemidesmus Indicus roots

Chemical Constituent of Indian sarsaparilla

Hemidesmus indicus Roots: The root of the plant contains several important chemical constituents, including saponins, coumarins, flavonoids, and alkaloids such as hemidesmine, hemidesminine, and beta-sitosterol. These compounds are believed to be responsible for the plant's medicinal properties, including their anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

Hemidesmus indicus Leaves: The leaves of the Indian sarsaparilla plant contain flavonoids, tannins, and triterpenoids, which have antioxidant properties and may help protect against cellular damage and oxidative stress.

Hemidesmus indicus Flowers: The flowers of the Indian sarsaparilla plant contain various chemical constituents, including flavonoids, alkaloids, and tannins. These compounds may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and some studies suggest that they may help protect against liver damage.

4. Ayurvedic properties of Hemidesmus Indicus

Hemidesmus indicus, commonly known as Indian Sarsaparilla or Anantmool, is a highly regarded medicinal plant in Ayurveda for its various therapeutic properties. Different parts of the plant, including its roots and leaves, are used for their medicinal benefits. 

Properties:

1. Rasa (Taste): Hemidesmus indicus is believed to have a combination of sweet (Madhura) and bitter (Tikta) tastes.

2. Virya (Potency): It is cooling in nature (Sheeta Virya).

3. Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): The post-digestive taste is sweet (Madhura Vipaka).

4. Dosha Effects: Hemidesmus indicus primarily balances Pitta dosha and Kapha dosha. However, in excess, it may increase Vata dosha.

Uses:

  1. Blood Purification: Hemidesmus indicus is one of the best-known herbs for blood purification. It is used to detoxify the blood and promote overall blood health.

  2. Skin Health: The herb is used to manage various skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis due to its blood-purifying and cooling properties.

  3. Urinary Health: Hemidesmus indicus is used to support urinary health and manage conditions like urinary tract infections and kidney stones.

  4. Anti-inflammatory: It possesses anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to manage inflammatory conditions.

  5. Digestive Support: Hemidesmus indicus is used to support healthy digestion and manage digestive disorders like acidity and indigestion.

  6. Respiratory Health: It is used in certain Ayurvedic formulations to manage respiratory conditions like bronchitis and asthma.

  7. Antioxidant: Hemidesmus indicus is rich in antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals and protect the body from oxidative stress.

  8. Anti-rheumatic: It is used to manage rheumatic conditions and joint pains due to its anti-inflammatory and cooling effects.

5. What are the Benefits & Uses of Hemidesmus Indicus?

In Ayurveda, Indian Sarsaparilla Roots are mainly for medicinal treating fevers, due to their diaphoretic property, which has on the skin and mucous membrane. They are useful in correcting disorders due to malnutrition, purifying the blood, promoting the flow of urine, and restoring normal body functions.

The roots have alterative, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, tonic, anti-pyretic, blood purifier, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-acne, antipyretic, hepatoprotective, and antileprotic properties, roots have sweet-bitter taste and have cold potency.

It is one of the greatest detoxifying herbs which helps to clean the body, improve skin texture and purify the blood.

Here are some health benefits of Indian Sarsaparilla Root

For Fever

Indian Sarsaparilla root is beneficial in treating fevers, due to its diaphoretic property, which has sweat-inducing properties and induces copious perspiration, thereby reducing temperature.

For Genito – Urinary Disorders

The Indian Sarsaparilla root is useful in syphilis, leucorrhea, and other Genito-urinary disease.

For Inflammation

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is beneficial in the treatment of swellings and rheumatic joints and boils.

For Stomach Disorder

Indian Sarsaparilla root is beneficial for treating stomach disorders like dyspepsia and loss of appetite. It is helpful in stomach pain and diarrhea.

For Hair

Indian Sarsaparilla root contains hair-growing hormones, regular wash promotes hair growth and makes strong hair.

For Diabetes

Indian Sarsaparilla roots contain anti-diabetic property that helps to control blood sugar and maintain blood glucose level.

For Arthritis

Indian Sarsaparilla roots have protective activity against arthritis. This is probably due to the presence of terpenes, sterols, and phenolic compounds.

6. How to use Indian Sarsaparilla?

Dosage and uses depend upon the health problems and conditions or as recommended by an Ayurvedic doctor. The general recommended dosage is 3-6 grams of Indian Sarsaparilla daily once a day.

Traditional uses of Indian Sarsaparilla roots include treating digestive problems, diarrhea, blood disorders, cough, fever, anorexia, asthma, itching, and skin diseases like leprosy.

  • Make a decoction of Indian Sarsaparilla root powder and wash the hair with this decoction. Helps to prevent hair falls.
  • Take 5-6 grams of root powder of Indian Sarsaparilla with milk, which gives relief from dyspepsia and loss of appetite.
  • Take 5-6 grams of root powder of Indian Sarsaparilla and mix it with water to make a paste, apply it to the pain area, which gives relief from arthritis.
  • Make a decoction of Indian Sarsaparilla root powder and take 50-60ml thrice a day, is effective in syphilis, leucorrhea, and other Genito-urinary diseases.

7. Traditional Formulations and Recipes

Traditional formulations and recipes involving Hemidesmus Indicus are valued for their medicinal properties and therapeutic benefits. Here are some traditional formulations and recipes.

Hemidesmus Indicus Decoction

  • Prepare a decoction by boiling dried Hemidesmus Indicus roots in water.
  • Strain the decoction and allow it to cool.
  • This decoction can be consumed orally as a tonic to purify blood, improve digestion, and alleviate skin disorders.

Hemidesmus Indicus Tea

  • Steep dried Hemidesmus Indicus roots or leaves in hot water for 10-15 minutes.
  • Strain the tea and add honey or jaggery for sweetness if desired.
  • Hemidesmus Indicus tea is believed to have detoxifying and rejuvenating properties, promoting overall health and well-being.

Hemidesmus Indicus Syrup

  • Prepare a concentrated decoction of Hemidesmus Indicus by simmering the roots in water until the liquid reduces to a thick consistency.
  • Add sugar or honey to the decoction and stir until dissolved to create a syrup.
  • Hemidesmus Indicus syrup can be taken orally as a tonic or mixed with other herbal preparations for various health benefits.

Hemidesmus Indicus Paste

  • Grind fresh or dried Hemidesmus Indicus roots or leaves into a fine paste using a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
  • Apply the paste topically to the affected area to relieve skin irritation, inflammation, and itching associated with conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or acne.

Hemidesmus Indicus Milk

  • Boil crushed Hemidesmus Indicus roots or leaves in milk until the milk reduces in volume and turns slightly brown.
  • Strain the milk and drink it warm.
  • Hemidesmus Indicus milk is traditionally used to strengthen the body, improve vitality, and enhance reproductive health.

Hemidesmus Indicus Powder

  • Sun-dry the Hemidesmus Indicus roots or leaves and grind them into a fine powder.
  • Mix the powder with honey or ghee (clarified butter) and consume it orally as a tonic or herbal supplement.
  • Hemidesmus Indicus powder is believed to boost immunity, improve digestion, and support overall health.

8. Side Effects of Anant Mool

All Ayurveda herbs are plant-based, and they don’t have any side effects but they may react with some allopathy or homeopathy medicine. It is better to consult the doctor if you are on any medications or have special health issues.

Overdose or consumption in the wrong way may cause health problems, some are included. 

Stomach upset: Indian sarsaparilla can cause stomach irritation and digestive upset in some people, particularly when consumed in high doses.

Allergic reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to Indian sarsaparilla, which can cause symptoms such as skin rash, itching, and difficulty breathing.

Blood sugar changes: Indian sarsaparilla may affect blood sugar levels, and individuals with diabetes should use it with caution and monitor their blood sugar levels closely.

Hormonal effects: Indian sarsaparilla may have hormonal effects and should be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Interactions with medications: Indian sarsaparilla may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and diabetes medications, and should be used with caution in individuals taking these medications.

Some of the reported side effects of Indian sarsaparilla include:

Some side effects are mentioned below

  • Do not take Indian Sarsaparilla root along with digoxin can increase the heartbeat to a greater extent, which can lead to trouble.
  • Consult the doctor if you are breastfeeding.
  • Do not take without a doctor’s prescription if you are pregnant.
  • Do not take Indian Sarsaparilla root along with lithium supplements, consult the doctor before taking.
  • If you are on diabetes or on hypertension medication. Consult first with the doctor before consuming.
  • Indian Sarsaparilla root should be avoided in patients with kidney disease as it can worsen the condition.
  • It is not suggested for children below 12 years of age, the elderly, or physically or mentally weaker persons.

NoteAs with any herbal supplement, it is important to talk to a healthcare professional before using Indian sarsaparilla for medicinal purposes, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications.

9. Refreshing Tea Recipe of Indian Sarsaparilla

This is a very easy and simple tea recipe; you can add or replace your evening tea with this refreshing herbal tea. Here is the tea recipe.

Ingredients

  • Indian Sarsaparilla root powder – 40 grams
  • Rose Petals – 1 tbsp.
  • Lotus Petals – 1 tbsp.
  • Milk Lukewarm – ½ cup
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Honey or Palm Sugar – 1 tsp

Method

  • Heat the pan and add water and boil it.
  • Add all the ingredients except milk and honey.
  • Boil it and make a decoction of that.
  • Strain in a cup and add milk and honey.
  • Enjoy the tea.

10. Frequently Asked Question

Q - What is Indian Sarsaparilla root good for?


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