Ayurveda praises herb bhringaraj as “keshya”, the one which immensely helps in hair growth, prevents dandruff, hair loss and premature greying. It also helps in skin.
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Bhringaraj (Eclipta Alba) also known as “maaka” belongs to compositae family. It is small shrub which grows up to 1 foot. It bears white coloured flowers. It grows all over India in places where there is plenty of water supply.
This plant is eulogised as “Bhringaraja” (a plant which makes hair as dark as beetle), “Maarkava” [a plant which keeps premature graying of hair ( Ayurveda remedies for Premature Greying ) at bay] and “Kesharaja” (protects health of hair as king protects his subjects).
It is called as “maaka” in hindi.
Health benefits of Bhringaraj or Eclipta Alba:
According to principles of Ayurveda this plant is light to digest and may dry the tissues of body. It tastes spicy (katu rasa) ( Ayurveda tastes Katu Rasa or Pungent taste ) and bitter (tikta rasa) ( Tikta Rasa or Bitter Taste – an Ayurveda View ). It has hot potency (ushna veerya). It mitigates vata dosha ( Ayurveda Vata Dosha – Body Type and Balancing Tips ) and kapha dosha ( Kapha Dosha Types, Qualities, Functions and Sites in Ayurveda ).
External application of paste of this plant helps to heal wounds. It cleans the wound and initiates the growth of granulation tissue. It also reduces pain and inflammation caused due to wounds. It prevents the formation of scar and increases fairness and glow ( Easy Ayurvedic Skin Care Routine for Glow and Fairness ).
The nutrients in bhringaraja boost eye health. It helps to improve vision. Ayurveda acharyas recommend use of this plant in vision disturbances.
This plant increases appetite and improves digestion. It acts as liver stimulant. Bhringaraja is recommended in jaundice, intestinal parasites and indigestion ( Ayurvedic Treatments and Home Remedies for Indigestion ).
Regular use of this plant improves anaemia and helps to normalise blood pressure ( Relationship Between High blood Pressure and Erectile Dysfunction ).
Eclipta Alba acts as an expectorant. It boosts lung health and is used in respiratory infections.
Intake of Juice extract or Swarasa (juice extracted through swarasa kalpana) of eclipta helps in Cystitis and UTI ( burning micturition.) ( Cystitis and UTI in Ayurveda )
In Weight Loss
Dr. Shirish Bhate says that “The raw undigested ama prevents dissolving of meda dhatu (body fat) ( Ayurveda Medha Dhatu or Body Fat ) . What is not well known about Bhringaraj is that it helps in dissolving this `Meda’ albeit very slowly. Urine, sweat and motions eliminate the extra `Meda’.”
This plant is known for its rejuvenating properties. It boosts strength and improves stamina. According to Dr.Shrish Bhate- “One shloka in ancient texts translates thus: A person who takes bhringaraj swarasa early morning empty stomach, and keeps certain food restrictions (Pathya), he becomes strong and with rich semen ( Ayurveda Definition of Shukra Dhatu (semen ) ) (Bala and Veerya yukta) and lives for hundred years. This experiment can be carried out for about two months every year, when fresh bhringraj leaves are available plenty”.
In all ayurvedic texts, Bhringaraj is praised as a Rasayana and causing Vajikarana. Bhringaraj, if used properly, can reduce sexual weakness, by improving liver. Liver has an important role in sexual life. Bhringaraj is almost an elixir in several other respects.
Bhringaraj ( Eclipta Alba ), the beauty herb
Dr. Shrish Bhate a famous Ayurvedic physician explains why bhringaraj can be called as beauty herb. According to him—
What should I do to remain energetic and look beautiful?” is an important question which many patients pose to a Vaidya. Everyone likes to remain youthful. Many use cosmetics these days; however, to look good, it is necessary to apply your mind to diet and lifestyle, in addition to cosmetics. Body fitness and good looks, can be obtained by using ayurvedic herbs. Though human body is the most beautiful and complex creation of the super power, harmony with nature, ayurvedic lifestyle is a must, to keep it so.
Amongst various herbs entering the cosmetics department, Bhringaraj comes readily to the mind. It is an excellent hepato tonic. These days the liver diseases have increased in number. Liver is the mother who guards our health to maximum, while kidney is father who protects from evil influence of toxins. Under functioning liver causes slowing down of agni, the digestive power ( Ayurveda Agni or Body Fire or Metabolism and Digestion Process ). The reduced digestion causes fatigue, exhaustion and weakness, which spoils beauty. Increase of acidity of digestive track, mucous and stickiness in stools, jaundice etc are consequences of liver damage. Use of bhringraj reduces the swelling of liver and kindles true hunger, the digestive agni. It helps in liver detox ( Ayurvedic Liver Detox at Home ). Smoking ( Relation Between Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction in Men ), alcohol, betel or pan leaves ( Ayurveda Health Benefits and Uses of Betel Leaves or Paan. ) chewing, excess of tea-coffee increase liver burden. But Bhringraj causes adequate bile secretion. In most of the stomach diseases, Aama is the dominating dosha. Worms and undesirable microbes grow in such ama and cause low stomach pain, piles (hemorrhoids), sounds in the intestines after food, bloating, flatulence, foul smell in flatulence .
When liver is healthy the skin glow increases and young looks return.
Bhringraj also helps in elimination of worms and reduces stress and anxiety ( Stress and Anxiety Management Through Ayurveda ) . Due to improvement in the liver tone, the blemishes on face also lighten and brings back natural fairness to the face.
Why Ayurveda Recommends Bhringaraj for Hair loss and scalp acne
Vata and Kapha when vitiated accelerate ageing process. Vitiation of these doshas and accelerated aging process leads to hair loss, premature greying and dry scalp. According to principles of Ayurveda this plant mitigates vata and kapha. Thus bhringaraj helps to slow down ageing process and protects hair health.
Eclipta Alba contains alkaloids (chemical compounds) which act as antimicrobial and anti-fungal. Thus massaging hair with hair oil processed with this herb prevents scalp infections and scalp acne. Addition of neem fortifies this property and immensely helps to prevent scalp acne. Thus this herb is used regularly in ayurvedic hair oils for dandruff ( 7 Best Ayurvedic Hair Oils for Hair Growth, Dandruff and Flaky Scalp ).
Scalp wounds get very quickly healed when the extract of this herb is applied on them. Bhringaraj cleanse the scalp wound and hastens the growth of granulation tissue thus fastening the healing process.
Massaging oil processed with bhringaraj boosts the blood circulation in scalp. This ensures the supply of nutrients to hair follicles and arrest hair loss. Increased blood supply also aids growth of strong and healthy hair.
This herb has tremendous rejuvenating properties. It rejuvenates the scalp skin and hair follicle. The process of rejuvenation includes expulsion of toxins, supply of nutrients and anti-oxidants.
When this herb is processed with pure coconut ( Ayurveda Health Benefits of Coconut, Tender Coconut Water, Coconut Shell and Oil ) oil and other hair friendly herbs it boosts hair health by leaps and bounds, because coconut oil is extremely hair friendly. Coconut oil is the store house of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.
Bhringraj is also used in ayurvedic oils for scalp psoriasis ( 5 Best Ayurvedic Oils for Scalp Psoriasis ).
How to use Bhringraj as Liver Detox ?
In liver problems, fresh juice of Bhringraj leaves can be taken every morning empty stomach, 2-3 ml, for three to six weeks. This improves tone of liver, spleen and digestion. If the dose is exceeded, vomiting or vomiting sensation can occur. The swelling on esophagus occurs when one takes hot, spicy, fried or foods containing chillies for long time. This swelling progresses into peptic ulcer into stomach or duodenum. This can result into ulceration as well as hiatus hernia. In all these cases fresh bhringaraja juice (swarasa in traditional texts) gives very beneficial results. Those who can not obtain or make fresh juice, can bring leaves, let them dry in shade and make powder. This powder must be mixed in fresh leaves juice to make small tablets. The tablets can be taken about 250 mg empty stomach and at bed time as a liver tonic.
Thus migraine headache ( Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Headaches ), vertigo, the burning sensation in feet and palms, feverish feeling, feeling hotness in body, which can not be recorded by a thermometer , etc are some of ailments, where Bhringaraj is the herb of first choice.
The Bhringraj is a well known hair tonic, helping to stop hair loss ( Ayurvedic Hair Care Tips and Regimen ). If hairs are turning gray prematurely, the color will return to natural. Increases R.B.C. in blood (rakta Dhatu) ( Rakta Dhatu ( Blood ) In Ayurveda ).
Uses of various ayurvedic medicines with Bhringraj
- If one takes Amalaki or amla ( Ayurveda Medicinal Properties and Uses of Amla ), sesame seeds ( Ayurveda Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds and Oil ) and bhringaraj juice in the same order, he will not have any ailments of five sense organs.
- The well known medicine Sutshekhar Ras used for hyper acidity, GERD, (amlapitta, vidagdha ajirna) is also made by using fresh juice of bhringaraja as binder. Aarogyavardhini Ras is another medicine for liver, prepared by using Bhringaraj swaras as binder, though many pharmacies use neem juice ( Ayurveda Health Benefits and Uses of Neem ) also as binder, reducing cost. This tablet differs in cost according to bhasmas used in preparation, and almost 200% variation can be seen in Indian pharmacies.
- Well known medicine for worms of all types, i.e. Krumi Kuthar is also made by using Bhringaraj fresh juice as binder.
- Thus Bhringaraj reduces Kapha, increases Haemoglobin, strengthen bones (ashthi dhatu) ( Ayurveda Definition of Asthi Dhatu ( Bones or Skeletal system ) ), and acts as tonic for eyes, brain [ayurvedic memory booster ( 2 Best Ayurvedic Medicine for Memory and Concentration) ], intestines, liver, spleen.The Bhringaraj oil is best ayurvedic hair oil ( 2 Best Ayurvedic Oils for Hair and Body ). While Brahmi oil makes brain cool, Amalki oil makes hair very smooth, Ayurvedic Bhringaraj oil reduces dandruff , removes old hair and grows fresh hair. The pores in the scalp open due to this oil. Hence the name `Keshranjan’.
- Few more uses of this king herb are also in order. Useful in skin diseases too. Gives Relief in Leucoderma. Along with other medicines, acts as supportive in epilepsy, (Apasmara, achaki, khech etc), excess urination (Mutratisar). With ajwain powder, it is powerful pitta pacifier.
- Gargling with Bhringaraj decoction helps in tooth pain, gum bleeds, pain, swelling.
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