Hemidesmus indicus, also known as sariva, is a semi-erect herb that has various phytoconstituents. These compounds add medicinal value to the herb. Sariva has been used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for many years. It is used in the treatment of conditions like skin disorders, diarhhoea, dysentery, eye diseases, syphilis, leukoderma, dyspepsia, chronic fever, leprosy, asthma, and others.
What is Hemidesmus indicus?
Hemidesmus indicus is a slender, twining semi-erect shrub that belongs to the Asclepiadaceae family. It is commonly known as sariva, anantamul or sarsaparilla. It is found in the tropical and subtropical regions of India ranging from the upper Gangetic plains to Assam, and all over Western, Central, and Southern India.
The roots of the plant are used to treat several conditions, including skin diseases, syphilis, nephritic complaints, sore mouth in children, liver diseases, high blood pressure, and others.
What are the benefits of Hemidesmus indicus?
Sariva has been used in the traditional system of medicine for many years. The following are the uses of the parts of this shrub for various disease conditions:
- The entire plant: The dried plant, alone or in combination with other drugs is used for the treatment of several conditions, such as skin diseases, postpartum recovery, diarrhea, improve appetite, impotence, stomach ulcers, scorpion sting, snake bite, fever, venereal diseases, and diabetes.
- The root: The root extracts are used for the treatment of skin diseases, high fever, menorrhagia, stomach pain, diarrhea, venereal diseases, scorpion stings, snake bite, sore mouth, leucorrhoea, anemia, gonorrhoea, skin affections, and syphilis.
Apart from these uses, the extract of the plant is also used to reduce body heat, to increase blood circulation, used as a blood purifier, and a cooling beverage.
What are the medicinal properties of Hemidesmus indicus?
The plant extract has been used to treat various conditions due to its medicinal properties. Some of the pharmacological properties are given below:
- Antiacne activity: The extract of the root has antiacne effects.
- Antioxidant activity: The root extract of the plant exhibits antioxidant property.
- Hepatoprotective activity: The extract of the root possesses hepatoprotective property.
- Antimicrobial activity: The root extracts have shown antifungal and anti-enterobacterial effects.
- Anticarcinogenic property: The decoction and the root extracts have demonstrated anticarcinogenic property.
- Antithrombotic activity: The root extracts of the shrub have shown antithrombotic activity.
- Antihyperlipidemic activity: The extract of the root exhibits antihyperlipidemic property.
- Saliuretic and Natriuretic effect: The root extract of the plant possesses saliuretic and natriuretic effect.
- Reno-protective activity: The extract of the root has demonstrated the reno-protective effect.
- Wound healing activity: The extract of the root exhibits wound healing effect.
- Anti-arthritic property: Several extracts of the plant have anti-arthritic effects.
- Anti-inflammatory activity: The plant extract has anti-inflammatory property.
- Anti-venom activity: The root extract of the herb exhibits anti-venom activity.
- Antinociceptive effect: The extract of the plant has shown an antinociceptive effect.
What are the side effects of Hemidesmus indicus?
Hemidesmus indicus is safe for most individuals when consumed in the recommended doses. But, some studies have reported that when the herb is taken in larger amounts, it may cause some side effects such as stomach irritation.
Using Hemidesmus indicus safely
The use of Hemidesmus indicus is safe in most people. However, individuals with the following conditions must be cautious while using the herb:
- Pregnancy and Lactation: There is no sufficient information available concerning the use of sariva in pregnant and breastfeeding women. So, these women should avoid the use of the herb to be on the safer side.
- Asthma: When individuals with asthma are exposed to Hemidesmus indicus root dust, it can cause a runny nose and other symptoms of asthma. Thus, asthma patients must be monitored while using the herb
- Kidney disease: Research studies have reported that sariva can worsen some kidney diseases. Hence, patients with kidney problems are advised to avoid the herb.