Gajapippali (Scindapsus officinalis) Medicinal Uses Details

Gajapippali consists of dried, mature fruits obtained from a plant Scindapsus officinalis which is a large epiphytic (derives moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and usually grows on another plant but not parasitic on it) climber, found all along the sub-Himalayan tract, in West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman Islands. It is a medicinal plant and in Ayurveda and Siddha System of medicine, the dried fruits are used for medicinal purpose.

Gajapippali fruits look similar to Pippali. But they are much bigger in size and hence they are called Gajapippali (Gaj means elephant).

Gajpippali is pungent, sharp, heating, appetizer, anthelmintic, aphrodisiac and galactagogue. It sharpens the hearing, regulates the bowels and clears the throat. It is aphrodisiac and cardio tonic. It used in Ayurveda, to treat respiratory disorders, throat disorders, asthma, diarrhea, intestinal parasites, rheumatism and arthritis.

General Information

Scientific Classification

  • The botanical name of Gajapippali is Scindapsus officinalis Schoott. It belongs to plant family Araceae. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.
  • KINGDOM : Plantae
  • PHYLUM : Magnoliophyta
  • CLASS : Liliopsida
  • ORDER : Alismatales
  • FAMILY : Araceae
  • GENUS : Scindapsus Schott

Plant Description

Leaves dark green, large, 12.5-25 by 6.3-15 cm., ovate, elliptic, ovate, or nearly orbicular, caudate-acuminate, base rounded or slightly cordate, primary nerves distinct, petiole 7.5·15 cm. broadly winged up to the knee. Peduncle solitary, terminal, much shorter than the petiole. Spathe about 10-15 cm. long, oblong, sub cylindrical, slender-beaked, green without, yellow within. Spadix equaling the spathe, elongating in fruit, greenish yellow. Stigma elongate. Fruiting- hemispheric. Berries, few only ripening fleshy. Seed ovate-cordate. Fruiting spadix sometimes a span long. Stem as thick as the little finger.

  • Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Dried inflorescence
  • Plant type: Climber
  • Habitat: Tropical Himalayas,Bengal, southwards to Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman.
  • Distribution: In forests.

Vernacular names/Synonyms

  1. Sanskrit : Gajakrishna, Hastipipali, Gajapippali, Karipippali, Kolavalli
  2. Siddha : Anaitippili
  3. Bengali : Gajapeepal, Gajapipul,
  4. Gujrati : Motopeepar
  5. Hindi : Gajapeepal
  6. Kannada : Adkebeeluvalli
  7. Malayalam : Attipali
  8. Marathi : Gajapipalee
  9. Punjabi : Gajapeepal
  10. Tamil : Anaitippalee
  11. Telugu : Enugopippal

Constituents of Gajapippali Dried fruits

Glucosides viz. Scindapsin A & Scindapsin B, Sugars & Fixed Oil.

Dosage of Gajapippali dried fruit

2-3 gram in Phant form.

What is Phant: Phant is hot infusion. It is prepared by steeping one part of powdered herbs in eight parts of hot water, for twelve hours during the night. Phant is administered in the same way as decoctions.

Ayurvedic Properties and Action

  1. Rasa (taste on tongue): Katu (Pungent)
  2. Guna (Pharmacological Action): Ruksha (Dry)
  3. Virya: Ushna (Heating)
  4. Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
  5. Action
  6. Deepana दीपन (promote appetite but do not aid in digesting undigested food), Kanthya (good for throat)
  7. Vata-hara (pacify Vata / wind)
  8. Agnivardhak (Agni = fire, and Vardhak = to promote or ignite, thus, Agnivardhak = substances that promote the digestive fire)
  9. Varnya (good for complexion)

Important Formulations Containing Gajapippali

  1. Chandraprabha Vati
  2. Punarnavasava
  3. Panchatikta Guggulu Ghrita
  4. Saptavimshatika Guggulu
  5. Mahayogaraja Guggulu
  6. Prasarini Taila
  7. Kunch Pak

Medicinal Properties of Gajapippali fruits

  1. Anthelmintic: expel parasitic worms (helminths) and other internal parasites from the body.
  2. Anti-dysenteric: Relieving or preventing dysentery.
  3. Antiasthmatic: against asthma.
  4. Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
  5. Analgesic: acting to relieve pain.
  6. Antibacterial: active against bacteria.
  7. Carminative: Preventing the formation or causing the expulsion of flatulence.
  8. Diaphoretic: promote sweating.
  9. Hypoglycemic: Reducing level of the sugar glucose in the blood.

Medicinal Uses of Gaja Pippali

  1. Powdered leaves are taken for 21 days for fever, rheumatism, and pain.
  2. The leaves or fruits are applied externally for rheumatism.
  3. The decoction of fruit has expectorant action and given to treat respiratory disorders and asthma.
  4. The fruits are indicated in diseases that occur due to vitiation of Vata and Kapha.
  5. The powder of dried fruits is used in asthma, throat infection, intestinal parasites, loose motion, piles, colic and indigestion.
  6. The Aswagandha roots, Gajapippali fruits, Kosta / Saussurea lappa roots, and the rhizomes of Vach /Sweet Flag, are mixed in powder form and used as breast developer.

Other Herbs Known as Gajapippali

Fruits of Chavya / Piper chaba is also used as Gaja pippali. Balanophora fungosa, B. Hansen var. indica, syn. B. indica (family Balanophoraceae), a total root parasite found in hills of south India is used as a substitute/adulterant for the Ayurvedic drug Gajapippali. It is available in south Indian market with a local name of Markata Pippali. The inflorescence which appear above the soil look similar to Gajapippali. But Balanophora fungosa is not used in Ayurveda for any medicinal purpose. It is an adulterant to S. officinalis.

In Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India, the dried fruits of Scindapsus officinalis is described as Gajapippali.

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