In Ayurveda, Pushkarmul (Inula racemosa) consists of the dried root of plant Inula racemosa. This plant grows in temperate and alpine Western Himalayas. It is also known as Kashmira, as the plant is abundantly found in Kashmir.
Pushkarmoola has been mentioned in all Ayurvedic treatise as expectorant, anodyne, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and hikka nigrahana (stops hiccups). It highly acclaimed to treat breathlessness, asthma and pleurisy (Parshvashula).
Pushkarmula is used in the treatment of cough, bronchial asthma, contagious fevers, angina pectoris, heart disease, ischemic heart disease and anorexia.
Inula racemosa is a stout herb reaching up to height 0.5 to 1.5 meter. The stem is grooved, rough and very hairy. The leaves are elliptical, large, 3-6 cm long and 2-3 cm broad, and have long petioles. The fruits, slender achene’s, 0.4 cm long, bearded with 0.75 cm long pappus hairs. The flowers are yellow, many in heads, 0.5-1 cm in diameter.
The fresh root has dull brownish skin with yellowish colour inside. It becomes grayish on drying. It has sweet and camphoraceous odour and have a bitter taste. In Kashmir, the roots are used as adulterant of Saussurea lappa.
The botanical name of Pushkara is Inula racemosa Hook. f. It belongs to plant family Asteraceae. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.
- Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
- Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
- Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
- Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
- Subclass: Asteridae
- Order: Asterales
- Family: Asteraceae – Aster family
- Genus: Inula L. – yellowhead
- Species: Inula racemosa
Synonym: Inula royleana auct. non-DC
- Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: roots
- Distinct quality: root powder has strong aromatic odour resembling orris and camphor.
- Plant type: herb
- Distribution: It is mostly found in Western Himalayas from Kashmir Kumaon, Afghanistan to Nepal at 1500–4200 m.
- Habitat: temperate and alpine western Himalaya.
- Status: Endangered
- Latin name: Inula racemosa hook.f.
- Sanskrit : Kashmira, Poushkara, Puskara mula, Sugandhikam
- Assamese : Pohakarmul, Puskar
- Bengali : Pushkara, Pushkaramula
- English : Orris Root, Indian elecampane, sunspear
- Gujrati : Pushkarmula
- Hindi : Pohakar Mul, Pokharmul
- Kannada : Pushkara Moola
- Malayalam : Puskara
- Marathi : Pokhar Mool
- Oriya : Puskara
- Punjabi : Pokhar Mool
- Tamil : Pushkarmulam
- Telugu : Pushkara Mulamu
Constituents of Inula racemosa Root powder
Major constituents inulin (10%) and being inulin sesquiterpene lactones, Alantolacton, Isoalantolactone, Dihydroalantolactone, Dihydroisoalantolactone, Beta sitosterol, Daucosterol, Inunolide. Roots contain volatile oil, about 1-4 %.
Alantolactone and others in the mixture known as helenalin (sesquiterpene lactones) are toxic constituents of the root.
Dosage of Pushkarmula for medicinal purpose
1-3 grams in dry powder from.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action of Pushkarmula
Pushkarmula is extensively used in Ayurveda. It is one of the ingredient of famous Dashamoolarishta, an Ayurvedic tonic. Acharya Charak described it as one which cures hiccups and asthma.
It is pungent, bitter in taste (Ras) and light in action (Guna). Its post-digestive effect (Vipak) is pungent. It works on all Dhatus except for the reproductive system. It helps in respiratory, nervous, and digestive disorders.
It is an Ushna Virya herb. Ushna Virya or hot potency herb, subdues Vata (Wind) and Kapha (Mucus) and increases Pitta (Bile). It has property of digestion, vomiting and purging, and gives feeling of lightness. It is considered bad for sperms and fetus.
- Rasa (taste on tongue): Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
- Guna (Pharmacological Action): Laghu (Light)
- Virya (Action): Ushna (Heating)
- Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
- Pitta vardhak: increases Pitta.
- VataKaphahar: mitigates Vata and Kapha.
- Kasa, Shwashara: cures cough and asthma.
- Hikka nigrahana: alleviates hicups.
- Parshvashula hara: gives releif in pain in chest.
- Shophaghna: gives releif in edema.
- Pandunhar: useful in anemia and its complications.
- Ardit vinashanam: useful in conditions involving nervous system like facial paralysis.
THERAPEUTIC USES: Aruchi, Adhyaman (gas), Hikka (hiccups), Jvara (fever), Kasa (cough), Svasa (asthma), Parsvashula (chest pain), Sosh (edema), Ardit (facial paralysis), Pandu (low hemoglobin level)
- Kankayan Gutika
- Mahanarayana Taila
- Manasamitra Vataka
- Rasnadi Kvatha Churna
Important Medicinal Properties
Pushkarmula is rich in medicinal properties. The understanding of these properties will help us to better utilize this herb. These also indicate the conditions in which we should avoid it. For example, it has hypotensive (blood pressure lowering) and analgesic properties.
Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.
- Antibacterial: effective against bacteria.
- Anticatarrhal: remove excess mucous from the body.
- Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
- Antimicrobial: active against microbes.
- Analgesic: relieve pain.
- Antidiabetic: controls blood sugar in blood.
- Antispasmodic: used to relieve spasm of involuntary muscle.
- Antiseptic: Capable of preventing infection by inhibiting the growth of infectious agents.
- Antihistaminic: neutralize or inhibit the effect of histamine in the body.
- Beta-blocker: prevent the stimulation of the adrenergic receptors responsible for increased cardiac action, used to control heart rhythm, treat angina, and reduce high blood pressure.
- Diuretic: Promoting excretion of urine/agent that increases the amount of urine excreted.
- Expectorant: promotes the secretion of sputum by the air passages, used to treat coughs.
- Cardio protective: protects heart.
- Stomachic: promoting the appetite or assisting digestion.
- Hypotensive: Lowers blood pressure.
Medicinal Uses of Pushkarmula (Elecampane)
Pushkarmula is used both internally and externally. Internally, it is used traditionally to treat respiratory ailments such as asthma, cough, throat inflammation and sore throat due to its hot, pungent and expectorant action. It is a Rasayan or tonic with rejuvenator and immunomodulator properties. It is especially useful in cough, dyspnea, asthma, pleurisy, tuberculosis and chest pain.
Pushkarmula is good for heart. It is coronary vasodilator agent with antianginal and anti-ischemic properties. It lowers blood pressure. Itis a tonic for heart.
It is bitter and pungent in taste and generally taken in combination of jaggery, sugar or honey.
The recommended dosage of Pushkarmula is 1 -3 grams three times a day.
To prepare its tea, half teaspoon of Pushkarmula is added to one cup of water. To this milk or sugar can be added. This tea should be taken thrice a day.
Externally, it is used in treatment of sprain and bruises.
1. Cough, Asthma
- The root powder is taken in dose of 1-3 grams.
- The root power is taken in combination with Dashmoola decoction.
2. Dental problems
The root powder is used as tooth powder.
3. Edema, as diuretic
Root powder is taken with lukewarm water.
4. Heart diseases, Chest pain
- The powder of Pushkarmula should be taken with honey.
- The root paste is applied on the chest in chest pain.
5. Sprain, bruises, boils, absess
The paste of roots is applied externally on affected body area.
- It lowers blood pressure.
- It may cause allergy in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family plant.
- It is s safe when taken in usual medicinal amounts. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken in large amounts.
- It is hot in potency.
- Avoid use in pregnancy.
- It may interfere with blood sugar control.
- It increases Pitta / bile.