Nishoth Information, Medicinal Uses and Side-effects

Ipomoea turpethum / Operculina turpethum is an ornamental and medicinal plant. It is commonly known as Indian Jalap, Trivrit, Turpeth and Nishoth. It has properties, biomedical action and chemical constituent similar to True Jalap which is a cathartic drug.

nishothUsesBy J.M.Garg - Own work, GFDL,

Trivrit / Turpeth is used in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani system of medicine for therapeutic purpose. The roots are thermogenic, purgative, carminative, anthelmintic, expectorant, antipyretic, hepatic, stimulant and are used in treatment of rheumatic and paralytic affections, myalgia (muscular pain), arthralgia (joint pain), pectoralgia (thorax pain), fevers, oedema, jaundice, hepato-splenomegaly, hepatitis, intoxication, abdominal tumors, ulcers, wounds, worm infestation obesity, pruritus, other skin disorders and constipation.

In Ayurveda, the roots of the plant are known as Trivrit, Tribhandi, Rechani, Nishotra, Kumbha, Kala, Shyama and Triputa. The fleshy roots of plant are collected, chopped and dried in sun for a day and then shade dried. The roots are ground and used medicinally. In Unani, the plant is known as Turbud, Nishoth and in Siddha as Karunchivadai.

General Information

Indian Jalap is a stout perennial twining climber with a long twisting pubescent stems. It exudes a milky juice on cutting.

Leaves simple, alternate without stipules, 7-11 cm long, 6.5-10 cm broad, broadly ovate or oblong-cordate, subacute, slightly repand, shallowly cordate at base, margin entire or slightly and undulately lobed, more or less pubescent on both sides, especially when young, minutely reticulate. Petioles 2-8 cm long, slightly pubescent.

The flowers are regular, bisexual rather large, white, campanulate, 4 cm long and as much in diameter, white in simple cymes, 2-5 flowers together, pedicels stout, thickened upwards, pubescent, peduncle 6-8.5 cm lung; bracts large, 2.7 cm long, 1.8 cm broad, oblong-lanceolate, pubescent, apiculate, soon falling off; sepals 5, unequal, imbricate, the two outer 2.5 cm long and as broad, ovate, membranous, mucronate, hairy on both sides, sprinkled over with black dots, becoming much enlarged in the fruit, inner sepals 1.7-2 cmlong, 1 .4-1.7 cm broad, hairy; petals 5, fused into a more or less rotate corolla, 4 cm in diameter, segments obscure, convolute and contorted in bud; stamens 5, epipetaious, filaments dilated at base and hairy; ovary superior, 2 mm long, 2-locular with 2 ovules in each chamber, style simple, 1 .6 cm long, stigma globose: fruit capsule over I .2 cm long, completely enclosed in enlarged, brittle, membranous, fleshy sepals, shortly stalked, depressed, strongly 4-lobed, slightly hairy.

Seeds are large and glabrous.

The roots are usually dull grey, long, slender, fleshy, cylindrical, elongated and bear thin rootlets. They are 1.5-15 cm long, 1-5 cm in diameter. The thicker pieces, sometimes split and show central wood portion. The roots taste slightly acrid and nauseating.

Scientific Classification

The botanical name of is Operculina turpethum. It belongs to plant family Convolvulaceae.

Convolvulaceae, commonly referred as morning glory or bindweed family consists of 50-60 Genus and about 1600-1700 of plant species distributed primarily in tropical areas of world. About one-third of the species are included in two major genera, Ipomea and Convolvulus.

Many of the plants are valuable ornamentals, medicinal, and food crops. Some of the other medicinal plants belonging to this family are Argyreia nervosa (Elephant Creeper), Convolvulus pluricaulis Choisy (Sankhapuspi), Ipomoea digitata Linn. syn. Ipomoea paniculata (Giant potato), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), Ipomoea aquatica Forsk (Rabbit leaf) etc.

The name of plant family is derived from Latin word Convolvere meaning To Wind. The plants are annual or perennial climbers. The leaves of plants belonging to the family are alternate and simple or compound, heart-shaped and the flower petals are united in the characteristic funnel-shaped / trumpet-shaped corolla. The stems often contain latex. Roots are usually fibrous but sometimes form rootstalks or tubers.

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: Solanales
  • Family: Convolvulaceae – Morning-glory family
  • Genus: Operculina Silva Manso – lidpod P
  • Species: Operculina turpethum (L.) Silva Manso – St. Thomas lidpod P
  • Variety: Operculina turpethum (L.) Silva Manso var. turpethum – St. Thomas lidpod


Ipomoea turpethum R. Br.

Merremia turpethum (L.) Shah & Bhat

Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Roots

Plant type: Perennial twining climber

Distribution: India, China, Sri Lanka, Africa, Australia, throughout the tropics.

Habitat: Throughout India up to 1000 m in damp shady places.

Chief Action: Purgative, laxative

Flowers: During May and November

Safety Profile in Pregnancy: UNSAFE, it is should not be used in pregnancy. It is hot in potency, laxative and purgative. It can cause Abortion due to abortifacient activity.

Vernacular names / Synonyms

  1. Scientific name: Operculina turpethum (Linn.) Silva Manso
  2. Sanskrit: Ardhachandra, Aruna, Kalameshi, Kalaparni, Kali, Kalingika, Kumbhadhatri, Laghurochani, Malavika, Masuravidala, Masuri, Nandi, Paripakini, Rechani, Rochani, Saha, Sara, Sarana, Sarasa, Sarata, Sarvanubhuti, Shyama, Susheni, Suvaha, Tribhandi, Triputa, Trivela, Trivrit, Trivrittika, Vidala
  3. Hindi: Nishothra, Nisotar, Nisoth, Nukpatar, Pitohri, Trivrut, Tarbal, Tarbud, Trabal
  4. Bengali: Teudi, Tvuri, Dhdhakalami
  5. Gujarati: Kala Nasottara
  6. Kannada: Vili Tigade
  7. Malayalam: Trikolpokanna
  8. Marathi: Nisottar
  9. Oriya: Dudholomo
  10. Punjabi: Nisoth
  11. Tamil: Karum Sivadai, Adimbu, Kumbam, Kumbanjan, Kunagandi, Paganrai, Samaran, Saralam, Sivadai
  12. Telugu: Tella, Tegada
  13. Urdu: Turbud, Nishoth
  14. English: Indian Jalap, Turpeth, Terpeth Root, False Jalap

Constituents of Operculina turpethum

The roots of plant contain the glycosidic resin (about 10%), turpethin andh turpethein. Turpethein is made up of 1-turpethein containing jalapic, ipomoic and tampicolic acids and f-turpenthein. It gives laxative action to the drug.

The active principle glycosidic resin is a mostly concentrated in the root bark.

  • Glycosides
  • Volatile oil
  • Resin

Important Medicinal Properties

Operculina turpethum 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 purgative properties and therefore should not be used in loose motions.

Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.

  • Antisecretory: Reduces gastric acid secretion, acidity.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
  • Antimicrobial: Active against microbes.
  • Anticancer: used against or tending to arrest or prevent cancer
  • Abortifacient: Induces abortion.
  • Hepatoprotective: Prevent damage to the live
  • Laxative: Stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels
  • Purgative: Strongly laxative in effect.

Varieties of Trivrit in Ayurveda

Trivrit consists of dried root bark of Operculina turpethum. There are two varieties of Trivrit namely, Aruna or Shweta (whitish or reddish coloured root) and Shyama (blackish root).

1. Aruna or Shweta Trivrit

2. Shyama or Kala Trivrit

The botanical name of Shweta Trivrit is Operculina turpethum (L.) Silva Manso (syn. Ipomoea turpethum), while that of Shyama is Ipomoea petaloides chois.

Shyama Nishoth is also known As Kala, Kala Mesi, Kala Parni, Ardha Chandrika, Susena, Malavika, Masura and Vidala.

The white variety is used as a mild laxative and black variety as violent purgative.

Ayurvedic Properties and Action

Trivrit is purgative in action. It is astringent, bitter, sweet, sharp and pungent in taste (Rasa), pungent after digestion (Vipaka), and is hotin effect (Virya).

  • Rasa (taste on tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Madhura (Sweet), Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
  • Guna (Pharmacological Action): Laghu (Light), Tikshna (Penetrating), Ruksha (Dry)
  • Virya: Ushna (Heating)
  • Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
  • Dosha: Black variety alleviates Kapha and Pitta
  • Dhatu: Blood and Plasma
  • Srota (Channels): Circulatory and excretory

Trivrt is used in Ayurveda for treatment of constipation, digestive ailments, fever, anemia, intestinal parasites etc. It is also used as supporting herb for diseases of the nervous system.

Karma (Action)

  • Kaphahara: Pacifies Kapha Dosha
  • Pittahara: Pacifies Pitta Dosha
  • Vatala: Aggravates Vata
  • Virechak: Virechaka or purgatives causes bowel
  • Jvarahara: Destroys fever
  • Sukhavirechan: Safely eliminates the body wastes
  • Bhedaniya: Purgative and accumulation-breaking

Important Ayurvedic Formulations

  1. Avipattikar Churna
  2. Dhatupaushtik Churna
  3. Abhayarishta
  4. Chandraprabha Vati
  5. Danti haritaki lehyam
  6. Divya Udaramrit Vati
  7. Divya Medohar Vati
  8. Kayam Churna

Medicinal Uses of Indian Jalap

Turpeth is known as Indian Jalap and has properties similar to True Jalap. True Jalap is the resin obtained from the roots of a Mexican plant Ipomoea purga (Ipomoea jalapa/Exogonium purga), belonging to Convolvulaceae family and having drastic purgative and hydragogue (causes copious watery discharges from the bowels) properties. Turpeth is regarded as an effective substitute for true Jalap.

The powdered root is given as a purgative. The use of root powder gives relief in habitual constipation, colic and piles. For piles it is given along with Triphala.

It purges pitta and Kapha from the bowel.

Turpeth helps in skin disorders as it expels inflammatory watery accumulations from blood and fat. For skin diseases, it is combined with Manjishtha, Kutki, Punarnava and Neem.

Along with Guggulu, ginger, turmeric, it is effective in high cholesterol and obesity.

Along with ginger, it is particularly beneficial in rheumatic and paralytic affections, anemia, jaundice and inflammations.

It is given in dose of 3 grams with Mishri for jaundice.

The fresh juice of leaves is dropped into the eyes for inducing lachrymation in ophthalmia (severe inflammation of the eye or of the conjunctiva or deeper structures of the eye).

The root paste is applied topically to treat vitiligo, other skin disorders, alopecia, cervical lymphadenitis, hemorrhoids, fistulas, and ulcers.

Dosage of Operculina turpethum

  1. The recommended dosage of root powder is 1-3 grams.
  2. For therapeutic purgation a maximum 10-12 gm paste of root bark of Trivrit with fermented rice water or milk, is administered in the morning on empty stomach. This dose produces 10 to 30 loose motions.
  3. Contraindications, Interactions, Side-effects and Warnings Operculina turpethum
  4. It aggravates Vata.
  5. It should not be used (Contraindicated) in pregnancy, in children below 12 years of age, in elderly, in physically or mentally weaker persons, and in persons suffering from diarrhea, bleeding per rectum, rectal prolapse, or fecal incontinence.
  6. Large doses may lead to serious complications such as loose motions, bleeding per rectum, vomiting, abdominal pain, chest pain, dehydration, hypotension, vertigo, confusion, shock, and unconsciousness.
  7. It is always combined with antispasmodic herbs to prevent griping.
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