The literal meaning of word Pashanbheda is, one that breaks stones (Pashan is stone and bheda means to break, in Sanskrit). There are many plants that are known by this name due to their diuretic and lithotriptic (dissolving or destroying stone in the bladder or kidneys) activities. One such plant that is widely accepted under the name Pashanbheda(Bergenia ligulata) is Bergenia ligulata syn. Saxifrega ligulata.
This medicinal plant is useful in treatment of many ailments but particularly for urinary calculi. Pashanbheda herb is found in Himalaya and the Khasi hills Assam. The rhizomes of this plant are used to prevent and expel urinary stones.
Different Ayurvedic treatise mentioned this plant and recommended its uses for treatment of urinary stones. Charak Samhita (210 BC-170 AD) mentioned this plant under the name Pashanbhed and recommended it for painful micturition, for curing abdominal tumour and for breaking up calculi. Sushruta Samhita (170 AD- 340 BC) and Ashtang Hridaya (341 AD – 434 AD) also mentions it for uric acid calculi.
In Sushruta Samhita, decoction of Pashanbhed, Ashmantaka, Satavari, Vrihati, Shalluka, Varuna (Crataeva nurvula), Kulattha (Dotichos biflorus), Kola and Kataka seeds have been described for the patients of Vataja asmari.
- Kingdom: Plantae- Plants
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta-Vascular plants
- Superdivison: Spermatophyta- Seed plants
- Division: Magnoliphyta- Floweringp lants
- Class: Magnoliopsida- Dicotyledons
- Subclass: Rosidae
- Order: Rosales
- Family: Saxifragaceae- Saxifrage family
- Genus: Bergenia Moench- elephant ear
- Species: Bergenia ligulata (Wall.)
Synonyms: Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb., Megasea ciliata (Haw.), Saxifraga ciliata (Haw.), Royle., Saxifraga ligulata Wall., Saxifraga thysanodes Lindl
- Sanskrit: Ashmabheda, Nagbhita,
- Pashaanbheda, Silabheda
- Hindi: Dakachru, Pakhanabhed, Pakhanabheda, Patharcua, Silparo, Silpbheda
- Assamese: Patharkuchi
- Bengali: Himasagara, Patharchuri, Patrankur
- Gujarati: Pakhanbheda, Pashanbheda
- Kannada: Alepgaya, Hittaga, Hittulaka,
- Pahanbhedi, Pasanberu
- Kashmiri: Pashanbhed
- Malayalam: Kallurvanchi, Kallurvanni, Kallorvanchi
- Marathi: Pashanbheda
- Mizoram: Khamdamdawi, Pandamdawi
- Oriya: Pasanbhedi, Pashanabheda
- Punjabi: Batpia, Dharposh, Kachalu, Pashanbhed
- Tamil: Sirupilai
- Telugu: Kondapindi, Telanurupindi
- Urdu: Kachalu, Pakhanabheda
Pashanbheda or Bergenia ligulata is succulent perennial herb that reaches height up to 50 cm. It is distributed in the temperate Himalaya (from Kashmir to Nepal) from 2000-2700 m and very common in Pakistan, Central and East Asia.
Perennial herb with short, thick, fleshy and procumbent stems, Rootstock very stout, Leaves ovate or round and 5-15 cm long at flowering time, Upper and lower surfaces hairy, becoming almost hairless in age, Flowers white, pink or purple, 3.2 cm in diameter, forming a cymose panicle with flexible flowering stem, 10-25 cm long leafless and styles.
Plant roots: Rhizome, solid, barrel shaped, cylindrical, 1.5-3 cm long and 1-2 cm in diameter with small roots, ridges, furrows and root scars distinct, transversely cut surface shows outer ring of brown coloured cork, short middle cortex, vascular bundles and large central pith, odour, aromatic, taste, astringent.
Constituents of Roots
Major phenolic compound bergenin, Tannic acid, Flavonoids, Benzenoids, gallic acid, Lactone and glucose.
Scientifically confirmed biological activities
Antiurolithic activity: The rhizomes inhibits stone formation. In studies, bergenin exhibited marked dissolution of urinary calculi both in kidney and urine constituents.
Diuretic activity: The presence of active principles like flavonoids and saponins in roots show significant diuretic activity.
Anti-diabetic activity: The roots show anti-diabetic effect which may be due the stimulation of cells of pancreatic islets or mediated through stimulation of insulin release resembling the oral hypoglycemic sulphonylureas.
Hepatoprotective activity: The roots show significant liver protecting activity. Although the mechanism, how the herb works, is not fully understood. Due to this property, it is one of the ingredient in Himalaya well known Ayurvedic formulation Liv 52.
Antipyretic activity: The roots of plant has significant fever reducing properties.
Blood pressure lowering activity:The plant roots show cardio protective activity. It lowers the blood pressure.
Pashanbheda is used in Ayurveda and Unani system of medicine for treatment of many diseases especially for urinary stones. The plant roots has cooling, laxative, analgesic, abortifacient (abortion causing) and aphrodisiac properties.
The roots are used in treatment of vesicular calculi, urinary discharges, excessive uterine haemorrhage, diseases of the bladder, dysentery, menorrhagia, splenic enlargement and heart diseases. Ayurveda mentions, the roots as bitter, acrid, post digestion pungent and cool in potency. It is tridoshnashak (balances Vata, Pitta and Kapha).
- Teething troubles: The roots are rubbed down and given with honey to children when teething.
- Ear pain: The leave juice is extracted in mortar and pestle. This is used as ear drops to cure earache.
- Intestinal parasites roundworms: About 10 g of root paste or juice is taken orally by human adults with the molasses, twice a day for 3-4 days.
- Cuts, boils, wounds and burns: Dried roots paste is applied externally on affected body parts.
- Urinary disorders, stomach disorders and urogenital complaints: Decoction of fresh roots is taken orally for treating these conditions.
- Constipation: Root paste is taken with lukewarm water.
- Dysentery: Approximately 5-10 g root powder is taken with fresh water, two times a day.
- Fever: The root powder tea is given to treat fever.
- Cough: 50 ml root decoction with candy sugar is given for one weak.
Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India, recommends dosage of the roots as follows
- Dried powered rhizomes:1-3 gm twice a day.
- For decoction:20-30 gm rhizomes
Important Formulations containing Pashanbheda
Pashanbheda(Bergenia ligulata) plant is used in preparation of many Ayurvedic medicines. Some of them are Ashmarihar kashay for kidney stone, Mutravirechan Kashay, Himalaya Herbal Healthcare’s Cystone to disolves kidney stone, Nephrolex and Liv 52, Baidyanath Pathrina, Charak Pharmaceuticals Bombay, Calcury etc.