Dendrophthoe falcata is known as Banda, Vanda, Vrikshdani, Vrikshruha, and Vriksha–Bhaksha (Vriksha= tree, Bhaksha=one that eats). It is a much branched, bushy flowering hemi-parasitic plant classified as mistletoes. Though it photosynthesizes but depends on host plant for water, nutrients, and minerals. It sucks the tree by penetrating through xylem, and phloem using a special structure, the haustorium.
The parasitic infestation reduces the growth, vigour, and productivity. It causes malformation of woody tissues. Dendrophthoe falcata lives on wide variety of host plants.
Vanda is indigenous to India, Srilanka, Thialand, Indo-china, Australia. It is used medicinally in Ayurveda. Its bark has narcotic properties. The leaves are used in wounds, urinary troubles, menstrual disorders, and asthma. The bark is also used as a substitute for betel-nut. The disease for which Vanda is used depends on the host plant as it draws water, and minerals from the host plant. For example, the plant which grows on Tamarindus indica / imli is used to treat impotence. One which grows on Aegle marmelos is for intermittent fever, and on Goolar for female infertility.
Dendrophthoe falcata / Banda is a branched, and glabrous shrub. It is a parasitic plant, and grows on variety of trees. Stem is thick, erect, flattened at the nodes, and arise in clusters at the point of attack. Tumor like growth is formed at the point where the parasite penetrates the tissues of the host tree, and absorb nutrients from it.
Leaves are simple, leathery, entire, thick, persistent, sessile or semi sessile, 7.5 – 18 by 2 – 10 cm, petiolate, exstipulate, alternate or in whorls of three or opposit, and evergreen.
Flowers are large, tubular, bisexual, and bright red colored, develop in clusters, and are arranged in spike.
Fruits are pseudocarp, where ovary got fused with receptacular cup developing a berry like fruits which are single seeded.
The botanical name of Banda is Dendrophthoe falcata. It belongs to plant family Loranthaceae. Below is given taxonomical classification of the plant.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae
- Phylum: Tracheophyta
- Subphyllum: Euphyllophytina
- Class: Magnoliopsida
- Subclass: Rosidae
- Superorder: Santalanae
- Order: Santalales
- Family: Loranthaceae
- Genus: Dendrophthoe
- Species: falcata
Loranthus falcatus Linn. f.
Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Whole plant
Plant type: Angiospermic epiphyte (plant that derives its moisture, and nutrients from the air, and rain, and grows usually on another plant / a parasite)
Habitat: It grows on tress like Mango, Bargad, Bakayan, Sirish, etc.
Distribution: In tropical, and sub-tropical region, found throughout India on waste lands, and forest trees
Vernacular names /Synonyms
- Latin name: Dendrophthoe falcata (L) Ettingsh var. Coccinia
- Sanskrit: Bandaka, Samharsha, Vrikshadani, Vrikharuha
- Bengali: Maandaa, Bandha, Pharulla
- English: Mistletoe
- Gujrati: Baando
- Hindi: Bandaa
- Kashmiri: Ittikkanni, Itil
- Malayalam: Baandagul, Banda
- Marathi: Vrudhongo
- Punjabi: Pulluri
- Tamil: Baadanikaa, Jiddu
- Telugu: Jeevakamu
Constituents of Dendrophthoe falcata
Flavonoid, quercetin, kempferol, rutin11, tannins, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, β-amyrin, oleanolic acid
Ayurvedic Properties, and Action
Vanda is astringent, bitter, sweet in taste (Rasa), pungent after digestion (Vipaka), and is cool in effect (Virya). It is light, and dry in action. It is a Sheet Virya herb. Sheet Virya or Cool potency herb, subdues Pitta (Bile), and Vata (Wind). Sheet Virya herb gives nourishment to the body, and steadiness. It supports the building of the body fluids.
- Rasa (taste on the tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Madhura (Sweet), Tikta (Bitter)
- Guna (Pharmacological Action): Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Dry)
- Virya (Action): Shita (Cooling)
- Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
- Grahi – inspissants are medicines which from their stomachic, digestive, and heating qualities dry the fluids of the body
- Kaphahara – pacifies Kapha Dosha
- Pittahara – pacifies Pitta Dosha
- Vatahara – pacifies Vata Dosha
- Rasayana – Tonic
- Vrishya – increases the quantity of semen
- Vishaghna – poison-destroying
- Vranaropana – Wound healing
- Rakshoghna – Anti-bacterial
- Shramahara – Antifatigue
Banda is used in the treatment of a variety of diseases, such as
- Ashmari – Calculi
- Arsha – Piles
- Kantharoga – Diseases of throat
- Mutraghata – Retention of urine
- Mutrakricchra – Difficult urination
- Mutraruja – Dysuria
- Netraroga – Diseases of eyes
- Raktapitta – Bleeding disorders
- Shlipada – Filariasis
- Vatarakta – Gout
- Vatavikara – Diseases due to vitiation of Vata
- Vrana – Wound
- Mutrasharkara – Sugar in urine
- Garbhasrava – Discharge from uterus
- Amatisara – Diarrhea
- Vishamjvara – Intermittent fever
Important Medicinal Properties
Vanda 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 Contraceptive effect. It reduces the testosterone level, sperm motility, and density. It has significant diuretic effect, and increases excretion of volume of urine, and electrolytes.
Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning
- Antioxidant: Neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals, and other substances.
- Anti–hyperlipidemic: Promoting a reduction of lipid levels in the blood.
- Antimicrobial: Active against microbes.
- Antinociceptive: Reducing sensitivity to painful stimuli.
- Anthelmintic: Expel parasitic worms (helminths), and other internal parasites from the body.
- Anticancer: Used against or tending to arrest or prevent cancer.
- Contraceptive: Prevent pregnancy.
- Diuretic: Promoting excretion of urine/agent that increases the amount of urine excreted.
- Hepatoprotective: Prevent damage to the liver.
- Narcotic: Addictive drug affecting mood or behavior.
Medicinal Use of Banda
Banda or Dendrophthoe falcata, is used as a folk medicine to treat variety of diseases due to its bitter, astringent, cooling, narcotic, and diuretic properties.
Vanda is useful in urinary diseases, and calculi as diuretic. It helps in the prevention of stone in kidney, and bladder. It is given in diarrhea, dysentery, and menstrual disorder, hemorrhage due to cooling, and astringent action. This parasitic host is also used in Ayurveda for insanity, epilepsy, cardiac troubles, convulsions, and nervine complaints.
1. Arthritis, osteoporosis, gout
- The dried leaf powder is taken in a dose of 1-2 grams.
- Warm leaves are tied externally on the affected joints.
2. Bone fracture, weakened bones
- Dry the leaves, twigs, and Tumor of the plant, and ground to make powder. Take this powder in a dose of 1-3 grams, twice a day.
- The smear leaves with mustard oil, and warm. Tie these warm leaves on the affected bones.
3. Bleeding, diarrhea, excessive bleeding during periods
The leaves of the tree are ground to extract juice. Intake of this juice in a dose of 10-15 ml helps to stop the bleeding, discharge from the body due to astringent action.
The dried leaf powder is taken in a dose of 1-2 grams with honey.
The powder of leaves, and bark is given.
6. Skin disorders
Paste of fruits is applied.
The leaves, and flowers of the plant are chewed, and gargled.
The Dosage of Dendrophthoe falcata
- Leaf powder: 1-3 grams.
- Juice of leaves: 10-15ml
- It should be taken only in recommended doses.
- In high doses it can be toxic.
- The decoction of the plant has anti-fertility action.