Brihati is an important medicinal plant and extensively used in Ayurveda. Some other common names of this plant include Bhantaki, Bari kateri, Kateli, Kshudra bhantaaki, Mahati, Mahotika, Vartaki, Vrihati, Kataai Kalaan, Mullamkatti, Papparamulli and Barahantaa. It is one of the ten roots (comes under Laghu panchamula) of famous Dashmula (group of ten roots), an excellent formulation for inflammatory conditions.
In Ayurveda, name ‘Brihati’ commonly refers to the dried root of plant Solanum indicum, a very prickly, much branched perennial under shrub found mostly throughout warmer parts of the country upto an elevation of 1500 m. Traditionally Brihati, is used in treatment of respiratory ailments (asthma, catarrh, dry and spasmodic cough), dropsy, heart diseases, chronic fever, colic, scorpion stings, difficult urination, and worm infestation.For medicinal purpose the fruits are also used as they have significant analgesic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and CNS depressant properties.
Plant Description: Brihati is xeric in nature and can be found growing in waste places, roadsides, moist and shady places. It is a stiff, much-branched, prickly shrub growing upto a height of 0.3–1.5 m. Trunk is purple, trifling with numerous branches.
The Leaves are simple, sinuate, base obliquely truncate, thick chartaceous, prickly along the midrib and softly tomentose and measure about 5–15 cm × 2.5–7.5 cm.
The branches are covered with minute stellate brown hairs.
Prickles are sharp, often slightly recurved, short hooked, and have a broad compressed base.
Flowers are in extra-axillary 8 – 10-flowered racemes. Pedicels are 6–13 mm long, stellately hairy, and prickly. Calyx is 3 mm long, prickly and 5-lobed. Corolla is about 8 mm long, bluish, purple, rotate; lobes 5. Stamens are 5.
Fruit is globose berry, green with white lining when young and becomes yellow when ripe. Seeds are small, many, and discoid.
- Flowering occurs in September–October.
- Fruiting begin to appear in October.
- Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Whole plant, especially roots and fruits
- Plant type / Growth Habit: Shrub
- Duration: Perennial / Annual
- Distribution: Throughout the tropical and subtropical India. Also occurs in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, China, Philippine Islands and Africa.
- Habitat: Warmer parts of the country upto an elevation of 1500 m on waysides and waste places in plains
- Climate and soil: Plant requires warm tropical environment and an annual rainfall of 1000 mm to 1500 mm. Soil required is Sandy loam.
- Propagation: From Seeds
Vernacular names / Synonyms
- Scientific name: Solanum indicum
- Sanskrit: Akranta, Asprasi, Bahupatri, Bhantaki, Brahati, Brihatika, Dovadi, Dusparsa, Hinguli, Kshudrabhanta, Kshudrabhantaki, Kshudravartaki, Kuli, Mahati, Mahatikranta, Mahotika, Sinhi, Sinhika, Tprani, Vanavrintaki, Vartaki, Vyaghri
- Assamese: Tilabhakuri
- Bengali: Byakud, Byakura, Brihati Begun, Baikur, Byakur, Gurkamai, Phutki, Phutki Begoon, Tit Begun
- English: Indian Night Shade, Poison Berry, Solanum
- Gujrati: Umimuyaringani, Ubhibharingani, Ubhibhuyaringa, Ubhi-ringan
- Garo: Titbahal
- Hindi: Vanabharata, Badikateri, Jangli bhata, Bari-khatai, Birhatta, Barhanta
- Kannada: Kirugullia, Heggulla, Gulla
- Malayalam: Cheru Vazhuthina, Putirichunda, Cheruchunta
- Marathi: Dorli, Chichuriti, Dorale, Dorh, Mothi-ringani
- Oriya: Dengabheji
- Punjabi: Kandiarivaddi
- Tamil: Chiru vazhuthalai, Papparamulli, Mullamkatti, Mulli, Pappara-mulli
- Tripura: Khanka
- Trade name: Bari kateri
- Telugu: Tella Mulaka, Tellamulaka
- Urdu: Kateli
- Unani: Kateli
The botanical name of Brihati is Solanum indicum. It belongs to plant family Solanaceae – Potato family. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
- Superdivision: Spermatophyta
- Division: Magnoliophyta
- Class: Magnoliopsida
- Subclass: Asteridae
- Order: Solanales
- Family: Solanaceae
- Genus: Solanum L.
- Species: Solanum indicum
- Solanum anguivi Lam. var. multiflora
- Solanum distichum Schum. & Thonn.
- Solanum ferox auct. plur. non L
- Solanum lasiocarpum Dunal
- Solanum torvum Swartz. – Shwet Brihti
- Solanum melongana – Jangali Baigan, Toko, Dhoko, Van Bhaitaago, Van Bhanta
- Solanum violaceum Ortega ssp. Multiflorum
Constituents of Solanum indicum
Leaves and roots contain the steroidal alkaloids, solanine, solanidine and solasodine.
Seed Oil contains of glycerides of lauric, palmitic, stearic, arachidic, oleic, linoleic acids together with phytosterols, sitosterol and carpesterol.
The fruit contains carbohydrates which hydrolyze into maltose, melibiose, sucrose, rafinose, steroidal alkaloids, enzymes and is a source material for cortisone and sex hormone preparations.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action of Brihati
Brihati (Brihati means big or extended in Sanskrit) is bitter and pungent in taste (Rasa), pungent after digestion (Vipaka), and is hot in effect (Virya). 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, 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)
- Tissues: Plasma, blood, reproductive
- Systems: Respiratory, reproductive, urinary, circulatory
Action / Karma
- Deepana: Promote appetite but do not aid in digesting undigested food
- Grahi: Inspissants; stomachic, digestive and heating qualities dry the fluids of the body
- Kanthya: Expectorant, good for throat
- Kandughna: Gives relief in itching
- Krimighna: Destroys worms
- Kaphahara: Pacifies Kapha Dosha
- Mutral: Diuretics, increase the flow of urine
- Pachan: Assist in digesting undigested food, but do not increase the appetite
- Shothhar: reduces inflammation
- Shulaghna: Gives relief in pain
- Vatahara: Pacifies Vata Dosha
- Vamihara: subsides vomiting
- Vajikarak: Aphrodisiac are medicines which increase the sexual power
Brihati is a Katu Vipak herb. Vipak refers to post-digestive (effect after digestion / cooking of Rasa) effect of tastes after its mixing with digestive juices. It is the long term effect of herb. Katu Viapk herbs, increases dryness in body. Such foods reduce fertility and Kapha. Katu vipaak has catabolic effect on body.
In Ayurveda, Brihati is present in Nimbadi Varg (consists of Neem bark, Shunthi, Giloy, Devdaru, Pippali, Kushtha, Shati and Brihati). The decoction of Nimabadi group herbs, cures phlegm-born fever. There are about eleven different types of Brihati explained in Ayurveda.
Brihati is used in all formulations containing Dashmula such as Dashmula, Dasmula Ghrita, Dashmularishta, Dashmul Quath/Kwath/Decoction. Examples of some other formulations containing Brihati are Brihatyadi Kashaya, Brihatyadi kwath, Sudarshan churna, Devadarvadi kwath, Satayadi kwath, and Indukanta Ghrita.
Important Medicinal Properties
The roots of Solanum indicum are rich in medicinal properties. The understanding of these properties will help us to better utilize this herb. Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.
- Anti–asthmatic: Treat or prevent asthma attacks.
- Antitussive: Prevent or relieve a cough.
- Anti–inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
- Astringents: Constrict tissues; styptic.
- Analgesic: Relieve pain.
- Antipyretic/antifebrile/febrifuge: Effective against fever.
- Antioxidant: Neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
- Antirheumatic: Alleviating or preventing rheumatism.
- Antispasmodic: Used to relieve spasm of involuntary muscle.
- Anthelmintic: Antiparasitic, expel parasitic worms (helminths) and other internal parasites from the body.
- Anticatarrhal: Remove excess mucous from the body.
- Aphrodisiac: stimulates sexual desire.
- Carminative: Preventing the formation or causing the expulsion of flatulence.
- Diuretic: Promoting excretion of urine/agent that increases the amount of urine excreted. Useful for dropsy, coughs and catarrhal,
- Depurative: Purifying agent.
- Expectorant: Promotes the secretion of sputum by the air passages, used to treat coughs.
Medicinal Uses of Solanum indicum
Solanum indicum is known as Brihati (roots) in Ayurveda and used in treatment of asthma, catarrh, colic, digestive disorders, dry coughs, dysuria, fever flatulence, heart diseases, hysteria , nasal ulcers, pain in body, toothache, vomiting, and worms. It is considered carminative, constipative, diuretic, hot, and alleviator of vayu.
The fruits cures kandu (itching), kushtha (obstinate skin diseases including leprosy) and krimi (parasitic infection). It alleviates kapha and pitta. It is pungent, bitter and light.
Asthma, bronchitis, cough
Root decoction is recommended.
The juice of Brihati fruit, mixed with honey, is applied externally.
Seed paste is applied.
Bronchitis with fever
Take roots of Solanum indicum + Solanum xanthocarpum + Sida cordifolia + and Justica Adhatoda one part + Raisins one part, and prepare a decoction. Filter and take.
Fruit is pounded and fried in butter. This is taken orally. Or
Root juice is consumed with honey.
Diarrhea in small children
Fruit (spine removed) extract with breast milk is given to infants.
Root decoction is given.
Grind together Solanum indicum, Aegle marmoles, Cassia fistula, Lagerstroemia reginae, premna mucronata (Leaves) + Solanum xanthocarpum, Tribulus terrestris, Desmodium gangeticum, (whole plants) + Desmodium pulchellum branches. Boil this in water to make decoction. Filter with a cloth. Add honey and take in dose of one teaspoonful twice daily for seven days or till it cures.
Brihati + Nagarmoth + Giloy Tinospora cordifolio + Shunthi Dry Ginger + Amalki Emblica myrobalan (each taken 24 grams) are powdered and divided into 5 parts, and one part is taken daily in decoction with a little honey and long pepper.
Gastric and abdominal problems
Root extract obtained by rubbing in stone is mixed with rice water and taken orally twice a day for 4-5 days.
A decoction of roots is used as tonic.
Fruit (spine removed) are eaten.
Itch and ringworm
Paste of plant is applied topically.
The Root and fruit extract is given.
The juice of plant is applied externally.
Urinary Problems (dysuria / painful or difficult urination, Ischuria / stoppage or reduction in the flow of urine)
A decoction of roots is taken twice a day in dosage of half teacup.
The tender berries, which are bitter, are sometimes eaten at times of food scarcity.
Dosage of Solanum indicum
- 5-6 gram of Brihati is used to prepare decoction. Boil dried coarse powder in one glass water till water reduces to half cup. The decoction is ready, filter this and drink.
- The root Powder and fruit powder is taken in dose of 1-2 grams.
Contraindications, Interactions, Side-effects and Warnings Solanum indicum
- No toxic effect or adverse reaction is reported with recommended dose.
- It can be used safely for 3-4 months.
- Do not use at a high dose or long periods of time.
- It is diuretic.
- It increases dryness in body.
- The seeds causes uterine contraction.
- It is hot in potency. Avoid in blisters, dryness and persistent bitter taste in the mouth, red eyes, hot and watery face, inflammation of the body, inflammations of the intestines and high pitta.
- As a general rule, do not take any medicine/herb for therapeutic purpose without consulting doctor.