Trianthema decandra is known as Laghu Patra Varshabhu, Kshudra Varshabhu, Gadabandi, Bisakhapara, Varshaketu, Shivatika and Kruraka. It is an annual herb found growing as a weed in rainy season. As it appears from the ground on occurrence of rain and hence named as Varshabhu in Sanskrit.
The whole plant of Trianthema decandra is edible and used medicinally. The roots are aperient (mild purgative or laxative) and is useful in hepatitis and asthma. It is given with milk for orchitis (inflammation of one or both of the testicles). The juice of the leaf is dropped into the nostrils to relieve migraine.
Plant Description: Trianthema decandra is annual, prostrate, succulent, glabrous herb with slightly branched, long, angular stems and internodes 2.5- 9.5 cm long, occurring as a weed all over peninsular India.
Leaf: Simple, opposite, unequal, petiolate, petioles 0.6 to 1.4 cm long, puberulous, amplexicaul at the base; lamina obovate, 1.5 to 2.5 cm broad and 2.0 to 2.5 cm long apiculate, tapering towards the base, margin entire, unicostate pinnate reticulate venation with 3 to 5 pairs of lateral veins, adaxial surface dark green and the abaxial light green, glabrous, odour and taste indistinct.
Stem: Herbaceous, sparsely branched, procumbent, angular and striate, surface glabrous, fracture entire; odour and taste indistinct.
Flowers: Regular, bisexual, 4 mm diameter apetalous, short-pediculate in dense sub-umbellate, axillary clusters.
Fruit: A membranous, 4-seeded capsule, 4.5 mm long with a hard thick truncate cap which is detached by a transverse dehiscence carrying away two of the seeds with
Seeds: Orbicular reniform, 1.5 mm diameter, black and somewhat flat on the side.
Root: Cylindrical, gradually tapering, measuring upto 8 cm long and upto 0.5 cm in thickness, surface brown, smooth, lateral roots sparse; fracture entire, fractured surface smooth with a thin bark and central whitish wood; odour and taste indistinct.
- Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Roots, whole plant
- Plant type / Growth Habit: Herb, weed
- Duration: Annual
- Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Timor and Java.
- Habitat: Warm climate, poor soil.
Vernacular names / Synonyms
- Scientific name: Trianthema decandra
- Sanskrit: Dvijayangi, Laghupatra Varshabhu, Punarnava
- Bengali: Sabuni
- English: Horse purslane
- Hindi: Salasabuni, Sabuni, Vishakhapara , Lal-sabuni, Santhi, Gadabani
- Kannada: Bilikomme, Gaija soppu
- Malayalam: Vellutha thazhuthama
- Marathi: Tultuli
- Oriya: Puruni saga
- Tamil: Vellai caranai, Vellaisharunnai, Charanai, Chattichcharanai
- Telugu: Tellagalijeru
- Arabic: Hand Qooqi
- Persian: Dewasapt
- Sinhala: Maha sarana
All plants are scientifically classified into main 7 levels. These levels are Kingdom, Division, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. A genus comprise of many species and botanical name consists of Genus (uppercase) followed by Species (lowercase). Genus consists of many species which are closely related and have lots of similarities. Species is the lowest level and represents the group of same plant.
The botanical name of Laghupatra Varshabhu is Trianthema decandra. It belongs to plant family Aizoaceae. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.
- Kingdom: Plantae (comprising all living or extinct plants)
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta (have lignified tissues or xylem for conducting water and minerals)
- Superdivision: Spermatophyta (produce seeds)
- Class: Magnoliopsida (flowering plant producing an embryo with paired cotyledons)
- Order: Caryophyllales (Herbaceous and fleshy)
- Family: Aizoaceae (Fig-marigold family)
- Genus: Trianthema L. (Trianthema)
- Species: Trianthema decandra
- Zaleya decandra
- Trianthema decandra var. flava or Zaleya govindia
- Trianthema decandra var. Rubra or Zaleya govindia
Trianthema portulacastrum is also known as Varshabhu in Ayurveda. Due to its bigger leaves, it is named as Dirgha Varshabhu. As it has white roots and hence named Shevt Mula.
Constituents of Trianthema decandra
Saponins and alkaloid punarnavine.
Punarnavine: It is a quinolizidine alkaloid known to possess analgesic, anti-inflammatory, hepato-protective, immunomodulatory and anti-proliferative properties.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action
Laghupatra Varshabhu is given in case of Kapha Roga, Vata Roga, heart diseases, anemia, inflammations, liver diseases, asthma, amenorrhea, dropsy, edema and ascites. It is bitter 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, vomiting and purging, and gives feeling of lightness.
- Rasa (taste on tongue): Tikta (Bitter)
- Guna (Pharmacological Action): Ruksha (Dry)
- Virya (Action): Ushna (Heating)
- Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
It 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.
- Kasahara: Removes cough.
- Mutral: Diuretics, increase the flow of urine.
- Shothahara: Removes inflammation.
- Shvas: Benefits breathing.
- Shvas-kasa-hara: Alleviates breathing difficulty.
- Vajikaran: Aphrodisiac
- Vatashamana: Pacifies Vata and neurological disorders
- Vishhar: Antidote to toxins.
Chief Indications in Ayurveda
- Anaemia (Low hemoglobin level)
- Ascites (accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity, causing abdominal swelling)
- Asthma (espiratory condition marked by attacks of spasm in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing)
- Cough, Epilepsy, Heart disease
- Hemicrania / migraine, Inflammation
- Pulmonary cavitation, Rheumatism
- Chronic alcoholism (dependence on alcohol)
- Dropsy, Oedema (swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water)
- Intestinal colic (severe abdominal pain associated with malfunction in the intestines)
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, arising from excess of the pigment bilirubin and typically caused by obstruction of the bile duct, by liver disease, or by excessive breakdown of red blood cells.)
- Liver diseases (Diseases of liver)
- Ulcer, Urinary tract infections UTIs
Important Medicinal Properties
Trianthema decandra 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.
Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.
- Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
- Analgesic: Relieve pain.
- Antipyretic/antifebrile/febrifuge: Effective against fever.
- Antioxidant: Neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
- 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.
- Emetic: Causes vomiting.
- Emmenagogue: Stimulates or increases menstrual flow / induces menstruation.
- Hepatoprotective: Prevent damage to the liver.
- Liver tonic: Tonic for liver.
- Laxative: Promotes of evacuation of the bowel.
Medicinal Uses of Trianthema decandra
Laghu Varshabhu is used in India for treatment of variety of ailments. It is used as a single drug in form of dried powder or decoction for jaundice, liver diseases, anemia, cough, headaches, epilepsy, odema etc. As the whole plant possess diuretic indicated in anasarca, cystitis in case of dribbling of urine, in dropsy, edema and ascites. Decoction of plant is given for fever, rheumatism, and as an antidote for alcohol poisoning.
1- Abdominal gas
The leaves are boiled and given.
The roots are used.
Snuff of plant is used.
4- Headache, migraine, hemicrania
The juice of leaves is dropped in each nostril.
5- Regularising periods
The decoction of leaves is given.
6- Rheumatism, edema
The decoction of plant is used.
7- Ulcers, itching, poor eyesight and night blindness
The root paste is applied.
8- Other Uses
- Whole plant is eaten as a vegetable.
- Nutritional Value:
- Moisture – 91.3 g
- Energy – 24 kcal
- Protein – 2.0 g
- Fats – 0.4 g
- Carbohydrates – 3.28 g
- Calcium – 100 mg
- Phosphorus – 30 mg
- Iron – 38.5 mg
- Vitamin C – 70 mg
- The plant is a good source of zinc and copper.
Dosage of Trianthema decandra
The powder of whole dried plant is taken in dose of 3-6 grams.
The Decoction is taken in dose of 50-100 ml. Decoction is prepared by boiling herb 10-30 grams of herb in one glass water till water reduces to half cup. This is filtered and taken.
Fresh juice of plant is taken in dose of 10-20 ml.
Contraindications, Interactions, Side-effects and Warnings
- It is hot in nature, so should be used with caution in summer and by hot temperament individuals and menstruating women.
- No toxic effect or adverse reaction is reported with recommended dose.
- Avoid during pregnancy.
- It has diuretic and laxative action.
- In larger doses, it causes vomiting.