Evolvulus alsinoides is known as Shankhpushpi, Vishnukarandhi, Vishnukrantha, Vishnu-kranta, Vishukarandi, Sankaholi and Morning-glory. It is a brain tonic, alterative, febrifuge, vermifuge and anti-inflammatory. Evolvulus is effective nootropic agent. It is mainly indicated in in loss of memory, sleeplessness, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and in syphilis. It is also used in the treatment of epilepsy, leukoderma, cuts and ulcers.
Shankhpushpi is brain tonic and primarily used for improving brain functions. In Sanskrit, Shankhpushpi means the plant with flowers shaped like a conch or Shankha and there are mainly three such plant species which have Conch shaped flowers and similar nootropic activities. All of the three are used as Shankhapushpi in preparation of various medicines either singly or in combination. These three plant are Clitoria ternatea, Convolvulus pluricaulis and Evolvulus alsinoides.
In a study, done on rats the alcoholic extract of Evolvulus alsinoides exhibits a potentially superior nootropic effect as compared to alcoholic extract of convolvulus pluricaulis.
It is prostrate, much branched herb with small woody rootstock. The stem is spreading, wiry, hairy more than 30 cm long. Leaves are numerous, oblong-elliptic or lanceolate, 1.0-3.5 x 0.3-1.0 cm, obtuse at apex, densely covered with appressed silky hairs, petioles is short.
Flowers are light-blue, solitary, axillary, bracts lanceolate. Sepals are 4, lanceolate, densely silky. Corolla is funnel shaped. They are pollinated by insects. Seeds are dispersed by wind. Capsules are globose, 3-4 mm long, 4-valved. Seeds are usually 4, glabrous.
The botanical name of Vishnukraanti / Sankhahuli is Evolvulus alsinoides. The genus name comes from the Latin word “evolvulus” meaning “to unroll” and is referring to the species nonvining habit. It belongs to plant family Convolvulaceae. 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: Evolvulus L. – dwarf morning-glory P
- Species: Evolvulus alsinoides (L.) L. – slender dwarf morning-glory P
- Evolvulus alsinoides (L.) L. var. angustifolius Torr. – slender dwarf morning-glory P
- Evolvulus alsinoides (L.) L. var. debilis (Kunth) van Ooststr. – slender dwarf morning-glory
Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Whole plant and Leaves
Plant type: herb
Distribution: Open-grassy places, preferably well drained soil
Habitat: Throughout India
Flowering and Fruiting: July-November
- Sanskrit: Vishnukranta, Laghu vishnukrantha
- Hindi: Sankhapushpi, Vishnukranta,Shyamakranta
- Kannada: Vishnukranti, Shankha vaelu, Vishnugranthi soppu
- Telugu: Vishnukraanthamu, Nalla Vishnukraantha
- Tamil: Vishnukranthi, Vishnukarandi
- English: Common evolvulus, Slender dwarf morning glory
Dosage of Vishnukranta
- Juice of whole plant: 20-30 ml
- Whole plant Dried Powder: 3-6 gm
- Cold infusion / Phanta of plant: 40-60ml
Constituents of Evolvulus alsinoides
Alkaloid; Evolvin, Betaine, Sterols, Proteins, Carbohydrates, Phenols compounds, Tannin.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action
It is astringent, bitter and pungent in taste (rasa), sweet after digestion (vipaka), and is cool in effect (virya). This herb works on nerves, plasma, and reproductive system. It helps in mental, nervous, excretory and reproductive disorders.
It balances Vata, Pitta and Kapha. It is a Sheet Virya herb and gives nourishment to body and steadiness. It supports building of body fluids.
- Rasa (taste on tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
- Guna (Pharmacological Action): Laghu (Light), Snigdha (Unctuous)
- Virya (Action): Sita (Cooling),
- Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Madhura (Sweet)
- Tridoshhara (Alleviates three dosha Vata, Pitta, Kapha)
- Medya (tonic for brain)
- Majja dhatu Rasayan (Rejuventes nervous system)
- Vajikarak or aphrodisiac (increase the sexual power)
- Chedan (discharges from the body adherent phlegm or other humours)
- Nidrajanan (Promotes sleep)
Important Medicinal Properties
Vishnukranti is rich in medicinal properties. The understanding of these properties will help us to better utilize this herb. It promotes intelligence, enhance memory and retention, reduces stress, anxiety, depression, confusion and induces peaceful sleep.
Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.
- Anti-stress: relaxes mind.
- Antidepressant: alleviates depression.
- Anxiolytic: reduces anxiety.
- Analgesic: relieves pain.
- Neuroleptic: reduce nervous tension by depressing nerve functions.
- Immunomodulatory: modifies the immune response or the functioning of the immune system.
- Nootropic: enhance memory or other cognitive functions.
- Nervine: calm the nerves.
- Psychostimulant: antidepressant or mood-elevating action.
- Sedative: calming or sleep-inducing effect.
Health Benefits of Vishnukranta
- It is one of the psychotropic drugs that cures nervous debility and dementia.
- It treats disorders of nervous system.
- It gives relief in anxiety, depression, pain, insomnia, epilepsy and fits.
- It reduces stress.
- It detoxifies body.
- It helps in digestive impairment due to nervousness.
- It has laxative action.
- It has aphrodisiac action and strengthens reproductive system.
- It is one of the best herbs used as a general tonic and rejuvenative.
Medicinal Uses of Vishnukraanti
Vishnukraanti / Shankhapushpi / Morning Glory, plant is used in Ayurveda and Unani system of medicine to treat mental disorders, nervous weakness, insomnia, fever, cough, asthma and skin diseases. It helps is a general tonic and gives good health.
In nervous and brain disorders, memory loss, low I.Q., mental retardness, the dried powder of plant is given in dose of 3-6 grams or 10 grams of fresh paste is taken along with the cow’s milk for 1 month at bed time.
For cold and cough, the decoction of roots, is given thrice a day for three days.
In fever, with digestive disorder, its decoction with Tulsi leaves juice is given.
In chronic bronchitis and asthma, the leaves are made in to cigarettes and smoked.
As a general tonic, the decoction of plant is used.
For cuts, ulcers, the paste of whole plant is applied externally to stop bleeding.
In toothache, the paste of plant is applied on the affected teeth
The root powder is used to improve libido.
For hair growth, the leaf paste is applied 30 minutes before bath for 1 month.
The oil containing, Shankhapushpi is used to promote hair growth and as hair tonic. Massaging with this oil strengthens hair and reduces stress.
There are no known side-effects of this herb.