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Shankhapushpi – Convolvulus pluricaulis

Last updated on: September 8th, 2017

Introduction of Shankhapushpi – Convolvulus pluricaulis – 

  • Botanical Name of Shankhapushpi is Convolvulus pluricaulis.
  • Family of Shankhapushpi is Convolvulaceae.

The sankrit word Shankhapushpi literally means that the flowers of which are in shape of a conch or sankha which is considered to be auspicious. It is one of the controversial drug in Indian Medicine. It is not having any classical categorization by  Brihatrayis. But the Medhya property of Shankhapushpi is delineated in ancient texts. Charaka explained it as the best example of Medhya-Rasayana. Bhavamishra  quoted 2 varieties- Shweta (white) and Neela (blue) of Shankhapushpi.

Shankapushpi is a small prostrate plant covered with white hairs, with white or blue flowers. It is grown as an ornamental plant as its flowers are beautiful and auspicious. The whole plant is used for medicinal purposes. Main action of this drug includes Kushthaghna, Shoolaghna and Krimighna. It is a good brain tonic and siddha taila (processed oil) prepared out of it is good for hair growth.

PHOTOGRAPHS OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

Shankhapushpi Convolvulus pluricaulis
Convolvulus tricolor
Convolvulus arvensis
Convolvulus arvensis

shankhapushpi1

Convolvulus sabatius
Convolvulus sabatius

(image source – ayurvedicdrugs.com, wikipedia.org)

LITERARY REVIEW OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

  • It is quoted to be Soubhagya karana (lucky) and Vashikarana (hypnotic) in vedic literature. The Medhya property of Shankapushpi is also mentioned in ancient texts.
  • Charaka explained Shankhapushpi as the best Medhya Rasayana. Brihatrayi quoted Shankhapushpi for a limited number of times and they did not include it under any Gana or Varga.
  • Dhanvantari Nighantu mentioned one variety of Shankhapushpi.
  • Shodhala Nighantu described Rakta Pushpika and Nila Pushpa varieties of Shankhapushpi.
  • Kaiyadeva Nighantu mentioned two varieties- Shankhapuspi and Sarpakshi. However it appears that Shodhala had given the Sarpaksi synonymn to the Raktapuspika.
  • Bhavamishra quoted 2 varieties viz. Shweta and Nila Shankapushpi. Bhavamishra described it as an Ushna Virya Dravya.

CONTROVERSIES OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

The plant which has flowers like a conch is Shankhapushpi. At present the following plants are being used for Shankhapushpi rather than convolvulus pluricaulis.

  • Evolvulus alsinoides Linn (Convolvulaceae)
  • Canscora diffusa (Gentianaceae)
  • Clitoria ternatea Linn (Papilionaceae)
  • Lavandula stoechas (Labiateae)
  • Dr. Gananatha Sen was using Lavandula as a Pratinidhi dravya (substitute) for Shankhapushpi.                        .

SYNONYMS OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

  • Kusum- Seeing the flower is auspicious
  • Mangalyakusuma- Seeing the flower is auspicious
  • Supushpa- Flowers are attractive and pleasant appearance
  • Medhya- Intellect promoter
  • Smritihita- Memory enhancer
  • Kshirapushpi- Milky white flowers
  • Shankhahva- Flowers resemble the shape of shell
  • Shankakusuma
  • Shankhamalini- Flowers resembles shankha
  • Shoolaghna- good for curing pain
  • Shankhapushpi- bears flowers like shell shape
  • Malavilasini
  • Varnavilasini
  • Vanavilasini
  • Chirindi
  • Bhoolaghni
  • Manorama
  • Shivabhrami
  • Kambupushpi

VERNACULAR NAMES OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

  • Sanskrit- Sankhapuspi
  • English – Canscora
  • Kannada – Sankinisoppu
  • Malayalam  – Sankhapushpi
  • Telugu – Kanapa, Shankhapushpi
  • Gujarati – Sankhavali
  • Marathi- Sankhavel
  • Bengali- Dankani
  • Hindi- Shankhaphooli
  • Punjabi- Dodaic

SYSTEMIC CLASSIFICATION OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

  • Kingdom- Plantae
  • Sub Kingdom- Spermatophytae
  • Division- Angiospermeae
  • Class- Dicotyledons
  • Subclass- Gamopetalae
  • Genus- Convolvulus
  • Species- Pluricaulis

PRAYOJYA ANGA (USEFUL PARTS)OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

  • Panchanga (Whole plant)
  • Moola (Roots)
  • Beeja (Seeds)
  • Bhasma (Ash)
  • Dried leaves are used for smoking (useful in chronic cough & asthma)

CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

  • The Shankhapushpi plant contains an alkaloid – shankhapushpine.
  • It’s fresh samples yield a volatile oil and potassium chloride.
  • Shankhapushpi also contains a yellow neutral fat and organic and a saline substances.
  • 2 crystalline substance sterol I and sterol II.
  • n- hexacosanol
  • Beta- silosterol is also found in Shankhapushpi

AYURVEDIC PROPERTIES (PHARMACODYNAMICS) OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

  • Rasa- Tikta, Katu, Kashaya
  • Guna- Snigdha, Picchhila
  • Virya- Shita
  • Vipaka- Madhura
  • Doshakarma- Tridosha hara, Vatapitta shamaka.

Snigdha, pichhila, guru guna and madhura vipaka make it Vatashamaka; Shitavirya- Pittashamaka and katu, tikta, kashaya rasa makes it Khaphashamaka.

KARMA (Actions) OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

  • Medhya
  • Mastishka nadi balya
  • Nidra janana
  • Rasayana- medhya rasayana
  • Anulomana
  • Kushthaghna, kesha vavardhana
  • Hrid- balya
  • Rakta stambhaka
  • Rakta Vata shamaka
  • Kapha Nissaraka
  • Svarya
  • Mutra virechaniya
  • Vrishya
  • Pragyasthapana

PRAYOGA (Indications) OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

  • Mastishka Dourbalya, mastishka roga
  • Smriti bhramsha
  • Unmada, Apasmara, Anidhra, Bhrama
  • Gulma
  • Arsha, vibandha
  • Vata vikara
  • Hrid roga
  • Raktapitta
  • Raktabharadhikya
  • Kapha paithika kasa, Swarabheda
  • Mutrakrichha
  • Dhaha, Jwara
  • Thridoshaja Jwara
  • Santapa
  • Dourbalya

THERAPEUTIC  USES OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

  • The drug Shankhapushpi is Medhya (intellect- promoting) herbal agent. It is bitter brain tonic. It is a remedy for treatment of mental disorder .
  • Ghee processed with three times juice of Shankhapushpi along with milk is useful to make mind sharp and intelligent.
  • The drug is used in insanity, insomnia, epilepsy and other mental disorders.
  • It has become a drug of choice for brain disorders and also in combination with other similar drugs like Brahmi, Jyotismati etc. which is frequently recommended as memory promoter, brain tonic, anti stress, hypotensive and also in other various disorders related to nervous and other system of body.
  • Nervous system- as brain tonic, sedative, epilepsy, giddiness etc. Fresh juice of Shankhapushpi in a dose of 5- 20 ml overcomes schizophrenia.
  • Digestive System- Katu and Tikta rasa improves appetite and is good for digestion. Pichchhila Guna and Madhura vipaka helps to improve peristalsis of intestine. In this way Shankhapushpi is best for loss of appetite, flatulence and other Vata conditions of bowel. It’s effect on peristaltic movement of intestine helps to eliminate intestinal toxins and constipation.
  • Circulatory System- Cardio tonic, haemostatic, useful in heart diseases, haemoptysis, haemetemesis and hypertension.
  • Respiratory System- It is an optimum expectorant by virtue of Katu, Tikta and Snigdha property. It is used in cough caused by Vata pitta and hoarseness of voice.
  • Urinary System- It is diuretic due to Shita virya, used in dysuria and urinary tract infection.
  • Reproductive System- It is a good Vajikarak (aphrodisiac), increases semen density due to snigdha, pichchhil guna and madhur vipaka.
  • Skin- Many skin diseases are cured due to Pittashamak action and also due blood purifying action. It is used in syphilis.
  • Temperature- Sheeta virya reduces burning sensation and fever accompanied by burning sensation. Syrup of sankhapushpi is used in summer to overcome burning micturation.
  • External uses- Kushthaghna and hair tonic. It is used in the form of paste in skin diseases and siddha taila (processed oil) for hair growth.

MATRA (Dosage) OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

  • Churna (Powder)- 3-6 gm
  • Swarasa (juice)- 20- 30 ml
  • Sheeta (Cold infusion)- 12-50 ml
  • Panchanga Kalka (paste)- 10-20 gm
  • Kshara- 1- 3 gm

VISHISHTHA YOGA (Pharmaceutical Preparation) OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

  • Shankhapushpi Rasayana
  • Shankhapushpi Taila
  • Shankhapushpi panaka
  • Medhya kashaya
  • Shankhapushpi Ghrita
  • Brahmi rasayana
  • Indra rasayana
  • Medhya rasayana
  • Saraswata Choorna
  • Amritadi rasayana
  • Sankhapushpi Syrup

ADULTERANTS AND SUBSTITUTES OF SHANKHAPUSHPI (Convolvulus pluricaulis)-

  • Gananath Sen mentioned Lavandula as a substitute for Shankhapushpi.
  • Cansora diffusa which is distributed throughout India is used as a substitute of Shankhapushpi.
  • Evolvulus alsinoides Linn is also used as a substitute for Convolvulus pluricaulis.