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VATSANABHA / Aconitum ferox wall

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VATSANABHA / Aconitum ferox wall

Aconitum ferox wall
Aconitum ferox


Botanical Name : Aconitum ferox wall . ex seringe
Family : RANUNCULACEAE
Synonyms : Amrtam , ugra visa , Garalam , Nagam , Nabhi , Pranaharam , Maranam , Mahousadham ,
Visam , Stokakam , Sthavaradyam ; Vatsanagam .
Vernacular Name :
Assami : Vish ; Bengali : Kathvish , Mitha Vish ; Bihari : Dakara ; English : Monks hood , Aconite ; Gujrati :
Basnag , Bachnag, Chingadiyo ; Hindi : Bachnag , Mitha Vish , Mitha Teliya , Teliya Vish ; Kannada :
Vasnabhi ; Malayalam : Vatsanabhi ; Marathi : Bachnag ; Punjabi : Mohari , Shyam Mohari ; Tamil :
Vasanasi ; Telugu : Nabhi .

Botanical Description :


Aconite is a Greek word meaning arrow ( Acron ) . The arrows were coated with this poison and used.
Hence the name aconite . Taber’s Encyclopedic Medical Dictionary also mention that “it was used as an
arrow poison early in Chinese history “ .
Aconite is one of the the oldest known drugs and is of two different kinds viz., poisonous and non
–poisonous. Among the poisonous varieties both A. ferox and A. chasmanthum are used as Vatsanabhi
/visa in india . Whereas Chinese Medicine and Unani medicine believe it as A. napellus . All the three
herbs are describe here …
1) Aconitum Ferox Wall ex. Seringe : It is a perennial herb . Roots – paired ; daughter-tuber
ovoidoblong to ellipsoid , 2.5-4 cm long , about 1-1.5 cm thick , with filiform root fibers, dark
brown externally , yellowish on fracture; another-tuber much shrunk and wrinkled with more
numerous root –fiber . Stem – erect , with or without a slender , hypogynous base , simple , 40-
90cm high , covered with short spreading yellow hairs in the upper part and glabrous below .
Leaves – Scattered , distant , glabrous , petioles slender upto 25 cm, blade orbicular-cordate to
reniform in outline with a rather widesinus, palmately 5-lobed . Inflorescence – peduncle
straight , bearing flowers on both sides , flowers pale dirty blue, borne in a dense terminal
raceme , 10-25 cm long , helmet –vaulted with a short sharp beak , resembling a pea flower .
Fruits – Carpels 5 , tomentose ,follicles oblong , 15-20mm long and 4-5 mm broad , seeds
oboviod to obpyramidal , 2.6-3 mm long , winged along with the raphe .Distribution – Grows
wild in the alpine Himalayas , Kashmir at an altitude of 3,600 m , alpine Himalayas of Nepal .
2) Aconitum Chasmanthum : Biennail herb. Roots – paired , tuberous 2.5-3.7 cm , 12-18 mm thick
, bearing more or less numerous root-fibers leaving behind the indurated bases when breaking
off , dark brown to blackish brown , smooth or wrinkled when dry , fracture cartilaginous , hard ,
white with in the cambium ring . Stem – evect , simple inclusive of the inflorescence , 60-120
cm high , crispopubescent above ,glabrous below . Leaves – numerous , petioles in the lower part of stem upto 7.5 cm long , the upper petioles shortly petioled or subsessile . Inflorescence –
long , narrow, stiff, dense or loose raceme , 30 cm long , often leafy below , rachis stout ,
pedicles slender . Flowers blue or whitish and variegated with blue ,crispo –pubescent or almost
glabrous , uppermost helmet shaped , 15-20 mm high , 12-18 mm long from the tip to base , 5-7
mm wide , lateral margin conspicuously concave . Fruits – carpels 5 , follicles oblong, truncate
10-16 mm long, seeds brown , ovoid to obpyramidal , 3-5 mm long , unequally 3-winged .
Distribution – sub-alpine and alpine zones of western Himalayas at an altitude of 700000-
12000ft.
3) Aconitum napellus : A herbindigenous to the temperate alpine Himalayas , where it grows in
abundance . Roots – biennial tuberous , Stem – erect , 60-90 cm height , finely pubescent in the
upper part . Leaves – scattered , basal 5-6 upper leaves upto 10 , reniform , petioles slender , 5-
pedatipartite . Inflorescence – loose racemes , sepals blue , hairy , uppermost helmet shaped .
Fruits – oblong , conspicuously reticulate follicks , seeds obovoid to oblyramidal .


Properties : –


Rasa – Madhura
Guna – Laghu , Ruksa ,Tiksna ,Vyavayi ,Vikasi
Virya – Usna
Vipaka – Katu
Karma – Vatakaphahara , Jvarahara , Jangama Visahara , Madakari , Kusthaghna


Chemical Constituents :


The roots of A. chasmanthum (10 times) and A. ferox (2 times ) are richer in alkaloids then of A.
napellus . The alkaloids of A. chasmanthum areless potent (0.7 times)| and of A. ferox more
potent (1.5 times) than those of A. napellus. A. ferox is specially recommended for wider use on
account of its more common occurance,easier identification and the higher crystallizing power
of its alkaloid ( about 80% being crystallisable).
1)A. Ferox –
Roots contain toxic alkaloids,pseudoaconitine along with bikhaconitie, chasaconitine ,
indaconitine (Icydia 1972,35,55),veratroy pseudoaconitine and diacetyl
pseudoaconitine(Manske and Rodrigo,1979)
Two new alkaloids-2-(1H)- quinolinone and 3,4- dihydro-6-hydroxy-2-(1H)-QUINOLONE(Nat.
Prod. Lett 1993,227; Chem. Abstr. 1994,121,175172b).
A new diterpendiod alkaloid -14-0-acetylsenbusine A; Vakognavine , Chasmaconitine,
Crassicauline A , falconericine , bikhaconine , pseudoaconine , neoline ,senbusine B,
isotalatizodine and aconine are reported (phytochem , 1994 , 36 , 1527).
Four lipoalkaloids viz. liposeudo aconitine, lipoyunaconitine, lipoindaconitine and
lipobikhaconitine; and four aconine viz., veratroylpseudaconine , anisoylyunaconine ,
benzoylindaconine and vertroylbikhgaconine are also reported (J.Nat.Prod. 1994,57,105).

2)A. Chasmanthum-
Indaconitine and new alkaloids-base A&B; chasmaconitine and chasmanthinine are identified
(Can. J.Chem.1964,42,154)
An alkaloid chasmanine is also reported ( Can.J.Chem.1965,43,825 &Chem. Commun. 1976,253).
3)A. napellus-
Neoline is isolated (Terahedran Lett. 1960,17); aconitine (colloectczech. Chem. Commun
1963,28,2462); isolation of atisine chloride and isoatisine (Chem. Abstr.1988,109,70430h); a
diterpene- 15a hydroxyneoline (Chem. Pharm. Bull. 29,30378); aconosine , 14-acetylncoline
,hokbusine A & C , aconitine and mesaconitine (J.Nat.Prod.1984,47,190).

Indication:


1) As Rasayana Vatsanabhi may be used daily aftere performing ghrtapana and Sodhana.
2) In case Sattva Prakrti Visa is used during winter and spring .But, while treating certain
diseases it may be administed in summer also . However Vatsanabhishould not be used in
rainy season and on the cloudy days .
3) Visa is contraindicated for Krodhi (angery) Pitta predominant , Kliba (impotent) , Kings or
Royals employees, when feeling hungry or thirsty , giddiness (Bhrama) , Sun Stroke ,after
walking for long distances(ie. When tired), diseases where Vatsnabhi is contraindicated ,
pregnant , children , old age, emaciated individuals, Marma rogas etc.
4) One should not consume the forbidden items even if Vatsanabhi is given as Rasayana . Some
of the restricted diets are rich in pungent , sour and salt tastes ; oil, sleep during day time ,
exposure to fire and heat (Sun-light ) are also forebidden.

Toxic Effects :


Susruta, father of surgery cleary documented the toxic effects of Vatsanabhi VIZ.
Grivasthambha (torticollis)and Pita Vit-Mutra-Netratva ( deep yellowish discolouration of stools,
urine & conjunctiva).
Rasa Vagbhata enumerated the eight stages (Asta- vegas) of aconite poisoning and described
the symptons as well . They are :
1 st Stage (Prathama –vega) – Tvak vikara ( skin changes )
2 nd stage (Dviitiya – vega) – Vepathu (tremers)
3 rd stage (Tritiya –vega ) – Daha (buring allover the body )
4 th stage (Caturtha-Vega ) – Vikrtavastha

5 th stage (Pancama-vega ) – Phenodgama (bubbles from mouth )
6 th stage (Satama-vega) – Skandha bhanga (drooping of shoulders )
7 th stage (Saptama –vega ) – Jadata (comatose )
8 th Stage (Astama –vega – Marana (death )

Therapeutic Uses –


1) Sirh Sula – Yasti Curna (liquorice powder) 10g and Vatsanabhi powder 2.5g is used as
Pradhamana Nasya (powder inhalation ) in a dose of 1 sarsapa mg. (Anubhuta yoga from
Ni.A. Vol.1 Page 9 ).
2) Sula – Pippali (P. longum fruits ), Pippalimula (P. longum root ) and Vatsanabhi powders are
mixed in equal proportions and administreted orally in a dose of 1-2g relieving abdominal
pain and colic (Ra. Ra. Sa.)
3) Sotha – Dasanga lepa 10g (1 Tola ) and Vatsanabhi 1 g are made into paste with Datura leaf
juice and applied externally to treat inflammatory eodema .
4) Vriscika Visa – Vatsanabhi root paste is applied at the site of scorpion sting (A.Hr.Ut. 37)
5) Sukrameha – Its oral administration controls spermatorrhoea and incontinence of Urine
(Nadkarni K.M. )
6) Snayuka – A. Ferox and opium are taken in equal parts and mixed well with brandy to make
paste . It is used as local application in cases of guinea worm (Nadkarni K.M.)
7) Lepa – The root in the form of lepa (liniment or paste ) is spread upon the skin in cases of
neuralgia and muscular rheumatism , acute and chronic itching as in erythema , in nasal
catarrh , tonsillitis , sore –throat , coryza , acute gout ; and other painful affections (Chopra
R.N. ) .

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