Shankhpushpi – Ayurvedic Healing Herb for more than a Dozen Ailments
An herb widely used in Ayurvedic medicine as a brain tonic and memory enhancer, shankhpushpi has been used for centuries as a means to promote higher intelligence and a more expanded world view. In a more physical sense, the herb can help to eliminate hypertension, anxiety, asthma, stress-related disorders, epilepsy, insomnia, urinary disorders, hyperthyroid disease, constipation, and numerous neurodegenerative diseases including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The herb works primarily by supporting the central nervous system.
Shankhpushpi – Supporting the Central Nervous System
Shankhpushpi grows on rocky and sandy surfaces particularly in North India and belongs to the Convolvulaceae family. Its flowers range in color from a perfect white to blush pink color.
The active ingredients of this herb include:
- Glycosides and Flavonoids – Flavonoid glycosides occur naturally in fruits and vegetables. There are more than 4,000 different flavonoids, with all of them having beneficial effects on the human body. They can strengthen the immune system, protect us from cancer, and reduce the fragility of capillaries. Essentially, flavonoids act like antioxidants.
- Coumarins – These natural chemical compounds help to thin the blood, and have anti-fungal and anti-tumor activities.
- Alkaloids – Alkaloids can be poison, but they are also very powerful in the right form. Alkaloids in many herbs, including Shankhpushpi, have very useful physiological effects, akin to morphine and codeine (but without the pharmacological addiction). They are muscle relaxants, pain reducing, and seratonin-boosting.
“Shankhpushpi is an Ayurvedic drug used for its action on the central nervous system, especially for boosting memory and improving intellect. Quantum of information gained from Ayurvedic and other Sanskrit literature revealed the existence of four different plant species under the name of Shankhpushpi, which is used in various Ayurvedic prescriptions described in ancient texts, singly or in combination with other herbs.” – PubMed
This herb is also a laxative, increases sperm count, and is even considered an aphrodisiac. Perhaps most importantly, the herb prevents neurotoxicity and reduces stress.
Sankhapuspi, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India, Part 1, Vol 2, pp 155.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.