Sariva (Hemidismus indica-Radix)
Sariva smells sweet and is also known as sugandhi ‘the fragrant one’ in Hindi. Its red colour relates to its affinity for the blood and it treats all conditions with heat or toxins in the blood; dermatological, musculoskeletal, urogenital, gynaecological.
Common name Indian sarsaparilla (E), Sugandhi (H) Sanskrit Sariva, Anantamula Latin Hemidismus indica–Radix (Asclepiadaceae)
- Rasa (taste) Sweet, bitter, astringent
- Vırya (energy) Cooling
- Vipaka (post-digestive effect) Sweet
- Guna (quality) Light, unctuous
- Dosa effect VPK−
- Dhatu (tissue) Plasma, blood, muscle, reproductive
- Srotas (channel) Digestive, circulatory, nerve, female reproductive
- Essential oil
- (Paranjpe 2001)
- Kustaha Benefits skin problems
- Amavis. anasana Destroys toxic poisons
- Varnya Improves the complexion
- Jvara Used in fevers
- Dahaprasamana Relieves burning sensations
- Prameha Benefits urinary problems
- Pittasamana Cools pitta and inflammations
- Raktapittaghna Alleviates bleeding disorders from heat
- Sugandhi Aromatic
- Dosatrayanasana Clears an excess of all three dosas
- Sukrala Improves the quality of sperm
Alterative, febrifuge, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antimiscarriage, vulnerary, fertility tonic
Skin Its cooling, sweet and bitter flavours and affinity for rakta dhatu clears inflammation from the skin; used in eczema, psoriasis, urticaria, acne rosacea and acne from aggravated bhran˜jaka pitta. It ‘cleans’ the blood, reduces lymphatic swellings, stops itching and reduces suppuration. The root powder is used to treat STDs that are damp and hot. It is a specific for acne. Also of great benefit in burning sensations (daha) anywhere around the body. It is used as an external paste or as a cream to benefit the above skin problems (Paranjpe 2001).
Urinary Urinary infections with dark red, cloudy, painful urination; cystitis, urethritis, kidney infections, prostatitis. It stimulates the mutravahasrotas to clear excess water without straining the kidneys.
Digestion Useful herb for stimulating the appetite in pitta prakrti without aggravating any acidity. It rectifies mandagni and sluggish digestion. Used in inflammation of the mucous membranes throughout the body. Also used in hot, smelly and watery diarrhea with excess vata drawing pitta downwards (Bhavaprakasa).
Arthritis Its specific anti-inflammatory action is indicated when the joints are hot, red and inflamed. Also useful in acute and chronic gout.
Nerves Its sweet and cooling quality nourishes sadhaka pitta and the mind. Hence its use in disturbed, angry or irritated emotions from high pitta aggravating the equilibrium of the mind.
Gynaecology Traditional use for maintaining pregnancy and preventing habitual miscarriages. Also may be of benefit for menorrhagia caused by pitta overflowing from its channel in artavahasrotas (uterine system). Its nourishing effect on rasa dhatu helps to increase the quantity and quality of breast milk (Bhavaprakasa).
Male fertility Classified as ´sukrala, a sperm-increasing herb, it is of value in fertility problems and low libido. Its saponin content is considered to have a steroidal effect that enhances the production of testosterone.
* Neem, manjishtha, guduchi, gotu kola, sandalwood, licorice for skin inflammation.
* Coriander, gokshura, sandalwood for urinary infections.
* Coriander, fennel, cumin for pitta digestion.
* Haritaki, bilva, kutaja in diarrhoea.
* Guduchi, daruharidra and turmeric for inflammatory arthritis.
* Gotu kola, rose, brahmi for ‘hot’ emotions and disturbed pitta.
* Ashoka, manjishtha, shatavari, rose for bleeding.
* Gokshura, ashwagandha, safed musali, shatavari in male infertility.
No drug–herb interactions are known.
1–10g per day dried or 3–15ml of a 1:3 @ 45% tincture.
■ Sariva grows throughout central and south India and in Sri Lanka. It is a thin, creeping plant growing up to 3m. It spreads throughout the circulatory system and cools any area of excessive heat.
■ Another name for it is anantamula ‘the eternal root’ as its root spreads for a long way underground and it survives periods of climatic stress (e.g. droughts).
■ Svetasariva, white sariva (Hemidismus indicus) and krsn asariva, black sariva (Cryptolepis buchanani) are mentioned in the texts.
■ Its use is very similar to Jamaican sarsaparilla, Smilax ornata and dwipautra, Smilax china.