Indian Sarsaparilla (Sariva) and its Medicinal Uses

Sariva or “the healing herb” is better known as Indian Sarsaparilla or anantamool in Hindi. Scientifically it belongs to the Asclaepedeaceae family, and its botanical name is Hemidesmus indicus. Indian Sarsaparilla is a slender, perennial, turning, wiry shrub with a woody root stock and numerous slender stems having thickened nodes. The leaves are long and lace shaped, white striped above and silvery white below. The flowers are greenish purple and fruits are slender, cylindrical and tapering.

The root of Indian Sarsaparilla is used as a medicine in Ayurveda.

Medicinal Properties of Indian Sarsaparilla

Indian Sarsaparilla has the following properties:

  • Aromatic
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Carminative
  • Demulcent
  • Febrifuge
  • Expectorant
  • Tonic
  • Galactogenic
  • Anti-leucorrhic
  • Anti-rheumatic

Indian Sarsaparilla is indicated in the following cases:

  • In leptospirosis or diseases due to rat poison
  • Gout
  • Skin diseases
  • Syphilis
  • UTI

In samhitas, Indian Sarsaparilla has been classified under “sugandhi dravyas” – aromatic herbs, “varnya” – plants which improve the complexion, “dahaprashamana” – herbs relieving burning sensation of the skin. Two varieties of Indian Sarsaparilla are available – white and black. The white variety is commonly used for medicinal purposes.

Indian Sarsaparilla cures diseases dominated by kapha and pitta dosha.

Uses of Indian Sarasaparilla as an Ayurvedic Medicine

  1. Very effective blood purifier: Sariva detoxifies the aama (toxins), hence it is very useful in gout, arthritis, chronic rheumatic disorder and glandular swellings.
  2. It purifies and increases the quantity of breast milk.
  3. Decoction of anantamool is recommended during ante-natal period to stabilize foetus and prevent abortion.
  4. Sariva is traditionally given to pregnant woman who have a tendency for abortion.
  5. In burning micturition and yellowish urine: Prepare a decoction out of milk boiled with anantamool. Drink 25 ml 2 times a day.
  6. In Leptospirosis or diseases due to rat poison: Peel the outer skin of anantamool root stock and prepare a  paste of it and make it into a small bolus, consuming this along with cow’s milk for 21 days continuously will cure UTI, dysuria, burning sensation, leucorrhoea, cough and skin diseases.
  7. Research shows that it is a potent hepatoprotective.

Dosage: Indian Sarsaparilla is to be taken in powdered form, 1-3 grams.

Major Formulations with Sarasaparilla

  • Sarivaadyasavam
  • Sarivadi vati
  • Gopanganadi kasahyam

It is important to make use of herbs wisely. In case of any illness and under any medication, consult your doctor before using any herb.

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