The plant BAKUCHI is the one that is said to be useful in the treatment of Shwitra diseases. It is the reason it also has the synonym as Shwitraghni. In fact it is most prescribed substance for the disease. It is a plant that is commonly seen throughout Indian subcontinent as a weed. But is also cultivated especially for its seed and seed oil. The botanical name of the plant is Psoralea corylifolia Linn belonging to the family Papilionaceae or Fabaceae. The name is derived from the characteristic feature of the plant to have rough surface due to the glandular dots on it. Thus the name Psoralea is given to the plant. The species name corylifolia is due to the fact that there is a leafy covering over its fruit like a helmet. Here the Greek word for helmet is Korus. Thus the name corylifolia.

PLANT DETAILS

BOTANICAL NAME

Psoralea corylifolia Linn

FAMILY

Papilionaceae or Fabaceae

NOMENCLATURE

VERNACULAR NAMES
  • Kannada – Bavanchi
  • Malayalam – Karkokli
  • Tamil – Karpokaris
  • Telugu – Bavanchalu
  • Hindi – Bakuchi
  • English – Psoralia seed
SANSKRIT SYNONYMS
  • अवल्गुज (Avalguja) – Useful to treat skin diseases especially Leucoderma
  • बाकुची (Bakuchi) – A drug that controls Vata Dosha
  • सोमराजी (Somaraji), शसिलेखा (Shashilekha) – The seeds have a white streak on them inside. 
  • सुपर्णिका (Suparnika),  – Has a very pleasing arrangement of leaves
  • कृष्णफल (Krishnaphala) – The fruits are black in colour
  • सोम (Soma) – The potency of the plant is sheeta or cool.
  • पूतिफली (Putiphala) – Fruits emit and unpleasant smell.
  • कालमेषी (Kalameshi) – The seeds are black in colour
  • कुष्ठघ्नी (Kushtaghni), मलयु (Malayu) – Useful in the treatment of many skin diseases or removal of Mala (Disease)
  • श्वित्रघ्नी (Shwitraghni) – Useful in the treatment of Shwitra (Leucoderma)
PLANT IMAGE
Bakuchi
Click image to enlarge
SAMHITA CLASSIFICATION
  • Charaka Samhita – तिक्तस्कन्ध (Tiktaskanda)
NIGHANTU CLASSIFICATION
  • Dhanvantari Nighantu – Guduchyadi Varga
  • Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Hareetakyadi Varga
  • Raja Nighantu – Shatahvadi Varga
  • Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadhi Varga
BRIEF MORPHOLOGY

An erect annual herb that grows upto 4 to 5 feet height with grooved stem and branches and studded with glands and white hairs. Leaves are simple, rounded, mucronate with 5 nerves arising from the base. The inflorescence is solitary axillary racemes with 10-30 flowers. The flowers are bluish purple in colour. The fruit is a pod which is 5mm long, black, glabrous, beaked. Seed is 1, smooth adhering to the pericarp. 

PHARMACOGNOSY OF OFFICIAL PART
MACROSCOPY

YET TO BE COMPILED

MICROSCOPY

YET TO BE COMPILED

PART USED AND POSOLOGY
PART USED
बीज (Seed) & बीजतैल (Seed oil)
DOSE

चूर्ण (Powder) – 1 to 3gms, For anthelminitic – 4 to 6gms

PHYTOCHEMISTRY

Seeds: Essential oil, volatile oil, psoralen, terpenoid oil, isopsoralen, traces of alkaloid, albumin, sugar, traces of manganese, a triterpenoid named as Bakuchiol, psoralidin, corylifolean, isocorylifolean, etc. Leaves: Raffinose, psoralen, isopsoralen, angelicin, etc

रसपञ्चक कर्म PROPERTIES AND USES AS PER AYURVEDA
गुण (Properties)
  • रस (Rasa) – कटु (Katu), तिक्त (Tikta)
  • गुण (Guna) – लघु (Laghu), रूक्ष (Ruksha)
  • वीर्य (Veerya) – उष्ण (Ushna)
  • विपाक (Vipaka) – कटु (Katu)
  • प्रभाव – None
कर्म & प्रयोग (Action & Indications)
  • दोषकर्म (Doshakarma) – कफवातशामक (Kaphavatashamaka)
  • धातुकर्म & मलकर्म (Dhatukarma and Malakarma)  – Main actions – क्रिमिघ्न, कुष्ठघ्न, विष्घन & कण्डुघ्न (Krimighna, Kushtaghna, Vishaghna and Kandughna) 
  • Other Actions – वर्ण्य, स्वेदजनन, केश्य, व्रणरोपण, दीपन, पाचन, अनुलोमन, वाजीकरण, शोथहर & हृद्य (Varnya, Swedajanana, Keshya, Vranaropana, Deepana, Pachana, Anulomana, Vajikarana, Shothahara & Hridya)
  • प्रयोग (Prayoga)  – Mainly अपची, तृष, दाह, क्रिमि, शोष, विष & रक्तविकार (Apachi, Trisha, Daha, Krimi, Shosha, Visha & Raktavikara), also useful in  प्रदर, गर्भाशयशैथिल्य, मूत्रकृच्छ्र, अश्मरी, श्रम, वेदन, अतिसार, प्रवाहिक, etc (Pradara, Garbhashayashaithilya, Mutrakricchra, Ashmari, Shrama, Vedana, Atisara, Pravahika, etc)
AYURVEDIC FORMULATIONS
CLASSICAL
  1. अशोकारिष्ट
  2. अशोकघृत
  3. अशोकक्षीरपाक
PROPRIETARY
  1. Ashol-M
  2.  
AGRONOMY
ENVIRONMENT

The plant grows well in the moist tropical and sub-tropical regions with well distributed rainfall. It also prefers a soil that is well drained and with good irrigation. It also prefers to have a partially shaded areas for having optimum growth. 

CULTIVATION

The plant requires slightly acidic soil with a medium or well drained fertile soils. The propagation is done through seeds or stem cutting. The seeds need 15 days to germinate. It is advised to soak the seed for 12 hours in water before sowing it. The seedlings are transplanted into the pits during the monsoon season. It needs frequent irrigation during the dry seasons especially the first 2 years. Around 440 seedlings can be planted in one acre of land. Intercropping with other crops like Coconut is also possible with this plant.

HARVESTING

The main crop is bark. Actually the lifetime of the tree is 50 years but it is usually cut down for bark at 20 years. When it is cut leaving the stump, the tree regenerates itself. The bark can be collected without cutting the tree from 10th year onwards where the same will be available after 2 years. It yields around 400kgs of dry bark per acre with every harvest.

STORAGE

The bark which is harvested is dried in shade, packed airtight and stored in containers. 

VARIETIES AND SUBSTITUTES OR ADULTERANTS
VARIETIES

NONE MENTIONED

ADULTERANTS

NONE MENTIONED

SUBSTITUTES

YET TO BE COMPILED

TOXICITY
TOXIC SYMPTOMS

The animal studies show that the plant is having the potential to be hepato and nephrotoxic on prolonged or chronic use.

ANTIDOTE

No antidotes are mentioned

शोधन or PURIFICATION METHOD

The seeds are to be purified by immersing it in Gomutra (Cow’s Urine) or juice of Ardraka (Wet ginger) for a week. 

CONTROVERSY (IF PRESENT)

YET TO BE COMPILED

THERAPEUTIC USES

EXTERNAL USES –

The paste of the seed is applied on the patches of Leucoderma and exposed to the sun till the paste gets dried up. The paste of the seeds are applied over head to avoid baldness or falling of hairs. The oil of the seeds are also used for application over the lesions to treat leucoderma. When one enters to coma or stupor due to snake bite, nasal drops made from the seed after grinding in water is administered. The leaf paste is applied over bleeding wounds. 

INTERNAL USES – 

The seeds at a dose of 300 to 1200mg are given internally as laxative to treat bilious disorders. The seed powder is mixed with the powder of Musali and given internally to treat deafness. 600 to 1800 mg of the seeds are given internally to treat worm infestation as anthelmintic. The leaves are given internally as a dietary component during the treatment of dysentery. 

LIST OF RESEARCH STUDIES
  1. BHALERAO*, Satish A. et al. Saraca asoca (Roxb.), De. Wild: An overview. Annals of Plant Sciences, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 07, p. 770-775, july 2014. ISSN 2287-688X. Available at: <https://www.annalsofplantsciences.com/index.php/aps/article/view/120>.
  2. [S.S Yadav, Ashwini A. Woo. and Kamlesh Choure. (2019); REVIEW OF MEDICINALLY IMPORTANT PLANT SPECIES SARACA ASOCA (ROXB.) Int. J. of Adv. Res. 7 (Sep). 154-166] (ISSN 2320-5407). www.journalijar.com
  3. P Pradhan et.al. Saraca asoca (Ashoka): A Review. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, 2009, 1 (1):62-71.
  4. Yanyan Xu, Yiwei Zhao, Jiabin Xie, Xue Sheng, Yubo Li, Yanjun Zhang, “The Evaluation of Toxicity Induced by Psoraleae Fructus in Rats Using Untargeted Metabonomic Method Based on UPLC-Q-TOF/MS“, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2017, Article ID 6207183, 9 pages, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/6207183

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