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PhD Anthropology (pursuing), MSc
Ayurvedic View By
BAMS
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MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
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18 Feb 2021 | 04:52 PM (IST)

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Chitrak

Chitrak
Chitrak, also called DoctorBush or Ceylon, is one of the oldest plants known for its medicinal value and is considered as Rasayana in Ayurveda. It is grown throughout India in the wild or cultivated state due to its health benefits.
Chitrak root is beneficial in managing diabetes. It lowers blood glucose levels by enhancing insulin secretion due to its anti-diabetic and antioxidant properties. Chitrak also reduces blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and thereby, helps in weight loss. It also aids in reducing anxiety and calming brain activity as it suppresses the central nervous system due to its relaxant properties.
According to Ayurveda, it helps improve the digestive system due to its Deepana (appetizer) and Pachana (digestion) properties. It also helps manage atherosclerosis as it prevents the deposition of fatty substances in arteries and maintains the blood flow in the body.
Chitrak can also be used for external purposes. It helps in managing various skin diseases such as acne, sore, dermatitis due to its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It also accelerates wound healing owing to its antioxidant properties and helps in the formation of new skin cells.
It is advised not to consume Chitrak during pregnancy as it irritates the uterus and enhances contractions which might lead to miscarriage[3][6][13][14][15].

What are the synonyms of Chitrak?

Plumbago zeylanica, Agni, Vahni, Jvalanakhya, Krsanu, Hutasa, Dahana, Hutabhuk, Sikhi, Agiyachit, Agnachit, Chita, Lead war, Chitrakmula, Chira, Chitra, Chitramula, Vahni, Bilichitramoola, Shatranja, Vellakeduveli, Thumpokkoduveli, Chitraka, Chitamula, Chitoparu, Chitramoolam, Kodiveli, Chitramulam, Sheetraj Hindi, Cheetah[1].

What is the source of Chitrak?

Plant Based

Benefits of Chitrak

1. Indigestion
According to Ayurveda, indigestion is termed as Agnimandya that occurs due to an imbalance of Pitta dosha. Whenever the consumed food is left undigested due to Mand agni (low digestive fire), it results in the formation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) which causes indigestion. In simple words, we can say that indigestion occurs due to an incomplete process of digestion. Chitrak helps to manage indigestion by digesting the Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) due to it’s Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestion) properties. It even helps to balance the Pitta dosha[12].

2. Piles
Due to today’s sedentary lifestyle, Piles have become a common problem that occurs as a result of chronic constipation. Constipation leads to the impairment of all the three doshas, mainly Vata dosha. An aggravated Vata causes low digestive fire leading to persistent constipation that might result in pain and swelling around the anal region if ignored or left untreated and further lead in the formation of pile mass. Chitrak helps give relief from constipation due to its Rechana (laxative) property and also reduces painful Piles due to its pain relieving as well as Vata and Pitta dosha balancing properties[12].

3. Obesity
Obesity is a condition in which indigestion leads to accumulation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the form of fat. This condition might sometimes even occur due to constipation, which leads to an imbalance of Meda dhatu (abnormality in adipose tissue) resulting in obesity. Chitrak helps to reduce fat accumulation because of its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties. It also helps to manage constipation due to its Rechana (laxative) property, thereby managing Obesity[12].

4. Sexual weakness
Sexual weakness is the condition in which a person faces either loss of libido (low sexual desire in one or both partners) or early discharge of semen (in case of male partner). This condition usually occurs due to the imbalance of Vata dosha. Chitrak helps to manage Sexual weakness due to it’s Vata balancing and aphrodisiac properties[12].

Precautions when using Chitrak

Advice from Experts
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
A certain constituent (plumbagin) present in Chitrak might be considered to be toxic if taken in high doses. So it is generally advisable to consult a physician before taking Chitrak[10].
Pregnancy
scientific
Modern Science View
It is advisable to avoid Chitrak during pregnancy as increases the uterine contractions and might lead to a miscarriage. So it is generally advisable to avoid or consult a physician before taking Chitrak during pregnancy[6].
Side Effects
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
1. Diarrhea
2. Skin rashes[8]

Recommended Dosage of Chitrak

  • Chitrak Powder - 2-3 gm a day or as recommended by a physician.
  • Chitrak Tablet - 1-2 gm in divided doses a day or as recommended by a physician.
  • Chitrak Syrup - 5-10 ml in divided doses a day or as recommended by a physician[9].

How to use Chitrak

Chitrak tablets/capsules (for ulcers)-
a. Take 2 tablets or capsules of Chitrak orally 3 times a day.
b. Take them after meals with buttermilk or lukewarm water[9].

Benefits of Chitrak

1. Rheumatic
Pain felt during Rheumatoid arthritis due to the imbalance of Vata dosha is known as rheumatic pain. Application of Chitrak leaves paste on the painful area helps to manage the rheumatic pain due to it’s Vata balancing property[12].

2. Scabies
Scabies, known as Pama in Ayurveda occurs due to the imbalance of Kapha and Pitta dosha. Application of Chitrak juice on the affected area helps give relief from itching and discomfort due to its Pitta and Kapha balancing properties[12].

Recommended Dosage of Chitrak

  • Chitrak Paste - 250 mg - 3g a day or as recommended by a physician.

Frequently asked questions

Q. What is the shelf life of Chitrak?

scientific
Modern Science View
The shelf life of Chitrak powder is 6-12 months and that of capsules or tablets is 2-3 years[9].

Q. How to preserve Chitrak?

scientific
Modern Science View
Raw dried Chitrak should be packaged in breathable gunny bags. Care should always be taken to prevent damage from insects, ants or other chemicals. Keep the stored Chitrak away from moisture in the rainy season[9].

Q. What are the common names of Plumbago zeylanica?

scientific
Modern Science View
The common names of Plumbago zeylanica are Agni, Vahni, Jvalanakhya, Krsanu, Hutasa, Dahana, Hutabhuk, Sikhi, Agiyachit, Agnachit, Chita, Lead war, Chitrakmula, Chira, Chitra, Chitramula, Vahni, Bilichitramoola, Shatranja, Vellakeduveli, Thumpokkoduveli, Chitraka, Chitamula, Chitoparu, Chitramoolam, Kodiveli, Chitramulam, Sheetraj Hindi, and Cheetah[1].

Q. Does Chitrak help manage the central nervous system (CNS)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Chitrak has a significant effect on the central nervous system (CNS) due to its muscle relaxant property. It reduces hyperactivity of the CNS and decreases the anxiety level[3].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Nervous system is controlled by Vata dosha. Chitrak helps in the management of CNS due to its Vata balancing and Medhya (brain tonic) properties. This helps in both management and prevention of nervous disorders and nourishes the nerves.

Q. How is Chitrak helpful in managing ulcers?

scientific
Modern Science View
Chitrak helps in managing ulcers due to its strong antioxidant activity. Antioxidants help prevent wound formation caused by several ulcer-causing agents. Various scientific studies also suggest that it reduces injuries on the stomach wall and prevents the formation of ulcers[5].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Ulcer usually occurs due to weak or poor digestion. Chitrak helps manage ulcers due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestion) properties. This helps improve digestion and prevent the formation of ulcers.

Q. Is Chitrak good for Leishmania infection?

scientific
Modern Science View
Leishmania infection is an infection caused by Leishmania parasites affecting several internal organs. Chitrak helps manage Leishmania infection because of its anti-parasitic property. It helps in the production of a certain enzyme that is responsible for killing the parasites, thereby preventing infection[6].

Q. Does Chitrak helps in atherosclerosis?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Chitrak might help in atherosclerosis as it prevents the deposition of fatty substances in the arteries. This manages the blood flow in the body and prevents the formation of atherosclerotic lesions[7].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which toxins in the form of fatty substances get accumulated in the arteries. It is generally seen when some conditions like hypertension or high cholesterol are left ignored for a long period of time. Since hypertension and high cholesterol, both occur due to an accumulation of toxins in the form of Ama, Chitrak helps manage them due to its Deepan (appetiser), Pachan (digestitheon) and lekhan (scrapping) properties. This helps prevent hypertension or high cholesterol, thereby reducing the symptoms of Atherosclerosis.

Q. What dietary precautions need to be taken while using Chitrak?

scientific
Modern Science View
It is recommended to avoid consuming potatoes, root vegetables, tubers and oily food and to increase the intake of water in between meals for better absorption of Chitrak in the body[9].

Q. How to use Chitrak roots?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Chitrak root is beneficial to treat the digestive tract disorders like indigestion. Chitrak roots can be used after drying and grinding to powdered form. Have this powder once or twice a day with lukewarm water to get rid of indigestion.

Q. What are the medicinal uses of Plumbago zeylanica?

scientific
Modern Science View
Chitrak or Plumbago zeylanica is used in traditional systems of medicine to cure various ailments. All parts of the plant are used for medicinal purposes, but in comparison to other parts roots are considered to have the highest beneficial properties. Root and root bark act as astringent to bowels and can be used to cure intestinal troubles, inflammation, piles, bronchitis, itching and disease of the liver[2]. While, leaves of the plant are used to treat infections and digestive problems such as dysentery.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Chitrak is a very effective solution for digestive problems like indigestion, dysentery or diarrhea due to its Deepan and Pachan properties. Chitrak also helps to reduce the symptoms of cough and cold because of its Kapha balancing nature.

Q. Does Chitrak have any side effects?

scientific
Modern Science View
Overdose or excessive use of Chitrak may cause toxicity. It may show irritant and intoxicant effects on the body. Some common symptoms may also be observed such as burning of tongue, throat and stomach. Therefore, it is advised to use Chitrak under recommended doses only. Always consult the doctor or Ayurvedic practitioner before using Chitrak[2].

Q. How to take Chitrak tablet?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Chirtak is the main ingredient used in Chitrak tablets. You can take 1 tablet twice a day or as directed by your physician to get rid of digestive problems.

Q. Does Chitrak help heal wounds?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Chitrak ointment helps in wound healing due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Certain constituents present in Chitrak help in wound contraction and closure, helps in collagen formation as well as the formation of new skin cells. It also reduces the risk of infection in the wound. The antioxidant activity of Chitrak helps fight against free radicals in the wound which further prevents cell damage, thereby accelerating wound healing[3][11].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Chitrak might help heal wounds due to its Sothhar (anti-inflammatory) and Vata balancing properties. It helps reduce the swelling on the affected area and as well as reduces the pain in the wound.

Q. Does Chitrak help in managing skin diseases?

scientific
Modern Science View
Chitrak paste helps manage skin diseases due to its wound healing and antimicrobial properties. It reduces the risk of bacterial infections and prevents various skin diseases[4].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Chitrak might be helpful in the management of skin diseases due to its Sothhar (anti inflammatory) property which helps prevent swelling. Moreover, Rooksha (dry) property helps absorb excessive oil from the skin and Rasayana (rejuvenating) property helps in rejuvenating and maintaining the overall health of the skin.

Q. Is Chitrak helpful in inflammatory conditions?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Chitrak is useful in case of inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory property. It inhibits the activity of certain inflammation-causing chemicals in the body which helps give relief from inflammatory conditions[3].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Chitrak is helpful in inflammatory conditions due to its Sothhar (anti-inflammatory) and Vata balancing properties. It helps in managing inflammation and reduces the symptoms like pain at the affected area.

References

  1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India.Part 1 Volume 1.
  2. Chaudhari SS, Chaudhari GS.A Review on Plumbago zeylanica Linn. - A Divine Medicinal Plant.Int J Pharm Sci Rev Res.2015;30(2): 119-127.
  3. Roy A, Bharadvaja N.A review on multi-purpose medicinal plant Plumbago zeylanica and in vitro production of Plumbagin.Scope of phytochemically unexplored medicinal plants.2017;129-139.
  4. Tyagi R, Menghani E.A Review on Plumbago zeylanica : A compelling herb.International journal of pharma sciences and research.2014;5(04):119-126.External Link
  5. Falang KD, Uguru MO, Wannang NN, et al.Anti-ulcer activity of Plumbago Zeylanica linn root extract.Scholars Research Library.2012;2(5):563-567.External Link
  6. Vishnukanta, Rana AC.Plumbago Zeylanica : A Phytopharmacological Review.IJPSR.2011;2(2):247-255.External Link
  7. Pendulkar SR, Mengi SA. Antihyperlipidemic effect of aqueous extract of Plumbago zeylanica roots in diet-induced hyperlipidemic rat.Journal of Pharmaceutical Biology.2009;47(10): 1004-1010.External Link
  8. Sand JM,Hafeez BB,Jamal MS, et al.Plumbagin (5-hydroxy-2-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone), isolated from Plumbago zeylanica, inhibits ultraviolet radiation-induced development of squamous cell carcinomas.Carcinogenesis.2012;33(1):184-190.External Link
  9. Chetty KM,Sivaji K, Sudarsanam G, et al.Pharmaceutical studies and therapeutic uses of Plumbago zeylanica L. roots (Chitraka,Chitramulamu).Ethnobotanical leaflets.2006;10:294-304.External Link
  10. Kumar D, Patil PA, Roy S, et al.Comparative toxicity of Plumbago zeylanica L. root petroleum ether,acetone and hydroalcoholic extracts in wistar rats.AYU.2015;36(3):329-334.External Link
  11. Kodati DR, Goud K, Burra S, et al.Evaluation of wound healing activity ‘of methanolic root extract of Plumbago zeylanica L. in wistar albino rats.Pelagia Research Library.2011;2(3):239-248.External Link
  12. Chaudhari SS,Chaudhari GS. A Review on Plumbago zeylanica Linn. - A Divine Medicinal Plant.Int. J. Pharm.Sci.Rev. Res.2015;30(2):119-127.External Link
  13. Schmelzer GH, Gurib-Fakim A, PROTA Foundation.Medicinal Plants. 2008.External Link
  14. Kumar G, Banu G, Maheswaran R et.al.Effect of Plumbago zeylanica L. on blood glucose and plasma antioxidant status in STZ diabetic rats. Journal of Natural Remedies 2007;7:66-71.External Link
  15. Sunil C, Duraipandiyan V, Agastian P et.al.Antidiabetic effect of plumbagin isolated from Plumbago zeylanica L. root and its effect on GLUT4 translocation in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.Food Chem Toxicol.2012 ;50(12):4356-63. External Link
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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