Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tagara -A Useful Herb For Insomnia


Tagara has an important place among medicinal herbs in Ayurveda. It is one of the herbs mentioned in all scriptures of Ayurveda. In Dhanvantri Nighantu and Bhavaprakasha its activity is cited on the central nervous system. Tagara is beneficial for the eyes, alleviates the diseases of the head, works as an anti- toxin, antiepileptic, useful in hysteria and also destroys the evil powers. This drug is very useful in the case of insomnia. Acharya Charaka has mentioned Tagara as ‘Shitaprashamana’ (relieves cold sensation on the skin) drug. Bhavaprakasha mentioned Tagar under ‘Karpooradi varga’.

Description

English Name - Indian Valerian

Latin Name - Valeriana wallichi

Family - Valerianaceae

Classical Names -

Tagar

Kutila

Nata

Nahusha

Vakra

Morphological Type - This is a slightly hairy perennial herb.

Habitat - It is found abundant in Western Himalayas and is

reported in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Indian

Valerian is collected in Kashmir, Garhwal and other places of West Himalayas in India.

Parts Used : Roots

Properties : Rasa - Tikta, Katu, Kshaya

Guna - Laghu, Snigdha

Virya - Ushna

Vipaka - Katu

Chemical Constituents :

The rhizomes contain 0.5-2% essential oils. The constituents identified are arachidic acid, valerianic, behemic, caproic, isovaleric acetyl valerianic acids, α and β- valenes, valerian phenol caffeinic and chlorogenic acid, tannins and alkaloids and valerine and chetine. Calcium and heavy metals like lead, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper have been identified. Isoveleric and caproic acids obtained from alkaline hydrolysate of a compound, isolated from rhizomes and roots. An iridoid glucoside (I) isolated and characterised. It showed CNS depressant activity at 316-100mg/kg doses in mice. Valepotriates which are iridoid substances have been identified as the sedative principles. Out of these alkaloids valerianic acid is the major alkaloid.

Ayurvedic Properties :

Tagara is bitter, pungent, sweet and astringent in taste (rasa) pungent in the post digestive effect (vipaka) and has hot potency (virya). It alleviates all the three doshas. It possesses light (laghu) and oily (snigdha) attributes. It is antieptleptic, analgesic and is beneficial for eyes. Tagar is Mastishkashamaka, Hridya Utejka and reduces blood pressure in larger doses. It is very useful in the patients of Insomnia.

Pharmacological Action :

=> Analgesic

=> Laxative

=> Anticonvulsant

=> Hepatostimulant

=> Antispasmodic

=> Cardiostimulant but in large doses cause hypotension

=> Appetizer

=> CNS depressant

=> Sedatives

=> Nervine tonic

Mode of Action :

The Valerian extract diminishes the irritability of brain and spinal cord and is the principal remedy of insomnia especially due to nervous exhaustation and mental overwork. The CNS depressant and sedative action of Valerian extract finds a use in Ayurvedic therapy of delirium, insomnia, epilepsy and behavioral disorders.

Dose :

=> 1-3gms

=> 2-8 Ratti (Bhavaprakasha)

Adverse Reaction :

This herb is can be administered safely and continuously over a prolonged period. There is no tolerance to the drug with major side effects. But overdose can cause vomiting, giddiness, hiccup, cold limbs and bradycardia.

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