Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis)

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Sanskrit Name - Shankhpushpi

Botanical Name - Convolvulus pluricaulis 

Family - Convolvulaceae

Common Names - Shankhpushpi, Kshirpushpi, Maangalaykusuma, shankhahuli, Shaankhvel, Shankhavalli 

Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis)

Shankhapushpi is used traditionally to treat nervous debility, insomnia, fatigue, low energy level. Shankhapushpi is used as a brain tonic.

There is a pertinent reference in Ayurvedic literature about the use of the drug as brain tonic in hypotensive syndromes. The pharmacological studies of the herb have shown varying degree of its hypotensive and tranquilizing effects.

Clinical studies have exhibited demonstrable beneficial effects in the patients of anxiety neurosis. The herb induces a feeling of calm and peace, good sleep and a relief in anxiety, stresses, mental fatigue, producing a significant reduction in the level of anxiety, neuroticism arising due to various levels of stresses.

The herb appears to produce its action by modulation of neuro-chemistry of the brain. Further, the herb is non-toxic and its use does not produce any side effects. On the other hand, there is invigorating effect in improvement of health and weight gain.

Ayurvedic classics namely Charak, Sushrita, Astang Sangrah and Astang Harida provide ample reference for management of various diseases. According to Ayurvedic concept, Rasayan therapy simultaneously effects the body and mind and brings about physical and psychic improvement. This therapy prevents the effects, ageing, develops intelligence and increases the body resistance against diseases.

There is an imperative need for in-depth scientific investigations on the specific ideology of medicines and the procedure of Rasayan Chikitsa discussed in Ayurveda.

The World Health Organisation has laid down that ""Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely absence of disease or infirmity"". Rasayana drug in Ayurveda may be equated with modern immunomodulator drugs since they possess similar properties and perform similar functions.

A twining perennial herb, Convolvulus pluricaulis occurs in the plains of Northern Indian and Bihar. The whole plant is one of the most important Medha Rasayana drugs in Ayurveda. Its use improves the balance and vitiation in Kapha-vata-pitta doshas and the herb is astringent and bitter.

Chemical studies of whole plant have shown the presence of glycosides, coumarins, flavonoids and alkaloids. Shankha pushpine, (the alkaloid) has been identified as active principle. B. sitosterol glycoside, Hydroxy Cinnamic acid, Octacosanol tetracosane alongwith glucose, sucrose also have been isolated from the plant drugs.