NaturHeals – Medicinal Plant –3 Clerodendrum Phlomidis - Agnimantha - One of the Dashamoola herbs plant.
Plants produce bioactive molecules, making them a rich source of different medicinal compounds used in obtaining a variety of drugs. They have continued to play a dominant role in maintaining human health. The use of plants for health care in India dates back to around 5000 years ago. India has a rich cultural heritage of traditional medicines that includes Ayurvedic, Homoeopathy, and Siddha systems of medicines for the treatment of various ailments. Plants are the basic source in all these systems. Therefore, a significant number of pharmaceutical drugs are derived from medicinal plants. Medicinal plants are popular due to their curative properties known to man since ancient times and also because they have minimum side effects. One such plant is the Agnimantha.
Agnimantha is an important medicinal plant even mentioned in texts since the Vedic period. It is one of the ten herbs of the Dashamool Plant and comes under the BrihatPanchamoola subcategory. This genus has great ethnomedicinal importance in various systems of medicine like Thai, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Siddha, Unani, and Japanese. 'Agni' means fire, and 'mantha' means churning. In ancient times, the wood of this plant, when rubbed together, used to produce fire. All plants of the Dashamool have anti-rheumatic, analgesic, anti-diabetic, stomachic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory properties. As per Ayurveda, Agnimantha is very useful in the treatment of Vata disorders, anaemia, constipation, common cold, loss of appetite, etc.
Different Names of Agnimantha
Agnimantha is a flowering plant that belongs to the Verbenaceae(Nirgundi Kula) family. The botanical name of the Agnimantha plant is Clerodendrumphlomidis and Premnamucronata. The name Agnimantha comes from the fact that two sticks of the plant when rubbed together create fire.The Sanskrit synonyms are Arani, Jaya, Ganakarika, Tarkari, Vataghan, Sriparna, Vaijayantika, Nadeyi, Nadeeja, and Patragandhi. The English name of the plant is Headache Tree, as the plant helps in relieving headaches. It is also called the Wind Killer, as it helps in resolving digestive issues.
This plant is called Arni, Piran, Pirun, Agathu, and Urni in Hindi; Arani, Arni, Airanamula, Takalimula, or Tekar in Marathi; Nelli, Gabbunulli, Taluki, Takko-lamu, Tekkali in Telugu; Takkari, Thalangi, Thalludhalai, Sayandi, Taludalai, Tirugdalai, Munnay, Vadamadakki in Tamil; Munja, Peruvelum, Tirutalai in Malayalam; Arni, Ganiyari, Ganira, Goniari in Bengali; Taggi, Taggi-Beru in Kannada; Aranimula, Arni, Irun in Gujrati; Hontari, Ganiary in Oriya, Panjot in Santali, Gharyat in Sindhi.
Ideal Soil and Climate
The Agnimantha plant is native to tropical regions of the world. Most of the species occur in Africa and Australia and are widely distributed throughout the drier parts along the Indian Peninsula and Andaman Coast. It grows near the Western sea coast from Bombay to Molucca, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, as well as Andaman and Nicobar. It also occurs in the upper Gangetic Plains, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chota Nagpur Plateau, Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Khasi Hills, and Tarai. In Orissa, it is found on land periodically covered by tides in the Mahanadi Delta. In Bengal, it is found on the banks of the Ganges and is easily available in coastal areas of Southern India.
Agnimantha is a scandent erect perennial shrub or a small tree reaching 9 m high. It is thorny on the trunk and has large branches. The leaves are ovate, obtuse or acute, undulate glabrous above, and puberulous beneath. The leaves are glossy, dark green above and light green underneath. The base is truncate or sub-cordate and petioles 6 to 20 mm long. The flowers are moderate-sized, fragrant, in 3-9 flowered axillary cymes, and arranged in a terminal, rounded panicle. The Calyx is 1 cm long, and it is either four or five-lobed, and the Corolla is white or pinkish. The seeds are pear-shaped and oblong. The roots are yellowish brown, woody, branched, and cylindrical. The fruits are black-coloured, drupe, obovoid globose, and pear-shaped, and its endocarp are bony and four-celled.
Agnimantha is endowed with several nutrients and chemical constituents. The principal chemical constituents present in the root are Premnine (Alkaloid), Premnenol, Premnaspirodiene, Ganiarine, Ceryl Alcohol, Ganikarine, Clerodin, Triterpenes, B-sitosterol, Polyphenols, Clerodendrin A, Essential Oil. The stem bark contains Betulin, Aphelandrine, B-sitosterol, and D-mannitol. The leaves contain essential oil, Luteolin, Palmitic acid, and B-sitosterol. The other chemical constituents present in Agnimantha are Scutellarein, Pectolinarigenin, Apigenin, Hispidulin, Clerosterol, Caryophellen, Cerolic acid, Raffinose, and Glucosides.
Research has indicated that the Agnimantha Plant helps to maintain a balance between the Vata and Kaphadoshas in the body. Agnimantha is a herb used in Ayurveda due to its anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, anti-microbial, analgesic, aphrodisiac, hypoglycemic, and anthelmintic properties. This plant has the following medicinal qualities:
- Rasa (Taste) - Tikta (bitter), Katu (pungent), Kashaya (astringent), Madhura (sweet).
- Guna (Qualities) - Rooksha (dry), Laghu (lightness).
- Vipaka (Resultant) - Katu - undergoes a pungent taste conversion.
- Veerya (Potency) - Ushna - Hot potency.
The therapeutic benefits of the Agnimantha Plant are:
1) Relieves Headache
Agnimantha is known as Headache Tree as it canget rid of headaches. Headaches are usually caused by Vata imbalance in the body. Agnimantha has Vata balancing properties, which act as a quick medicine for relieving headaches.
2) Improves Appetite and Digestion
Agnimantha plant helps to boost the appetite and also aids in the proper digestion of food. After having a meal, you start feeling drowsy, heavy in the abdomen, bloated, and tired. Having the juice of Agnimantha helps reduce the symptoms of bloating and gas and promotes proper assimilation of the food. This is the reason why it is called Wind Killer.
2) Metabolism Booster
The Agnimantha leaves help in boosting the metabolism of the body. They have anti-obesity effects that prevent fat accumulation and are thus helpful in reducing weight.
3) Hemorrhoids or Piles
The analgesic and antipyretic properties of the Agnimantha plant help in relieving the pain that occurs due to Hemorrhoids. The decoction is used in a sitz bath for relief.
4) Urticaria and Urinary Infection
The roots of the Agnimantha plant have anti-urticaria, anti-allergic, and anti-pruritic properties that help reduce itching, hives, and prickling pain caused due to urinary infections.
The anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial action of Agnimantha is useful in alleviating the pain, inflammation, and swelling of the lymph nodes and other symptoms associated with lymphadenitis.
6) Skin Disorders
Agnimantha is a great herb for treating skin diseases by cleansing and purgation therapy. You can apply the crushed roots externally or take them orally to get relief from skin problems.
The Agnimantha plant helps to promote the supply of blood to the brain and soothes the affected nerves, thus aiding the treatment of Neuralgia.
It is also beneficial in the postpartum period as it helps to prevent postpartum diseases and bleeding disorders. The medicinal properties of the plant also help to boost the immune system and help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, common cold, cough, fever, asthma, glycosuria, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, chyluria, and couth.
Uses of Agnimantha
- The roots and bark of the Agnimantha Plant are beneficial in the treatment of Vata disorders. Its leaves are useful in treating fever and infections. Agnimantha is used in the form of Swarasa (12 ml), Churna (10 g), and Kwath (100 ml) for internal administration.
- The decoction of the Agnimantha Plant is mixed in a sitz bath for relief in pain occurring due to Hemorrhoids.
- The juice extracted from fresh leaves of the Agnimantha plant is beneficial in reducing weight. For better results, it should be taken twice a day for three months.
- Consuming the paste of the roots promotes proper assimilation of food. It acts as a great appetizer, improves appetite, and therefore helps in the digestion of food. It is useful for patients suffering from indigestion, heaviness in the abdomen, and other digestive problems.
- The root is crushed to make a fine powder. This churna is taken internally as 5gm per day for seven days for the treatment of Urticaria.
- Leaf poultice is effective in piles and can be applied over external pile mass.
- The juice of the leaves is given to patients suffering from post pyrexial debility.
- The decoction of the bark is useful in anaemia to enhance tissue vitality.
- For curing skin diseases, the roots are crushed well to make a powder. The powder is added to water to make a decoction and taken orally. It acts as a blood purifier. The crushed roots of the Agnimantha plant can be applied externally to get relief from skin problems.
- For alleviating Diabetes, a decoction of Agnimantha should be taken, along with Gooseberry and honey, at a dose of 50 ml per day.
- In Lipuria, decoction should be taken at a dose of 60 ml per day.
- A decoction made with leaves of Agnimantha and Vasa taken internally at a dose of 60 ml for three days helps reduce fever.
- A paste prepared from the Agnimantha root mixed with ghee and applied over the swelled part helps reduce the inflammation in that part.
- In Erysipelas or Visarpa, a paste prepared from leaves of Agnimantha and Vamsa is applied.
- The paste of leaves mixed with pepper is effective in cold and fever.
- Decoction of leaves is effective in case of vaginal irritation.
- The alkali extracted from the ash of the bark is effective in ascites.
- For constipation, leaves of Agnimantha are prepared as a decoction with Kadukkai (Terminalia chebula) and given.
- The leaf juice or root decoction is effective for Megha or gonorrheal diseases.
- The Agnimantha Plant is a natural and safe herb. Therefore, its side effects are very minimal. This plant is the safest when used in its natural form or the form of juice, powder, or decoction. It is best to avoid taking the Agnimantha decoctions during pregnancy. Any herb can interact with conventional medications causing discomfort in the stomach, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, or an allergic rash. It is necessary to consume the herb only after consulting your doctor.
Planting and Harvesting
The stem cuttings are used as planting material. The cuttings are planted in polybags filled with a potting mixture consisting of sand, soil, and farm yard manure. The cuttings are then planted in the sand in shade houses or mist chambers. They are transplanted in polybags after rooting. The land is harrowed and ploughed using a disc harrow to bring soil in fine tilth and made free of weeds. Pits of size 45 cm x 45 cm x 45 cm are dug at a distance of 2m x 2m. They are filled with a mixture of sand, soil, and farm yard manure in a ratio of 1:1:1.
Around 2500 rooted cuttings are required for plantation on 1 hectare of land. The Agnimantha plant is a mono-crop and can be intercropped with vegetables like garlic and onion if grown away from coastal areas. Irrigation is required at an interval of 15-30 days during the dry season, especially in the first year, from December to May. This plant grows well in sandy loam soil with good organic content. At least 1-year-old stem cuttings are used as planting material procured from mature trees in February and March. Harvesting is generally done towards the end of the rainy season, from September to October.
The base of the plant is carefully dug up, to take out the plant with the roots intact. The roots are then separated from the rest of the plant and the bark is peeled off. The bark and roots are chopped into small pieces and then dried in the shade. The dried parts are then packed in clean poly bags and stored in a dry place. Thus, a 1250 kg root/ hectare is obtained from a three-year-old plantation.
Jaivik Farms, an agro-based company, is always on the lookout for farmers who can grow medicinal plants like the Agnimantha. The main criteria are that the plants should be organically grown. That is, free from any use of chemicals or pesticides. Our efficient team of experts is always willing to give their 100 per cent support and guidance to farmers willing to cultivate the Agnimantha Plant. With the support from our team at Jaivik Farms, farmers will be assured of getting a good profit in return with minimum investment. Thus, helping in improving their economic condition. Efforts are being made continuously to increase its biodiversity by using ancient knowledge with the proper use of new technology.