NaturHeals – Medicinal Plant - 4 Gmelina Arborea - Gambhari - One of Dashamoola Herbs Plant
India has several indigenous systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy, and Naturopathy utilized for health care and well-being by people around the globe. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medicinal art that focuses on wellness, and uses herbs, weeds, and plants available in nature to treat various ailments. One such important and valuable medicinal plant is the Gambhari. The plant is used for timber (wood for firewood and furniture) products and agriculture forestry (leaves used as fodder for cattle). Gambhari is among the Dashamoola group of herbs and one of the five roots of Brihat Panchamoola, widely used for its medicinal properties since ancient times for its pain relieving, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. The plant is named after a German professor of botany, Johann Georg Gmelin (1709-1755), who worked at the Tubingen University. The Species - Arborea means tree-liked and is branched from the Latin word 'arbor' (tree).
Different Names of Gambhari
The botanical name of Gambhari is Gmelia Arborea, and it belongs to the Verbenaceae family. In English, the plant is called Cashmere tree, Snapdragon tree, Candahar tree, Cashmere teak, Coomb teak, Goomar teak, White Kashmir teak, Kashmir tree, White teak, White beech, Malay beechwood, and Malay bush-beech. The plant has different names in different Indian languages. It is called Gomari in Assamese; Gamar and Gambhari in Bengali; Shevan and Savan in Gujarati; Bhadraparni, Gamhar, and Gambhara in Hindi; Kashmiri mara and Shivanimara in Kannada; Dieng lophiang in Khasi; Shivan and Sini in Konkani; Kumizhu, Kumpil, Kumbulu, Kumalu, Kumbil, and Pokki in Malayalam; Wang in Manipuri; Shivan and Thorshivani in Marathi; Thlanvawng in Mizo; Impeh Ching in Naga; Kamari in Nepalese; Bhodropornni, Butalo, and Thlanvawng in Oriya; Phakra in Punjabi; Sarvato-Bhadra, Shri-parni, Krishnavrintaka, Kambari, Sindhuparni, Sindhuveshanam, and Stulatvacha in Sanskrit; Umi-thekku, Kumutai, Kumpal, and Peru-n-kumil in Tamil; and Pedda gumudu teku and Peggumudu in Telugu.
Ideal Soil and Climate
Gambhari is a perennial plant found in dry deciduous forests, tropical semi-evergreen, and sal and dry teak forests throughout India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nigeria, and the Philippines. Throughout India, the plant is distributed in the Deccan Peninsula in Nilgiri, Eastern and the Western Ghats, and the Himalayas. It is found in Punjab, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Dehradun, Orissa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and the Andaman Islands. Gambhari grows in both dry and moist areas at elevations from sea level to 1500 m. It grows best in climates where annual rainfall is from 750 mm to 4500 mm, the mean annual temperature from 21 to 28 degrees Celcius, and annual precipitation from 7 to 45 dm.
The plant prefers sandy, clayey, and loamy soil and thrives on well-drained, moist, and fertile soil with pH ranging from 5 to 8. This tree is also grown in gardens and avenues and planted as an ornamental shade tree along roads.
The Gambhari is a fast-growing deciduous tree that grows up to 30 m in height. The trunk is straight with numerous spreading branches that form a large, shady crown and whitish grey lenticellate bark exfoliating in thin flakes. Leaves are simple, opposite, cordate, ovate, cymose, glandular, and glaborous. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, 2.5 to 5 cm in diameter, and bisexual, complete, zygomorphic, brownish yellow, blue or purple-violet, mauve, white, and purple-pink in a terminal panicle. The calyx is a campanulate or tubulate with five lobes. The Corolla is infundibular, 4 or 5 lobed, upper lip two-lobed and the lower lip three-lobed, brownish yellow with a short tube. The fruits of the Gambhari are 1.8 to 2.0 cm long drupe, fleshy, obovoid, ellipsoid, with hard pyrene, four seeded, or sometimes two seeded. The seeds usually give a sweetish odor on maturing.
Gambhari is endowed with numerous nutrients and biochemical components in each part, making it a wonder drug in Ayurveda. The root and root bark contain n-octacosanol, hentriacontanol, arboreal, b-sitosterol, iso arboreal, gmelinol, yellow viscid oil, and lignans. The stem is enriched with alkaloids and lignans. The leaves of Gambhari contain quercetin, luteolin, apigenin, hentriacontanol, and betasitosterol. The fruits contain components like gmelinol, gmelofuran, beta-sitosterol, hentriacontanol, tartaric acid, butyric acid, resin, alkaloid, and saccharine. Other chemical constituents present are cutytyl ferulate, tyrosol, flavonoids, flavones, flavone glycoside, phenylpropanoid glycoside, verbascoside, iridoids, iridoid glycosides, premnazole, martynoside, balanophonin, umbelliferone, and isoarboreol apigenin.
Gambhari is a herb mentioned in all the ancient scriptures of Ayurveda for its medicinal value. It helps treat several ailments related to gastrointestinal, central nervous system, respiratory, circulatory, urinary, and reproductive systems. It treats the Vata and Pitta disorders and possesses antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-nociceptive, diuretic, analgesic, anti-aging, anti-diabetic, anthelmintic, and wound healing properties. The Ayurvedic properties of Gambhari are:
Rasa: Madhura (Sweet), Kashaya (Astringent), Amla (Sour)
Guna: Guru (Heavy), Sara, Snigdha (Unctuous)
Virya: Shita (Cooling)
Vipaka: Madhura (Sweet)
Karma: Vatahara, Pittahara, Keshya, Deepan, Shoth Hara, Pachan, Bhedan, Vishaghan, Medhya, Jwarahara.
Relieves Pain And Inflammation
The anti-inflammatory and analgesic property helps to curtail muscle and joint pain, thereby helping to lessen the chances of autoimmune inflammatory diseases like osteoarthritis (Sandhivata) and rheumatoid arthritis (Amvata). This condition occurs due to the Vata Doshas, causing swelling, intense pain, and immobility of joints. Gambhari helps in healing these issues of the body.
Helps in Treatment of Sexual Disorders in Men
Gambhari is a natural aphrodisiac and a wonder herb for the treatment of sexual disorders in men like premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and hypothermia. It also helps in enhancing spermatogenesis (sperm production). It also boosts the production of male hormones like testosterone, promoting blood supply to the penile tissue.
Valued for its digestive and carminative traits, Gambhari confers a solution for all digestive problems. Being a Pitta pacifier, it gives relief from the formation of gas and diminishes bloating, flatulence, constipation, and abdominal distention. Owing to its antacid quality, Gambhari is also used to curb the excess acids in the stomach, thus facilitating better absorption of nutrients in the body.
Battles Respiratory Issues
The antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-asthmatic properties help treat all respiratory woes. It is helpful in treating cough, common cold, sore throat, and flu-like symptoms. It also actively
reduces the phlegm deposits within the nasal cavities and chest, thus promoting easy breathing.
Helps to Augment Cardiac Functioning
Gambhari is beneficial in the treatment of various heart ailments owing to its anti-oxidative nature. It protects the heart muscles and diminishes the chances of lipid built up in the blood vessels. Thus, helpful in lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. The cardiotonic property helps to reduce the risk of heart blocks, heart attacks, blood clots, etc.
The Gambhari fruit has nourishing qualities for the brain and is considered a natural brain tonic. The decoction of the roots is recommended in case of hallucinations.
In early cases of tuberculosis, a cavity or scar appears on the lungs. The Gambhari fruit powder has a healing anabolic effect that helps in healing the cavity in the lungs, thus treating tuberculosis.
Sometimes during long hikes and travel, the mouth becomes dry even after consuming water. This condition is called Hyperdipsia. As the Gambhari fruit is cold in potency, consuming the fruit can get rid of excessive thirst, lack of saliva, and dryness of the mouth.
Uses of Gambhari
For Fever (Jvara): Boil 50 gm of the fruit pulp with 500 ml water, reduced to 100 ml. This decoction should be taken twice a day for three days.
For Headache (Sirasula): A paste is made using the leaves of the Gambhari plant with milk and applied over the forehead.
For Weakness (Dourbalya): Make a paste of 3 to 5 leaves of the Gambhari plant with water. Mix
this paste in a glass of milk and have it on an empty stomach for five days.
For Bleeding Disorders (Rakthapitta): Take 10 gm of the fruit pulp with honey for seven days.
For Foetus Emaciation (Garbhasosha): To 25 gm fruit pulp of Gambhari and Yashtimadhu, add 100 ml of milk and 400 ml of water, and reduce it to 100 ml. Take this decoction for two weeks.
For Diarrhoea (Atisara): Take 20 gm of the fruit of Gambhari and Amlaki each, with 40 gm sugar. Add it to 1 liter of water and boil this for 40 to 50 minutes. Allow this preparation to settle and take this decoction for two days.
For Inflammation (Sopha): Boil 30 gm roots of Gambhari with 120 ml water and then reduce it to 30 ml. Take this root decoction before food for seven days.
For Hair Fall: Take 5 to 6 fruits of the Gambhari plant and wash the hair with this cooled water to prevent hair fall.
In Gout (Vataraktra): Take a 5 to 6 gm mixture of the Gambhari fruit and bark powder of the Gambhari plant. Boil the mixture in 500 gm of water, and reduce this to 150 ml. Drink this decoction twice a day.
For Wounds: The paste of the Gambhari leaf can be applied on wounds.
For Urticaria (Sheeta pitta): Take the fruit of the Gambhari plant along with milk or the fruit powder mixed with mishri.
For Ulcerative Colitis: Eat fresh or dry fruits of Gambhari twice a day with water.
For Scorpion Bite: Root bark paste is applied.
For Improving fertility: Prepare a decoction of Gambhari bark and Mulethi and drink this regularly.
For Leucorrhoea - Prepare a powder made of the fruit and take this 2 or 3 times daily.
For Galactagogue (increasing breast milk): Take the decoction of the root, licorice root, and sugar regularly.
For Acidity (Dahahara): Eat 2 to 3 fruits and drink water.
For Cold, Cough, Gonorrhea: Decoction of stem bark of Gambhari and Kalmegha Andrographis paniculata or 20 ml leaf juice of Gambhari plant should be taken.
For Giddiness: The bark is cooked with rice and eaten.
The side effects of using this herb are rare. But excess use of it can cause stomach troubles. It is always better to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner or doctor before consuming any formulations containing Gambhari.
Planting and Harvesting
Seed formation occurs in May-June. Seeds are spread at a spacing of 7.5 cm X 7.5 cm and 1 to 2.5 cm deep in unshaded nursery beds. Ensure that the beds are raised for good drainage. Seeds germinate in 20 to 25 days. Prepare the land before plantation by removing the unwanted shrubs, and pits of 45 cm X 45 cm X 45 cm should be dug in May with a spacing of 4m X 4m. These pits are to be filled with farm yard manure, soil, and sand, in the ratio of 1:1:1. About 10 to 15 cm tall seedlings are transplanted into the pits at the beginning of the rainy season. The plant requires two weedings, one in July and the other in September.
The stem bark is extracted from a 7 to 10-year-old tree. Since this is a destructive harvesting method, partial debarking must be done from one tree by removing the bark in patches of 15 cm X 15 cm with a distance of 60 cm. Greenish yellow fruits are collected in April or June, buried in the pit for 4 to 5 days, and then washed to remove the pulp. The dried barks having less than 10% moisture content are stored in gunny bags and dried seeds in air-tight containers for a year. Sometimes mature fruits fall off the tree when still green, turn yellow within a week, and turn brown or black after two or three weeks. It is better to collect fruits when they are still yellow or green and transport them in open baskets to the cleaning section within 24 hours.
Cultivation of medicinal plants is the only way to promote the conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable availability for health care. We at Jaivik Farms are constantly on the lookout for farmers who can cultivate medicinal plants like the Gambhari through standardized agro techniques and encourage them to cultivate these medicinal herbs organically, without using any chemical fertilizers or pesticides.