Karkatashrngi (Pistacia chinensia) is one of the well-known Ayurvedic herbs. It has been used in various classical formulations from ancient times to manage various disorders associated with the respiratory and digestive systems. Different parts of the herb like roots, leaf, bark, and galls are filled with beneficial constituents but the most used part in Ayurveda is gall.
Karkatashrngi comprises gall-like excrescences formed by insects on the petioles, leaves, and branches of the plant named Pistacia chinensisBurgo, Pistacia integerrima Stew. Ex Brandis, Rhus succedanea Linn. (Fam. Anacardiaceae) during autumn, found on the steps of Western Himalayas from Indus to Kumaon at an altitude of 350 to 2400 m, often cultivated in plains of Punjab state.
The herb has been recommended in various diseases like Shwasa (asthma), Jwara (fever), Rajyakshama (tuberculosis), Hridya Roga (heart disease), Ajeerna (indigestion), and Yakrita Roga (liver disorder). As per Ayurveda, for respiratory ailments, it should be taken with honey. The churna form of the herb when used on the skin helps in fighting against many skin disorders because of its Ropan (healing) and Kashaya (astringent) properties.
Scientific Classification of Karkatashrngi (Pistacia chinensia):
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Sapindales
- Family: Anacardiaceae
- Genus: Pistacia
- Species: P. Integerrima
Karkatashrngi (Pistacia chinensia) Synonyms:
- Sanskrit: Srngi, Visani, Karkata
- Assamese: Kakiasrngi
- Bengali: KankdaShringi
- English: Crab’s claw
- Gujrati: Kakadashing, Kakadasingi
- Hindi: Kakadasingi, Kakarasingi, Gheekadava
- Kannada: Kakadasingi, Karkatakasringi
- Kashmiri: Kakkar, Kamaladina
- Malayalam: Karkatasringi
- Marathi: Kakadshingi
- Oriya: Kakadashrungi, Kakadashringi
- Punjabi: Kakar, Kakarsingi
- Tamil: Karkatasingi
- Telugu: Kakarsingi, Karkatakashrungi
- Urdu: Kakrasinghi
Karkatashrngi (Pistacia chinensia) Description:
a) Macroscopic:Dried galls are hard, hollow, thin-walled, horn-like, generally cylindrical, tapering at both the ends, greyish brown externally and reddish-brown internally, size varies from 2.5 to 30.0 cm or more, each gall contains numerous dead insects, odor, terebinthine, the taste of powdered galls, strongly astringent and it is slightly bitter.
b) Microscopic:Transverse section of gall represents the caved in the epidermis on both the sides, epidermal cells are thin-walled, tangentially elongated, ground tissues are thin-walled and oval or circular, the outer two layers are tangentially elongated while between the vascular bundles radially elongated, outer few layers and some of the cells of ground tissue are jammed with yellowish-brown contents, vascular bundle scattered throughout the ground tissues in two rows, consist of phloem followed by a large tannin sac in each vascular bundle.
Powder: Powder is greyish brown, observed under the microscope, shows orange-yellow color isolated or related fragments of xylem vessels and ground tissues.
Identity, Purity, and Strength of Karkatashrngi (Pistacia chinensia):
- Foreign matter Not more than 2 percent, Appendix 2.2.2.
- Total Ash Not more than 7 percent, Appendix 2.2.3.
- Acid-insoluble ash Not more than 0.2 percent, Appendix 2.2.4.
- Alcohol-soluble extractive Not less than 30 percent, Appendix 2.2.6.
- Water-soluble extractive Not less than 30 percent, Appendix 2.2.7.
Chemical Constituents of Karkatashrngi (Pistacia chinensia):
Karkatashrngi contains many essential oil, tannins, and resinous matters. Majorly two main isomeric triterpenic acids named pistacienoic acid A and B, tannins, tetracyclic triterpenes, pistacigerrimones A, B, and C, amino acid, hydrocarbons, proteins, tannins, and sterols.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action of Karkatashrngi (Pistacia chinensia):
- Rasa: Tikta, Kasaya
- Guna: Guru
- Virya: Usna
- Vipaka: Katu
- Karma: Kasahara, Kaphavatahara, Urdhvavatajit, Hikkanigrahana
Ayurvedic Formulation made by Karkatashrngi (Pistacia chinensia):
The most important formulation of Karkatashrngi is BalachaturbhadrikaChurna, Shiva Gutika, and ShringyadiChurna.
Therapeutic Uses of Karkatashrngi (Pistacia chinensia):
Karkatashrngi is mentioned in Ayurveda to be beneficial for Aruchi, Svasa, Chardi, Hikka, Jvara, Kasa, Kshaya. It also tends to have Kapha and Vata Hara properties which means it helps in balancing both the Doshas. It has Jwara Hara properties so is useful in fever as well and being Kshaya Hara is beneficial in respiratory ailments.
Dose of Karkatashrngi (Pistacia chinensia):
3-6 gm of the drug in powder form.
Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India.
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