Shalparni, also known as Desmodium gangeticum is a small shrub that grows to 2-4 feet. It is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda. In fact, it is one of the 10 herbs the roots of which are used in Dashmoola: a concoction of 10 dried herbs that is said to be very beneficial.

Shalparni has woody stems and white or purple pea-shaped flowers that blossom between the months of August and November. It grows heavily in India, all the way from the forests of the Western Ghats to Sikkim.

Basic information about Shalparni:

  • Scientific name: Desmodium gangeticum
  • Common name: Shalparni 
  • Sanskrit name: Anshumati, Vidarigandha 
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Parts used: Entire plant, particularly the root
  • Native region and geographical location: Tropical Africa, most of Asia (especially Indian subcontinent) and Australia.
  • Energetics: Known to pacify Kapha and Vata "doshas"

Shalparni has a characteristic bittersweet taste and simple leaves, which is quite uncommon for a Desmodium plant. Continue reading to find out all that we know about Shalparni, its benefits and side effects.

  1. Shalparni benefits for health
Doctors for Shalparni benefits and side effects

In herbology, as in pharmacology, the word "action" is used to describe the effect a plant or its components can have on the body. Shalparni has a number of actions which can be defined using specific terms, most of which we’ll try to discuss.

Ayurveda mentions three energetics that must be balanced in order for the person to be in good health. These are:

  • Kapha: Refers to the fluid balance 
  • Vata: Refers to the activeness of the nervous system and body movement
  • Pitta: Refers to the metabolism

Shalparni is said to balance out the Kapha and Vata doshas. Its potency is hot, that is, it has a warming effect on the body and increases the Pitta.

Shalparni contains various phytochemicals that deliver a number of benefits to the body upon consumption. The roots of this herb contain essential oils, alkaloids as well as resin. The plant is said to have alkaloids, pterocarpans, phospholipids, sterols, flavones and flavonoid glycosides.

Because of these elements, Shalparni is said to have the following properties:

Shalparni for digestion

Shalparni is said to improve digestive health and provide relief from gastritisdiarrhoeanausea and flatulence. (Read more: Stomach gas, symptoms, causes, treatment).

Shalparni is also recommended for the management of anorexia (loss of appetite).

Animal studies have shown that Shalparni may help to treat peptic ulcers, by reducing acid secretion and increasing the release of mucins to protect the cells (cytoprotective effect). More research needs to be done on whether this works in humans.

Shalparni for piles

Shalparni is said to be a laxative—it facilitates easier passing of stools, provides relief from constipation and can be effective in the treatment of piles. In addition, Shalpari’s anti-inflammatory properties help relieve the symptoms of constipation including itching and swelling around the anus.

Shalparni for heart health

Shalparni has been found to decrease the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol while maintaining HDL and by extension helping in the maintenance of healthy blood cholesterol, healthy blood pressure and a healthy heart. (Read more: Foods to reduce and control high cholesterol)

Shalparni is also said to dilate blood vessels and strengthen the muscles of the heart.

Shalparni for bronchitis

Shalparni is known to be hot in potency (taseer). Consuming a decoction made of Shalparni root powder helps in the expulsion of mucus from the lungs, thereby easing the symptoms of bronchitis.

Shalparni for sexual health

Apart from its better-known benefits, Shalparni can help in the improvement of sexual health particularly in males. It is a natural aphrodisiac—regular consumption of Shalparni root powder in the form of a decoction is said to help combat many issues such as premature ejaculation and loss of libido. (Read more: How to increase libido)

Shalparni for immunity

Shalparni has been called an excellent immune stimulator—it stimulates T-cells, B-cells, macrophages, etc. This, along with its anti-inflammatory property makes it excellent to boost overall immunity. (Read more: How to increase immunity)

Shalparni for diabetes

Studies have found that Shalparni reduces blood sugar and facilitates insulin secretion. It is therefore useful in managing diabetes.

Shalparni for dementia

Certain bioactive constituents in Shalparni like flavones and flavonoids are antioxidants. It is believed that these plant chemicals can improve the brain's ability to transmit signals, thereby making Shalparni useful for the prevention and management of dementia.

Dosage and side effects of Shalparni

It is recommended that Shalparni root decoction be consumed in a dosage of not more than 50-100 ml per day. No side effects have been noticed so far. More research needs to be done on the safety and efficacy of Shalparni as a therapeutic drug across age groups, sex and life stages such as pregnancy.

If you are taking medicines for any health condition—whether it is just an infection or a chronic health problem like diabetes—check with your doctor before starting any plant-based or other therapies. This is because the phytochemicals that give these plants their medicinal value can also interact with some drugs and reduce their effectiveness.

Dr Rudra Gosai

Dr Rudra Gosai

1 Years of Experience

Dr Bhawna

Dr Bhawna

5 Years of Experience

Dr. Padam Dixit

Dr. Padam Dixit

10 Years of Experience

Dr Mir Suhail Bashir

Dr Mir Suhail Bashir

2 Years of Experience

Read on app
Ask your health query from live doctors now!