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Bhringraj is a flowering plant, which is also called as false daisy. It bears white florets and is used as a cooling herb in Ayurveda. It has several benefits and uses due to its medicinal properties. This article will discuss the benefits of this herb including those for hair and your health. Bhringraj herb is majorly utilised for its oil, which has major applications for your hair as the herb has for your health.

Extensive studies on this herb have put forward its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, thereby its role in the prevention of infections has been ascertained. The most prnounced benefits of bhringraj are for your liver and the brain as it helps in reducing oxidative stress.

These benefits along with many more will be discussed in this article after having a look at some basic facts about the herb.

Some basic facts about bhringraj

Bhringraj is a cylindrical plant bearing flower heads which are 6 to 8 mm in diameter. Here is what you’d like to know about the plant:

  • Botanical name: Eclipta alba
  • Family: Asteraceae (sunflower family)
  • Common names: False Daisy, Trailing eclipta, Bhrigraj, Keshraj
  • Sanskrit name: Bhringaraj
  • Parts used: Roots, whole plant, seeds, seed oil and flowers
  • Native region and geographical distribution: Bhringaraj is a native of America and India and commonly grows in warm temperate and tropical regions. It is widely grown throughout Nepal, China, Thailand and Brazil other than parts of India.
  1. Bhringraj benefits
  2. Side effects of bhringraj

Bhringraj powder for the hair

One of the major benefits of bhringraj is for your hair. When used topically, bhringraj significantly assists hair growth as proven by research studies. In fact, it has been suggested that bhringraj has potential as a hair regrowth agent for individuals affected with alopecia. The ethanolic extracts of Eclipta alba have been found to possess immense hair growth potential, which is comparable to that of minoxidil, which is conventionally used for the treatment of alopecia. It catered to improve the number of hair follicles and the thickness of the hair and the skin, which was responsible for this effect.

It further helped in increasing the number of melanocytes, which means that it also had a role in preventing the greying of hair. A positive dose-dependent relationship has been established with the use of this herb. Thus, the more the topical application of the herb, the better are the results.

To utilise from this benefit, you can take some bhringraj herb powder and combine it with coconut oil, which can be applied topically after warming. Regular application of this oil is recommended.

(Read more: Bhringraj oil for hair)

Bhringraj flower for diabetes

While the major use of this herb happens to be for your hair, it surely has some other astonishing benefits. Studies have found that this herb is helpful in the management of diabetes. It functions by lowering blood sugar levels in diabetics, as apparent by lab studies. Oral administration of this herb helped in lowering blood sugar levels when used in a polyherbal formulation.

Since diabetes is a chronic condition and an excessive rise in blood sugar levels can have a damaging impact on health and organ systems, the use of bhringraj herb can be helpful in the management of diabetes and the prevention of its complications. However, since there are no affirmative clinical studies, you must talk to your doctor before making the use of this herb.

Bhringraj benefits for your health

Bhringraj has several properties that can be utilised for your health. It has a significant antioxidant potential against a wide range of free radicals produced in the body. Its scavenging actions against free radicals have been proven by a number of studies, which also put forward its other activities.

When combined with a solvent, bhringraj herb had a significant antimicrobial effect. The activity of this herb against bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and funguses like Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus was apparent, thus aiding in the prevention of infections. Its role in the prevention of infections is amplified by its immunomodulatory actions (help in improving immunity).

(Read more: How to improve immunity)

These effects were best seen with the use of an aqueous extract of its leaves, stem or flower. Further, the use of bhringraj herb has also been suggested as an analgesic, as it significantly aids in pain control. Extracts of eclipta alba demonstrated a significant anti-nociceptive (inhibition of pain) effect when used in a dosage of  200 mg/kg.

In addition to reducing the sensation of pain, an anti-inflammatory effect of this herb was also determined, which suggests its application for the management of several disorders.

While these properties of the herb have been extensively studied, you are recommended to talk to your doctor to understand the specific dosage and use for your condition.

Bhringraj powder for the brain

Free radical activity incurs significant damage to the brain due to excessive oxidative stress. This is often responsible for the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies have found that it aids in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease by having a protective antioxidant mechanism. The use of this herb catered to reduce neurodegeneration and thus a memory-enhancing effect has also been established as it helped to improve learning and cognitive functioning.

Other than these benefits, the use of Eclipta alba has also been suggested as a sedative (induces sleep), muscle relaxant, nootropic (improves cognition), anxiolytic (relieves anxiety) and an anti-stress agent when used in specific dosages.

(Read more: Stress management)

It is advisable that you consult your doctor to determine these dosages before using the herb.

Bhringraj for controlling seizures

Seizures refer to sudden and involuntary changes in movement and behaviour due to an uncontrolled disturbance in the electrical activity of the brain. Seizures can be of several types but are most commonly reported in individuals affected with epilepsy. Epilepsy is a common neurological condition affecting millions of individuals and has a significant impact on the quality of life of the individual due to recurrent episodes of seizures.

Scientists have found that extracts of Eclipta alba can be helpful in the management of epilepsy, which has been attributed to its anticonvulsant actions. Methanol extracts of Eclipta alba have a positive modulatory effect on GABA receptors, which is responsible for this action. So, there is ample scientific evidence to back-up the traditional use of bhringraj in this regard. However, it is advisable to consult your doctor about the correct dosage of bhringraj for the management of seizures.

Bhringraj for gastric ulcers

Gastric ulcers refer to the sores that develop in the mucosal lining of the stomach and lead to stomach pain and other discomforting symptoms. Researchers have found that bhringraj has a significant anti-ulcer effect and may be helpful in the management of these symptoms.

Lab studies have demonstrated that the administration of the drug twice in a day exhibited a reduction in the lesions. This is due to its anti-secretory effect which helped to reduce the acid output and gastric volume. At the same time, it helped to increase the gastric pH, which has a protective effect, and catered to reduce stomach inflammation. Its actions have been compared with the drugs which are used for the management of this condition, which is indicative of its efficiency.

Bhringraj for the liver

One of the most well-recognised benefits of bhringraj is that it has a hepatoprotective action, that is, it helps to protect your liver from cellular damage. It is thus protective against liver disorders and functions against liver injury.

Studies have found that the use of E. alba helped to inhibit fatty degeneration of the liver and may thus have a protective role against fatty liver. Further, it helped to reduce liver toxicity and aided in the metabolism of drugs thereby reducing drug-induced liver damage. By reducing hepatotoxicity, bhringraj extracts were also helpful in the prevention of liver cancer, which will be discussed ahead.

Bhringraj for cancer prevention

An uninhibited growth of atypical cells having the potential to spread to distant and neraby areas of the body is termed as cancer. Due to its antioxidant effect, bhringraj has the potential to inhibit cellular proliferation, as exhibited by studies.The administration of E. alba extract helped to reduce the proliferation of cells in hepatocellular cancer cell lines by the possible mechanism of apoptosis (programmed cell death). It also catered to reduce the spread of these cells to different organs of the body and was thus useful in preventing metastasis. This suggests that the use of bhringraj can help in improving the prognosis of those affected with liver cancer.

Its antioxidant actions, free radical scavenging activity and the presence of flavonoids also enable its role in the prevention of breast cancer. It functions by reducing the proliferation of cells even in the aggressive forms of cancer. It has been determined to be cytotoxic to these cells in a dose-dependent manner. Other than promoting cell death, as with liver cancer, the use of E. alba helped to prevent metastasis and recurrence, which is suggestive of its protective role.

To benefit from this effect, you are advised to talk to your doctor about the correct dosage.

Other benefits of bhringraj

Bhringraj offers several other benefits for your health, which have been discussed below.

  • Against malaria: Bhringraj has been evidenced to have activity against Plasmodium falciparum, which is the causative agent of malaria fever and is thus effective in suppressing its symptoms. This effect is observable in a dose-dependent manner and it is effective during early or later stages of infection.
  • Skin disorders: Studies have found that E. alba extracts aid in protection from the harmful UV rays of the sun and is thus helpful in the prevention of skin conditions caused due to UV rays or excessive oxidative stress.
  • For the heart: E. alba extracts yielded a cardioprotective effect since it helped in lowering blood pressure and high cholesterol, major risk factors of cardiovascular disorders. (Read more: High blood pressure management)
  • Larvicidal actions: Other than helping in reducing the symptoms of malaria, E. alba also helped to kill mosquito larvae and can be sprayed in the surroundings.

Bhringraj is generally a safe herb and is not associated with major side effects. However, it is advisable to talk to an Ayurvedic doctor before making the use of this herb, who will also determine a safe dosage. Some individuals can develop an allergic response to the use of this herb and must thus be careful. Pregnant and lactating mothers must be even more careful about the use of this herbal supplement and avoid use unless prescribed.

(Read more: Allergy symptoms)

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References

  1. Shaikh MF, Sancheti J, Sathaye S. Effect of Eclipta alba on Acute Seizure Models: a GABAA-mediated Effect. 2013 May-Jun;75(3):380-4. PMID: 24082359
  2. Jahan R, Al-Nahain A, Majumder S, Rahmatullah M. Ethnopharmacological Significance of Eclipta alba (L.) Hassk. (Asteraceae). 2014 Oct 29;2014:385969. PMID: 27355071
  3. Yadav NK, Arya RK, Dev K, Sharma C, Hossain Z, Meena S, Arya KR, Gayen JR, Datta D, Singh RK. Alcoholic Extract of Eclipta alba Shows In Vitro Antioxidant and Anticancer Activity without Exhibiting Toxicological Effects. 2017:9094641. PMID: 28250894
  4. Chan CF, Huang WY, Guo HY, Wang BR .Potent Antioxidative and UVB Protective Effect of Water Extract of Eclipta prostrata L.. 2014 Feb 9;2014:759039. PMID: 24683358
  5. Liu QM, Zhao HY, Zhong XK, Jiang JG. Eclipta prostrata L. phytochemicals: isolation, structure elucidation, and their antitumor activity.. 2014: 759039. PMID: 22902823