Convolvulus pluricaulis, famously known as shankhpushpi in India, is a herb that has tremendous use in Ayurvedic medicine. In Ayurveda, this herb has been mentioned as rasayana and mainly recommended for the improvement of mental health and rejuvenation therapies. Medicinally, the whole herb is used with milk and cumin in the form of a mixture to treat nervous disorders and loss of memory. The most popular use of shankhpushpi is in the development of memory boosting tonics.

Shankhpushpi plant is native to India. It is a perennial herb ie, it lives for more than two years. The branches of this plant are about 30 cm long and usually spread on the ground. Shankhpushpi plant bears oval-shaped flowers that are blue in colour. Different parts of the herb possess several therapeutic benefits. It is believed to be the only herb that is capable of improving all the functions related to the working of the brain, such as learning, memory and the ability to recall. Shankhpushpi is good for the heart, digestion and is helpful in the management of anxiety and hyperthyroidism.

Some basic facts about shankhpushpi

  • Botanical Name: Convolvulus pluricaulis
  • Family: Gentianaceae
  • Common Name: Sankhpushpi, Shankhini, Kambumalini, Shankhpushpi, Sadaphuli
  • Sanskrit Name: Laghuvishnukranta, Nilasankhapuspi, Vaishnava, Vishnukranthi, Vishnukranthi, Vishnukanta, Vishnugandhi, Sankhapuspi
  • Parts Used: Leaves, branches, flowers, fruits
  • Native Region and Geographical Distribution: Native to India, especially the state of Bihar
  1. Health benefits of shankhpushpi
  2. Medicinal benefits of shankhpushpi
  3. Shankhpushpi dosage
  4. Shankhpushpi syrup
  5. Shankhpushpi powder
  6. Side effects of shankhpushpi

Shankhpushpi is widely used for its numerous health benefits. The herb has been found to induce a feeling of calm and peace, good sleep and relieve anxiety, stress, mental fatigue. Let us have a look at some of the science-backed health benefits of shankhpushpi.

  • Benefits for brain: Shankhpushpi is one of the best brain tonics which has a protective effect on memory and cognition. It also prevents memory loss and age-related neurodegeneration and has been found to be effective in reducing anxiety and depression.
  • Improves skin health: Shankpushpi penetrates deep into the skin, nourishing and rejuvenating it so your skin shines with a healthy and natural glow. Being an antioxidant, it reduces oxidative stress and delays the first signs of skin ageing such as wrinkles and dark spots.
  • Benefits for stomach: Shankhpushpi is traditionally used to improve digestion process and prevent dysentery. Research studies suggest that it is helpful in protecting the stomach lining in case of peptic ulcers.
  • For hyperthyroidism: Recent studies indicate the anti-thyroid properties of shankhpushpi. It reduces the levels of thyroid hormones in case of stress, thereby helping in the management of hyperthyroidism.
  • Benefits for heart: It has been evidenced that ethanolic extracts of shankhpushpi helps in reducing the levels of non-esterified fatty acids, the major cause of morbidity related to cardiac arrest. This herb also reduces cholesterol and helps manage blood pressure, which are two of the major risk factors for heart diseases.

Shankhpushpi for memory

One of the prominent use of shankhpushpi is for the improvement of brain power. It is mainly used as a brain tonic and stimulator. Several bioactive compounds present in the herb helps in the prevention of loss of memory. The plant is also said to have neuroprotective (protects the brain) properties. It is regarded as a prominent natural medicine that helps in enhancing memory.

Read more: Home remedies to improve memory

In India, since ancient times, people of all age groups have made use of this herb. It functions as a stimulant for the brain by improving brain capacity and ability. The natural chemical composition of the herb relieves tension in the brain and helps it to calm down. Convolvulus pluricaulis, therefore, is also used as a tranquillizer in people suffering from insomnia.

Read more: How to fall asleep

Shankhpushpi for the skin

A prominent use of shankhpushpi is in improving skin health. The herb can be used as an alternative or tonic for the skin. Studies have found that it penetrates deep into the skin and nourishes all the skin layers. This imparts a healthy glow to the skin.

Read more: How to get glowing skin

Moreover, skin conditions such as acne can also be treated by the use of this herb. Shankhpushpi is used in the form of a mixture with cumin and milk for achieving its skin benefits.

Shankhpushpi for the heart

Use of shankhpushpi has also been found to be beneficial for the heart. A recent study demonstrated that the ethanolic extract of the herb is helpful in reducing the levels of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) in the body, which is one of the main causes of death due to cardiac arrest. The NEFA levels are primarily reduced by the activity of the bioactive compound, kaempferol, a flavonoid found in the shankhpushpi plant, suggesting its role in maintaining cardiac health.

Read more: Heart disease treatment

Shankhpushpi for digestion

Shankhpushpi has been used traditionally to aid the process of digestion in the body.  The extracts obtained from all the parts of the plant also help in avoiding fluid retention in the body. Additionally, shankhpushpi is considered to be a sovereign remedy to treat bowel complaints, particularly dysentery.

Read more: How to improve digestion

Shankhpushpi as an antioxidant

A recent study suggested that shankhpushpi has anti-oxidant properties. The extracts obtained from the herb were found to possess the capacity to neutralise free radicals (which causes damage to various organs of the body).

Antioxidants help in preventing or delaying damage to cells and are required to maintain proper metabolism in the body. Bioactive compounds such as flavonoids present in the herb are indicated to be responsible for its strong antioxidant property. 

Read more: Antioxidant foods

Shankhpushpi as an antibacterial

Shankhpushpi possesses anti-bacterial properties as evidenced by a recent study. In the study, the ethanolic extract of the herb was found to have prominent anti-bacterial activity against bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus subtilis, and Escherichia coli. Shankhpushpi, when taken in appropriate doses, can help prevent diseases such as diarrhoea, caused by these bacteria. 

Several bioactive compounds in the plant such as tannins, saponins, coumarin, flavonoids, phenol, and triterpenoids are responsible for activity against the pathogenic bacteria. The antibacterial property of the herb is also found to be useful for the treatment of wounds.

Read more: Bacterial infections symptoms

Shankhpushpi is widely used for its medicinal properties. The herb is found to be effective against a wide variety of diseases. The various diseases for which shankhpushpi is used as a medicine have been described below.

Shankhpushpi for hypertension

One of the most common diseases treated by the use of Convolvulus pluricaulis is hypertension. The herb has been found to control the production of the stress hormones in the body like adrenaline and cortisol that are responsible for raising blood pressure. It thus helps in reducing anxiety and stress. In fact, the herb is prominently used in rejuvenation therapies (promotes longevity).

Read more: Right time to check blood pressure

Shankhpushpi for neurodegenerative diseases

Convolvulus pluricaulis is a widely used medicine for the management of neurodegenerative diseases, that is, the diseases like Alzheimer’sepilepsy and dementia that are responsible for the destruction of cells in the nervous system. 

Studies have found that the extracts from the whole shankhpushpi plant were helpful in reducing the spontaneous activity of neurons, which helped in reducing episodes of seizures.

Read more: How to increase brain power

Shankhpushpi for cholesterol

A research study indicated that shankhpushpi extract decreases cholesterol level in the blood. Ethanolic extracts of the plant have especially been proven to be beneficial in lowering triglycerides, phospholipids and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and removing certain types of fatty acids that are harmful to the body.

Read more: High cholesterol symptoms

Shankhpushpi for hyperthyroidism

A study conducted in 2017 suggested that Convolvulus pluricaulis possess anti-thyroid property. The root extract of the herb was found to be particularly beneficial for its activity against hyperthyroidism. The extract of the plant inhibits thyroid function by reducing the levels of thyroid hormones produced under stress conditions. The herb also acts strongly on certain enzymes produced by the liver, which, in turn, helps in improving the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

Read more: Thyroid function test

Shankhpushpi for peptic ulcers

The herb Convolvulus pluricaulis is highly effective against ulcers. The juice of the whole plant shows prominent activity against peptic ulcers. Studies have found that the anti-ulcer activity of the herb is due to activation of certain mucosal defensive factors like secretion of mucin.

Read more: Stomach ulcers diet

Shankhpushpi for anxiety

Convolvulus pluricaulis has been found to be effective against disorders such as anxiety and depression. Evidence from several studies suggests that the herb helps to induce a feeling of peace and calm. It also promotes good sleep and brings about relief in mental fatigue. Clinical studies also suggest the benefits of this herb to patients suffering from anxiety disorders.

However, if you have anxiety, it is best to talk to an experienced healthcare practitioner before using shankhpushpi.

Read more: Homeopathic treatment for anxiety

The recommended doses of shankhpushpi to treat various diseases and health conditions are different. So, it is important to consult an Ayurvedic physician regarding the right dose as it may vary depending on your age, body type and health condition.

Shankhpushpi is most commonly available in the form of a syrup. This syrup is recommended for improvement of memory and for treating headaches. There are various popular brands of shankhpushpi syrup available in the market. The price of available shankhpushpi syrups falls anywhere between 70 to 150 INR.

Shankhpushpi is also available in a powdered form. The powder is generally dissolved in warm according to the quantity recommended for consumption. The price of shankhpushpi powder ranges between 60 to 200 INR.

Shankhpushpi generally has not been found to produce any side effects. This herb can be used by individuals of any age or gender. It can be used regularly when taken according to the recommended dosage. Certain side effects, as described below may, however, occur in some:

  • Shankhpushpi is known to produce a hypotensive (blood pressure lowering effect). Thus, people with low blood pressure need to be careful regarding its usage.
  • People taking medications for chronic medical conditions should consult their doctor before using shankhpushpi.
  • Significant studies regarding the effects of shankhpushpi on pregnant women have not been done. Pregnant women should, therefore, avoid taking shankhpushpi as a precautionary measure.

Medicines / Products that contain Shankhpushpi

References

  1. Asma'a Al-Rifai et al. Antibacterial, Antioxidant Activity of Ethanolic Plant Extracts of Some Convolvulus Species and Their DART-ToF-MS Profiling. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017; 2017: 5694305. PMID: 29317894
  2. Parul Agarwa, Bhawna Sharma, Amreen Fatima, Sanjay Kumar Jain. An update on Ayurvedic herb Convolvulus pluricaulis Choisy. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2014 Mar; 4(3): 245–252. PMID: 25182446
  3. Verma S et al. Study of Convolvulus pluricaulis for antioxidant and anticonvulsant activity. Cent Nerv Syst Agents Med Chem. 2012 Mar;12(1):55-9. PMID: 22280406
  4. Nasir A Siddiqui et al. Neuropharmacological Profile of Extracts of Aerial Parts of Convolvulus pluricaulis Choisy in Mice Model. Open Neurol J. 2014; 8: 11–14. PMID: 25110532
  5. Dhingra D, Valecha R. Evaluation of the antidepressant-like activity of Convolvulus pluricaulis choisy in the mouse forced swim and tail suspension tests. Med Sci Monit. 2007 Jul;13(7):BR155-61. PMID: 17599020
  6. Debjit Bhowmik. Traditional Indian Herbs Convolvulus pluricaulis and Its Medicinal Importance . Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry
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