Ayurveda names a number of Himalayan herbs for their amazing curing ability and daruhaldi is one of those herbs. It belongs to the category of deciduous and evergreen shrubs which grows in subtropical and temperate regions of the world. Growing up to the height of 1 to 5 m, daruhaldi has highly variable species diversity and varies from region to region. Many areas have their own native species too. In India, it can be mainly found in the Himalayan states. It also grows in the Nilgiri Hills of the peninsular region.
Belonging to the family, Berberidaceae, the plant’s botanical name is Berberis aristata. In English, it is commonly called Barberry and Daruhaldi in Hindi as well as Sanskrit. The woody shrub generally has a bark which is dark brown on the outside and yellow on the inside. The leaves are dark green and the flowers are yellow and bloom in the months of April and May. The fruit is violet and the colour of seeds varies from yellow to pink.
Daruhaldi is not only revered as one of the major herbs in Ayurveda but also in other traditional medicine systems like the Chinese medicine system. In Homeopathy the root tincture is used to cure rheumatic disorders.
Daruhaldi: Uses And Properties
Daruhaldi apart from its innumerable medicinal uses has a number of other uses too:
- In many parts of the world like Europe and West Asia, it is used in a number of dishes. Its berries are eaten for their high Vitamin C content.
- The stem, root and bark are used to make a yellow dye.
- In ancient times, the thorns of the plant were used to clean gold coins.
- The root of the shrub is also used in the preparation of alcoholic beverages.
The properties of Daru Haldi are:
- Anti bilious
- Bitter Tonic
According to Ayurveda, Daru Haldi is:
- Shophahara – anti-inflammatory
- Kandu kushtahara – provides relief in skin diseases
- Vranajit – helps in fast healing of wounds
- Vishahara – antitoxin
- Mehajit – useful in diabetes
- Visarpahara – helps in curing herpes
Daruhaldi’s Ayurvedic Properties or Gunadharma
- Physical property (Guna) – light (laghu), dry (ruksha)
- Taste (Rasa) – bitter (tikta), astringent (kashaya)
- Potency (Veerya) – ushna or hot
- Conversion after digestion (Vipaka) – pungent after digestion (katu)
- Effect on doshas – balances Pitta and Kapha doshas
Charaka Samhita characterizes Daruhaldi as:
- Kandughna – a group of herbs useful in skin related disorders
- Arshoghna – a group of herbs that are used in treating haemorrhoids
- Lekhaniya – a group of herbs used to reduce cholesterol level
Daruhaldi Health Benefits
Daruhaldi For Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disorder affecting people of all ages. It is more of a lifestyle disorder. However, diabetes is not just about irregular sugar levels and poor production of insulin, but it affects other organs of the body too and can result in multiple organ failure. Hence, it becomes quite important to at least manage one’s diabetes.
Consumption of daruhaldi improves the response of the body’s cells to insulin. It reduces the resistance of the liver cells against insulin. A study was conducted on 36 adult individuals affected with type II diabetes. They were given approximately 1.5 g daruhaldi every day for three months. These adults showed a decrease in their average blood sugar level. Surprisingly, daruhaldi’s effect matched the common diabetes drug metformin. It turns out that daruhaldi is a good hypoglycemic substance.
Barberry is a strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal substance. In fact, the substance called berberine sulfate present in daruhaldi is a strong alkaloid and it reduces the effect of lipoteichoic acid-fibronectin complexes. These complexes are often responsible for the host developing antibiotic resistance. In fact, the antimicrobial properties of daruhaldi ensure that one is protected against a number of infections like respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections or urinary tract infections.
In a study conducted to test the anti-infection nature of daruhaldi, it prevented a strain of Streptococcus from combining with the host cells, thus protecting against any future infection.
Suggested Remedy: Acharya Balakrishna suggests a remedy for all people suffering from seasonal flu, chronic fevers and cold. Crush the root of daruhaldi plant into small pieces and boil it along with tulsi leaves in water. Strain this liquid after it remains one-fourth of its original volume. Consume this concoction twice a day till you get well. One can also add Giloy in this concoction.
For A Good Gastrointestinal Health
One of the most important benefits of daruhaldi is its ability to protect the gastrointestinal tract. It has been time and again used as an effective remedy against a number of problems like diarrhoea and even protect the body against the bacteria E coli.
A study was conducted on 196 adults who were suffering from diarrhoea. These people were given 800 mg of daruhaldi per day and they showed a positive response. There was a significant decrease in these people’s symptoms. And what is best is that there was no need to suffer from the side effects of strong antibiotics. Daruhaldi reduces the transit time in the gut, which makes it useful against diarrhoea.
Suggested Remedy: For people suffering from ulcers in intestines or duodenum or even piles, Acharya Balakrishna comes out with an effective remedy. Take dried daruhaldi, convert it into small powdered chunks with the help of mortar and pestle and then boil it in water. Strain the liquid when it is left one-fourth of the original volume. Consume it twice a day for best results.
Daruhaldi For Heart Health
Regular consumption of daruhaldi can keep one protected against a number of cardiovascular disorders. It has the property of decreasing bad cholesterol or LDL and increase good cholesterol or HDL in the body. It even reduces high blood sugar, high blood pressure and any kind of buildup of oxidative stress in the body.
Can Help In Losing Weight
If you’re looking out for a healthy way to lose weight; which doesn’t require any extreme dieting routine, you must surely go for barberry. It helps in lowering the lipid levels of the body thus aiding in weight loss. Enzymes like protein kinase and adenosine help in improving metabolism. With improved metabolism, the ability of the body to burn fat increases to a good extent.
However, if someone is consuming barberry for some other purpose, they must keep it in mind that they might shed some weight even if they don’t wish to.
Barberry For A Healthy Liver
The liver is one of the most important organs in the body as it helps in detoxification of the body. Therefore with rising pollution levels, consumption of unhealthy food items and lack of exercise has led to rising stress on this organ.
Berberine alkaloid present in daruhaldi effectively helps in cleansing the liver. It not only reduces the rising stress of toxins on the liver but improves bile production which keeps the digestion process smooth and also protects the liver against the stress of undigested foods. Barberry can be used against diseases of the liver like fatty liver disease.
For Strong Teeth
Being a strong anti-inflammatory agent as well as being packed with anti-infection properties, barberry proves to be quite useful for maintaining strong and healthy teeth and good oral health. It helps in preventing gum swelling, plaque buildup and gum irritation. Barberry is also helpful against inflammatory gum diseases like gingivitis.
Daruhaldi Root For Skin
Being an anti-inflammatory agent, daruhaldi can help reduce skin inflammation too. Most skin conditions are a result of inflammation. Apart from this, the antimicrobial properties of this herb ensure that the skin remains supple and healthy and free from pathogens. This is why daruhaldi can be an effective remedy against acne which are caused due to skin inflammation and spread by microbial growth. Being rich in antioxidants, daruhaldi also makes skin look younger and fresh. Hence instead of going for chemical-laden creams, you know what to use.
Suggested Remedy: In case one has an inflamed skin and suffers from boils, one can create a paste of fresh daruhaldi leaves and apply on the affected region for relief.
Barberry is a potent antioxidant and does not allow free radicals to house in the body. Free radicals lead to a buildup of oxidative stress in the body and the formation of cancerous tumours. Daruhaldi has the ability to destroy cancerous cells and can even prevent their spread.
According to a few studies conducted in test tubes, daruhaldi effectively led to the destruction of tumour cells. Also, the high amount of Vitamin C present in daruhaldi is responsible for its anti-cancer property. This Vitamin C aids in killing cancer-causing tumours and even creates a protective layer around other cells which might otherwise get damaged during chemotherapy procedures.
Barberries come with many other added benefits like:
- Daruhaldi is laden with alkaloids which can help in keeping the digestive system healthy. Being purgatory in nature, daruhaldi also provides relief against chronic constipation.
- Berberine present in the bark of daruhaldi makes it immunomodulatory in nature. This means that if you are regularly consuming daruhaldi, you automatically remain protected against a number of diseases. It improves the natural resistance of the body and eliminates the need to pop in drugs time and again.
- People who smoke are at a higher risk of many diseases, be it respiratory or heart diseases. Even when they quit smoking, the effect does remain. Barberry being a strong anti-inflammatory herb and packed with antioxidants can help in reducing inflammation of lungs to a great extent.
Rasaunt / Rasont / Raswanti
Rasaunt is a special medicinal preparation made with daruhaldi roots. Sometimes the lower parts of the stems are also used to make rasaunt. To prepare rasaunt, the roots of daruhaldi are boiled in sixteen times the amount of water. They are boiled till the liquid remains one-fourth of the original volume. The extract thus obtained is boiled again to free it from an extra liquid. It is dried and converted into a solid or semi-solid mass. This mass can be stored and be later given in a number of disorders like gastrointestinal problems or chronic fevers.
How to use Rasont For Common Ailments?
Here are a few ways in which you can use rasont:-
Cataract & Blurred Vision
Take a bit of rasont and same amount of cow ghee. Mix both properly and then keep it in a container. Apply inside the lower lining of the eyelid. Do this until you feel the benefit.
If you are uncomfortable putting ghee inside the eye, you can also make eye drops by mixing 50ml Gulab Jal (rose water) and a pea size (500mg) piece of rasont. Use 2 drops in each eye twice a day. These eye drops are also great for enhancing eyesight.
Rasont For Piles & Excessive Menstrual Bleeding
Take about 500mg of rasont with water or milk in the morning empty stomach and at night before bed.
Fungal Infections And Skin Diseases
For Psoriasis, eczema and fungal infections of the skin, you can take 50ml of cold-pressed coconut oil and add a small piece of rasont in it. Mix till it is dissolved. Apply on the affected area.
Rasaunt For Fever
Take a small piece (about the size of the first phalange of index finger) of rasont and drink it with water at night before sleep.
The recommended dosage of daruhaldi is:
- Powder or churna – 3 to 5 g per day
- Decoction – 50 to 100 ml per day (in divided doses)
- Fruit extract – 3 g per day
Daruhaldi: Side Effects And Precautions
When given in limited dosage, daruhaldi doesn’t show any side effects. However, consumption in excess can bring about certain issues. Thereby certain precautions must be taken.
- In very high doses, daruhaldi can cause stomach issues like diarrhoea and nausea.
- People with vata characteristic should be careful as it can aggravate vata disorders.
- Daruhaldi can lower the blood sugar level. Diabetes patients must remain cautious and should not consume daruhaldi with their prescribed medicines without a doctor’s recommendation.
- The chemical berberine in daruhaldi is not considered safe for pregnant women.
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