Salaparni (Desmodium Gangeticum) Uses, Benefits, & Side Effects

Gone are the days when the sick in the household were given ashen powders mixed with honey to alleviate fevers. Farther away are the days when the elderly crushed potent leaves between their palms, with the likeness, that resides in the making of magical potions that drip down their wrists into brass and copper bowls. A woman crushing roots and herbs in her invaluable and well-handled pestle and mortar can only be imagined, for her crossed legs supporting her mortar and her glass bangle adorned hands are seldom seen when her grandson’s health is compromised. A vision so rare, yet so respected. Knowledge so precious, but lost in time. 

All secrets are quite literally rooted, this time, in the plant Salaparni. Salaparni, from the family of Fabaceae also botanically known as Desmodium gangeticum is a plant that can be used as a potent ayurvedic drug. It has been categorized as one of the most valuable drugs in Ayurveda and is a significant and potent addition to the Dashamoola, the concoction of 10 herbs. 

Geography, Morphology And Reference


The Salaparni plant is an erect shrub that can grow to a height of one metre. It is found in wild growth, with slender branches and grey-silky underlined leaves. The flowers are coloured in wondrous hues of purples and pinks. The fruits, oval and elongated, are flattened in nature and are covered in sticky hairy fibres.

The plant can be seen growing abundantly in tropical areas, on the entire Indian subcontinent. It can easily be recognized on the Western Ghats and in all forest wastelands, all the up to Sikkim in the north. It can also be found growing in the tropical regions of Africa, China, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philipines.  


The Salaparni plant retains itself as a home to numerous phytochemicals such as N-dimethlytryltryptamine, caudicine, desmodium, Gangetin-3H, Hypaphorine, hordenine and other compounds that provide numerous health benefits to the user. 

Ayurvedic Properties

Rasa (Taste)Tikta(Bitter), Madhur(Sweet)
Guna(Physical quality)Guru(Oily), Snigdha(Heavy)
Dosha Karma(Effects)Pacifies Vata Dosha and Kapha Dosha

Significant Mentions In Ayurvedic Texts

The Salaparni herb can be found in numerous ayurvedic texts such as the Charak Samhita and the Sushrutha Samhita.

Charak Samhitha: In the Charak Samhitha, it can be found in the preparations such as the Angamardhaprashamana (used to relieve myalgia), Shothahara (anti-inflammatory preparation), Balya (Herb composition administered to gain strength), Snehopaga (a part of the Panchakarma procedures) and the Madhura Skandha (a sweet concoction). 

Sushrutha Samhita: In the Sushrutha Samhita, the Salaparni herb can be found in preparations such as the Vidarigandhadi Gana and the Laghu Panchamoola.

Apart from the above, the Salaparni herb is considered to be a very important component of the Dashamoola, the concoction of ten very potent medicinal herbs. 

Uses And Benefits

The Salaparni herb has numerous uses and benefits. Unlike other botanical counterparts, the Salaparni herb is used wholly for its effectiveness in treating a variety of problems. Numerous medical conditions such as the following are treated by ayurvedic and medical practitioners alike, making this a popular and potent herb in the ayurvedic realm.

  • To meet the anti-oxidant needs of the body: The Salaparni plant is rich in antioxidants, allowing it to boost one’s immunity. It is known to neutralize the free radicals in the body keeping it healthy and capable of fighting against any diseases and foreign and intrusive microbes. 
  • As an astringent: The phytochemical compounds in the plant make it an effective astringent. It is proven to be very useful in removing excess waste and cleansing the system on consumption. Toxins are washed out and the body’s tissues are kept contracted. 
  • As a diuretic: All urinary issues such as frequent urination, burning sensations and any difficulty in the passing of urine can be treated with this potent herb. 
  • To ensure system cleansing: The herb is found to be considerably effective in treating constipation and cleanses the system inside out. It acts as a laxative and aids in easy and comfortable passing of stools from the body.
  • It is an Antithelmintic agent: Be it tapeworms or roundworms or even flukes, the Salaparni plant becomes an anthelmintic agent when it comes to protecting the host body from such parasites. The herb flushes out the parasites and treats any infestation of worms that feed off of the host body. 
  • In the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism: The Salaparni herb has anti-arthritic and anti-rheumatic properties. The herb reduces pain and alleviates any discomfort and swelling due to the aforementioned conditions. 
  • Alleviates inflammation: This plant has been considered very effective in dealing with pain relief and inflammation in various parts of the body. 
  • Nervine tonic: There are but few natural remedies that target stress, anxiety and depression. The Salaparni herb treats issues pertaining to the nervous system and is an effective nervine tonic. 
  • Treats fevers: The various compounds in the herb allow it to be used in treating fevers and is a very good antipyretic agent for the same. 
  • In treating haemorrhoids/piles: One of the common causes for any fissures in the intestine in the rectum or anus is constipation or difficulty in passing stools. The herb proves to be useful in this regard by improving one’s digestive capacity and allows for an overall smooth metabolic process. The herb also provides relief against any soreness, itching, redness, irritation or swelling around the anus. 
  • In treating complications pertaining to the respiratory system: The administration of the herb decoction maintains respiratory health and restricts any allergens or inflammatory chemicals from being absorbed into the lungs.
  • In maintaining cardiovascular health: Medicated use of the drug capacitates the patient to strengthen the cardiac muscles and maintain the elasticity of the blood vessels. 
  • In treating sexual debility: The herb is used in treating issues like premature ejaculation and sexual debility. The herb also acts as an aphrodisiac. 
  • Digestive issues: The Salaparni herb is known to maintain digestive health and prevents vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • In treating skin disorders: Dry, scaly skin, redness, itching and irritation can all be treated with the extracts of this herb. 

Dosage Information

All in all, the Salaparni plant has proven to be very effective in all varieties of treatments and maintaining the health and wellness of oneself. The dosage, however, is recommended at about 50 millilitres to 100 millilitres a day. 

The plant powder is used to make kwath, a herbal tea or in an infusion with a large quantity of water to dilute the pungency. 

Side Effects

Ayurvedic remedies seldom come with side effects. The dosage is always recommended or prescribed based on the nature of the patient’s body and any imbalance that the patient experiences for the same. Any changes are recorded and the patient is always made to undergo a session of discernment that informs the ayurvedic practitioner about the possible reactions that the patient can have to any ayurvedic drug. 

It is only after the consultation that the patient is prescribed any medicine.

Advisory: Self-medication is not recommended and not advisable. Kindly check with your medical or ayurvedic practitioner for any reactivity that can occur when consumed alongside other pharmaceutical drugs. 

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