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Know your Herbs

Amarbel

The scientific name of Amarbel is Cassytha filiformis. It belongs to the family Lauraceae which has many plants similar to those in morning glory. It is a native plant of tropical region and encircles tropical Africa, America, Australia, the Caribbean region, and Polynesia. The plant or creeping vine is also called love-wine due to its aphrodisiac property. It has pale green to slightly orange twinning stem. The leaves are scale-like with small flowers and fruits. It feeds on the host plant and forms a mat- like structure and often may kill the host. The plant is collected by the local people for its certain medicinal uses and other purposes.

Amarbel is also known as Akashbel and Cuscuta. It grows endlessly as a parasite on other plants, shrubs, trees or grasses, and covers all over that plant. It has wide application in various ailments because of its action against infertility, GIT disturbances, and inflammation related conditions.

C. filiformis plant has narrow scale-like leaves and highly branched stems forming multiple filaments to collect the nutrition from the host plant. It is an herbaceous, perennial, evergreen and scrubby herb with small berry fruits containing single seed.

C. filiformis is widely spread across the Indian habitat from the plains to the hilly areas. It has a cold potency, pungent and astringent taste.

Amarbel and its various chemical components are responsible for improving human health. Amarbel contains various aporphine alkaloids, tannins, steroids, saponins, lignans, and mucilage. The other alkaloids present in amarbel include actinodaphnine, octoteine, cathafiline, cathaformine, and filliformine. The alkaloid dulcitol and laurotetanine help in hair growth.

It is mildly bitter, astringent and sweet tasting herb, with sufficient diuretic, anti-convulsive, anti-phlogistic, laxative, cooling and tonic activities.

Various medicinal activities of Amarbel have been described ahead. In Ayurveda, it is known as a “Stambhana” herb due to its specific action.

In various studies, amarbel has shown properties of vasorelaxant, aphrodisiac, anti-platelet aggregation, anti-cancer, anti-trypanosome, and antibacterial, anticonvulsant anti-hemorrhagic and diuretic activities.

Benefits of Amarbel:

  • Improves Hair Health: The plant prevents hair fall and dandruff. Its sap is obtained from the stem and can be used as a hair conditioner and shampoo. It is useful remedy for baldness.
     
  • Improves Digestive Health: It is used to treat various ailments related to digestive health, control swelling and inflammation. It can also be used as a laxative and to expel worms. Plant is useful for flatulence, belching, constipation and indigestion.
     
  • Improves Liver Health: It helps in liver detoxification and thus improves functioning of liver.
     
  • Controls Piles: In case of piles, it helps to heal and control bleeding.
     
  • Heals Wounds: It is used locally to soothe and heal wounds, rashes, and allergies.
     
  • Deals with Male and Female Fertility: It is used in controlling female and male fertility.
     
  • Purifies Blood: It is used to manage acidity, dysuria, urinary infections, eye and skin disorders, and joint and arthritis pain. It helps in wound-healing, liver detoxification, and also works as a blood purifier.
     
  • Other traditional uses: Earlier, it was used to treat diarrhoea, liver ailments, constipation, and inflammation. It was also used as purgative, anthelmentic, anti-fertility, carminative agent. It was used for managing hair fall, wound-healing, gas, itching and piles (bleeding & non-bleeding).

Amarbel improves the health and functioning of various organs in the human body and hence becomes an important Ayurvedic ingredient in wide range of Ayurvedic health supplements and medicines.