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Know your Herbs

Chharila

Chharila a.k.a. Parmelia Perlata is a plant belonging to the Parmeliaceae family. It is popularly known as stone flower in India. Some other names of this plant are Ushn in Urdu, Chadilo in Gujarati and Bojhwar in Assamese. Hindi names which are quite famous are kalpassi and pathhar ke phool. 
 
This plant is a type of lichen and is found in the hilly areas of the Indian Subcontinent, particularly in the Himalayan region. It is greenish black in colour and the lower surface of the plant is blackish brown and hairy. It is bitter in taste and considered easy to digest. These plants are highly nutritious and are thus used as fodder.
 
Chharila contains alkaloids, proteins, glucose, phenols, vitamins, glycosides, usnic acid, lecaronic acid, salazinic acid, atronin and terpenes which are highly useful for treating several health issues. It is an important constituent of many Ayurvedic compositions which play an important role in maintaining overall health and well-being. 
 
Ayurveda states its useful in kandu (itching), daha (burning sensation), varna (ulcers), trsna (thirst), asmari (calculi), kustha (skin problems), visa (poison), sriah-sula (headache), mutraghata (urinary obstruction), jvara (fever) and mutrakrchra (dysuria).
 
Traditionally, it has been used for enhancing the taste of food due to its astringent, bitter taste. It is fascinating to know that it was initially used just like a normal spice. It was also used for treating sores, bronchitis, inflammations, scabies, blood disorders, dyspepsia, seminal weaknesses, renal pain, liver pain, womb pain and leprosy. 
 
Benefits of Chharila
  • Anti-Diabetic: Diabetes is a big health issue these days. Natural solutions provide great relief in diabetes. Studies suggest that Chharila has anti-diabetic properties that help in normalising glucose levels. The extracts of chharila also increase insulin levels which definitely help in managing diabetes.  
  • Kidney Disorders and Bladder Stones: This herb has the quality of suppressing kidney calculi and maintaining the health of urinary tract. This quality makes it an eligible ingredient for many medicines and supplements prepared for kidney health. It also helps with renal pain and easy passage of urine. 
  • Useful in Ulcers: Extracts of chharila plant provide effective results on gastric ulcers. It is an absolutely natural cure for troublesome peptic ulcers. The alkaloids present in it contribute towards soothing stomach ulcers. 
  • Helpful in Reducing Nausea: Chharila plant is known to have a relaxing effect when provided to patients with nausea. Vomiting and nausea can be tackled well with the use of this herb.
  • Relief from Stomach Problems: This herb has proved useful in digestive issues, inflammatory problems of stomach and for an enlarged spleen. It brings relief in liver pain and enhances the digestion process. Bloating, acidity and gastric issues are also dealt with Chharila. 
  • Anti-Bacterial: The extracts of Chharila contain anti-bacterial properties and are great to use against bacterial infections. Researchers state that its anti-bacterial action is effective against bacteria like Bacillus cereus, Proteus vulgaris, S. Aureus etc. 
  • Anti-Viral Effect: Chharila extracts are rich in anti-viral properties that can protect the body against yellow fever, poliomyelitis etc.