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ARKA - Introduction, Therapeutic properties, Uses, Dose.

ARKA - Introduction, Therapeutic properties, Uses, Dose.

Views: 17 | Updated On: | By Dr Sangeeta Kuri

Botanical name – Calotropis procera Linn.

Family - Asclepiadaceae

Hindi name - Aak

English name - Madar

Sanskrit names –

Red Calotropis -

Toolaphala (cotton containing fruit), Ksheerparna (whole leaf contains latex), Shwetarka, Mandar, Vasuka, Alarka, Raktarka, Arkaparna.

White calotropis -

Shuklarka, Supushpa, Rajarka ,Vasuka, Alarka.

Botanical Description – Calotropis procera is a shrub. Its stem is hard having bark with grey striations on it.

Leaves are 10 to 15 cm long and 2.5 to 7.5 cm wide, big and ovoid in shape (like Ficus bengalensis). Upper surface of the leaf is smooth and dorsally it is hairy.

Flower stalk grows in the acute angle of leaf and it has many branches. The inflorescence is in a cluster. Flowers are white externally, but internally they are reddish.

Fruits- are long, curved and break open on drying. It gets automatically perforated and soft cotton comes out. It has seeds. They are spread everywhere by wind flow Seeds are small and black in colour.

Flowering occurs in spring and fruiting in summer.

Varieties - There are two varieties depending on the colour of the flowers- 1) white 2) red. The red coloured plant is called as nut. White coloured variety is known as alarka or mandar. The Latin name of mandar is ‘Calotropis gigantia’. A big tree of calotropis is known as rajarka.

Raja nighantu has described four varieties-

1) Arka 2) Rajarka 3) Shuklarka 4) Shweta mandar

Habitat - All over India in dry and pungent soil, Srilanka, Afghanistan, Iran and Africa

Chemical composition - The leaves of Calotropis gigantea contain an active principle mudarine. Besides this principle a yellow bitter acid and resin are also found.

In the latex of Calotropis procera, a powerful bacteriolytic agent capable of lysing Micrococcus lysodlekstichus is found to be present.

The roots bark contain an active principle in little quantity, and an enzymatic substance. In adition other substances Madar Alban, Madar Fluabil, Black acid resin and Caonthone.

stem bark contains A and B-calotropeols, B-amyrin, two isomeric crystalline alcohols, giganteol and iso-giganteol.

Therapeutic Properties - Guna - laghu, ruksha, teekshna

Rasa - katu, tikta

Veerya - ushna

Vipak - katu

Dosha - As it is ushna, it acts as kaphavatashamak. Root bark, latex are used in kaphavatal disorders As red calotropis flowers are bitter and sweet-due to its rasa it does the function of kaphapitta shaman Therefore used in kaphapittaj disorders.

Uses -

External uses - As it is analgesic, antinflammatory, vranashodhan, anti- dermatosis, antimicrobial.

it is used in elephantitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Conditions in which there is inflammation and pain, leaves are heated and are bound on the affected area, oil made up of leaf juice is also used for massage. This oil is used in otalgia, deafness. When leaf powder is applied on the wound, healing occurs faster. In tumour, inflammation and lymphadenopathy etc. its latex is applied. In dermatoses and other skin diseases its latex + mustard oil is applied. In leucoderma its latex is applied topically In alopecia and haemorrhoids its latex is used. In toothache it is used for brushing the teeth.

Internal uses -

Digestive system - Calotropis procera is an emetic, increases appetite, digestive, purgative, anthelmintic. It causes irritation of stomach by stimulating vomiting centre in the brain and thus causes emesis. In anorexia, its latex is used.

Circulatory system - Root bark is a cardiac stimulant, purifies blood and is antiinflammatory. Flowers of red variety is used in haemorrhagic disorders Root bark is used in cardiac debility, filaria, chancroid ulcers and many other blood diseases

Respiratory system - Expectorant and anti asthmatic. Therefore root bark and flowers are used in (kaphavata) kasa and asthma. Alkaline extract of flowers is useful in many disorders.

Skin - As it is a diphoretic, antidermatosis, therefore it is used in dermatosis. Parts used - Root bark, latex, flowers, leaves, kshar

Dose - Root bark powder 1/2 to 1gm latex -1/8 to 1/4 gm flowers-1 to 2 gm.

Formulations - Arka lavan, Arka oil, Arkeshwar, Arkadi churna, Praval Panchamrit, Ekangveer, Mahavatavidhvansak rasa.

References - क्षीरमर्कस्य विज्ञेयं वमने सविरेचने ।' (च.सू. १)

अर्कवं सरं वातकुष्ठकण्डूविषव्रणान् । निहन्ति प्लीहगुल्मार्श: श्लेष्मोदरशकृत्क्रिमीन् ।। अलर्ककुसुमं वृष्यं लघु दीपनपाचनम् । अरोचकप्रसेकार्शः कासश्वासनिवारणम् ।। रक्तार्कपुष्पं मधुरं सतिक्तं कुष्ठकृमिघ्नं कफनाशनं च । अर्शोविषं हन्ति च रक्तपित्त संग्राहि गुल्मे श्वयथौ हितं तत् ।। क्षीरमर्कस्य तिक्तोष्णं स्निग्धं सलवणं लघु । कुष्ठगुल्मोदरहरं श्रेष्ठमेतदविरेचनम् || (भा.प्र.)

अर्कस्तिक्तो भवेदुष्ण शोधनः परमः स्मृतः । कण्डूव्रणहरो हन्ति जन्तुसन्ततिमुदगताम् ।। (च.नि.)

अर्कस्तु कटुरुष्णश्च वातजिद्दीपनीयकः । शोथव्रणहरः कण्डूकुष्ठकृमिविनाशनः ।।' (रा.नि.)

श्वेतार्क - श्वेतार्कः कटुतिक्तोष्णो मलशोधनकारकः । मूत्रकृच्छ्रास्रशोफार्त्ति व्रणदोषविनाशनः ॥ (Raja Nighantu, Karavīrādi varga, 30.)

(Reference - Ayurvedic pharmacology & Therapeutic uses of Medicinal plants)

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