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The Best Healing Herb: Operculina Turpethum


Operculina turpethum (syn. ipomoea turpethum) is popularly known as ‘Trivrit’ or ‘India Jalap’ in English. It is essentially a herbaceous plant and has a purplish coloured stem and gives out milky-white secretions. It is found extensively throughout India, Australia, America, Madagascar, Mauritiana, China, Phillipines, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and is sometimes even grown in gardens. It can also be found in the roadsides all over the country and can grow in plots of up to 1000 sq. ft. It is a perennial climber and has long and fleshy much branched roots which are much sought after because of its versatile curing effects. 

Its root bark, root and stem have a number of beneficial qualities and this makes it a potent remedy for a variety of maladies. It has many medicinal properties and is also used as an antidote for snake and scorpion bites. The roots are bitter, acrid and sweet and can be used to treat a variety of ailments. A growing number of people are getting to know more about ipomoea turpethum uses.

Ayurvedic properties of Operculina Turpethum

The ayurvedic name of operculina turpethum is trevorite. There are essentially 2 varieties of triviid, one with a whitish or reddish coloured root (called abuna or shweta) and the other with a blackish coloured root (called shyama). Trivrit Ayurveda churna is packaged as a product and is considered a very effective solution for a variety of health issues
  • The root bark and seed are used to treat skin disorders and a variety of illnesses like obesity, tumours, herpes, fever and bronchitis. A fine paste of turmeric and trivrit can be applied for chronic ulcers and wounds. It is also used in chronic skin oozing problems.
  • The pulverised root can also be used to treat flatulence, scorpion sting and snake bite among other things.
  • The root and root bark have cathartic and laxative properties. It can be used to control the muscular movement of the digestive tract and is therefore used as a laxative.
  • The tuberous root can also be used as a cure for a range of health issues such as dropsy, gout, leprosy, melancholia, paralysis, rheumatism among other things.
  • It minimises the vata and pitta levels in the body. It is anti-inflammatory and helps in regulating the normal temperature of the body. 
  • It is also very effective as a purgative, which facilitates the faster movement of the bowels and the removal of toxins. It has been included in the category of 10 purgative herbs that can be utilised for a supportive enema. Additionally, it has also been classified as an antidote herb, colon cleanser and an anticancer agent. But the dried roots of the white variety (Shweta) are generally considered to be more potent in this case. It balances pitta and kapha and increases vata dosha. This has a bittersweet taste and is used as a cure for fever, worm infestations, infected wounds, inflammation, anemia, liver disorder, heart diseases, gout, bloating and gas distension of the abdomen.

The shweta trivrit is pulverised and taken in a dosage of 250-750 mg mixed with a cup of lukewarm water or warm milk. This is very effective for constipation and abdominal distension. 

The cleaned Shweta trivrit root is cooked in milk. It is then taken in doses of 20-30 mg for adults and 5-10 mg for children. This is a potent remedy for allergic dermatitis, chronic abdominal pain and eczema. 

  • Avipattikar Churna is an important ayurvedic preparation which is used to cure stomach and intestinal issues.  

Benefits of Operculina Turpethum for Health

Operculina turpethum can be used to treat a variety of ailments and can have different ayurvedic formulations like trivrit churna. The benefits are similar to Zingiber officinale (ginger) and cumin which have become very prominent health ingredients. The presence of glycosides, used to treat heart conditions, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, steroids and carbohydrates endow it with a number of health-giving properties. Let’s find out more about the operculina turpethum uses.

  • Chronic constipation:  It is a very potent laxative and is therefore used to cure extreme cases of constipation. The roots are made into a powder and consumed to clear the bowels and offer relief. 
  • Treatment for arthritis: It is an effective remedy for paralytic and rheumatic diseases. The prescribed dose of 3-4 grams every day will be useful in removing all the paralytic issues.
  • Cure for dropsy: This is a condition where excess water gathers in the cavities of the body. The tuberous roots can be used in doses of 2-4 grams to alleviate this condition. 
  • Treatment for gout: Gout which leads to severe inflammation of the joints can be treated using the same dosage as prescribed for dropsy. 
  • Best remedy for jaundice: Ayurveda especially recommends this as one of the most effective treatments of jaundice. A teaspoon of operculina turpethum in combination with a teaspoon of another drug should be mixed with hot water and taken twice daily. 
  • Anti-venom cure: It has a root which helps in purgation and is most efficacious for a scorpion or snake bite. It is also used for melancholia and for the treatment of an enlarged spleen. Its potency is greatly increased when it is used with chebulic myrobalan.

Operculina turpethum has to be used with caution when administered to children or to physically and mentally weaker people. An overdose can lead to a number of complications including bleeding in the rectum, vomiting, abdominal pain, chest pain, dehydration, unconsciousness, shock and vertigo. It should not be used for pregnant women and for children below 12 years of age. People suffering from fecal incontinence, diarrhoea and rectal prolapse should avoid using it.

Uses of Operculina turpethum

Operculina turpethum finds complete use of all its parts in the medical domain. The whole plant can be used for a number of different therapeutic purposes including the seeds, root bark, root, stem and leaves. There are a number of operculina turpethum medicinal uses. 

  • The root bark of the plant has a glycosidic resin and also a number of secondary metabolites, reducing sugars and essential oils which help fight against a lot of diseases and ailments. 
  • The roots of Operculina turpethum have a host of different characteristics. They are analgesic, carminative, thermogenic, antipyretic, purgative, hepatic, expectorant, stimulant, anthelmintic and hydragogue. 
  • The phenolic compounds present in the leaf of the plants are anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and also function as antioxidants.
  • The plant also contains saponins which could bring about a range of pharmacological effects including analgesic, antiallergic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, bactericidal, antidiabetic, antiviral and cytotoxic. The saponins are capable of potent microbial action against various types of microorganisms.
  • Phytochemical elements found in the ethanolic, ether and chloroform leaf extracts of Operculina turpethum like flavonoids, alkaloids and tannins form a powerful defence mechanism against fungal and bacterial pathogens. Flavonoids are also effective in restricting the production of heat shock proteins in cancer of breast and colon and leukaemia. They also have a very pronounced anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. The presence of alkaloids on the other hand imply that the extracts could be used for antiparasitic and antifungal purposes. 
  • Coumarins, present in Operculina turpethum, are found in most plants and serve as a chemical defence when attacked by other organisms. These also act as antitumor agents, enzyme inhibitors, anti-HIV & antimicrobial agents and central nervous system activators.
  • The ethanolic extracts of Operculina turpethum leaves are effective antimicrobial agents. The bioactive compounds of the plant can function as effective antibacterial agents.
  • Operculina turpethum also offers good protection to the liver and the root powder is a significant hepatoprotective herbomineral formulation. 
  • The hydroalcoholic stem extracts can be given at a dosage of 100mg/kg body weight to bring about good antiulcer activity. It also has a beneficial effect on gastro-intestinal tract related problems, hyperacidity and gastric ulcer.
  • The ethanolic extract of the operculina turpethum roots contribute to the reduction of hepatopathy and nephrotoxicity symptoms. 
  • The ethanolic extract of the operculina turpethum roots when administered in proper doses have significant antidiarrheal effects. 
  •  The methanol extracts of operculina turpethum are a very effective anti-diabetic agent and help in the reduction of the glucose levels. 
  • The effect of stem extracts of Operculina turpethum have significant anti-tumour effects and it is also an excellent antioxidant.
  • The ethanolic root extracts of Operculina turpethum also display very effective anti-arthritic effects. 
  • Operculina turpethum root powder has been found to be very effective in reducing edema and swelling. It has good anti-inflammatory properties and they find use in a variety of ailments. 
  • The ethanolic extract of operculina turpethum is a powerful antitoxic agent and has been known to bring about significant improvement in liver function. 
There are many benefits of operculina turpethum and research is still being conducted to explore further benefits of this herb. It is a rich source of carbohydrates and reducing sugars which could be utilised for many more pharmaceutical solutions for different ailments. Do remember to get in touch with our experts at Traya who are ready with more advice based on the latest health and nutrition advances; they will also share suggestions on the most effective ayurvedic herbs for hair growth.

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