Shankhpushpi or Butterfly pea (Clitoria Ternatea) is called 'Medhya Rasayana’ in Ayurveda - meaning a drug which rejuvenates, maintains and potentiates intellect and memory. Shankhpushpi is one of the widely marketed herbal products in India for brain stimulation. The powerful antioxidants of this plant helps in concentration and calms your brain. It can be beneficial for students during their exam preparation. In other words, it is a brain tonic.
Also known as Asian pigeonwings, Aparajita, Sankhaphuli, Shankhini, this is a perennial plant native to India. In English, it is well-known as morning-glory, speed wheel or Aloe weed. This medicinal herb has arrowhead-shaped leaves and bulb-shaped blue or white flowers. The name Shankhpushpi was given to the plant owing to its shankh or conch shaped flowers.
Known as Mangalyakushuma in Sanskrit which means bringer of good fortune and health, each and every part of this plant is extremely beneficial for treating a host of ailments including stress and anxiety, insomnia and diabetes. It reduces mental fatigue that happens due to long work hours and excessive screen time. Its use improves the balance and vitiation in Kapha-vata-pitta doshas and the herb is astringent and bitter.
The fresh plant gives pale yellow oil with a green tinge and a characteristic odour by the process of steam distillation.
This memory-boosting herb is a magical remedy for a host of psychotic diseases like epilepsy, dementia, Alzheimer’s as it prevents the destruction of neurons and improves cognitive functioning.
According to Cognitive Vitality Reports written by neuroscientists at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), Shankhpushpi’s calming effect is thought to be mediated in part by regulation of stress hormone production (e.g., adrenaline and cortisol). This medicinal herb contains many bioactive phytoconstituents that are responsible for nootropic and other activities, such as alkaloids, flavonoids and coumarins. These compounds are thought to contribute to its nootropic and memory enhancing properties, along with some other pharmacological activities. It is also believed that a paste prepared from its roots and flowers act as anti-aging agents. In the cosmetic industry, Shankhpushpi is used as a tonic for rejuvenating the skin and hair.
Benefits of Shankhpushpi
Improves Cognitive Functioning
Reduces mental fatigue
Rejuvenates skin and hair
The leaves of Shankhpushpi were traditionally used to treat chronic bronchitis and asthma; roots were used to cure childhood fever and oil extracted from plant to stimulate hair growth. The flower is also used to make refreshing herbal tea.It is also one of the best herbs for nourishing all the layers of skin.The ethanolic extract of the plant reduces total serum cholesterol and fatty acid thereby reducing risk of heart disease.
There are four different plant species under the name of Shankhpushpi, which is used in various Ayurvedic prescriptions, singly or in combination with other herbs. Shankhapushpi is widely available in the market in various forms like tablets or capsules known as gutikas, powder or churna, juice or kashayam, syrup or arishtam, oil or tailam. But mostly it is used in the form of syrup.
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Shankhpushpi does have a mild blood pressure-lowering effect, so people suffering from low blood pressure, or those taking anti-hypertensive medications should consult with their healthcare providers before taking it. It also interacts with the antiseizure medication phenytoin.