Bhringraj comes in about 4 species with different colored flowers. The white and yellow variety find extensive use in ayurveda. Bioactive components such as oroboside, wedelolactone, demethyl-wedelolactone, eclalbasaponins, β-sitosterol, α-amyrin, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, apigenin, and luteolin present in bhringraj are thought to account for many of its beneficial effects.1
Scan any ayurvedic hair oil or tonic and bhringraj will feature prominently in it. But this medicinal plant’s benefits go beyond that for your tresses, earning it a valued place in traditional medicinal systems such as ayurveda, siddha, and unani. From respiratory disorders to skin problems, there’s a whole lot that bhringraj, Eclipta prostrata, or Eclipta alba, can address. Here’s a closer look at the health benefits of bhringaraj:
1. Promotes Hair Growth
Traditionally, bhringraj leaves are ground into a paste and applied to the scalp and hair to promote hair growth and reduce graying. A bhringraj hair oil can also be massaged into the hair before you wash your hair or left in overnight. A leaf extract may be taken orally to aid hair growth from within.
2. Relieves Pain
From a migraine to a toothache to stomach or muscular pain, bhringraj can come in handy for a variety of everyday aches and pains.
3. Tackles Skin Diseases
A paste of bhringraj powder can be applied to the skin to improve and brighten your complexion.
4. Eases Asthma And Bronchitis
The leaf extract of bhringraj is usually used to tackle asthma while bronchitis is treated with a decoction of the whole plant along with honey.
Bhringraj is commonly used for treating respiratory tract disorders such as asthma and bronchitis. The common factor underlying these conditions is the inflammation of airways which carry air to or from your lungs, resulting in symptoms like shortness of breath and wheezing.8 9 But bhringraj may be able to ease these problems as it has anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, one animal study found that injecting or nasally administering an extract of bhringraj brought relief. This was thanks to components such as oroboside, wedelolactone, and demethyl-wedelolactone which helped tackle asthma caused by exposure to allergens.10
5. Fights Dysentery
This rejuvenating herb is bitter in taste but cooling in action and can help balance pitta dosha. It can be used as an infusion or decoction or as part of a medicated oil or medicated ghee.11
6. Helps The Heart
High blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are two important cardiovascular risk factors. But bhringraj can step in here and help. One study looked at the effect of dried bhringraj leaves on men with mild hypertension. Participants had 1000 mg of bhringraj leaf powder thrice a day for 60 days. It was found that this resulted in a 15% reduction in blood pressure and 17% reduction in cholesterol levels. The level of triglycerides, also a risk factor for heart disease, reduced by 14%.14 Bhringraj leaves are often used along with honey to treat conditions such as heart palpitations.
id="7-treats-epilepsy">7. Treats Epilepsy
Bhringraj has been used since ancient times by traditional healers to treat epilepsy. Research confirms that this plant has anticonvulsant properties. It may help modulate GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain that has an anti-epileptic and calming effect.15 Compounds such as luteolin and wedelolactone in it may be responsible for this effect. Traditional healers usually administer the pounded leaves of bhringraj with pepper and garlic juice to treat epilepsy.16
Protects Your Liver
Traditionally, bhringraj is used to treat conditions such as jaundice and liver enlargement. The leaf juice or plant extract may be administered either alone or along with other components such as honey, pepper, or punarnava for liver disorders.
Your liver works hard to remove toxins from your body. And bhringraj has the ability to protect this important organ from damage by harmful chemicals. One animal study found that treating subjects with bhringraj before administering the toxic chemical carbon tetrachloride meant that the mortality rate due to liver damage was reduced to 22.2% from the 77.7% observed in untreated animals.17 Components such as demethyl-wedelolactone and wedelolactone are thought to account for these beneficial effects as they show not only antihepatotoxic activity but are also able to help regenerate liver cells.18
9. Helps With Gastric Ulcers
A stomach ulcer can leave you with a gnawing, burning pain, heartburn, and nausea. But bhringraj may be able to help out here as well. Stomach ulcers are often a problem for people who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin for long periods or in high doses. But an animal study found that administering a bhringraj extract prior to inducing ulcers with aspirin significantly reduced gastric inflammation as well as the development of gastric ulcers. This effect was also observed when stomach ulcers were induced using alcohol.19 20
10. Helps Manage Diabetes
Diabetes can lead to various complications such as kidney disease, heart disease, eye problems, and nerve damage. And alarmingly, around 30.3 million Americans suffer from this condition.21 Bhringraj has a good reputation for lowering blood sugar. And this is borne out by animal studies which show that administering the leaves can reduce blood glucose significantly. Bhringraj is thought to work by stimulating the secretion of insulin.22 In traditional medicine, leaves of the herb are boiled in an earthen vessel along with leaves of other beneficial plants such as licorice weed and Bermuda grass. This solution is then strained and used to balance sugar levels.
11. Improves Memory
A quarter of a teaspoon of bhringraj powder mixed with a tablespoon of aloe vera gel and a pinch of black pepper can be taken every day to improve memory and brain power. Bhringraj can also be combined with brahmi, jatamansi, and shankha pushpi (1 teaspoon each) and steeped in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes for a memory-boosting tea that can also help ease stress.23
Forgetting where you left your wallet or keys can be inconvenient and sometimes even frightening. But if you feel that your memory’s getting a little dodgy, bhringraj can help. In one study, mice were placed in the center of an open rectangular chamber. The mice stood up on their hind legs to explore their new environment. When they were returned to the same environment again and again, the time spent rearing decreased as they remembered details of the environment from their previous visit and the need for exploration was reduced. It was observed that mice given an extract of bhringraj spent less time rearing up on subsequent visits because their memory was better. The free radical-scavenging activity of bhringraj may account for this effect by protecting brain tissues from degeneration.24
12. Improves Immunity
Our bodies are exposed to harmful germs from the environment continuously. Fortunately, the immune system fends off these invaders before they can cause an infection. And bhringraj may be able to give your immune system a hand and help fortify it. Studies have found that extracts of this plant can increase white blood cell count and antibody production – both of which help your body fight off germs.25
13. Treats Snake Bite
Bhringraj has also been used to treat snake bites and scorpion stings in many traditional cultures. And research indicates that it can actually inhibit venom, specifically that of the South American rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus terrificus). Folk healers usually administer juice or decoction of the whole plant for treating a snake or scorpion bite. But if you are bitten by a poisonous snake, seek immediate medical attention first.26 You can still use bhringraj to soothe the inflammation or discomfort from other, less dangerous insect bites.
|↑1||Jahan, Rownak, Abdullah Al-Nahain, Snehali Majumder, and Mohammed Rahmatullah. “Ethnopharmacological Significance of Eclipta alba (L.) Hassk.(Asteraceae).” International scholarly research notices 2014 (2014).|
|↑2||Roy, R. K., Mayank Thakur, and V. K. Dixit. “Hair growth promoting activity of Eclipta alba in male albino rats.” Archives of dermatological research 300, no. 7 (2008): 357-364.|
|↑3, ↑11||Frawley, David, and Vasant Lad. The yoga of herbs: an Ayurvedic guide to herbal medicine. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1994.|
|↑4||Pandey, P. S., K. K. O. P. Upadhyay, and D. N. Pandey. “Experimental evaluation of the analgesic property of eclipta alba (L) hassk.” Ancient science of life 17, no. 1 (1997): 36.|
|↑5||Pandey, P. S., K. K. O. P. Upadhyay, and D. N. Pandey. “Experimental evaluation of the analgesic property of eclipta alba (L) hassk.” Ancient science of life 17, no. 1 (1997): 36.|
|↑6||Raveesha, Koteshwara Anandrao, and Dyamavvanahalli Lakshmanachar Shrisha. “Antidermatophytic activity of Eclipta prostrata L. against human infective Trichophyton and Microsporum spp.” International Journal of Chemical and Analytical Science 4, no. 2 (2013): 136-138.|
|↑7||Al Hasan, Muhannad, S. Matthew Fitzgerald, Mahnaz Saoudian, and Guha Krishnaswamy. “Dermatology for the practicing allergist: Tinea pedis and its complications.” Clinical and Molecular Allergy 2, no. 1 (2004): 5.|
|↑9||Asthma. National Health Service.|
|↑10||de Freitas Morel, Lucas Junqueira, Bruna Cestari de Azevedo, Fábio Carmona, Silvia Helena Taleb Contini, Aristônio Magalhães Teles, Fernando Silva Ramalho, Bianca Waléria Bertoni, Suzelei de Castro França, Marcos de Carvalho Borges, and Ana Maria Soares Pereira. “A standardized methanol extract of Eclipta prostrata (L.) L.(Asteraceae) reduces bronchial hyperresponsiveness and production of Th2 cytokines in a murine model of asthma.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 198 (2017): 226-234.|
|↑12||Dysentery. National Health Service.|
|↑13||Karthikumar, S., K. Vigneswari, and K. Jegatheesan. “Screening of antibacterial and antioxidant activities of leaves of Eclipta prostrata (L).” Sci. Res. Essays 2, no. 4 (2007): 101-04.|
|↑14||Rangineni, Vasavi, D. Sharada, and Saileshnath Saxena. “Diuretic, hypotensive, and hypocholesterolemic effects of Eclipta alba in mild hypertensive subjects: a pilot study.” Journal of medicinal food 10, no. 1 (2007): 143-148.|
|↑15||GABA (Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid). University of Michigan.|
|↑16||Shaikh, M. F., J. Sancheti, and S. Sathaye. “Effect of Eclipta alba on acute seizure models: a GABAA-mediated effect.” Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences 75, no. 3 (2013): 380.|
|↑17||Ma-Ma, Khin, Nyunt Nyunt, and Khin Maung Tin. “The protective effect of Eclipta alba on carbon tetrachloride-induced acute liver damage.” Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 45, no. 3 (1978): 723-728.|
|↑18||Wagner, Hildebert, Bettina Geyer, Yoshinobu Kiso, Hiroshi Hikino, and Govind S. Rao. “Coumestans as the main active principles of the liver drugs Eclipta alba and Wedelia calendulacea1.” Planta Medica 52, no. 05 (1986): 370-374.|
|↑19||Stomach ulcer. National Health Service.|
|↑20||Banerjee, A., N. Shrivastava, A. Kothari, H. Padh, and M. Nivsarkar. “Antiulcer activity of methanol extract of Eclipta alba.” Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences 67, no. 2 (2005): 165.|
|↑21||Diabetes. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑22||Ananthi, J., A. Prakasam, and K. V. Pugalendi. “Antihyperglycemic activity of Eclipta alba leaf on alloxan-induced diabetic rats.” The Yale journal of biology and medicine 76, no. 3 (2003): 97.|
|↑23||Lad, Vasant. The complete book of Ayurvedic home remedies. Harmony, 1999.|
|↑24||Banji, Otilia, David Banji, A. R. Annamalai, and R. Manavalan. “Investigation on the effect of Eclipta alba on animal models of learning and memory.” Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology 51, no. 3 (2007): 274.|
|↑25||Jayathirtha, M. G., and S. H. Mishra. “Preliminary immunomodulatory activities of methanol extracts of Eclipta alba and Centella asiatica.” Phytomedicine 11, no. 4 (2004): 361-365.|
|↑26||Diogo, Luciana C., Renata S. Fernandes, Silvana Marcussi, Danilo L. Menaldo, Patrícia G. Roberto, Paula VF Matrangulo, Paulo S. Pereira et al. “Inhibition of snake venoms and phospholipases A2 by extracts from native and genetically modified Eclipta alba: isolation of active coumestans.” Basic & clinical pharmacology & toxicology 104, no. 4 (2009): 293-299.|