Utangana Blepharis edulis: Uses, Side Effects, Research

Utangana- Blepharis edulis is an Ayurvedic herb, used for the purpose of treating low sperm count, difficulty in micturition and acts as aphrodisiac. 

Latin name- Blepharis edulis Pers.
Family- Acanthaceae

Names in different languages:
Hindi name     – Utanjana, Uttanjan
Bengali name – Shushani
Gujarati name  – Utangana/uttingana
Marathi name – Utangana
Malayalam name  – Karad
Persian name   – Anjar
Punjabi name   – Utangana
Telugu name    – Maneshaklu

Synonyms: Uttingana, Utanjana

Morphology of Blepharis edulis:
Utangana is a small shrub growing to a height of 1-2 feet, covered in soft, grey hairs. It is found all over the plains of North India. It has many serrated leaves that have prickles attached to them. The flowers are a yellowish color. Its capsules contain two seeds that are heart-shaped, smooth, shining, and brownish in color. The fruits are small, pale brown and shining in nature.

Blepharis edulis – Utangana
Blepharis liniriacfolia – Ucchata
Blepharis sindica – Sindhi utangana

Medicinal Properties:
Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet), Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities) – Guru (Heavy), Snigdha (Slimy)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Vipaka – Madhura (Undergoes sweet taste after digestion)
Karma (Actions) – Vatahara (reduces vitiated vata dosha)

Part used- Seeds, Leaf
 3 to 6 g of seed powder
10 to 20 ml of leaf decoction

Chemical constituents of Blepharis edulis:
The seed contains Allantonin – 2.1%, Blepharin- a glucoside, Di allantonin, Blepharigenin, B- Sitosterol and D- Glucosoil.
उटंजनस्य बीजं तु गुरु स्निग्धं सुपिच्छिलम् ।
मधुरं तिक्तमुष्णं च वृष्यं मूत्रलमुच्यते॥    ( द्र.गु.वि)

Medicinal Uses of Utanjan:

  • The seed of Utangana is boiled with milk and consumed to increase the sexual vigor in males.
  • The seed powder of Blepharis edulis is used as aphrodisiac in a dose of 2 to 3 g with luke warm milk.
  • The paste of the leaf of Utangana is applied over bleeding piles, wounds to control and arrest bleeding.
  • The decoction of the leaf of the plant (10-15 ml) is given with goat milk in cases of tuberculosis.
  • Cold infusion of the leaf of Blepharis edulis is given in a dose of 30-40 ml to treat hepatitis.
  • The fresh leaf of the plant is applied as paste over the skin affected with sun burns and fire.
  • The cold infusion of the root and stem of Utangana is consumed in a dose of 30-40 ml to treat burning micturition and urogenital infection.

Adverse effects: No known adverse effect is reported

Formulations containing Utangan:
Kumaryasava: It is a medicine in liquid form used for the treatment of abdominal distention, bloating, respiratory conditions like cough, cold, wheezing, piles etc.

Vimfix tablet: It is a proprietary medicine useful to treat the quality and quantity of the sperm and strengthens the male reproductive system.

Research articles related to Blepharis edulis:
Anti- microbial study: The extracts of plant aerial parts were screened for total phenolic content (TPC) gallic acid equivalents (GAE), total flavonoid compound (TFC) quercetin equivalents (QE), antioxidant capacity and its antimicrobial activity by micro broth dilution assay. The 50%-inhibition values of BHT and 70% (v/v) aqueous ethanol, 70% (v/v) aqueous methanol, methanol, and water extracts of B.edulis according to the DPPH method were found to be 19.6, 71.2, 73.7, 81.4, and 218.4 mg/ml, respectively. TPC ranged from 38.9 to 102.7 mg GAE/g dry extracts. The antimicrobial activity showed that yeast and fungi were sensitive and resistant microorganisms to the extracts. The 70%-methanol extract showed more drastic antimicrobial activity than the others. The antimicrobial activity of ethanolic extract is the same as of the methanolic extract; water extract had the weakest antimicrobial activity.

Aphrodisiac potential: The present study is aimed to investigate the effect of ethanolic extract of Blepharis edulis Linn. on general mating behaviour, libido, and adverse effects on sexually normal male albino mice. The most appreciable effect of the extract was observed at the dose of 500 mg/kg. The results indicated that the ethanolic extract of Blepharis edulis Linn. produced a significant and sustained increase in hormonal levels of testosterone indication for the sexual activity of normal male mice without any adverse effects.

Classical categorization:
Charaka samhita – Shukrajanan Varga
Astanga sangraha – Shukrajanan
Adarsha nighantu – Vasadi varga
Dhanvantari nighantu – Guduchyadi varga
Kaiyyadeva nighantu – Ousadhi varga

Systemic classification:
Kingdom                   – Vegetable
Subkingdom             – Phanerogamia
Division – I                – Angiospermia
Class – I                     – Dicotyledons
Natural order            – Acanthaceae
Genus                         – Blepharis
Species                       – Edulis

It is one among most controversial drugs in Indian medicinal plant.
Bapalal vaidhya   Considered Utangana as Ucchata based on its aphrodisiac property.
According to P.V Sharma Ucchata cannot be considered as Utangana. He mentions swet gunja for Ucchata.
According to Bhavaprakash it is more convenient to consider Ucchata as swet gunja.
According to katipeya Ucchata is swet durvarika.

Author: Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: drprashanthbk@gmail.com

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