East Indian ArrowRoot: Uses, Medicines, Research, Side Effects

Tavaksheera- Curcuma angustifolia is a plant mentioned in Ayurveda for the treatment of cough, dyspnea, general debility, fever and diarrhea. 

Latin name- Curcuma angustifolia Roxb.
Family- Zingiberaceae

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Tavakhira, Tikhura
English name- Indian arrow root, Narrow leaved Turmeric
Bengali name- Tikur
Gujarati name – Tavakhara
Kannada name- Kuve gadde
Malayalam name- Koova
Manipuri name- Yaipan
Marathi name- Tavakhira, Tavakila
Tamil name- Arutkilangu, Kua
Telugu name- Ararutgaddulu
Deccan – Ararutkegadde
North Kanara : Kuvagudde
Persian : Tavashra

Sanskrit Synonyms of Tavaksheeri:
Godhuma pistika- The powder of root resembles wheat powder
Tandulodbava- The powder resembles rice powder
Shuba, Kshirika, Tugaksheeri

Morphology of Curcuma angustifolia:
Tavaksheera is a small herb, growing to a height of 1-2 feet and resembling turmeric plant. Leaves are typically simple, green, glabrous, and lanceolate, with margins that are entire. They appear in an opposite arrangement and are deciduous. They are 1-2 feet long and 2-3 inch wide. The leaf stalk is 0.5-1 foot long. The flowers are 1 inch long and yellow-green in color. They are seen in the rainy season. The plant is seen in the hilly regions of India and cultivated in Bengal and South India for its medicinal properties. The rhizome which can grow up 4 feet, is dug from earth, dried well and later powdered before being used.

Medicinal properties of East Indian Arrowroot:
Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Snigdha (Slimy in nature)
Vipaka – Madhura (Undergoes sweet taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Cold)
Karma (Actions) – Vatapitta shamaka (reduces vitiated vata and pitta dosha)

Part used- Rhizome
Dosage- Powder- 10 to 15 g

Chemical composition of Curcuma angustifolia:
The rhizomes yield 9.4% of an essential oil containing alpha-pinene 1.92, beta-pinene 12.92, dar-curcumene 27.85, d-camphor 12.22, d-alpha-terpineol 13.42, borneol 7.2, zingiberol 9.5 and a sesquiterpene alcohol 8%. Starch and sugar are the other main components of this plant.

Uses of Tavaksheeri:

  • 10 g of Tavaksheeri powder is added with a glass of milk and sugar candy and consumed as health drink to improve the physical strength and improve the potency.
  • 5 g of Arrow root powder is mixed with milk and consumed in conditions of burning micturition, difficulty in micturition and fever.
  • 2-3 g of Curcuma angustifolia is mixed with honey and consumed to treat cough and dyspnea.
  • To treat diarrhea caused due to indigestion, 5 g of arrow root powder is mixed with hot water and consumed.
  • 5-10 g of arrow root powder is mixed with milk and given in patients suffering with acidity and gastric reflux disorder.

Uses as per Ayurveda:
Balya – improves strength and immunity
Vrushya – aphrodisiac, improves vigor
Brumhana – nourishing, nutritious
Sheetala – coolant

Indicated in
Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Kamala – Jaundice, Liver diseases
Pandu – anemia
Trushna – excessive thirst
Shwasa – asthma and chronic respiratory disorders
Kasa – cough, cold
Kshaya – depletion of body tissues, weight loss, tuberculosis
Asra – blood disorders such as abscess, skin disorders, bleeding disorders such as menorrhagia, nasal bleeding etc.
Adverse effect: No adverse effect is known or reported after the regular use of tavaksheeri. 

Ayurvedic medicines containing Tuvaksheeri:
Kerakhand granules: This is a proprietary ayurvedic medicine in granule form used in the treatment of internal infections like peptic ulcer, rheumatoid arthritis, gastric reflux etc.

Research articles related to Curcuma angustifolia:
Management of Hyperacidity: In the present clinical study, the efficacy of Tugaksheeree was studied on 67 patients of Amlapitta (Hyperacidity). The efficacy of drug Tugaksheeree was studied through internal administration of the starches of C. angustifolia Roxb. (Fam. Zingiberaceae) in Group I and M. arundinacea Linn. (Fam. Marantaceae) in Group II with the dose of 4 g TID with water for 30 days. Both the drugs were found highly effective in treating Amlapitta.

Anti- oxidant action: The objective of the study was to compare the efficacy for antioxidant activity of both the crude (non-enzymatic) and enzymatic extracts of three important medicinal plants Curcuma zedoaria, Curcuma caesia and Curcuma angustifolia respectively. Both the enzymatic and crude extracts of the rhizome and leaves of these plants have been analyzed for their free radical-scavenging activity in different in vitro systems. These findings indicate that the non-enzymatic extracts prove to be a better scavenger of free radical in comparison to enzymatic extracts in all the three Curcuma species.

Sanskrit Synonyms of Tavaksheeri:
Many synonyms of Tavaksheeri are similar to Vamshalochana, which is another herb called Bambusa arundinacea / Bambusa bambos
Godhuma pistika- The powder of root resembles wheat powder
Tandulodbava- The powder resembles rice powder
Palasha Gandha – Odor resembles to that of Palasha – Butea monosperma
Shuba – Auspicious
Ksheerika – yields latex
Tugaksheeri, Tvak ksheeri, Vamshi, Vamshaja, Vamshalochana, Vamsha Vivardhini, Vainavi,

Classical categorization:
Bhavaprakasha- Haritakyadi varga
Dhanvantari Nighantu- Shatapushpadi varga
Raja Nighantu- Pippalyadi varga
Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadhi Varga

Vagbhatu alone used the synonym Tavaksiri. Tavaksiri is the starch obtained from the rhizomes at curcuma angustifolia and called Tikhura and used as a substiture at true arrow root (maranta arundinacea linn).

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Zingiberaceae
Subfamily: Zingiberoideae
Genus: Curcuma
Species: C. angustifolia

Distribution
It is distributed at the 3000 – 4000 ft in the temperature at Himalayan ranges.

Controversy
The Tavakshiri is known as the curcuma angustifolia from Zingiberaceae family. It has no any controversy in the books &  treatises of the plant Taxonomy books and in books of medicinal plants but in the era of Nighantus the Tavakshiri is very much controversial with Vamshalochand. In Bhavprakasha nighantu – Bhavamishra had given same synonyms of Tavakshiri like vamshi, vamsharochana, vamshaja, vamsha, kshiri etc. So, according to him vamsharochand and Tavakshiri both are one and same only. According to kaideva nighantu, again vamsha rochana is named as one of the synonym of Tavakshiri only. But like that controversy is not there in case of samhitha kala. So, after discussion of controversy we can get conclusion that in nighantu kala it was controversial. Then Bapalal Vaidhya told that the Tugakshiri (synonym of Tavakshiri) is other than vamsharochana and it is found in Danga forest of Gujarath.

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

  1. Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

    The fresh rhizome of Curcuma angustifolia is available for growing, in amazon website here
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  2. Dr Hebbar, an unrelated question, but for a skinny woman in about early 50s, very active work life, walks, and does yoga -how can she gain weight. She wants to know how she can gain weight.
    thank you,
    Pratibha Gramann, phd

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Organic Shatavari powder – 1 teaspoon at night, mixed with a teaspoon of ghee, with a cup of hot milk or water after food for 2 months can be useful.
      Available in USA here
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