Langali – Gloriosa superba Uses, Research, Side Effects

Langali- Gloriosa superba is a plant mentioned in Ayurveda for the treatment of wound, swelling, skin disease, bite from poisonous animals, difficulty during labor, intestinal worms etc. 

Latin name- Gloriosa superba Linn.
Family- Liliaceae

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Kalihari
English name- Malabar glory Lily, Tiger’s claw, Climbing Lily
Bengali name- Ulatchandal
Gujarati name- Dhoodiyo bachnag
Kannada name- Gouri gadde
Marathi name- Kalalavi
Malayalam name- Medoni
Tamil name- Kalai pai
Telugu name- Adavinabhi

Sanskrit Synonyms of Kalihari:
Agnishika- The flowers have bright red color like fire
Raktapushpa- Flowers are red like blood
Garbapatini/ Garbanuth- The herb expels the fetus
Halini- The tuber resembles that of plough
Shukrapushpi, Indrapushpi – beautiful flowers
Vahnijihva, Vahni Vaktra, Pradeepta, Vahnimukhi, Agnishikha  – flowers resemble flame
Siri, Vishalya, Kalikari, Prabhata, Pushpaseebhara

Morphology Gloriosa superba:
Langali is a climber with soft stem. The leaves are about 6-8 inch long and 2-3 inch wide, shiny in nature. They are mainly alternately arranged, but they may be opposite, as well. They are somewhat lance-shaped and tipped with tendrils. The flowers are attractive with a combination of bright red and yellow colors and having finger like appearance. They are seen in the rainy season. The fruits are about 2-4 inch long with reddish seeds inside. The rhizome is fleshy and grows to a length of about 1 foot and 1-2 inch thick. It has an appearance like a plough. The plant is found all over India in the temperate climate.

Langali medicinal properties:
Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Teekshna (Strong)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes Pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphavata shamaka (reduces vitiated kapha and vata dosha)
Prabhava (Special action)- Abortificant

Part used- Rhizome
Dosage-
Powder- 250 to 500 mg for therapeutic use, 3-6 gm as abortifacient

Chemical composition of Gloriosa superba:
The root contains colchicine. Colchicine and its derivatives are present in tubers, seeds and flowers. The seeds are used as raw material for preparing drugs for gout. They are considered a rich source of colchicine and gloriosine.

Langali Shodhana – Purification:
Since Langali is considered as Upavisha (herb containing poisonous constituent) according to ayurveda, it is purified by boiling the rhizome of Langali in cow milk for 3 hours. After this procedure, the rhizome can be used for therapeutic benefit. This procedure is called Ksheera Swedana.

Medicinal Uses of Langali:

  • The paste of the rhizome of Langali is applied externally to treat cases of scorpion bite, sting of bee, centipede bite.
  • The paste of the rhizome of Gloriosa superba is applied over the area affected with skin disease, external pile mass, wound and localized swelling over joints.
  • The paste of Langali is applied over the umbilical area or given internally in a dose of 3-6 g to cause abortion by stimulating the uterine muscles.
  • The fresh juice of the leaves of Langali is applied over the scalp region to kill head lice.
  • In a dose of 250-500 mg, the powder of rhizome of Gloriosa superba is mixed with milk and consumed to give strength to the body.
  • In a dose of 500-750 mg, the powder of Langali is given with hot water to treat cases of intestinal worms.
  • Dosage of 1-1.5 g of rhizome powder id used to treat fever and improve the appetite.

Uses of Kalihari as per Ayurveda:
Kshara – alkali, strong, cutting, piercing
Pittala – Increases Pitta Dosha
Sara – induces mobility, causes diarrhea, purgation, relieves constipation
Teekshna – strong, piercing
Ushna – hot
Garbhaha – abortifacient

Traditionally indicated in
Bastishoola – Urinary bladder pain
kapharoga – Kapha disorders
Kushta – skin diseases
Shopha  – inflammation
Vrana – Ulcers, wounds
Jantu – worm infestation

Adverse effect of Kalihari:
The tuber can stimulate the uterine muscles, thus leading to abortion.
Hence the herb is to be avoided internally by pregnant ladies.
Increased dosage can also cause vomiting, diarrhea and increase in blood pressure.

Ayurvedic medicines containing Langali: 
Kalakuta Rasa: This medicine is used in the treatment of chronic fever, chronic bronchitis, cough, urinary tract disorders, diabetes etc.

Brihat marichadi taila: It is used in the treatment of deafness, paralysis, locked jaw, neck stiffness, dwarfism, low back ache, spondylosis, sciatica, and such other vata disorders.

Chitrakadi taila: It is used to apply externally into the fistula track to induce quick healing.
Munipile oil: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine useful to treat piles, fistula, hemorrhoids and constipation.

Research articles related to Gloriosa superba:
Effect on reproductive system:
The objective of the study was to evaluate the activity of the aqueous extract of Gloriosa superba (AL) root on the female reproductive system of rat. Phyto-chemical analysis shows presence of flavonoids, tannins, alkaloids, and glycosides in the aqueous extract of Gloriosa superba. Antifertility study showed early abortificient activity. No increase in uterus and ducidual weight was observed. Both the reference (oxytocin) and the extract produced dose-dependent contractions but the extract had no effect on heart parameters and blood pressure.

Anti- ulcerogenic action:
The present study was carried out to investigate the antiulcerogenic activity of ethanolic extract of Gloriosa superba L. tuberous (GST) rhizomes. The anthelmintic activity of various extracts of GST was also evaluated in vitro against two types of intestinal worms; a) Earthworms and b) Ascardia Galli (a parasitic roundworm). GST extract showed superior protection when compared with other test extracts on both the ulcer models tested. The extract significantly increased the pH and decreased both the volume and total acidity of gastric secretion in pylorus ligation-induced ulcer model.

Anti- inflammatory activity:
Gloriosa superba L. (Liliaceae) seeds, known as “kalihari” (Hindi), were phytochemically investigated for colchicine (well known for gout treatment) and other related alkaloid content. The compounds were subjected to an anti-inflammatory study by using the formaldehyde inflammagen-induced inflammation model. The results clearly indicated that the colchicine is more effective as an anti-inflammatory agent compared with phenylbutazone, the standard drug used in the study.

Classical categorization:
Bhavaprakasha- Guduchyadi varga
Dhanvantari Nighantu- Karaveeradi varga
Kaiyyadeva Nighantu- Oushadhi varga

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales
Family: Colchicaceae
Genus: Gloriosa
Species: G. superba

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


Subscribe and get Dr Hebbar's ebook "Blueprint For A Healthy Lifestyle" for free

The product links are affiliate. Do not follow given advice, without consulting your doctor.

Your comment

error: