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Anantmool, Indian Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus Indicus)


Medicinal plants are being widely used, either as single drug or in combination in health care delivery system. Indian Sarsaparilla, Hemidesmus indicus (Family: Asclepiadaceae) is a commonly known Indian Medicinal Plant, which is widely recognized in traditional systems of Medicine. It contains various phytoconstituents belonging to the category glycosides, flavonoids, tannins, sterols and volatile oils. It has been reported as useful in biliousness, blood diseases, dysentery, diarrhoea, respiratory disorders, skin diseases, syphilis, fever, leprosy, leucoderma, leucorrhoea, itching, bronchitis, asthma, eye diseases, epileptic fits in children, kidney and urinary disorders, loss of appetite, burning sensation, dyspepsia, nutritional disorders, ulcer and rheumatism. Several studies are being carried towards its activities like analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiulcer, hepatoprotective, antioxidant and helicobactericidal properties. Further, it also protects radiation-induced DNA damage. With all these potential benefits, this plant is not widely utilized. Hence this review was carried out to explore the hidden potential and its uses, towards the benefit of mankind.

Hemidesmus indicus is used to make beverages and also used in traditional medicine. In Ayurveda it goes by the name of Ananthamoola, also known locally in Southern India as Naruneendi or Nannari, (Sanskrit meaning: endless root). It is also known as Anant Vel /Maeen Mool in Marathi. In southern states of India (particularly Tamil Nadu), sarsaparilla roots are called Maahali or Mahani Kizhangu and in its pickled form is also served along with rice dishes. It is also called the false sarsaparilla. It is administered in the form of powder, infusion or decoction as syrup. It is one of the Rasayana plants of Ayurveda. It is sometimes confused with another Ayurvedic herb called white sariva. The alcoholic extract of Hemidesmus indicusR.Br. possesses a significant antinociceptive activity. The extracts from the root are used in syrup with sugar and a dash of lemon (Sharbat) and served at most small refreshment shops in South India.

The root of the Hemidesmus plant is demulcent, alterative, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, tonic, anti-pyretic, and blood purifier. It is used in leprosy, skin diseases, fever, asthma, bronchitis, syphilis, pruritus and other urinary diseases, chronic rheumatism, and leucorrhoea.

Active Ingredients of Anantmool

The roots of H. indicus contain hexatriacontane, lupeol, its octacosanoate, α-amyrin, β-amyrin, its acetate and sitosterol. It also contains new coumarino-lignoid- hemidesminine, hemidesmin I and hemidesmin II50, six pentacyclic triterpenes including two oleanenes, and three ursenes. The stem contains calogenin acetylcalogenin-3 -0-β-D-digitoxopyrannosyl-0-β-D-digitoxopyronsyl-0-β-D-digitoxopyranoside. It also afforded 3-keto-lup-12-en-21 28-olide along with lupanone, lupeol-3-β-acetate, hexadecanoic acid, 4-methoxy-3-methoxybenzalaldehyde and 3-methoxy-4-5methoxybenzalaldehydglycosides-indicine and hemidine. The leaves contain tannins, flavonoids, hyperoside, rutin and coumarino. Leucoderma lignoids such as hemidesminine, hemidesmin I and hemidesmin II are rare group of naturally occurring compounds present in leaves.

Different Names

  •   Botanical Name : Hemidesmus indicus
  •   Indian Name : Magarbu or Anantmul
  •   Sanskrit Name : Anantamul
  •   Hindi Name : Anantamul, Dudhli
  •   Tamil Name : Nannari, Sugandipala
  •   Gujarati Name : Sariva, Upalasari
  •   Manipuri Name : Anantamul
  •   Marathi Name : Anant vel

Classification of Anantmool

  •   Kingdom : Plantae
  •   Order : Gentianales
  •   Family : Apocyanaceae

Habitat of Anantmool

Found In Central India.

Uses & Effectiveness

  •   Indian sarsaparilla is helpful in relieving burning sensation.
  •   It has anti-inflammatory activity.
  •   It is helpful in loss of taste.
  •   A paste of its roots is applied locally in treating swelling, rheumatic joints and boils.
  •   It aids digestion and increases digestive strength.
  •   Good remedy for gout , epilepsy, insanity, chronic nervous diseases.
  •   It has carminative properties.
  •   It is a good blood-cleanser.
  •   It helps with diarrhea and dysentery.
  •   It can be used for gout and arthritis.
  •   It helps with coughs, colds, asthma, and chronic respiratory problems.
  •   It helps with dysuria.
  •   It can be used in anemia3,4
  •   It is useful in leucorrhea.

Effects On Doshas

Sariva is a tridosha shamaka which means it brings all three doshas into equilibrium. Since it is sweet in taste and has an oily quality, it pacifies Vata dosha as well. Due to its cold potency, it pacifies Pitta dosha. Due to its bitter taste, it pacifies Kapha dosha.

Part Used

  •   Leaves
  •   Roots

Ayurvedic Properties of Anantmool

Hindi Sanskrit English
Rasa Kashaya Taste Tikta,Bitter
Veerya Sheet Potency Cold
Vipaka Katu Post-digestive effect Sweet
Guna Laghu Characteristics Heavy and oily

Side Effects of Anantmool

There are no known side effects of using sarsaparilla. However, taking a large amount of saponins may cause stomach irritation. Be aware that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate herbs and supplements and they aren’t subjected to rigorous safety and efficacy testing prior to marketing.

Sarsaparilla may interact with certain medications. It can increase the ability of your body to absorb other drugs. Call your doctor right away if you experience any side effects while taking sarsaparilla.