Sharpunkha: Tephrosia purpurea




Sharpunkha is drug of choice in spleen and liver diseases
Sharpunkha corrects the working of digestive system
Sharpunkha improves the functioning of liver.
Sharpunkha possesses anti diabetic and anti hyper lipidemic properties.
Sharpunkha is also useful in cough and respiratory distress


Sharpunkha is also a very good kidney protective Ayurveda herb.  


Common Name:
Wild indigo, Fish poison

Sanskrit Name:

  • Sharpunkh;
  • Sharpunkha;
  • Pleehashatru;
  • Nilivrukshakruti;

Lt. Name:
Tephrosia purpurea – Leguminosae

Bio energetics:

  • Rasa: Tikta (Bitter); Kashaya (Astringent)
  • Guna: Laghu (Light)
  • Virya: Ushna (Hot)
  • Vipaka: Katu (Pungent)

Home Remedial Uses of Sharpunkha Powder in Ayurveda:

  • Yakrit Pleeha hara: In Ayurveda, Yakrit and Pleeha stand for Liver and spleen respectively. Both of these organs are closely associated with each other. Sharpunkha Powder is the best Ayurveda herb for liver and spleen diseases. It corrects liver function and benefits a lot in enlarged spleen.
  • Gulma nashana: As said above Sharpunkha Powder corrects the liver functions and liver plays an important role in working of digestive system. So Sharpunkha Powder is one of the best Ayurveda herb for digestive disturbances and to boost metabolism.
  • Vranahara: Sharpunkha Powder promotes proper healing of wounds.
  • Vishapaha: Vishapaha means to remove the toxins – by products of metabolism from the body. It is the liver which removes the toxins from the body; As Sharpunkha Powder supports the working of liver so it is one of the best Ayurveda herb for detoxification.
  • Kasa Shwas hara: By supporting liver functions; Sharpunkha Powder corrects the metabolism; Asthma, respiratory distress and cough are also related with the disturbed metabolism so Sharpunkha Powder is also a recommendeddietary supplement for cough and Asthma.
  • Pitta sarak: Pitta is the fire component of body it also stands for the bile juices secreted by liver. Sharpunkha Powder is a great supporter of Liver functions and often used as a natural remedy for liver diseases.

Research done on Sharpunkha Powder:

  • Anti inflammatory: To evaluate the antiinflammatory activity of orally administered ethanolic extract of Tephrosia purpurea Powder in acute and sub acute inflammation in rats an ethanolic extract of Tephrosia purpurea was prepared. Carrageenan induced paw oedema and cotton pellet granuloma were the models for acute and subacute inflammation respectively. Four groups of rats in each model were treated orally with 2% gum acacia, 100 mg /kg of aspirin, 500 mg/kg and 1 000 mg/kg of ethanolic extract of Tephrosia purpurea Powder respectively. In carrageenan induced paw oedema model, subplantar injection of 1% carrageenan was made into the hind paw of the rats sixty minutes after the administration of the respective drugs. The paw volume was measured immediately after injection of carrageenan, at 3 hours and at 6 hours. Then percentage inhibition of oedema was calculated. In the cotton pellet granuloma model, animals were administered drugs for six days after placing cotton pellets in the axilla on each side. On the 7th day, dry weight of granuloma was calculated. Results: The rats treated with Tephrosia purpurea did not exhibit any significant decrease in paw volume and serum ceruloplasmin levels as compared to the control and aspirin treated groups in the acute inflammation model; while, there was a significant (P < 0.01) decrease in the weight of granuloma in Tephrosia purpurea and aspirin treated groups as compared to control in sub acute inflammation. The ethanolic extract of orally administered Tephrosia purpurea Powder shows significant antiinflammatory effect in sub acute inflammation but not in acute inflammation in rats.
    • Evaluation of Antiinflammatory Activity of Tephrosia purpurea in rats Shenoy, Smita and Shwetha, K and Prabhu, K and Maradi, R and Bairy, KL and Shanbhag, T (2010)
  • Anti cancerous: In the present study, we assessed the effect of Tephrosia purpurea Powder on 12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbal-13-acetate (TPA; a well-known phorbol ester) induced cutaneous oxidative stress and toxicity in murine skin. The pre-treatment of Swiss albino mice with Tephrosia purpurea prior to application of croton oil (phorbol ester) resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of cutaneous carcinogenesis. Skin tumor initiation was achieved by a single topical application of 7,12-dimethyl benz(a)anthracene (DMBA) (25 microg per animal per 0.2 ml acetone) to mice. Ten days later tumor promotion was started by twice weekly topical application of croton oil (0.5% per animal per 0.2 ml acetone, v /v). Topical application of Tephrosia purpurea Powder 1 h prior to each application of croton oil (phorbol ester) resulted in a significant protection against cutaneous carcinogenesis in a dose-dependent manner. The animals pre-treated with Tephrosia purpurea showed a decrease in both tumor incidence and tumour yield as compared to the croton oil (phorbol ester)-treated control group. In addition, a significant reduction in TPA-mediated induction in cutaneous ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity and [3H]thymidine incorporation was also observed in animals pre-treated with a topical application of Tephrosia purpurea Powder. The effect of topical application of Tephrosia purpurea on TPA-mediated depletion in the level of enzymatic and non-enzymatic molecules in skin was also evaluated and it was observed that topical application of Tephrosia purpurea prior to TPA resulted in the significant recovery of TPA-mediated depletion in the level of these molecules, namely glutathione, glutathione S-transferase, glutathione reductase and catalase. From these data we suggest that Tephrosia purpurea Powder can abrogate the tumour-promoting effect of croton oil (phorbol ester) in murine skin.
    • Tephrosia purpurea alleviates phorbol ester-induced tumour promotion response in murine skin. Saleem M, Ahmed Su, Alam A, Sultana S.
  • Hepatoprotective: To evaluate the hepatoprotective activity of aerial parts of Tephrosia purpurea and stem bark of Tecomella undulata against thioacetamide-induced hepatotoxicity. Hepatotoxicity was induced in albino rats of either sex by subcutaneous injection of thioacetamide. Aqueous–ethanolic extract of aerial parts of Tephrosia purpurea (100, 300 and 500 mg/kg/day and ethanolic extract of stem bark of Tecomella undulata (200, 500 and 1000 mg/kg/day were evaluated. Oral administration of Tephrosia purpurea at 500 mg/kg and Tecomella undulata at 1000 mg/kg resulted in a significant reduction in serum aspartate aminotransaminase (35% and 31%, respectively), alanine aminotransaminase (50% and 42%, respectively), gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (56% and 49%, respectively), alkaline phosphatase (46% and 37%, respectively), total bilirubin (61% and 48%, respectively) and liver MDA levels (65% and 50%, respectively), and significant improvement in liver glutathione (73% and 68%, respectively) when compared with thioacetamide damaged rats. Histology of the liver sections of the animals treated with the extracts also showed dose-dependent reduction of necrosis. The present study demonstrates the hepatoprotective activity of the aerial parts of Tephrosia purpurea and stem bark of Tecomella undulata against thioacetamide-induced hepatotoxicity.
    • Evaluation of hepatoprotective activity of aerial parts of Tephrosia purpurea L. and stem bark of Tecomella undulata Amit Khatria, Arun Garg, Shyam S. Agrawal
  • Kidney protective: The protective role of Sharpunkha Powder has been investigated in gentamicin-induced rat kidney cortical cell damage. The alcohol extract of T. purpurea showed a significant hydroxyl radical scavenging activity in vitro. Using a Trypan blue exclusion assay, it was found that the extract markedly increased the percentage viability of the isolated rat kidney cortical cells in gentamicin-induced cell damage. By the evaluation of LDH activity and acid phosphatase content, it was established that the cell damage was minimized in the case of cells treated with the extract of T. purpurea. The hydroxyl radical scavenging effect of the extract was enhanced with increases in the concentration of drug, suggesting the role of free radical scavengers in minimizing gentamicin-induced kidney cell damage.
    • Hydroxyl Radical Scavenging and Protective Role of Tephrosia purpurea Powder in Gentamicin-Induced Kidney Cell Damage V. Prashanth Kumar, S. Shashidhara, M.M. Kumar and B.Y. Sridhara
  • Wound healing: The objective of the present study was to screen the flavonoid-rich fraction of Tephrosia purpurea L. aerial parts for its burn wound repairing efficacy based on traditional uses. Flavonoid fraction ointment (5% w/w) was prepared with simple ointment base B.P. for topical application. The silver sulphadiazine ointment (standard) and simple ointment base B.P. (control) was used in partial thickness and full thickness burn wound models. Wound contraction and tensile strength were measured in partial thickness burn, where as full thickness model was used for the determination of protein, hydroxyproline, anti-oxidant enzymes (SOD, CAT and GSH) level in granuloma mass as well as for histopathological study. It was observed that, wound contraction and tensile strength of skin tissues were observed significantly greater (P<0.001) in the case of flavonoid rich fraction when compared to the control group. In the full thickness burn model (on day 9), protein and hydroxyproline contents were found to be significantly higher (P<0.001). Presence of matured collagen fibers and fibroblast cells with better angiogenesis was observed as a result of histopathological studies, which was visibly improved in case of treated groups compared to control group. In conclusion, our findings suggest that flavonoid-rich fraction may have a potential benefit in enhancing the burn wound healing process, possibly due to the free radical scavenging property of the plant.
    • Effect of Tephrosia purpurea (L) Pers. on Partial Thickness and Full Thickness Burn Wounds in Rats Lodhi, Santram / Pawar, Rajesh Singh / Jain, Alok Pal / Jain, Avijeet / Singhai, Abhay K
  • Anti spasmatic: We investigated the spasmolytic activity of herbal drugs isolated from Tephrosia purpurea Powder on guinea pigs for the treatment of asthma in India. For this investigation, the herbal drug was extracted with 70% ethanol in soxhlet apparatus. After purification and isolution, the drug was used in experimental animals to observe prophylactic activity. For anaphylactic activity, horse serum 0.5 ml along with triple antigen (0.5 ml) was induced in guinea pigs. To observe prophylactic activity, male guinea pigs weighing about 250-450 gms were killed by cervical dislocation and the trachea was isolated. Each trachea was cut in to six segments. Each segment consists of three cartilage rings. Each end of tracheal muscles was attached to the bronchospasm transducers for isometric recording of the tension charges on a polygraph. The results of experiments clearly showed the spasmolytic activity of the drug. The preliminary phytochemical investigation however shows the presence of glycoside saponins.
    • Spasmolytic activity of a herbal drug isolated from Tephrosia purpurea in guinea pigs Kapil K.Soni, M.L. Khare & R.C. Saxena
  • Anti microbial and anti histamine: Antimicrobial activity of 50% alcoholic extract with different concentrations were tested against the fungal strains like Aspergillus fumigates, Aspergillus niger, Ganoderma lucida and Candida albicans and bacterial organisms like Escherichia coli, Serratia mercescens, Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermis. The 50% alcoholic extract of Tephrosia purpurea at 5mg, 10mg, and 20mg concentration showed antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli, Serratia marcescens and Staphylococcus. Extracts of Tephrosia purpurea Powder at 5mg, 10mg, and 20mg concentration did not show positive antifungal activities against Aspergillus fumigates, Aspergillus niger, Ganoderma lucida and Candida albicans. Antihistamine activity of 50% alcohol extract of Tephrosia purpurea (TP) Powder was evaluated in isolated guinea pig ileum. It was observed that different concentrations (2mg, 4mg and 8mg/ml) of TP extract antagonized the contraction of ileum induced by histamine. The extracts at 8mg/ml concentration expected maximum antagonistic. The results obtained with histamine in guinea-pig isolated ileum preparations are sensitive to histamine against like histamine at the lower concentration.
    • Evaluation of antimicrobial and anti-histamine activity of the aerial parts of tephrosia purpurea l. Duraisami Nivedithadevi, Paramasivam Manivannan and Ramamurthy Somasundaram
  • Anti Diabetic and Anti hyperlipidemic: In the present study the aqueous extract of Tephrosia purpurea leaves (TpALet) Powder was evaluated for its antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic effects in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Profound alterations in the concentrations of blood glucose, lipids and lipoproteins were observed in diabetic rats. Oral administration of TpALet to diabetic rats at a dose of 600 mg/kg body weight significantly reduced the level of blood glucose and increased the level of plasma insulin as well as normalized the lipids and lipoproteins profile. The present study thus demonstrated that TpALet has prominent antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic effects in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats.
    • Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic effects of Tephrosia purpurea leaf Powder extract in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. by P Pavana, S Manoharan, G L Renju, S Sethupathy

Useful part of Sharpunkha:

Roots; whole plant

Doses of Sharpunkha:

Roots powder: 3-6gm; whole plant powder: 3-6gm. 


About Swami Devaishta

I am a osho sanyasi, yoga teacher and a homoeopath.
This entry was posted in Articles on Health, स्वास्थ, Herbs, Holistic Healing. Bookmark the permalink.

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