A medicine can be of plant, animal or mineral origin. If it is of plant origin, the medicine is prepared by using specific parts or whole of the plant. There are several chemical constituents that are responsible for producing the specific action of the drug. In contrary to Modern Science where extracts and isolated chemical compounds are considered responsible for specific properties, Ayurveda propagates the use of the plant as a whole or specific parts of the plant. The therapeutic effect produced will be different depending upon the method of preparation, vehicle and time of administration, dosage form, and the other drugs that are mixed along with it. The properties and action of individual plant, animal and mineral products have been documented in detail in the Nighaṇṭus. The exact logistics of why the specific herbs have been selected for the formulation is still not very clear. The effect of a drug can be minimal or maximum depending upon the combination, disjunction, time, processing and logical application.7 Herbal medicines are inclined more towards cost effectiveness and treatment options in contrary to Modern medicine that depends on Ethno pharmacological data to a great extent.8
It was during the period of Nighaṇṭus that the Morphology and Botanical Source of the plants were being documented. It was Nighantukara (author of Nighaṇṭu) who actually established a link between the plant and modern taxonomy. These aspects can be taken into consideration only for modern understanding of the plant. As far as Ayurveda practice is concerned, the understanding of properties and actions is as mentioned in the Samhitā’s and reference is taken from the Nighaṇṭū’s.
Tinospora cordifolia is an Angiosperm belonging to Menispermaceae family and Ranunculaceae Order. It is a deciduous, twiner that branches extensively. It is known by the common name Heart Leaved Moonseed. It is indigenous to the tropical areas of India, Malaysia, and China.9
For the study of Ayurveda, the knowledge of Nighaṇṭus is mandatory, not only for Dravyaguna Vijnāna (Ayurvedic Pharmacology) but all branches of Ayurveda as treatment can be successful only if the drugs are used appropriately. And this is possible only if the basic knowledge of the drugs and their properties are known. But unfortunately, there is not much importance given to studying Nighaṇṭus now. Nighaṇṭus are just used like a reference book for drugs that chalk out the complete details pertaining to the specific plant.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The term Guduci itself means ‘gudati rakshati rakshebhyah iti’ – that which gives protection against diseases. It also is called as ‘sarvaushadha vyaptidosha’ – universal application can be implied to the meaning. Moreover, it is an ingredient of innumerable formulations mentioned in Samhitās (Classical Ayurvedic Texts). The Pharmacognosy aspect of the plant has been considerably worked upon.5 It is easily available and the therapeutic effect of the plant in different pathological conditions has been researched already.6 Five prominant Nighaṇṭus- one each from a specific time period was chosen, the synonyms and properties mentioned were tabulated and compared to understand the similarity and difference. The basonym holds no confusion as the name is specifically meant for Tco. At present, there are several documented species of Guduci, but ideally Guduci is considered as Tinospora cordifolia.
Dhanvantari Nighantu10 (DN) (10th - 13th Cent. A.D.)
The Nighaṇṭu begins by offering salutations to Lord Dhanvantari (Presiding deity of Ayurveda). In this Nighaṇṭu, Guduci has been described under Guducyadi Varga. The synonyms mentioned are amrtavalli, chinna chinnaruha, chinnodbhava, amrtalata, dhara, vatsadani, somavalli, kundali, cakralaksana, nagakumari, cchinnangi, jvaranasini, jivanti, madhuparni, tantrika, devanirmita, vayahstha, mandali, saumya visalya, amrtasambhava, pindamrta, bahucchinna, kandarohini, rasayani, mrttika, candrahasa, bhisagjita, kanya, kandodbhava kanda, amrtakandaguducika. The svarasa (essence) is said to be tikta (bitter) and kasaya (astringent), is guru (heavy), and is very effective in alleviating the three dosa’s (factors controlling the health of the mind and body) and gives relief from diseases like jantu (worm manifestation), raktarsa (bleeding piles), kustha (skin diseases), and jvara (fever). The kanda (bulbous root) is said to be katu, usna (hot in potency), and sannipataha (collectively alleviates three dosas). It mitigates visa (poison), bhuta (infliction by spirits), vali (wrinkles) and palita (premature greying). The plant as such is said to be ayusya (bestows life), medhya (promotes intellect), sangrahini and balya (is strengthening). It is effective in diseases like jvara, trt (thirst), pandu (anemia), vatasrk (Inflammatory Diseases), kandu (itching), visarpa (skin diseases), chardi (vomiting) and meha (diabetes). It is tridosahara, and pittamedovisosini (alleviates pitta and medas). Specific anupanas (after drinks) are mentioned for attaining specific targets. For managing vata - ghrta (ghee), for pitta- guda (Jaggery), for kapha- sita (sugar), is the best vehicle. For vatarakta- rubutaila (castor oil), and for amavata (Inflammatory Diseases)- sunthi (ginger) is considered to be the best vehicle.
Madanapala Nighantu11 (MP) (14th Cent. A.D.)
Guduci has been mentioned in Abhayadi Varga. The synonyms mentioned are kundali, chinna, vayastha, amrtavallari, chinnodbhava, chinnaruha, amrta, jvaravinasini, vatsadani, candrahasa, jivanti and cakralaksana. The properties are it is katu, laghu (light), kasaya, usna, and svadupaka (of sweet taste post digestion). It is rasayani (rejuvenative), sangrahini and balya. It is very effective in diseases like kamala (jaundice), kustha, jvara and krmi. The anupanas mentioned specifically for different conditions are exactly the same as mentioned in Dhanvantari Nighaṇṭu.
Kaiyyadeva Nighantu12 (KN) (Pathyapathya Vibodhaka) (15th Cent. A.D.)
In this Nighaṇṭu, Guduci is described under Osadhi Varga. The synonyms mentioned are kundali, soma, chinna, chinnodbhava, amrta, madhuparna, chinnaruha, vayahstha, cakralaksani, candrahasa, amrtalata, dhara, vatsadani, vara, pindamrta, satirupa vicchinna, and kandarohini. The properties mentioned are that it has kasaya tikta katu rasa, svadu paka, laghu, and usna in nature. It is hrdya (pleasant/good for heart), balya, vahnikrt (stimulates digestive fire) and tridosa hara. It is very effective in kustha, krmi, chardi, daha (burning sensation), vatasrk, pandu, jvara, kamala, meha, trsna, and kasa (cough). Apart from this it is vayasah sthapanam (maintains youth) and medhyajananam (imparts intellect).
Bhavaprakasa Nighantu13 (BP) (16th Cent. A.D.)
This Nighaṇṭu is one of the most referred and studied book in the modern period. The text stands aloof that it has added a lot of new drugs significant to the modern era. Guduci is mentioned in Guducyadi varga and the synonyms mentioned in this Nighaṇṭu are madhuparni, amrta, amrtavallari, chinna, chinnaruha, chinnodbhava, vatsadani, jivanti, tantrika, soma, somavalli, kundali, cakralaksanika, dhira, visalya, rasayani, candrahasa, vayastha, mandali, devanirmita. Guduci is katu (hot) tikta kasaya rasa, svadu paka, usna and laghu in nature. It is balya, rasayani and sangrahini in action. The plant is highly effective in trd, daha, meha, kasa, pandu, kamala, kustha, vatasrk, jvara, krmi, vami, prameha (diabetes), svasa (dysponea), kasa, arsah (piles), krcchra (dysuria) and hrdroga (cardiac complaints). It pacifies the three dosa’s and also ama (undigested food residue). Guduci has been explained under Saka varga.
Raja Nighantu (Abhidhana Cudamani)14 (RN) (17th Cent. A.D.)
The author of this book is Narhari Pandit and is considered to be an important work as he tried to raise Dravya Guna Vijnana as an Astanga of Ayurveda. New concepts and ideas were incorporated for the first time in Raja Nighaṇṭu. Guduci is included in Guducyadi Varga and the synonyms mentioned are amrtavalli, amrta, jvararih, syama, vara, surakrta, madhuparnika, chinnodbhava, amrtalata, rasayani, chinna, somalatika, amrtasambhava, vatsadani, chinnaruha, visalya, bhisakpriya, kundalini, vayastha, jivantika, nagakumarika, syacchadmika, and candrahasa . It is tikta kasaya rasa, guru and usna in nature. It is very effective in diseases like jvara, daha, arti (pain), trsna, vami, raktavata (Inflammatory Diseases), prameha, pandu, and bhrama (giddiness). Another variety of Guduci and its specific properties are also mentioned.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Though contemporary medicine is definitely in high demand, the world wide usage of herbal drugs are very large.8 Prescribing the right drug for the specific disease is the key to successful practice of a Clinician. In Ayurveda, herbs form a great proportion of the medicinal combinations mentioned in the Classical Ayurvedic Texts. And the key to the drugs mentioned in the Samhitas lies in the Nighaṇṭus. Here the comparison done between the five prominent Nighaṇṭus belonging to different time periods, helps us in understanding the variation in the thought process and also the applications. Seven Synonyms like chinna, chinnaruha, chinnodbhava, candrahasa, kundali, vatsadani and vayastha are common in all the Nighaṇṭus. Synonyms like amrta, jivanti, madhuparṇi, and amṛtavalli, are mentioned in all but one Nighaṇṭu. Amṛtakanda, chinnangi, guducika, kandodbhava kanda, kanya, mrttika and saumya are mentioned only in DN. Synonyms mentioned in MP are common in other Nighaṇṭus. Synonyms like satirupa, and vicchinna are specifically mentioned only in KN. BP mentions synonyms common to other Nighaṇṭus. Syama and sukrarta are names peculiar to RN (Ref Table 1). The names were allotted to the Plants primarily based on the (Mo) Morphology of the plant owing to the lack of scientific parameters available today for identifying the plant. The synonyms helped in chalking out the morphology to some extent. For example- the name cakralaksanika means when the stem is cut, it appears like the spikes of a wheel. Name like saumya (Property p) indicated the mild attribute of the plant and jvaranāśini (Action A) denotes the effect of the plant in mitigating fever. Mi-refers to miscellaneous that can be attributed to other factors. For ex. vatsadani indicates that the calf is very fond of this plant. However, the nomenclature itself is very vast and in-depth literature research is required to decipher the reason for each name attributed to the plant (Ref Picture 1).
The Varga (group) is Guducyadi as per DN, BP and RN whereas MP mentions Abhayadi and KN mentions it under Osadhi. In the case of Rasa- only DN and RN have proposed the same but the other three have different opinions within Katu (spicy), Tikta (bitter) and Kasaya (astringent). DN and RN opine it has guru guṇa (heavy), in contrary to MP, KN and BP mentioning it as laghu (light). Unanimously the vīrya (potency) is accepted as usna (hot). While DN and RN do not mention the vipaka (taste post digestion), the other Nighaṇṭus have unanimously accepted it to be Madhura vipaka (sweet taste post digestion). Though MP and RN are silent about the Doṣa Haratva (mitigation of doṣās), the other three have accepted it to be tridoṣahara (mitigates all three doṣās). Rogaharatva (mitigation of diseases) is attributed to a wide spectrum of diseases. Anupana (adjuvant) specific to vitiated doṣas and properties of specific plant parts is the peculiarity of DN and MN. RN describes about a variety of Guduci and its properties. (Ref Table 2 and Picture 2).
Guduci is popularly known as Amrta, as the name suggests it is like Ambrosia as it has multi- level targets. Here an attempt is made to analyze the variation across the Nighaṇṭus of the same plant in all aspects – Varga (Grouping), Nama (Naming), Guna (properties) and Karma (action). This helps in understanding the multitude of application of the drug and its use in the most appropriate manner, as the physician would desire. Studying a plant includes Literary review in the initial stage that lays a strong foundation for Sub Clinical and Clinical Research. In Modern Pharmacology, a plant is completely studied and mapped for its constituents, but in Ayurveda, the properties vary depending on several factors like other drugs added, dosage form, time of administration etc. Hence the reference from all texts books- both classical and lexicons have to be done for better understanding of their applications, so it can be used appropriately. This also gives scope for future studies into unexplored therapeutic applications of the plant Guduci. The knowledge from Traditional system of medicine Ayurveda can be used by modern Phytopharmaceutical Research for a Novel Drug discovery.15