Latin name: Tephrosia Purpurea
English name: Purple Tephrosia
Habitat: found throughout India, especially
in southern India.
Macroscopic identification: Small
shrub with stems covered with hairs; leaves
alternate, with 11-17 leaflets; leaflets,
narrowly elliptic; flower: pedicel with
hairs; fruit (immature) flattened, slightly
curved, with several seeds.
Parts used: root
Pharmacological action: febrifuge, cholagogue,
diuretic, deobstruent, tonic and laxative.
Actions and uses in ayurveda: diseases
of liver, shoth, charmrog, gandmala, shlipad,
vibandh, shul, gulm, raktvikar, mutrakrich,
kas and shwas
Indications: asthma, hepatic dropsy,
liver and spleen enlargment, carbuncles and
Photochemical: the plant yields gum,
a trace of albumen and coloring material, ash
containing a trace of manganese, brown resin
and chlorophyll and a principle allied to quercetin
or querritrin and glucoside rutin.
Properties and action:
Rasa: tikta, kashaya
Guna: laghu, ruksha tikshana
Karma: kaphavatashamak, vishaghna, anuloman,
pitsarak, krimighan, mutral, kusthaghan, jvaraghn
Therapeutic classification index:
- Blood and haemopoeitic tissue: useful
in bleeding disorders and inflammatory conditions.
- Respiratory system: in chronic cough,
dyspnea and asthma
- Skin: it is anti leprotic in use.
- Liver and spleen: Tephrosia purpurea
locally known as Sarapunkha, forms one of
the most effective ingredients of formulations
available in Indian market for liver ailments.
In the traditional Indian medicine it is famous
for its effectiveness in bilious febrile attacks,
obstruction of liver and spleen apart. Notably
it has shown good results in cirrhosis and
viral hepatitis in clinical trials (human
Protective role of Sarpunkha
Tephrosia purpurea, commonly known as Sarphonka,
is widely used in the traditional Indian system
of medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent and
also used in various liver, spleen and kidney
disorders. The protective role of this plant
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
Extensive data from preclinical studies in
acute and chronic hepatotoxic models have revealed
that mechanism of hepatoprotection by Tephrosia
purpurea mainly involves membrane stabilization
of liver cells as indicated by decrease in levels
of SGOT, SGPT and bilirubin. Wherein it prevents
cellular leakage and loss of functional integrity
of the liver cell membranes caused by various
hepatotoxic agents. Tephrosa purpurea also leads
to increase in hepatic regeneration, which again
contributes to its hepatoprotective efficacy.
Dose: powder 3-6 gms.
Alkali 1-3 gms.
Capsule Sarpunkha contains pure and concentrated
Dosage: one capsule twice a day.
Package 60 capsules
- Prof P.V Sharma, Dravya Guna Vigyana, Vol
II, pg 554-556
- Dr.KM Nadkarni, The Indian Materia Medica,
Vol.I, pg 1198