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Unveiling the Mystique of Rudraksha: Significance and Benefits

Abstract

The rudraksha plant is regarded as the most well-known plant with spiritual and therapeutic uses. It is referred to as the "King of Herbal Medicines'' and is employed in all Indigenous medical systems, including Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani medicine, as both a curative and preventive form. According to Hindu mythology, the plant is thought to have grown from Lord Shiva's tears. Because of its qualities and abilities, Rudraksha beads have drawn the interest of sages, scientists, and medical professionals as well as common people since ancient times. The herb has historically been used to treat conditions like high blood pressure, neurological illnesses, asthma, diabetes, and other disorders of the reproductive system. Due to the plant's electromagnetic qualities, it specifically affects heart and circulatory-related illnesses. In Hindu culture, it has considerable ornamental importance and is worn as bracelets and necklaces. The Rudraksha plant has historically been used to treat conditions including stress, anxiety, palpitations, depression, nerve pain, migraines, sleeplessness, acne, ringworm, epilepsy, asthma, poor concentration, arthritis, hypertension, and liver problems. Analgesic, antidepressant, antidiabetic, anticonvulsant, cardio-stimulator, hydrochloric, anti-aging, antiseptic, antihypertensive, hypnotic, antiepileptic, tranquilizing, anti-inflammatory, thermogenic, sedative, smooth muscle relaxant, and hydro choleretic are just a few of the pharmacological effects of the rudraksha plant.

Rudraksha

Introduction

Elaeocarpus ganitrus, also known as Rudraksha in Sanskrit or Rudraki in Hindi, is one of the most significant herbal plants used in indigenous medical systems like Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani. The E. ganitrus plant's ripe fruit is made up of a hard, rocky endocarp known as a bead, nut, or Rudraksha. The Rudraksha is a holy, spiritual, and medical object known as the "King of Herbal Medicines.'' The dried herbal fruit known as rudraksha was first discovered in the Himalayan foothills. It is regarded as the most sacred and spiritual plant in the Indian medical system and has significant medicinal value as a means of both treatment and prevention. E. ganitrus is revered in Hinduism and is mentioned in the Shiv Puran, Devi Bhagwat Puran, Padma Purana, and other ancient Ayurvedic texts. Elaeocarpus is a Greek term that is a mixture of the words Elai and Carpus, where Elai means 'wild olive' and Carpus denotes fruit. As a result, the seeds of wild olive-like trees are known as Elaeocarpus. According to Hindu mythology, Rudraksha is Lord Shiva's favourite tree that grew from Lord Shiva's tears. Rudraksha is a mixture of two words: Rudra, which signifies Lord Shiva, and Aksha, which means eye. This plant's fruits, or beads, are utilized in daily worship for counting prayers and have various mystical abilities. In Hindu culture, it is also used to make necklaces and bracelets. Wearing Rudraksha beads is thought to have a good effect on the heart and nerves, and it is also used to treat psychosomatic ailments in Ayurveda. Various phytochemical elements derived from the Rudraksha plant's leaves, bark, root, and fruit have diverse pharmacological and medicinal activities. It is also thought that the pharmacological and medicinal effects of the Rudraksha plant vary depending on the grooves or mukhis found on it.

Taxological Classification

Taxonomic Rank Taxon
Kingdom Plantae
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Magnoliopsida
Order Oxalidales
Family Elaeocarpaceae
Genus Elaeocarpus
Species E. ganitrus
Common Name Rudraksha

Vernacular Names Of Rudraksh

  • Sanskrit - Chattu Sampangi, Rudraksha
  • Hindi - Bhutnasan
  • English - Utrasum Bead Tree, Wooden
  • Gujarat - Rudraksh
  • Bengali - Rudrakya
  • Kannada - Rudrakshi Mara, Rudraksh
  • Malayalam - Rudraksha, Rudraksam
  • Marathi - Rudraksha
  • Punjabi - Rudraksha
  • Tamil - Rudraksha, Ruttiratcam
  • Telugu - Rudraksha, Rudrakshi
  • Assam - Rudrai, Ludrok, and Udrok
  • Other - Shivaksha, Sarwaksh, Paawan, Nilkanthaksha, Haraksha, and Shivpriye

Rasa Panchaka Of The Herb

  • Rasa/Taste - Madhur (Sweet)
  • Guna/Physical property - Guru (heavy), Snigdha (oily)
  • Virya/Potency - Sheet (cold), Ushna (hot)
  • Vipaka/ Metabolic property - Madhur (Sweet)

Composition Of Rudraksh

Rudraksha beads are made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and trace elements.

  • Carbon content - 50.031%
  • Nitrogen content - 0.95%
  • Hydrogen content - 17.897%
  • Oxygen content - 30.53%

Morphology/botanical Description Of The Plant E. Ganitrus

Rudraksha is a huge, woody, perennial, pyramid-shaped, evergreen tree of the Elaeocarpaceae family with a large spreading crown. This plant can grow to be 50–200 feet tall. The trunk is cylindrical, with greyish-white bark that is rough-grained.

The following is a morphological description of the components of Rudraksha.

  • Leaves: are simple, big, glabrous, oblong lanceolate, acute or acuminate, sub-entire or irregularly crenate, dazzling green on the sun-facing side and dull stringy on the earth-facing side, 5–6 inches long and 2 inches wide.
  • Flower: white or yellow, packed in racemes that mostly grow from the axils of dead leaves, with a pointy, elongate shape, a linear anther, and fringed petals. In the months of April and May, flowering started.
  • Fruits: are tiny, fleshy, acidic, round or oval, violet or blue, with a centrally positioned seed carrying a Rudraksha bead. They bloom in June and ripen around October. It bears fruit after 7 years from the date of seeding. A normal fruit has a diameter of roughly 1.3–2 cm.
  • Endocarp: it is hard, stony, tubercular, globular, reddish-brown, and has 5 longitudinal ridges, sometimes 1 to 4, with a diameter of 14–17 mm.

Geographical Distribution

The E. ganitrus plant is indigenous to Indonesia. The Rudraksha tree is mostly found in humid evergreen forests with three-tiered forest structures, which can be found from the Gangetic plain to the foothills of the great Himalayas.

Elaeocarpus ganitrus is primarily found in the tropics and subtropics at elevations of 2,000 metres above sea level. Elaeocarpus ganitrus is found in Madagascar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Bengal, India, Malaysia, Southern China, and the islands of Borneo, New Guinea, Java, Sumatra, and Bali, as well as Iran, Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Hawaii.

The Rudraksha plant is mostly found in the southwestern borders of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, and the states of Assam, Bihar, Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Sikkim in India. 70% of Rudraksha trees are located in Indonesia, 25% in Nepal, and 5% in India. The Rudraksha plant is on the RDB (Red Data Book) list and is considered an endangered species in India's northeastern region.

Chemical Composition Of The Plant

Glycosides, alkaloids, and flavonoids are just a few of the phytochemical components that have been found in the exocarp of E. ganitrus, as well as proteins and carbohydrates. Due to their strong glucosidase activity, the indolizidine alkaloids present in the E. ganitrus plant have drawn a lot of attention since they are used to treat cancer, diabetes, and HIV. Additionally, the Rudraksha plant contains cucurbitacins, which are cytotoxic steroids. The ethanolic extract of the plant's leaves contains gallic acid, quercetin, and ellagic acid. The Rudraksha plant contains trace amounts of the aromatic alkaloids elaeocarpine and isoelaeocarpine. According to reports, elaeocarpidine, isoelaeocarpidine, epi-eaeocarpidine, epiialloelaeocarpidine, alloelaeocarpidine, and pseudoepiisoelaeocarpidine are additional chemical components. Rudrakine C16H23NO3, a nonaromatic indolizidine alkaloid with biological significance, was produced by the Rudraksha plant's leaf part.

Traditional View Of The Plant

It is said that the Rudraksha plant is the "King of Herbal Medicines." Beads, leaves, and bark from the Rudraksha plant are used to treat a variety of illnesses, including measles, sores, boils, ringworm, pimples, and daha shaman (burning sensation), in addition to jwara (fever), apasmaar (epilepsy), and mati shudhikaran (cure mental conditions). It helps to lower body temperature and promote mental calm. The Rudraksha plant's seeds are used in magnetic and acupuncture therapies and have positive effects on circulatory and neurological conditions. Fever in children can be treated with the three-sided Rudraksha bead. According to Ayurveda, the seeds and fruits of the Rudraksha plant contain electromagnetic and inductive properties that regulate and control the flow of bioelectric current in the body and are used to cure psychosomatic disorders, fever, and headaches. A Rudraksha is kind, which has different attributes, is determined by the number of grooves, or mukhis, that are present on it. For instance, the five-faced Rudraksha possesses an antihypertensive property that helps to regulate blood pressure. The ten-faced bead decoction relieves coughing when taken with milk. People with mental diseases and memory problems can benefit from manas roga by boiling a four-faced Rudraksha bead in milk.

Formulations Of Rudraksha

The different formulation of the E. ganitrus plant include

  • Gorochanadi Vati
  • Mrita Sanjivani gutika
  • Suvarnamuktadi gutika
  • Dhanvantara gutika
  • Rudraksha churna
  • Rudraksha hima (cold infusion)
  • Rudraksha Milk
  • Rudraksha decoction (gargling)
  • Rudraksha Lehyam
  • Rudraksha Vibhuti
  • Rudraksha oil
  • Rudraksha eye drops
  • Rudraksha paste
  • Rudraksha bhasma

Rudraksha Actions And Properties

The following are Ayurvedic uses for the Rudraksha plant

"रुद्रक्षाय फ्लास्थि स्यान्मधुराम सीतलमलघु मोनोविकारसमनाम रक्ताभरपहम सरम
दहेजिाराप्रस्माणाम सस्यतेिातपैविके अपस्मार तिोन्मादी रक्तभारे ढीके तरसी मसूररकायम विसोफोटे सिसे यकृ द्गादेसुका"

  • Rakshoghna - It is a disinfectant for a variety of microbiological infections.
  • Medhya - It improves a person's memory and intellectual power.
  • Hridyam - It is used as a cardiotonic to treat cardiac problems.
  • Vataghna - It balances the Vata component and aids in the treatment of chest discomfort and early rheumatic pain symptoms.
  • Kapha Naashak - Because it balances the Kapha dosha, it is used to treat the early stages of asthma as well as allergies, obesity, edema, and rhinitis.
  • Ruchyam - It is used to treat stomach problems such as indigestion, gas, and tastelessness. Rudraksha decoction is beneficial for heaviness, tongue cracks, and other ailments.
  • Bhutagrah Vinashanam - It is utilized to treat mental illnesses, the negative impacts of malevolent spirits, and planetary afflictions.
  • Vedanasthapan It is a pain reliever.
  • Pachan Sansthan It regulates peristaltic movement and aids in the treatment of liver problems.
  • Raksha Sansthan It is an anti-hypertensive agent used to treat hypertension.
  • Shwasan Sanstha It is a bronchodilator that is used to treat coughs and other breathing issues, such as asthma.
  • Taapkaram It has antipyretic properties. The paste of Rudraksha and Chandan plants is excellent for treating measles, pimples, chickenpox, and other skin problems.
  • Manovikar It is used to treat mental illnesses, promote mental serenity, cure psychosomatic diseases, and improve memory.
  • Aakshepak It is a medication used to treat epilepsy.
  • Aaptantrak It is a hysterical treatment.
  • Anidra This remedy is used to treat insomnia.
  • Yakrit Vikara It improves liver function by improving metabolism. It is used to treat jaundice, according to Kamla.
  • Rakta-chaap It is beneficial in the treatment of high blood pressure.

Spiritual View On Rudraksh

Hinduism regards E. ganitrus, also referred to as Rudraksha, as the most cherished and spiritual plant. It is Lord Shiva's favourite tree, according to Hindu mythology, because it was created from the tears of Lord Shiva's three eyes, which stand for the sun, moon, and fire.

The literature claims that the Tarai region of the Himalayas is the place where this plant first appeared. In Hindu mythology, the rudraksha is a representation of the link between earth and heaven.

The evolution of the entire cosmos is encoded inside it. People have believed for ages that wearing a Rudraksha bead gives them the mental and physical fortitude they need to reach spiritual enlightenment.

According to ancient texts, there are around 38 varieties of Rudraksha, with one mukhi and fifteen to twenty mukhi Rudraksha being uncommon and expensive. Rudraksha beads are sanctified before being worn by chanting a specific Beej mantra and executing specific rituals and rites. The Rudraksha plant has traditionally been used to treat stress, anxiety, loss of focus, depression, and palpitations.

  • A five mukhi rudraksha is used to treat anxiety and stress issues, and it works best when held tightly in the right hand for 10 minutes. It will aid in the restoration of their confidence and the stabilization of their bodies.
  • The garbh gauri rudraksha bead is thought to have beneficial effects on women who have had difficulty having a child or who have had a miscarriage. It can also aid ladies who are experiencing hysteria or coma.
  • When taken three times a day with milk, the paste of ten-faced rudraksha beads aids in the treatment of chronic cough. It can also be used to treat ringworms, pimples, boils, blisters, and other skin conditions.
  • Wearing a three-faced rudraksha bead can benefit youngsters who have regular fevers. When consumed with water, the powdered form of Rudraksha bead combined with the same amount of black peppercorns aids in the treatment of smallpox sickness.
  • When the four-faced rudraksha bead is boiled with milk, it helps to cure mental illnesses and improve memory. The herb contains anti-aging benefits as well.
  • The fruits of the Rudraksha plant have shown remarkable effectiveness against malaria, fever control, and as an antipyretic drug.
  • Fruit flesh is beneficial in the treatment of epilepsy.
  • The leaves and bark of the E. ganitrus plant are useful in the treatment of rheumatism and blood vomiting.
  • Aside from that, Rudraksha beads are used in astrology.

Purity Tests For Rudraksha

Currently, the Rudraksha plant is thought to be the most valuable and significant herbal plant. The demand for the Rudraksha plant and its derivatives is rising as the population expands. Rudraksha plant products are now increasingly being manufactured artificially to suit consumer demand and grow the economy. In the modern world, rarely-faceted Rudraksha beads like Ekk mukhi (one-faced) beads are purposefully produced to satisfy consumer demand and increase profits. Therefore, it is crucial to check the purity and quality of genuine beads. The copper coin test, for instance, involves placing the bead between two copper coins and watching to see if it rotates slightly to indicate that it is real or not. The original can be tested due to the presence of electromagnetic properties such as resistance, capacitance, inductance, and magnetic forces. The water test can also be used to check the beads like Trijuti and Gauri-Shankara by boiling them in water, which causes discoloration in an artificial one. Furthermore, a genuine bead sinks in water, whereas an imitation bead made of wood loaded with lead might sink and give false illusions.

Therapeutic And Pharmacological Uses Of Rudraksha

1. Analgesic And Anti-inflammatory

A petroleum ether, chloroform, methanol, and aqueous extract extracted from the leaves of the E. ganitrus plant was studied. Carrageenan-induced paw edema was used in rats, and tail flicks were used in mice. The methanol and aqueous extracts of the leaves of the E. ganitrus plant, when given in all doses significantly inhibited edema at the third hour of therapy. The largest number of inhibitions of edema at the third hour of treatment was recorded for both extracts. The methanol and aqueous extracts of E. ganitrus leaves possess substantial analgesic action which increased the significant response in the tail-flick test. Both methanolic and aqueous extracts of the E. ganitrus plant were found to have a strong inhibitory effect, resulting in the inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. The chloroform extract of E. ganitrus fruit inhibited 5-HT-induced inflammation, whereas the ethanol extract inhibited histamine.

2. Antioxidant

The antioxidant, reducing power, metal chelating, and hydroxyl radical scavenging activities of an ethanolic extract of the Rudraksha plant's leaves were investigated. It was discovered that the phenolic and flavonoids compounds present in the leaves have strong antioxidant action. Furthermore, the ethanolic extract had only modest hydroxyl radical scavenging activity, whereas the extract at 500 g/ml demonstrated maximum iron chelating activity. Furthermore, a positive relationship between total phenolic content and antioxidant activity was discovered.

3. Anti-hypertensive

The aqueous extract of the E. ganitrus plant's seed powder was tested for its ability to raise blood pressure in the renal artery of hypertensive, obstructed rats. Six weeks of pretreatment with an aqueous extract of E. ganitrus were given to male, the arterial blood pressure significantly decreased. The renin-angiotensin system is responsible for antihypertensive activity.

4. Antimicrobial

The antibacterial activity of the aqueous extract obtained from the leaves of the E. ganitrus plant was tested in vitro on bacteria and fungi. The growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumonia, Penicillium sp, Aspergillus flavus, Candida albicans, and C. tropicalis was discovered to be inhibited by the aqueous extract. To the greatest extent possible, the extract inhibited B. cereus. It was determined that chemicals with antibacterial properties may be made from the leaves of E. ganitrus.

5. Antianxiety

Using an elevated plus maze model, the petroleum ether, chloroform, ethanol, and aqueous extracts of Centaurea behen and E. ganitrus were prepared and tested for anti-anxiety efficacy in mice. The outcomes were associated with the widely used medication diazepam. In the raised plus maze model, the results showed that the ethanol extracts of C. behen, chloroform, and the E. ganitrus plant increased the time spent and the proportion of open arm entries, indicating that they have antianxiety activity.

6. Antidiabetic

Rats were used to test the E. ganitrus plant's anti-diabetic potential in a dose-dependent way. The extract helped rats with streptozotocin-induced hyperglycemia, but it was unable to get their blood sugar levels back to normal. Swiss albino mice exposed to the extract showed acute oral toxicity. In a different study, it was discovered that the E. ganitrus plant's leaves, fruits, and twigs have alloxan-induced anti-diabetic effects.

7. Antifungal

Aspergillus niger was somewhat inhibited by the chloroform and ethanol extracts of the E. ganitrus plant, however, Candida albicans was significantly resistant to these extracts' antifungal effects.

8. Antibacterial

The antibacterial properties of the petroleum ether, benzene, chloroform, acetone, and ethanol extracts extracted from the fruits of the E. ganitrus plant were examined. Aeromonas hydrophila, Shigella sp, Pseudomonas, Salmonella typhi, Enterococcus faecalis, Bacillus subtilis, Vibrio cholerae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Enterococcus faecalis all exhibited susceptibility to these extracts.

9. Antidepressant

The water portion of the 90% ethanol extract isolated from the fruits of E. ganitrus exhibited antidepressant activity, which was demonstrated by typical behavioural action, potentiating of morphine analgesia, anticonvulsant and anti-amphetamine effects, and hexobarbitone hypnosis. The extract also functions as a smooth muscle relaxant, depressant, stimulant of the heart, and hydro choleretic agent. The Indigenous medicinal system uses the plant's fruit extract because of this activity to treat epilepsy, hypertension, asthma, mental illnesses, and liver problems.

10. Antiasthmatic

In order to support the effectiveness of E. ganitrus against bronchial asthma, it was determined that the petroleum ether, benzene, chloroform, acetone, and ethanol extract extracted from the E. sphaericus fruits had mast-cell stabilizing activity.

Conclusion

The Rudraksha plant, which has significant spiritual, astrological, and therapeutic significance, is regarded as the most significant herbal plant. According to Hindu mythology, those who wear Rudraksha beads acquire mental and physical abilities. The Rudraksha plant has historically been used to treat conditions like anxiety, stress, depression, palpitations, asthma, hypertension, epilepsy, nerve pain, arthritis, migraines, and liver issues. The Rudraksha plant is used in Ayurveda to treat a variety of conditions, including high blood pressure, neurological diseases, diabetes, asthma, reproductive issues, burning disorder (daha shaman), jwara (fever), prameha (diabetes), and uch rakt chaap (hypertension). It also has anti-aging qualities. From the studies, it is evident that the Rudraksha plant contains numerous extracts or phytochemical components that have significant pharmacological significance and possess anticancer, antidiabetic, antidepressant, anti-asthmatic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, hypertensive, antifungal, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. The electromagnetic characteristic of the Rudraksha plant, which has just been discovered, is also very advantageous to the human body because it aids in the treatment of numerous disorders. Aside from people, the Rudraksha plant has been attracting the curiosity of scientists, doctors, and sages who are drawn to it due to its strength and qualities.

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Author Bio:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor - Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

MD (ALT. MEDICINE)

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Reviewed By:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan

MD (AYURVEDA)

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