Botanical Name : Calotropis procera (Ait.) R.Br.
Family : Asclepiadaceae
Introduction : Etymologically Arka term means to be worshiped’. Krsnayjurvediyas believe that Arka is born . “when saint Angirasa’s sweat drops have fallen on a goat while, the great saint was traveling for heavens. The greedy goat touched some leaves which turned to be Arka. In Taittariya Sanihita it is indicated that Arka does possess Usna and Tikshna properties. its latex is cardiac poison.
Names in different Indian languages :
Hindi : Madara
Sanskrit : Arkah
Telugu : Jilledu
Tamil : Erukku
English : Mudar,Gigantic swallow wort
Marathi : Rui/Akamadar
Bengali : Aakanda
Gujarathi : Akado
Kanada : Ekkameli
Malayalam : Erukku
Unani : Aakh, Madaar, Ashar
Synonyms : Surya, Suuryaahvya, Vikirna, Vasuka, Tapana, Tuulaphala, Kshirparna, Arkaparna, Aasphota.
Classification according to Charaka, Susrutha & Vagbhata :
Charaka : Bhedaniya, Vamonopaga, Svedopaga
Susrutha : Arkädi, Adhobhãgahara
Vagbhata : Arkädi.
A branched milky shrub up to 1-2 m height. Young leaves hoary, glabrous when fully grown.
Leaves: 10 -15 cm long, ovate – obovate/ oblong, acute, opposite, subsessile, white wooly
Flower: beautiful lilac, rosy purple tined in umbellate, lateral cymes,
Fruits: fleshy follicles, green
Seeds: it with abundant white coma.
Distribution & Habitat :
All over India in dry and pungent soil, Srilanka, Afghanistan, Iran and Africa.
Chemical constituents :
Benzoyllineolone, benzolisolineolon ,Laurane, saccharose, beta-amyrin, giganteol, calcatin, calotoxin Alpha, beta-amyrin, calatoxin, calotropin, proceroside, pagenin
Rasa–– Katu, Tikta
Guna–– Laghu, ruksha, tikshna
Karma : Vatahara, recana, visaghna, Dipana
Febrifuge, anthelmintic, depurative, expectorant,laxative,
sopha, Vrana, kusta, arsas, krmi, kandu, pliharoga, visa roga, visarpa, udara, gulma, graharoga,cough, ascites, anasarca,asthma, bronchitis, dyspepsia, useful in the treatment of paalysis, arhralgia, swellings, root powder promotes gastric secretion, flowers are digestant, stomachic, tonic, anorexia, inflammation and tumours.
Over dose may cause purgation and vomiiting.
External uses :
As it is analgesic, anti inflammatory, vranashodhan, anti-dermatoses, anti microbial, it is used in elephantitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Conditions in which there is inflammation and pain, and lymphadenopathy etc its latex is applied. In dermatoses and other skin diseases its latex + mustard oil is applied. In leucoderma its latex is applied topically. In alopecia and haemorrhoids its latex is used. In toothache it is used for brushing the teeth. In flatulence its leaves are applied with castor oil and heated and are bound on abdomen. In haemorrhoids, the piles are exposed to its smoke.
Internal uses :
Digestive system : It is on emetic, increases appetite, digestive. cholagogue. purgative. Anthelmintic. It causes irritation of stomach by stimulating vomiting centre in the brain and thus causes emesis. In anorexia, its latex is used.
Circulatory system : Root bark is a cardiac stimulant, purifies blood and is anti-inflammatory. Flowers of red variety is used in haemorrhagic disorders. Root bark is used in cardiac debility. Filarial, ulcers and many other blood diseases.
Respiratory system : Expectorant and anti asthmatic. Therefore root bark and flowers are used in kaphavataj kasa and asthma. Alkaline extract of flowers is useful in many disorders.
Skin : As it is a diphoretic, antidermatosis. therefore it is used in dermatosis. It is a very potent remedy for scabies.
Temperature : Febrifuge and also effective in typhoid. A layer of salt is put on the leaf and is covered with another leaf and then it is kept in a mud pot and is heated. The extract which its obtained is effective in periodical fever.
Satmikaran : It is a bitter tonic and stimulates all the body elements with increase of strength. it is antitoxic. In snake bite, its root sap with black pepper is given as an antidote.
Important Yogas or Formulations :
Arka lavan, Arka oil. Arkeshwar, Arkadi churna. Arkakolakandovati, Praval Panchamrit. Sootika bharan. Mahavatavidhvansa.
Therapeutic Uses :
Pliharoga : Arka leaves and salt are burnt by closed heating. This is given with curd water. (B.P.)
Netra roga : seeds of Arka processed in milk is useful
Arsas – Fumigation with sami
Calcareous or tendinitis in Agnikarma