Indian mallow, commonly known as Atibala, is a straight and many-branched herb that grows about 1–2 m tall and is 0.3-0.9 cm in diameter. This herb can grow on roadsides, lakesides, beaches, dunes, and even in waste ground in warm, humid, and tropical areas. This herb is useful in the traditional medicine system as all parts of the plant are used for curing diseases. It works wonders in general debility, nervous disorders, headache, muscular weakness, heart diseases, and bleeding disorders.
It is known by various names. Some of the most common ones are Country Mallow, Chinese Bellflower, Indian Lantern Plant, Indian Mallow Abutilon, Indian Abutilon, Monkey Bush, Moon Flower, and Twelve O’clock Flower.
Importance of Atibala in Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, Atibala is considered balya which means “Very Powerful”, it increases strength, vigour, and vitality. It is used in the treatment of facial paralysis and joint disorders. Atibala pacifies Vata and Pitta and is used to treat various diseases and conditions.
Atibala has immunomodulatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antihyperlipidemic, diuretic, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, anti-malarial, anti-diarrheal, and wound healing properties. Due to these properties, it is abundantly used in the Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani system of medicine for preparing various medicines.
Uses of Atibala
- Extract of water-soaked dried seeds of Atibala is used as purgative.
- Its leaves are used as a tonic.
- The roots are taken as infusions of fever.
- Its flowers are used for increasing semen production in men.
- Atibala Powder mixed with coconut oil and made into a paste promotes healing of the wound.
- Gargling with Atibala Decoction (Kadha) once or twice a day helps to get rid of the toothache.
Benefits of Atibala
Atibala is useful in reducing the pain in Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs due to aggravated Vata dosha, also known as Sandhivata which causes pain, swelling, and joint mobility. The Vata balancing property of Atibala aids in relieving the symptoms of Osteoarthritis-like pain and swelling in the joints.
Malnutrition occurs due to improper digestion or lack of nutrients in the body. Using Atibala regularly helps to cope up with Malnutrition as this herb provides strength to the body. For this, take one-fourth or half teaspoon of Atibala powder and mix it with honey or lukewarm water. Consume this at least once or twice a day after light meals to manage Malnutrition.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)-
In Urinary Tract Infection, Indian Mallow helps to control the burning sensation because of its cold and diuretic effect. It increases urine flow and reduces the symptoms of the disease like the feeling of burning sensation during urination.
Use in Gout-
The leaf extract of Atibala is known to reduce both acute and chronic inflammation. According to researchers, the samples collected from the Melghat region in Maharashtra showed that the leaf extracts of atibala could help in human red blood cell stabilization. They concluded that the extracts could certainly assist in the treatment of some inflammatory diseases.
Atibala promotes the healing process of wounds and helps in quick recovery. It reduces swelling and restores the texture of the skin. Atibala powder paste and coconut oil helps in quick healing and reduces inflammation due to their healing and cold properties. Applying a paste made of Atibala powder and coconut oil once a day helps in boosting the wound healing process.
Mouth-related problems are generally a result of an imbalance in the Kapha. Since, Atibala has Kapha balancing properties, gargling with the Kadha made of the leaves of Indian mallow is beneficial for curing toothache as well as other mouth-related problems.
Wrinkles results due to ageing, dry skin, and loss of moisture. In terms of Ayurveda, it is due to aggravation in the Vata. Atibala helps in reducing wrinkles and provides moisture to the skin as it is oily in nature. Atibala, when used with honey provides a natural glow to the skin. For this take half to one teaspoon of Atibala powder and mix some coconut oil to it. Apply the obtained paste to the affected area once a day to control wrinkles.
For Sore Throat and Glands-
Take 10 grams of Indian mallow root and 2 grams of pepper cloves, grind them together and roll them into small pills. Take two pills in the morning and two in the evening followed by pala sugandhi juice. Also, applying Indian mallow root, pepper, and cloves paste on the throat and glands and bandaging helps to cure sore throat and reduces swelling in the glands.
For pain relief-
A study of the plant chemical composition of Indian mallow root found that a petrol extract contained linoleic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, lauric acid, myristic acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid. These fatty acids are commonly associated with providing relief against pain.
Precautions while using Atibala
- As there is insufficient evidence for the effect of Atibala during breastfeeding, it is recommended to consult a physician before consuming Atibala during breastfeeding.
- Patients with diabetes should also consult a doctor before taking Indian Mallow as its effect is not known on diabetic patients.
- A female undergoes several hormonal changes during pregnancy. Consuming Atibala in pregnancy might have an adverse effect while consuming Atibala, therefore consult a physician or gynaecologist before its consumption.
- Patients with heart disease should consult a physician or cardiologist before taking Atibala.
- Patients having allergies to the skin should be vigilant while consuming Atibala.