Jivak: Importance, Benefits & Side effects
Jivak, scientifically known as Malaxis acuminata, is a small to medium size of about 4-12 inches long orchid. It grows in colonies and thrives in hot to warm climates having thin & short stems. The plant blooms in summer with pale-yellowish green or tinged with purple flowers. The pseudo bulbs of this plant are majorly used for many therapeutic purposes & it is one of the major ingredients of Chyawanprash. Apart from this, it is also known to be an important part of various herbal & ayurvedic formulations such as Astavarga churna, chyavanprash Rasayan, Ghrita, Taila, Gutika, Agada etc.
Jivak is known by different names in different languages in India. In Hindi, it is known as "Jeevak," while in Malayalam and Tamil it is called "Jivakam," and "Jivakamu" in Telugu.
Importance of Jivak
In Ayurveda, Jivak is known to be a great vata and pitta balancer, which helps in relieving so many medical conditions. It also possesses Sita and Rasayana property (rejuvenating), which is beneficial for maintaining overall health.
Jivak contains alkaloid, glycoside, flavonoids and β-sitosterol. Also contains
piperitone, O-Methyl Batatasin, 1, 8-cineole, citronellal, eugenol, glucose, rhamnose, coline, limonene, p-cymene and cetyl alcohol. The pseudo bulbs of Jivak are known to have antioxidant, antipyretic, antifungal and antibacterial activity which helps to cure many diseases.
Benefits of Jivak
According to Ayurveda, Diarrhea, known as Atisar in ayurveda occurs due to impurities or toxins in food or water. It also happens due to imbalance of Vata dosha leading to a weak digestive system. This results in poor metabolism which causes diarrhea. Jivak is known to possess pitta balancing properties that help to maintain the digestive fire. Apart from this, the vata balancing property in jivak keeps the digestive system strong and helps to manage diarrhea.
For Bronchitis problem-
Bronchitis is the inflammation in the bronchial tract that causes accumulation of mucus, cough, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort. In Ayurveda terms, bronchitis occurs due to imbalanced Vata and Kapha dosha. Jivak has Rasayana properties that help to manage bronchitis. The Vata balancing properties of Jivak helps prevent Kapha which further helps to manage bronchitis.
For Sexual weakness-
According to Ayurveda sexual problems happen due to an imbalance of Vata dosha, which is basically an imbalance in body energy. Jivak is known to have great Vata balancing qualities and acts as an aphrodisiac. Therefore, it is helpful in sexual weaknesses.
For Insect bite-
Jivak provides a cooling effect due to its Sita property. The sita and Vata balancing properties of Jivak helps to relieve the burning sensation and pain due to an insect bite. It also reduces the poisonous effects of insect bites.
For Joint pain-
Joint pain mainly results due to an imbalance vata dosha. Jivak is known to have vata balancing properties, therefore, it proves to be effective in joint pain.
Uses of Jivak
- The powder prepared from Jivak along with other herbs mixed with honey and crystal sugar is useful in cough and heart diseases.
- Jivaniya ghrita processed with jivak is useful for gout and other diseases associated with imbalanced vata.
- Mahapadma taila processed with jivak and other herbs is useful in curing gout and fever.
- Asthapana vasti processed with jivak and other medicinal herbs is useful in the treatment of anemia and malaria.
- Ghrita processed with Devdar, Kakoli, Jivak combined with other medicinal herbs is useful in curing weakness in children.
- Making a paste of himavana Agada along with the powder of panchavalkala, jivak and other herbs mixed and mixing it with honey for external application helps in reducing the toxicity of snake bite.
Where is it found?
It is found in Cambodia, China and South-East Asia. In India, it is mainly found in temperate and subtropical Himalayas at an altitude of 1200-2100m from Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Madhya Pradesh.