Pittapapada: Benefits, Uses and Side effects
Pittapapada (Fumariaindica) is a common weed found throughout India in the plains and is an annual herb. It is used in ancient and traditional medicine. The word Pittapapada comes from Sanskrit and its English name is Fumitory. The English word is so named because of the flower appearance i.e. smoky appearance. Its scientific name is Fumaria Indica.
It is known by various names such as fumaria parviflora, Varatika, Sukshma Patra, Shahtaraj, Vanshulpha, Parpatu, Chaturasigide, Bansulpha, Pitpapado, Dhamgajra, Pittapapara, Kallu Sabbasige, Shatara, Parpat
Importance of Pittapapada in Ayurveda
Pittapapada helps treat discomfort caused by itching, pain or swelling as it has Pitta balancing, Grahi (absorbent) and Sita (cold) properties. It helps reduce the symptoms of insect bites and also provides a cooling effect on the affected area.
Pittapapada has reproductive, antiparasitic, anticholinesterase, laxative, sedative, dermatological, analgesic, hepatoprotective, gastric, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties. These are beneficial in treating jaundice, leprosy, convulsions, diarrhea, fever, syphilis, and skin infections. It has been useful in the treatment of liver obstruction and skin diseases.
Benefits of Pittapapada
Effective in diarrhea-
Diarrhea is caused by improper diet, stress and intake of contaminated water which affects the digestive fire. This disturbs the Vata. Pittapapada has Grahi (absorbent) properties that help absorb the fluid produced. Pittapapada tends to reduce the frequency of loose bowel movements and absorb excess water loss.
Pittapapada enhances the taste of food, which helps in increasing and enhancing Agni and helps in the treatment of indigestion (agnimandya).
Pittapapada is useful for vomiting due to the balancing properties of pitta and kapha. This helps prevent indigestion and reduces the frequency of backflow of toxins (Ama), thereby controlling vomiting.
Useful in insect bite-
Pittapapada has sita (cold) properties, so it helps soothe the insect bitten area, reducing swelling, pain and itching.
Pittapapada helps control asthma symptoms due to its kapha balancing properties. This helps to avoid imbalances in the doshas, thereby preventing blockages leading to easy breathing.
Helpful in constipation-
Pittapapada can help in constipation due to its laxative properties. It stimulates the digestive tract and improves bowel movements.
Pittapapada helps treat loss of appetite due to the balancing properties of pitta-kapha. It helps prevent the formation of toxins (ama) and enhances the taste which further increases appetite.
Uses of Pittapapada
The use of Pittapapada is mentioned in Sushruta and Charaka. It is mentioned that it is used in blood diseases and fever and is also used to treat diseases such as urinary tract ailments and cough in Sushruta.
Precautions and Side effects for using Pittapapada
There are no scientifically proven side effects of this herb. It is advisable to consult a doctor and a gynaecologist about its use during pregnancy. It also has no side effects in children because it is one of the ingredients of a medicine called Aravindasavam. This is a drug used to strengthen a child's body, gain weight and improve digestion.
It is recommended to avoid using Pittapapada while breastfeeding or during pregnancy or consult a doctor before consuming.
It is recommended for diabetics to avoid consuming Pittapapada or consult a doctor before taking it.
Patients with heart disease are recommended to avoid using Pittapapada or consult a doctor before doing so.
Prolonged exposure to Pittapapada at low doses can cause some liver tissue damage. Therefore, patients with liver disease are advised to avoid Pittapapada or consult a doctor before using it.
Where is it found?
It is a small, branching plant that grows annually in the lower plains and hills and is found in the Himalayas, but only at an altitude of 2400 m. There are whitish flowers about 6-6 mm long. This plant has up to about 20 to 60 flowers on every spike.