Stone Flower (Patthar Phool): Health benefits, Uses and Side effects
Stone Flower, also known as Chharila or Patthar Phool, is a small plant that grows between rocks, tree trunks and soil. The outer skin of the plant is greenish black and white color from the inside. Thallus is up to 15 cm in diameter; loosely bound to the substratum. It is round, grayish white and smooth on top. Lower surface is dark brown and hairy.
Stone flower belongs to the botanical family Parmeliaceae and is basically lichen (a symbiotic community of algae and fungi). It is used as a spice to enhance the taste and aroma of food. Its scientific name is Parmelia perlata.
Other names of Stone flower are
“Dagad phool” in Marathi, “Chhadila” in Urdu, “Silapuspa or Sitasiva” in Sanskrit, “Chhadilo” in Gujarati, “Kalpasi” in Tamil, “Rathi Puvvu” in Telugu and “Shailaja” in Bengali.
Importance of Stone Flower in Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, Stone flower is highly rich in medicinal properties like Kashaya (Astringent), Tikta (Bitter), Laghu (digestive), Snigdha (Slimy in nature), Shita (Cold) and Kapha-Pitta balancing properties which are useful in treating skin diseases, cough, asthma and burning micturition along with curing many other medical conditions.
Benefits of Stone Flower
- Treats Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)-Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infectious disease in any part of the urinary system. It can be in the bladder, kidneys, or urethra. A UTI can cause severe pelvic pain, painful urination or even blood in the urine. Stone flower provides relief in UTI due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
- Helpful in Asthma-Stone flower is considered a good remedy for asthma ,due to its Vata-Kapha balancing properties.
- Treats Urolithiasis-Urolithiasis is a condition in which stones (hard/rocky) form in the urinary bladder or urinary tract. Stone flower has capacity of breaking down the stones in smaller particles which leads to their outflow from the body along with urine
- Beneficial in diabetes-Stone flower can be useful in the treatment of diabetes because it lowers blood sugar levels due to the presence of certain constituents (flavonoids, phenols) with antioxidant effects.
- Cures skin diseases-Stone flower can be useful in fighting skin irritation and rashes because it is anti-inflammatory in nature. It also fights skin infections due to its antibacterial properties.
- Manages cholesterol levels-Due to the presence of high phenolic content that possess antioxidant properties, Stone flower is useful for lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) and increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) levels.
Uses of Stone Flower-
- The paste of stone flower is applied to the forehead to get relief from headache and areas affected by skin conditions such as itching with watery secretions, skin pigmentation, etc.
- Stone flower is grounded and a paste is applied to the wound as part of the treatment.
- Cold infusion of stone flower is given in a dose of 40-50 ml to treat diarrhea, thirst and anorexia.
- Dried powder of stone flower mixed with honey and given to treat cough and asthma.
- Decoction of stone flower is given in a dose of 50-60 ml mixed with cumin powder and sugar candy to treat kidney stones and burning micturition.
- Cold infusion of this herb is given in a dose of 40-50 ml to treat fever and to strengthen the heart muscles.
Side effects of Stone Flower
There are no serious side effects from consuming stone flower in moderate doses, either as a spice in food or in the form of Ayurvedic herbal powder, paste, and decoction. However, it is recommended to avoid the consumption of stone flower in following cases-
- For people who already have a cold, consuming cold infusion of stone flowers can make it worse.
- It is also advisable to consult a doctor before taking stone flowers if the person is already on some kind of regular medication.
Where is it found?
Stone Flower is found on dead wood or rocks in the temperate Northern and Southern Himalayas.