The plant foxnut belongs to the family Nymphaeaceae. It is popularly known as “Makhana” in India. It grows in water and is found in India, Korea, Japan and Russia.
Fox nut plant does not have stem. It has large round leaves and produces bright purple flowers. The whole plant is covered with small thorns (kantaka) .The leaves of fox nut plant have green upper surface and purple shaded lower surface. This plant produces fruits which are about the size of a small orange. Each fruit contains 8-10 seeds which are of pea size.
According to texts of ayurveda foxnut or makhana tastes sweet (madhura rasa) and is heavy to digest (guru). It increases moisture level in body tissues (snigdha and sheeta veerya).
Medicinal Properties of Makhana
The seeds of foxnut are used in ayurvedic preparations. Fox nut alleviates vata and pitta dosha. It strengthens the heart and is very useful in anemia. Makhana increases quality and quantity of semen, prevents premature ejaculation, increases libido and helps in female infertility. It is an important ingredient of herbal preparations used for erectile dysfunction. It strengthens body and increases energy level. Because of its aphrodisiac properties it is grouped under vrishyadi varga. The herbs under this group are used in vajikarana therapy.
The texts of ayurveda describe properties of foxnut or makhanna as follows
“makhannam snigdhavrishyam cha garbhasamsthapakam param |
Vatapitta haram balyam sheetam pittasradaahanut ||”
Makhanna increases stickiness of secretions by increasing moisture level in body. Hence it increases quality and quantity of semen and is useful in impotence. It helps to increase the fertility in women and reduces vata and pitta. It strengthens the body and reduces burning sensation and quenches thirst.
Uses of Fox Nut or Makhana in Alternative Medicine Systems
According to principles of traditional Chinese medicine fox nut or Makhana is used to strengthen spleen and kidneys. It is indicated in conditions like spermatorrhea, premature ejaculation, neuralgia, incontinence, chronic diarrhea etc. According to herbalists it is helpful in preventing early discharge of semen and restores sexual vigor in older men. (Because of this property the fox nut is categorized under Vajikarana dravyas in texts of ayurveda.) Makhana helps in conditions like arthritis, erectile dysfunction and premature aging. This herb has antioxidant properties and helps in digestion, rejuvenates respiratory system and prevents frequent urination.