Black musli (Curculigo orchioides) is a herb that belongs to the family Hypoxidaceae. It is a native of temperate regions such as Chota-Nagapur plateau and Deccan plateau in India.
The medicinal properties of this herb are elucidated in several texts of Ayurveda. It is also a major ingredient of several medicinal preparations in the Unani system of medicine. The ancient inhabitants of China were well aware of the medicinal properties of Black Musli and extensively used it in herbal preparations. The rhizome of this plant is utilized extensively for medicinal purposes.
Ayurveda describes the medicinal properties of black musli as follows:
Mushali madhuraa vrishyaa veeryoshna brimhanee guruhu
Tiktaa rasaayanee hanthi gudajanya anilam tatha
According to Ayurveda, Black Musli is bitter-sweet to taste with a peculiarly sweet after-taste that remains even after digestion. The tuber is heavy to digest and has the property of ‘stickiness’ (snighdha, picchila). Owing to these properties, Black Musli increases kapha and reduces vata and pitta..
The Ayurveda preparations of this herb are used in the treatment of several health conditions. The major uses can be classified as follows:
In Respiratory Problems:
Black Musli is used along with other herbs to treat bronchitis, chronic cough and asthma.
In Digestive Problems:
Black Musli is effective in the treatment of hepatitis. It rejuvenates the liver and normalizes its function. It acts as a good appetite- stimulant and stabilizes digestion. The preparations of this herb are useful in treating piles and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
In Reproductive Problems:
Ayurveda also elaborates upon this herb’s aphrodisiac properties. Black Musli preparations are widely used in treating erectile dysfunction, low libido, low sperm count and low sperm motility. Ayurvedic texts immensely praise its properties of enhancing quality and quantity of semen.
In Urinary problems:
Black Musli acts as diuretic and boosts the resistance of urinary system against infections.
In Skin Problems:
The tuber of Black Musli is ground into paste and applied externally as an effective cure for several skin diseases.
In addition to such specific medicinal uses, Black Musli is also used as a general systemic health enhancer (rasayana). It strengthens the body and boosts immunity levels. Contemporary research has resulted in the discovery of new medicinal properties of Black Musli. The most noteworthy of these are:
- It is effective in prevention of post menopausal osteoporosis.
- It is a very good anti-oxidant.
- Its rhizomes have antibacterial properties.
In the light of the above facts, it is evident that the Black Musli is a herb that must be protected and preserved for medicinal use. But it is also a fact that this precious herb is facing imminent threat of extinction due to over-grazing by livestock and unsustainable rates of exploitation by over-zealous pharmacists. Thus, the need of the hour is comprehensive training and education in sustainable means of farming and preserving this priceless gem of the plant kingdom.
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