Gloriosa Superba

Langali, a drug of herbal origin, has been used by the Ayurvedic physicians, for the management of different disease conditions. The botanical source of the plant is Gloriosa superba Linn. of the family liliaceae. It is a climber with very attractive or glorious flowers hence the name as such. The drug langali, has been categorized as one of the nine upavishas (semipoisonous) of Ayurvedic pharmacopoeias.

Nighantus and classical texts of Ayurveda details lanagli under different categories by keeping the drug under various vargas like bhedaniya gana (group of purgatives),  shakavarga (group of vegetables), shleshmasanshamana varga (group of drugs pacifying shleshma), katuka varga (group of pungent drugs), svarnamarana varga (group of drugs useful for incineration of gold) and upavisha varga (group of semi-poisonous plants). Categorization of Langali under upavisha varga (semi poisonous) may be due to its reported abortifacient activity or the extremely poisonous alkaloid colchicines which is one of its major chemical constituent. Colchicine is now a days used for treating gout.

Synonyms attributed to Langali in different Nighantus and their interpretations:

Synonyms Interpretation
Habit Vidyullata A climber resembling to the lightening which may be due to its colourful flower
Flowers Vahnishikha, Agnishikha, Shikha,
Agnijihva, Agnimukhi,
Vahnivaktra, Vahnishikha, Dipta,
Pradipta, Shikhimukhi
The synonyms with prefix vahni / agni explain
the characteristic of the flowers i.e resemblance
with flame.
Vidyullata, Vidyujjihva,
Vidyujjvala, Indrapushpi,
A climber resembling lightening.
Svarnapushpa, Svarnapushpika Having golden yellow coloured flowers.
Pushpasaurabha Flowers having nice smell.
Raktendupushpika Flowers are red in colour.
Pushpasikara Flowers that bind or catch the attention of a
Tubers Langali, Languli, Hali, Halini, Siri The shape of the tubers resembles that of a
langalaka or sira i.e. plough.
Time Prabhata Indicating the blooming of the flowers i.e
during morning.
Time Naktendupushpika*
Latex Kshiri Plant produces latex.
Season Sharadi It grows during rainy season.
Propagation Ananta Never die or remains for long period i.e The
plant regenerate from its tuber every year
during rainy season.
Obstetrics Garbhanut, Garbhapatini,
Expels Garbha (foetus) i.e having abortifacient
effect or induces abortion
Surgical Kalihari, Vishalya, Kalikari Removes shalya/kali (foreign matter / arrow)
from the body.
Surgical Vranaghni, Vranahrut, Vranahari Repair vrana (Wound)
Hair Yukari Kills lice (yuka).
Nature Visha Poisonous in nature
Horticulture Shukuladani Being favoured as a food by fish or may be
used for fish poisoning

Pharmacological properties attributed to Langali in different Nighantus

Rasa: Katu, Tikta, Kashaya
Vipaka: Katu
Virya: Ushna
Guna: Tikshna, ruksha, sara, laghu, sakshara
Doshakarma: Kaphavata shamaka, pittala
Karma: antahshalyahara, garbhashalyahara
Rogaghnata: Kushtha, shopha, arsha, vrana, dushtavrana, shula, krumi, Visha, bastishula, kandu, shosha
Prabhava: Garbhapatana

Shodhana (purification) of the drug:

Brihatrayee does not report the shodhana of Langali except being considered under mulajavisha by Charaka. Other classical texts of Ayurveda, categories it under upavisa varga and advocate certain shodhana (purificatory) procedures for Langali, before its internal administration.

It was mentioned for the first time by Ayurvedaprakasha (17th century AD) which states shodhana in gomutra for whole day.
Other method is mixing of pieces of the drug with saindhava.

In the third method, takra and saindhava are made into solution and pieces of Langali are immersed in it for 3 days or 7 days. The pieces are immersed during night time and dried during day time in sunlight. After completion of 3 and 7 days, the pieces are washed with warm water and dried in sunlight.

Part used: Mula / tuber

Dose: 125-250 mg. of purified drug(30)

Uses of Langali: It is used, both internally as well as externally, in various dosage forms such as svarasa (expressed juice), kvatha (decoction), churna (powder), taila (oil), ghruta (ghee), avaleha (confectionaries), dhupa (smoke), lepa (paste), varti (suppositories), rasa, vati (tablet), kshara, modaka, , loha, rasakriya, nasya and udvartana.

It is also having rasayana property.

It is observed that Langali has been used as an ingredient in 159 formulations. Among them 60 and 99 formulations are used as internal and external applications respectively.

In external application, the formulations are indicated for burn wounds, arsha (piles), bhagandara (fistula), galaganda (goitre), gandamala (lymphadinitis), apachee (scrofula), karnapurana  (pouring liquid in ear), khalitya (hair loss), kitavisphota (insect bite), krumi (worms), kushtha (skin diseases), mukharoga (oral diseases), dantakrumi (dental caries), nadivrana (fistulous ulcers), shiroroga, shvitra (vitiligo), vatavyadhi (diseases of joints), visarpa and vrana (wound).

Where as in internal administration the formulations are indicated for sannipata, arsha (piles), grahani (intestinal disorders), hikka (hiccough), kasa (cough), jwara (fever), kshaya, kushtha (skin diseases), mukharoga (oral diseases), prameha (diabetes), shula (abdominal pain), sarpavisha (snake bite), striroga (gynaecological disorders), vatarakta (gout) and vatavyadhi (diseases of joints).

Formulations of Langali:

Langali as a single drug or part of compound formulation has been recommended for various disease conditions such as aparapatana (removal of placenta after labour), mudhagarbha, vrana -nadivrana-agnidagdhavranakitalutavrana, agnimandya, jvara, grahani, kasa, hikka, shvitra, visarpa, bhagandara, vatavyadhi specially vatarakta, granthi, apachi, arbuda, galaganda, sarpavisha, ajagallika, khalitya-indralupta, rajayakshma, prameha, dantakrumi, nasaroga, karnaroga-krumikarna etc.

Sr. No. Yoga Adhikara Internal/External Reference
1 Abhayadi lepa Vrana E YR
2 Arshakuthara rasa Arsha I YR
3 Bruhan marichadya vishagarbha taila Kushtha E GN
4 Chandraprabha vati Prameha I RRSu
5 Gunjadi lepa Kushtha E YR


More by :  Dr. Swapnali Tulsankar

Top | Ayurveda

Views: 3490      Comments: 3

Comment thanks for provide useful information about langli

patel sangita
20-Mar-2021 01:10 AM

Comment I am suffering through vitiligo.i have used gloriosa superba by soaking overnight in gomuthra and then made a paste and used it but i got swelling and redness.is it dangerous .please reply to my query.

24-Sep-2020 18:13 PM

Comment thanks for useful information about kalihari. The information with the name kalihari is hardly be sorted out on Google . I tried its different name as i read it in a rasayan karm book for its miracle use .

01-Aug-2014 12:46 PM

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