Ethnobotanical Leaflets 11: 141-147. 2007.
Lakman-yurvedic Drug of Controversial Origin
Dr. Amrit Pal Singh, PGDMB; BAMS; MD (Alternative Medicine)
Herbal Consultant, Ind-Swift Ltd,
Address for correspondence:
Dr. Amrit Pal Singh,
House No: 2101 Phase-7,
Lakman is an important medicinal plant of yurveda, the ancient system of healing. Lakman is type of kantkri, a medicinal plant widely used in yurveda in the treatment of respiratory diseases. Lakman has been described as white variety of kantkr, making it possible representative of Natural Order Solanaceae. Kantkr is ingredient of damla, the yurvedic anti-inflammatory. The drug is of high interest as it has been mentioned as possible treatment of female infertility. Bhvamira, an ancient yurvedic physician, however mentions kantkr for promoting conception in females.
Lakman in ancient texts
Synonyms: Svet, kudr, candrahsa, ketradutik, garbhad, candrm, candr, candapup and priyankari.
Actions: Pungent, laxative, appetizer, light and hot in potency.
Therapeutics: Cough, asthma, fever, chronic rhinitis, myalgia, worm infestation and heart ailments. It pacifies vta and kapha.
In the text on Bhvprakash Nighantu, compiled by Dr Vishwanath Drivedi, however there is no mention that lakman is useful for treating infertility among women. The author has mentioned same properties for both varieties of kantkri.
Synonyms: Sitkantarik, svet, ketradut, sitsimh, sitksudr, ksudravrtrkin, sit, klinn, katuvrtrk, ksetraj, kapatesvar, nisnehaphal, rm, sitkant, mahuadi, gardabhi, candrik, cndr, candapup, priyankari, nkul, durlabh and rsn.
Actions: Pungent, laxative, appetizer, light and hot in potency. It pacifies vta and kapha.
Therapeutics: Loss of appetite and eye-ailments.
Use in alchemy: Lakman is useful for regulation of prada.
The author has described lakman as variety of brahat.
Synonyms: Kshetradut, sitsnihi, kuvartik, sushvet, kantkr, durlabha and mahusadi.
Actions and therapeutics: Bitter, pacifies Vta and Kapha and cures indigestion and cough.
Medicinal plants of Solanaceae in yurveda:
Several medicinal plants of Natural Order Solanaceae found application in yurvedic formulations. Kantkr (Solanum xanthocarpum Schrad et Wendl., Solanum surattense Burm.f., Solanum virginianum L.), kkmac (Solanum nigrum L.), brahat (Solanum indicum L.) and Solanum trilobatum L. are some important plants.
Kantkri (Solanum xanthocarpum Schrad et Wendl.)
Syn: Solanum surattense Burm.f., Solanum virginianum L.
English name: Yellow-berried-night shade
yurvedic names: Dhvani, duspara, duspradarisin, kantarik, kantkin, kudra, nidigdhik and vyghr.
Distribution: India, Ceylon and Pakistan.
Botany: It is prickly, much-branched herb, usually spreadig or diffuse; young branches are densly covered with minute star-sahped hair, pricles are yeloow, shining about 1.5 cm long. Leaves are upto 10 cm long, their midribs and other leaves with sharp, yellow prickles. Flowers are purple, about 2 cm long, few togehtehr in small brancjes, opposite to leaves. Fruit are 1.5-2.0 cm, round yellow or pale with green veins.
Chemical composition: It contains alkaloids (scopolamine, solanidine and solasonine), ß-sitosterol and steroid saponin (disogenin).
Actions: It acts as antitussive, bronchodilator, bitter, carminative and anodyne.
Therapeutics: Solanum xanthocarpum is primarily used in the treatment of chronic bronchitis and bronchial asthma. Given with honey, tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), datura (Datura metal), and black pepper it can be effective in cases of bronchial asthma. Expressed juice of the berries is used in sore throat. Flowers and fruits are used to resolve burning sensation of the feet. Levees are used to relieve pain locally.
Formulations: Kantkryavleha and vyghriharitak are important medicinal preparations of kantkri.
Pre-clinical studies: Animal investigations have demonstrated anti-nociceptive, antispermatogenic and hypotensive activities of Kantkri. Fruits and shoots have been reported to be antibacterial.
Clinical studies: Clinical efficacy of Solanum xanthocarpum was studied in bronchial asthma in a pilot study. Solanum xanthocarpum demonstrated anti-asthmatic effect in terms of various parameters of pulmonary function. However, the effect was less when compared to standard bronchodilators.
Ipomoea muricata (L.) Jacq. and Cynoglossum lanceolatum Forssk. have been discussed as possible representatives for ancient vedic drug lakman.
Ipomoea muricata (L.) Jacq.
Syn: Calonyction muricatum (L.) G. Don, Ipomoea turbinata Lag., Canvolvulus muricatus L., Ipomoea muricata Jacq., Convolvulus colubrinus Blanco
Common name: Purple
moonflower. The seeds of Ipomoea
muricata are largely imported into
Distribution: Native to Eastern India and Bangladesh.
Botany: Perennial vining climber to 30 feet. It is a rare climber, sporting unusual aerial rootless and white, funnel-shaped blossoms in the second year.
Chemical composition: Work done in
Actions: According to Vedic myth and Hindu practice, the plant is an aphrodisiac and mystically used in tantric lovemaking. Salve rubbed into the forehead [third eye].
Therapeutics: The juice of this plant is employed to
destroy bedbugs, and the seeds are said to be identical in their medicinal
properties with those of the official plant. Ipomoea muricata (L.) Jacq, locally known as '
Pre-clinical studies: Analgesic, antiseptic, antimicrobial and antifungal compounds were also identified.
Cynoglossum lanceolatum Forssk.
Dr Mishra in his work on rare yurvedic drugs has indicated Cynoglossum lanceolatum as possible candidate for lakman.
Common name: Purple
moonflower. The seeds of Ipomoea
muricata are largely imported into
throughout parts of Africa and Asia. It is distributed in
Botany: Annual or biennial herb, the taproot 1-8 mm in diam.; stems erect, to c. 1 m tall, with sparse to moderate, appressed to spreading pubescence. Basal leaves in an evident rosette or smaller plants apparently immediately erect and lacking a basal rosette. Inflorescences terminal, once to several times dichotomously branched cymes, the branches strigillose; flowers on pedicels 1-7 mm long, bisexual; sepals narrowly ovate. Fruits 4.5-5.5 mm broad; nutlets ovoid, 2-3 mm broad.
Chemical composition: Pyrrolizidine alkaloids: cynaustralin (C15H28ClNO4) and cynaustine.
Solanum ferox L.
Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT) has mentioned Solanum ferox as possible candidate for lakman.
Syn: Solanum lasiocarpum Dunal, Solanum zeilanicum Blanco
Common name: Tarambulo
Distribution: Philippines, North east India, Malaya and South China.
Botany: Solanum ferox is a small weed, suberect, prickly, hairy herb 0.5 to 1.5 meters in height the leaves are ovate, 15 to 20 cm long, 12 to 23 cm wide, lobed at the margins, and densely covered with stiff wooly hairs above and woolly hairs and prickly spines on the nerves beneath; the lobes are triangular, and 2.5 to 4 cm deep. The flowers are borne on lateral racemes. Fruit is yellow, rounded, 2.5 to 3.5 cm in diameter, densely covered with needle like hairs, and man-seeded.
Chemical composition: Seeds contain fatty acids.
Proper identification of ancient drug lakman is a debatable topic. The drug has been mentioned as cure for female infertility in ancient texts. Further, it is considered to be type of kantkr. Disogenin has been reported from various Solanum species like Solanum xanthocarpum Schrad et Wendl. and Solanum khasianum C.B.Clarke. Fruits of thsese species are in high demand for production of progesterones of natural origin. These are prized drugs for curing conditions like infertility and habitual abortions (Mmatches with the ancient claim)
Solanum khasianum has white flowers. Ancient texts have not mentoined detailed morphology of lakman, but presence of white flowers and pricels have been mentoined. Work on Solanum khasianum as possible representative of lakman is warranted.
In our view; morphology of Ipomoea muricata (L.) Jacq. and Cynoglossum lanceolatum Forssk. does not resemble with that of lakman described in ancient texts. Ipomoea muricata is a climber and Cynoglossum lanceolatum is an herb without spines.
Chhote, L., Chunekar, K.C. (1985) - Study of lakman in Samhitas, Sachitra Ayurved 37, 10, 601-605.
Garg, S.K., Gupta, D.R. (2006). Chemical Examination of the Seed Fat of Solanum ferox L. Fette, Seifen, Anstrichimittel. 68(6):449-450.
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Heble, M. R., Narayanaswami,S. (1968). Diosgenin and ß-Sitosterol: Isolation from Solanum xanthocarpum Tissue Cultures. Science 161(3846): 1145
Karnick, C.R. (1976b) - On the correct identity of the plants termed as “lakman "; a comparative, botanical, chemical, pharmacological, and Ayurvedic confirmation, National Medical Gazette 15, 1-9.
Mafel, C. (1999). Ysrael.
Sharma, N., Sharma, A.K., Zafar, R. (1990). Indole alkaloids in the callus culture of Ipomoea muricata Linn. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 52(2): 111-2.
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Singh, A.P. (2007). Bhavapraksha Nighantu. Gupta, A. Chaukhambha
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Verma, R (1975) - Lakman. Dhanvantri 49.2/3, 320-323.
Yadev, C.L., Chunekar, K.C. (1984) - The Wonder yurvedic lakman for progeny. A historical appraisal. IJHS 19, 3,272-278.
Ysrael, M.C., Waterman, P., Nonato, M.G. (1997)- Identification of phenylpropanoids,
and a phenylethanol diglucoside
from Ipomoea muricata
Jacq. Convolvulaceae. Acta-Manilana (