Bhringraj (Eclipta Prostrata)

Evidence-Based Scientific Review on Bhringraj (Eclipta Alba)

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Bhringraj (Eclipta Prostrata or Eclipta Alba) is a famous herb known for its benefits and usage in hair growth and liver disorders. It is also an effective medicine for skin diseases, cough, asthma, eye disorders and diseases related to any part of the head. It improves hair growth, prevents hair fall and treats premature graying of hair. It improves complexion and glow of the skin and prevents several skin diseases. It is more beneficial in chronic skin diseases including pruritus (intense itching), chronic wounds, skin ulcers, atopic dermatitis (eczema) etc. It increases the production of bile from the liver, improves liver functions, reduces constipation and corrects digestion and enhances metabolism.

General Information

Bhringraj is also called False Daisy in English. The accepted botanical name of Bhringraj is Eclipta Prostrata. It is also known with the name of Eclipta Alba, which is a botanical synonym of Eclipta Prostrata.

Botanical NameEclipta Prostrata
Botanical SynonymEclipta Alba, Verbesina Prostrata, Eclipta Erecta,  Eclipta Punctata, Verbesina Alba
Common Name (English)False Daisy
Other NamesEclipta, Yerba De Tago (Yerba De Tajo)
Sanskrit NamesKehraj, Bhringraja, Bhangra
Tamil NameKarisalankanni
Plant FamilyAsteraceae (sunflowers, tournesols)
GenusEclipta L.

Medicinal Parts

The whole plant (Panchang) of Bhringraj is used to prepare ayurvedic and herbal medicines.

Bhringraj Juice (Svarasa) is used in many ayurvedic formulations including Bhringraaj Oil, Neelibhringadi Oil, and Mahabhringraj Oil.

Bhringraj Flowers and Leaves
Bhringraj Flowers and Leaves

Chemical Composition

Bhringraj (Eclipta Alba) is claimed for containing Ecliptine and Nicotine. However, Nicotine was not found in a trial conducted for the detection of Nicotine in Eclipta Alba leaves. Instead, Wedelic Acid and 7-O-Glucoside were found in the same study. (1)

The following chemical constituents are also found in Bhringraj:

  1. Wedelolactone, Luteolin, Apigenin (2)
  2. Triterpenoids – Eclalbatin, alpha-amyrin, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid (3)
  3. Flavonoids – apigenin and luteolin (4)
  4. Wedelolactone (4)
  5. Echinocystic acid glycosides (5)
  6. β-Sitosterol
  7. Daucosterol (6)

Ayurvedic Properties of Bhringraj

RASA (Taste)KATU (Pungent), TIKTA (Bitter)
GUNA (Main Quality)RUKSHA (Dry), LAGHU (Light)
VIRYA (Potency)USHNA (Hot)
VIPAKA (Resultant)KATU (Pungent)
Main ActionsKESYA (promotes hair growth), VARNYA (improves skin complexion), DRISHTI VARDHAK (increases eyesight), Hepatic stimulant
DOSHA KARMA (Effect on Humor)Mainly reduces KAPHA DOSHA and pacifies VATA DOSHA
Organs EffectHair, Skin, Teeth, Eyes, Liver

Medicinal Properties

Bhringraj (Eclipta Prostrata) has following healing properties:

  1. KESYA (promotes hair growth)
  2. VARNYA (improves skin complexion)
  3. DRISHTI VARDHAK (increases eyesight)
  4. Hepatic stimulant
  5. Appetizer
  6. Digestive stimulant
  7. Antiflatulent
  8. Anthelmintic
  9. Carminative
  10. Cholagogue (promotes the discharge of bile)
  11. Detoxifying (Ama Pachak)
  12. Neuroprotective
  13. Mild anodyne
  14. Antihyperlipidemic
  15. Mild Antihypertensive
  16. Anti-ischemic
  17. Hematogenic (helps in formation of red blood cells)
  18. Mild diuretic
  19. Diaphoretic (induces perspiration)
  20. Mild febrifuge (alleviates fever by inducing perspiration)

Therapeutic Indications

Bhringraj (Eclipta Prostrata) is helpful in following health conditions.

  1. Hair fall
  2. Hair thinning
  3. Premature graying of hair
  4. Scalp itching
  5. Pruritus (intense itching)
  6. Chronic Wounds
  7. Non-healing skin ulcers
  8. Atopic dermatitis (especially weeping eczema)
  9. Urticaria
  10. Skin blisters and eruptions with Kapha or Vata dominating symptoms
  11. Cysts and abscesses with secretion discharge
  12. Loss of appetite
  13. Hepatomegaly (Liver enlargement)
  14. Fatty liver disease (hepatic steatosis)
  15. Splenomegaly (spleen enlargement)
  16. Jaundice
  17. Piles
  18. Abdominal pain
  19. Intestinal worms (Bhringraj juice is given along with Castor Oil)
  20. Mild Hypertension
  21. Hyperlipidemia
  22. Productive cough
  23. Asthma
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Bhringraj Flowers and Leaves

Bhringraj Benefits & Medicinal Uses

The important health benefits and medicinal uses of Bhringraja are discussed below:

Liver Health

Bhringraj (Eclipta Alba) has remarkable effects on the liver. It acts as hepatoprotective and stimulates regeneration of hepatic cells. All pharmacological actions of this herb are due to its effects on the liver. It increases bile production, enhances digestion, stimulates breaking down and expulsion of toxins, and improves overall liver health. In liver diseases, it reduces inflammation, exerts antihepatotoxic effects, and improves liver enzymes. The flavonoid content (Wedelolactone) appears to be related to its hepatoprotective action. (7, 8)

It also protects the liver against alcoholic toxicity and its hepatoprotective effects are greater than Milk Thistle. It significantly reduces elevated liver enzymes. It reduces the level of alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). (9, 10)

Liver Fibrosis

Bhringraj also has anti-fibrotic effects, which can help to prevent and treat hepatic fibrosis. It reduces proliferation of hepatic stellate cells. This effect might be due to its triterpenoids (echinocystic acid) content. Therefore, this herb can also help in reduction of liver fibrosis and arresting its progress. (11)

Hepatitis C

The water extract of Bhringraj (Eclipta Alba) appears to be having anti-HCV activity. Its active constituents Wedelolactone and Luteolin exert synergetic effects to inhibit RdRp activity of HCV replicase. (12)

Bhringraj can be included in the treatment of Hepatitis C. It will also help to improve liver functions as well as reduce the progress of the disease. In Ayurveda, it can be used in conjunction with Nagarmotha (Nut Grass) for getting good results. The similar combination is also effective in the management of Hepatitis B.

Jaundice

The inflammation of the liver can impair its ability to conjugate and secrete bilirubin, which can result in jaundice due to an excess of bilirubin in the blood. This condition is also called as hyperbilirubinemia.

In Ayurveda, Bhringraja Svarasa (Eclipta Juice) of the whole plant is used along with other ingredients to treat jaundice (icterus) as follows:

Bhringraj Svarasa (Eclipta Juice)10 ml
Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum)1 gram
Mishri (Sugar)3 grams

This mixture is given 3 times a day for 3 to 5 days to reduce bilirubin level in the body and to treat jaundice. Curd and rice based diet is also recommended during the treatment.

Hair Loss

The good liver health can help to reduce the hair fall by processing hormones and fats, removing toxins, and improving hormone level in the body. These factors are common causes of hair fall. Therefore, Bhringraj is also an effective medicine for prevention and treatment of hair fall. However, its external application also helps to prevent hair fall by strengthening hair roots.

It has hair growth promoting effects. In a study, it was found that it induces hair growth by promoting hair follicle transition from telogen phase to anagen phase. (13, 14)

In Ayurveda, Bhringraj Svarasa (Eclipta Juice) is recommended as an external applicant and internally, its powder is used in dosage of 1 to 3 grams twice daily. The oil preparations are also formulated using Bhringraj Juice, which are effective in hair fall, scalp itching and premature whitening of hair. These formulations are:

  1. Bhringraja Oil
  2. Gunjadi Oil (Gunja Tail)
  3. Mahabhringraja Oil
  4. Neelibhringadi Oil

Bhringraj Flowers and Leaves

Premature Whitening of Hair

Triphala Churna is soaked in Bhringraj Juice and left for drying. Later on, it is grounded to prepare a fine powder. It is called Bhringraj Siddha Triphala Churna. This powder is advised to take in the morning on empty stomach for treating premature whitening of hair. It shows good results within a month of its regular use.

Chronic Fever

Bhringraj is used along with other ayurvedic medicines for treating chronic fever in which liver function impairs, or liver and spleen become enlarged. It is used when the patient is also suffering from poor digestion, loss of appetite, and aggravation of Kapha Dosha in the body. In such cases, 3 to 5 ml Bhringraj Juice is given with milk twice daily and the treatment is recommended for 2 to 3 weeks.

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Productive Cough

Bhringraj juice along with honey is used for its expectorant action. It increases expectoration of the sputum and clears the lungs. It also further prevents mucus accumulation in the lungs and gives relief from productive cough. For the best results, it can be used along with Sitopaladi Churna.

Asthma

If the patient has asthma along with a productive cough, it can be given as discussed above. (under ‘Productive Cough’ heading)

In children, Bhringraj juice with equal amount of honey is given 3 to 4 times a day or until child gets relief from breathing difficulties. It helps in relieving cough, high-pitched wheezing, and chest congestion.

Eclipta Prostrata

Diarrhea with mucus discharge

According to ayurveda, mucus discharge in the stool indicates poor digestion and build-up of AMA (toxins) in the digestive system. It is a common symptom in diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bacterial infections, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

Bhringraj is indicated when a patient has diarrhea and mucus discharge along with poor digestion, IBS, or bacterial infection. In these cases, it helps to improve digestion, reduces AMA (toxins), and due to its antibacterial effects, it also treats the infection.

Note: In cases of IBD, or ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease, Eclipta might not be a suitable medicine. Especially, it should be avoided if excess bleeding occurs in these cases.

Heartburn & Hyperacidity

Bhringraj also acts on SAMA PITTA. It detoxifies Pitta Dosha and gives relief from SAMA PITTA symptoms that include heartburn, nausea, and vomiting with a sour taste in the mouth or sour belching. The condition is called AMALPITTA in ayurveda. It has three types:

  1. Vata dominating AMALPITTA
  2. Kapha dominating AMALPITTA
  3. Vata-Kapha dominating AMALPITTA

Bhringraj can be given in all types of AMALPITTA. However, it is more effective when the patient has Kapha dominating AMALPITTA or has following symptoms:

  • Bitter or sour belching
  • Heartburn
  • Burning sensation in the throat, abdomen
  • Vertigo
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Excessive salivation

In such case, Bhringraj powder should be used along with old jaggery and Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula) powder. This combination is highly effective when the patient has nausea, vomiting, and burning sensation.

Headache & Migraine

Internal use: In headache and migraine, Bhringraj Juice is given in a dosage of 3 to 5 ml thrice daily.

External use: It is also used as nasal instillation (Nasya) for treating migraine. For this purpose, Bhringraj Juice is mixed with an equal amount of goat’s milk. 2 to 3 drops of this mixture is instilled in each nostril before sunrise. It is highly effective if the patient has a headache that increases with sunrise and decreases after sunset. The condition is called SURYAVRAT in Ayurveda.

Vertigo

Bhringraj juice in a dosage of 5 ml along with 3 grams Sharkara (brown sugar) is given to treat vertigo. This remedy helps in vestibular rehabilitation by strengthening the vestibular system. It is also effective in vertigo having following causes:

  1. Vata dominating AMALPITTA
  2. Vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis (Inflammation of the inner ear)
  3. Meniere’s disease
  4. Basilar artery Migraine

Eyesight & Eye Disorders

Bhringraj is used in form of powder for improving eyesight and treating several eye disorders.

Bhringraj Leaf Powder3 grams
Cow’s Ghee5 grams
Honey10 grams

The above formulation is given twice daily for 40 days to improve eyesight and to treat eye diseases.

Recurrent Miscarriage (Habitual Abortion)

Bhringraj prevents pregnancy loss. Women suffering from a recurrent miscarriage can take Bhringraja Juice in a dosage of 3 ml on empty stomach in the morning along with Cow’s Milk. Traditionally, this remedy is used to prevent miscarriage and strengthen the uterus.

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In such cases, it should be started before re-planning of pregnancy and should be continued throughout the pregnancy.

For getting best results, it can also be taken along with Ashwagandha, which is also used for similar purpose.

Mercury Poisoning

Bhringraj Juice is used to reduce the accumulation of mercury in the body. It promotes its excretion from the body.

Mouth Ulcers

Chewing fresh leaves of Bhringraj helps to treat mouth ulcers.

Bhringraj Rasayana

Bhringraj Powder

Bhringraj Powder1 gram
Cow’s Ghee1 gram
Honey2 grams
Sharkara (Brown Sugar)1 gram

The use of Bhringraj for increasing physical and mental strength, improving intelligence and memory, reducing debility, improving lifespan and enhancing immunity is called Bhringraaj Rasayana. For this purpose, the above combination is used for a year. It should be taken every day on empty stomach in the morning.

Bhringraj Juice

Bhringraja Svarasa (Eclipta Juice) is also used for Rasayana (rejuvenating) purpose. 3 to 10 ml or more as per digestive capacity should be taken on empty stomach and should be continued for a month. In diet, only milk is allowed. This method increases lifespan and gives a healthy life.Bhringraj (Eclipta Prostrata)

Dosage & Administration

Bhringraj is used in form of 1. Powder, 2. Fresh Juice (Svarasa), and 3. Aqueous Extract.

Bhringraj Powder Dosage

Children250 to 1000 mg
Adults1 to 3 grams
Maximum Possible Dosage9 grams per day (in divided doses)

How to Take Bhringraj Powder

Doses (how many times should I take Bhringraaj Churna?)2 to 3 times a day
Right Time (When should I take?)Before meal
AdjuvantWith lukewarm water, Cow’s Ghee, Honey or Brown Sugar; Honey (in respiratory diseases), Milk (in chronic fever), Mishri – Sugar (in liver disease and jaundice), Old Jaggery and Haritaki (in heartburn, hyperacidity)

Bhringraj Juice Dosage

Children1 to 3 ml
Adults3 to 10 ml
Maximum Possible Dosage30 ml per day (in divided doses)

How to Take Bhringraaj Juice

Doses (how many times should I take Bhringraj Svarasa?)2 to 3 times a day
Right Time (When should I take?)Before meal
AdjuvantHoney (in respiratory diseases), Milk (in chronic fever), Mishri – Sugar (in liver disease and jaundice), Old Jaggery and Haritaki (in heartburn, hyperacidity)

Bhringraj Extract Dosage

Children125 to 250 mg
Adults250 to 500 mg
Maximum Possible Dosage1500 mg per day (in divided doses)

How to Take Bhringraj Extract

Doses (how many times should I take?)2 to 3 times a day
Right Time (When should I take?)Before meal
AdjuvantWith lukewarm water

You might also get Bhringraj Capsule or tablets. If they contain a natural form of the herb i.e. powder, then the dosage should be calculated based on the dosage given under “Bhringraaj Powder Dosage” heading above. If capsules or tablets contain extract, then its dosage should be calculated according to “Bhringraja Extract Dosage”.

Bhringraj (Eclipta Prostrata)
Bhringraj (Eclipta Prostrata)

Safety Profile

Bhringraj in its natural form (i.e. powder, or juice) is Likely Safe for most individuals when taken as per its indications in appropriate dosage under the professional supervision. The maximum dosage should not exceed 9 grams per day for powder, 30 ml per day for juice, and 1500 mg per day for extract, extract capsule or tablets.

Side Effects of Bhringraj

Generally, no side effect occurs with Bhringraj when it is used wisely according to underlying Dosha and health conditions.

Contraindications

There are no absolute contraindications for Bhringraaj.

Pregnancy & Lactation

The safety profile of Bhringraj is not well established for pregnant women and lactating mothers. Consult an ayurvedic physician or herbalist before using Bhringraja during pregnancy and lactation.

Ayurvedic Formulations of Bhringraj

  1. Bhringraja Churna
  2. Bhringraja Ghrita
  3. Bhringraja Oil
  4. Bhringrajadi Churna
  5. Bhringrajasava (Bhringarajasavam)
  6. Gunjadi Oil (Gunja Tail)
  7. Mahabhringraj Oil
  8. Narasimha Rasayanam
  9. Neelibhringadi Oil
  10. Shadbindu Tail
  11. Sutshekhar Ras
Photo Attribution Photographs by Dinesh Valke


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