Lac (also called Laksha) is a slick serum and secretion from a scale insect species Laccifer lacca. These insects suck the sap of several plants and bushes and secrete Lac as a protective covering. Laccifer lacca looks like tiny spots on plants having no limbs and covering with slick serum. Sometimes, these insects are difficult to recognize and we can only see resin excreted by them. Lac scales are main cash crops and are cultured in Burma, India and Thailand. Lac is collected from the plants. Before using it for several purposes, it has to undergo heating and filtering processes for purification.
Shellac is a form of purified Lac and thin yellow and orange flakes. The purification process of Lac involves heating and filtering. Sometimes, it is also bleached to get white Shellac.
Laccifer Lacca has following healing properties.
- Coagulation modifier
|Taste – RASA||KASAYA (Astringent)|
|Main Quality – GUNA||LAGHU (Light) & SNIGADH or SNEHA (Unctuous or Oily)|
|Potency – VIRYA||SHEETA (Cold)|
|Resultant – VIPAKA||KATU (Pungent)|
|Therapeutic Effect – PRABHAVA||Rejuvenation & Supplement|
|DOSHA KARMA (Effect on Humors)||Pacifies KAPHA & PITTA|
|Dhatu (Tissue) Effect||RASA, RAKTA, & ASTHI|
|Beneficial for Organs||Blood, Stomach, Intestines, Bones, Joints|
Laccifer Lacca is applied over the skin in skin diseases. It stops bleeding in wounds and injuries, heals skin ulcers, speeds up recovery process of ulcer, wounds and other skin diseases. Its internal uses
- Fungal infections
- Intestinal parasites (worms)
- Internal bleeding disorders
- Low bone mineral density
Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses
Purified Lac is used in Ayurvedic medicines and Unani Medicine. The methods of purifications are different in these sciences. Lac can also be processed with some medicinal herbs and herbal juices to make it effective in desired health conditions.
However, it comes from animal origin, but it has a great significance in management of joint disorders, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, osteoarthritis etc. It is also helpful in obesity, renal and spleen disorders, jaundice, backache problems, leprosy, ulceration, epilepsy and chicken pox. It is an amazing liver tonic, when taken with other liver stimulant herbs.
Low Bone Mineral Density
Lac has some amazing benefits in making of bone support capsules. SHUDH LAKSHA means a natural supplement as per Ayurveda. It makes bone stronger and helps in re-gaining natural bone mineral density. Generally, it is used with guggul in several ayurvedic joint supplements. Lakshadi guggul is a common ayurvedic medicine, which contains Lac as a main ingredient. It is used for joint disorders and in diseases that occur due to loss of bone mineral density such as osteoporosis and osteomalacia.
Chinese practitioners also use lac for relief to gum bleeding, menstrual bleeding, and fainting after birth.
Lac is used as an anti-obesity drug and is used in most of the skin cosmetic products.
Other Uses in Medical and cosmetic industry
- Lac has been used in many pharmaceutical industries for long now and mainly is involved in tablet formulation, binding ability, matrix formulation, humidity tolerance but lac cannot be stored for long due to which this has be termed as a dislike to many preparations.
- Dentist has been using lac in many forms and in various ways since long time. Most of them use lac as a binding texture for dentures. In addition, lac is used in dental schools for preparation of moldings and artificial calculus.
- Lac and Shellac has been used in most of the cosmetic products and is mainly used as component in hair sprays, lipsticks, chewing gums and many candies and other cosmetic products.
- Purified Lac, which is also called as shellac, is used in coating properties and is considered as natural glue.
The dosage for Lac depends on the health conditions and other several factors including age, symptoms and diseases. The general dosage of Lac varies from 100 mg to 1000 mg. Its dosage should not exceed 2 grams per day. The preferable adjuvant for Lac and its product is Cow’s Milk.
Lac or Shellac is considerably safe in pharmaceutical products. However, Lac or Shellac was used in pharmaceutical products, which were taken through mouth, but it is now out of use in pharmaceutical industry due to less shelf life.
Caution and side effects
In Ayurveda, Lac or Shellac is not used alone. Lakshadi Guggul and Lakshadi oil are commonly recommended. Lakshadi Guggul is considerably safe and no side effect reported with this remedy. Laxadi oil or other oil preparations are also safe for external application.
Allergy to Lac or Shellac
Some people can have allergic reaction to Lac, so if you are allergic to any kind of gum or plant extracts, you should avoid using it for medicinal purposes.
Warning & Adulteration
- Shellac or Lac, which is used in dental and pharmaceutical industries, is different. It is processed differently and it is not suitable for the medicines uses as explained above.
- Lac used for Varnish contains methanol, which is very poisonous to health. Therefore, do not buy Lac from general store or paint stores. It is different than medicinal Lac used in ayurveda and Unani Medicine.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Pregnant or breast feeding women should to completely avoid Lac or containing products because it might be POSSIBLY UNSAFE. There are no scientific evidences available about its safety and efficacy during pregnancy and lactation.
Lac used in ayurvedic medicine and Unani Medicine is a pure form of Lac collected from the plants and no other ingredient is mixed with it. To remove its impurities and dust particles, it undergoes some natural purification processes, which includes washing it with hot water, heating and filtering it. It is also processed with herbs, herbal juices and mixed with herbal powder or extract for before using it therapeutically.