Draksa - Mṛdvīkā - Raisins

Vaidya Chitra Kulkarni – Bedekar
M.D. (Āyurveda)
M.A. (Saṁskṛta)

Latin name – Vitis vinifera Linn.

Family-Vitaceae

English na – Grapes, Raisins

Plant type – Climber

Useful part – Raisins (Dried fruits)

Taste Sweet, Astringent

Attributes – Unctuous, Heavy to digest

Potenc – Cold

Post-digestive taste/ Taste after re-synthesis- Sweet

Effects on Doṣas – Pacify Vāta and Pitta

Other Effects – Nourishing, Aphrodisiac, beneficial for eyes, throat and voice, helps in smooth excretion of stools and urine,

The word Drākṣā or Mṛdvīkā mentioned in the four classical texts refers to ‘Raisins’ (black) with seeds i.e. seed bearing black grapes in a dried form. In these texts, lot of information about black raisins viz. their taste, attributes, potency, effects and uses in various diseases is widely scattered. One can study attributes of seedless grapes and golden raisins in texts called ‘Nighaṇṭu’.

In India, Mango i.e. alphanso is assumed to be the king of fruits. Mango is honoured thus because of its wonderful taste and the feeling of satiety it gives. From Āyurvedic perspective Raisins are the best fruit. Their extensive applicability in a healthy and a diseased person is contributory in this regard.

Here, in this article, the word ‘raisins’ refers mainly to black raisins with seeds and to other types in case of unavailability of black raisins.

Use for maintaining health

Raisins are a nutritious dietary item. It is stated that black raisins should be a part of day-to-day diet of a healthy person. They enhance the health of throat. They are beneficial for voice. In Caraka Saṁhitā they are counted in the list of ten herbo-medicines helpful for relieving fatigue. Hence one can use them in case of exhaustion. They provide unctuousness to the body. They are beneficial for the health of eyes. Hence should be consumed daily for prevention of diseases related to eyesight. They prove to be beneficial for all age groups.

Raisins are rejuvenators. In combination with other medicines they are helpful in delaying the onset of aging process. They enhance the capacity to grasp and hold knowledge.

For dietary purpose, raisins can be consumed in various ways. They can be eaten in a raw form or juice or some drinks can be prepared. They can be used in cooking and brewing.

Therapeutic Uses

Useful in Diseases/ Disease conditions – Excessive Thirst, Burning sensation, Bitter taste in mouth, Vomiting, Fever, Cough, Asthma, Bleeding disorders, Emaciation, Udāvarta, Hoarseness of voice, Adverse effects of excessive alcoholism, Vātarakta, Hepatitis etc.

Jvara

Fast (complete restraint on food or consuming food which is light to digest), wrapping thick cloth around and making the patient sweat, Time, Rice water, Bitter tasting medicines (used while preparing rice water) is the line of treatment/therapeutic schedule. Rice water is contra-indicated in fever caused by excessive alcoholism, fevers accompanied by bleeding disorder, fever occurring in summer, fever occurring in a patient who consumes alcohol regularly. They should be treated with Tarpaṅa. The Tarpaṅa should be prepared with powder of rice flakes, juices of fruits which help in relieving fever, honey and sugar. Such fruits are Āmalaki, grapes (raisins), pomegranate, dates etc. Drākṣādi Phānṭa is prescribed in fever caused by Vāta and Pitta together or fevers in which internal burning sensation is manifested as one of the main symptoms. Some ingredients of the Phānṭa are; raisins, sweet root, some types of lotus, Āmalaki, sandalwood etc.

Netraroga (Diseases of eye)

Preventive role of raisins for diseases of eyes has been mentioned earlier. Raisins are curative as well in various diseases of eyes. They are to be used internally and externally. Raw raisins or milk or ghee mediated with raisins along with other drugs are prescribed. Externally, their juice can be used for Āścotana (pouring on eye) and Nasya (nasal drops).

Cchardi Pittaja (Vomiting dominated by Pitta)

While treating Vomiting dominated by Pitta, sometimes Śodhana i.e. cleansing is needed in the beginning. In spite of recurrent urges of vomiting the Doṣas accumulated in Āmāśaya (stomach) do not get properly expelled out. In such circumstances, vomiting is stimulated with the help of some drugs. When proper cleansing is achieved, juice of raisins should be given for drinking. It, having cold potency, pacifies remaining Pitta. Raisins can be given with honey for licking. Combination of raisins, Sitopalā (a type of sugar), honey and long pepper is also used for licking.

Kāsa (Cough)

In all types of Kāsa, obstructed and consequently vitiated Vāta is the root cause. Raisins clear the obstruction by eliminating Malas and Doṣas and help pacify Vāta. Hence, raisins can be used in all types of Kāsa. It is beneficial especially in Kāsa caused by severe emaciation. Raisins nourish Dhātus and give unctuousness to the body and Srotasas (channels). Raisins can be used along with other medicines in various preparations such as decoctions, combinations which can be licked, tablets etc. Raisins, ghee and honey or raisins, Sitā (type of sugar) and long pepper taken in equal proportion are useful for curing all types of Kāsa.

Ūrdhvaga Raktapitta(Bleeding disorder in which bleeding occurs from external orifices in upper part of the body)

Tarpaṅa is most of the times preferred in the beginning of the treatment of Ūrdhvaga Raktapitta. Drākṣādi Phānṭa prescribed for Jvara dominated by Pitta proves to be useful for Ūrdhvaga Raktapitta. Tarpaṅa prepared by boiling in water, fruits which pacify Pitta, should also be used. Such fruits are Āmalakī, dates, raisins, Parūṣaka, pomegranate etc. When bleeding occurs from nose it is better to wait and watch till it stops itself or till the accumulated defiled Rakta drains out completely from the nose. Thereafter Avapīḍaka Nasya (Nasal drops with juices of some medicines) should be administered. For this type of Nasyajuice of raisins can be used.

Mūtrāghāta (Urinary dis-function in which formation of urine decreases)

In this disease, when micturition becomes painful, raisins are an easy home remedy. Paste of raisins taken in quantity same as a small lemon should be soaked in water overnight. This mixture should be given for drinking next morning. It gives relief from the pain.

Udāvarta (vitiated Vāta moving in upward direction) caused by suppression of the urge for micturition

Juice of raisins is prescribed for the Udāvarta caused by suppression of the urge for micturition.

Mūtrakṛcchra (Painful micturition)

In all types of Mūtrakṛcchra, juice of raisins can be administered through various routes of administration. Juice is given for drinking. Juice can be showered over the waste region and lower abdomen. It can be smeared at these sites or Basti can be administered with it.

Madātyaya (Adverse effects of excessive alcoholism)

Kharjūrādi Manṭha is supposed to be a drug of choice for all the adverse effects of excessive alcoholism. It is prepared with dates, pomegranate, raisins, tamarind, Āmalaki and Parūṣaka churned in water. If Vāta and Pitta get vitiated and give rise to excessive thirst, juice of raisins should be given for drinking. It, having cold potency, pacifies Pitta and having Anulomana effect, helps in eliminating Doṣas from the body.

Constipation

Constipation is not a disease. It is a symptom of some diseases or disturbed well-being. Many reasons have to be taken in to consideration while treating it. Here are some conditions when raisins help; constipation as an effect of aggravated Vāta, dryness in the body and bowels, constipation in infants, kids, elderly persons and pregnant women. Infants, kids, old people and pregnant women should be treated with mild medicines. Raisins, according to their name, ‘Mṛdvīkā’ (derived from word ‘Mṛdu’ which means mild, gentle, delicate, soft), are mild. Hence, they can be used safely in such cases. They are soaked in water for some time and then eaten. Water filtered after soaking or boiling them can be used in infants and kids. Raisins can be eaten raw followed by warm water

Raisins play an important role in treatment of many diseases or disease conditions. In a nut shell it can be stated that spectrum of the efficacy of raisins is broad, extending for maintenance of health up to helping in curing diseases related to vital organs effectively.

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