Lodhra is an extremely important herb in Ayurvedic medicine and its use dates back hundreds if not thousands of years. Lodhra is especially well known for treating female issues but can can be used for a variety of health purposes ranging from eye disorders and dental trouble to diarrhea. It is also a popular topical remedy for a range of skin conditions including acne, blackheads and blemishes.
If you are unfamiliar with lodhra and are keen to find out how it can benefit your heath as well as how to use it and its potential side effects, read on.
What is Lodhra?
Lodhra is native to India, especially its North-east regions but can also be found in other areas of the continent including Myanmar.
Lodhra which is known scientifically as Sympolocos racemosa is an evergreen plant that grows to a height of six to eight meters. Its leaves have a velvety texture and are around three or four inches in length. Lodhra produce cream colored flowers from November to February each year as well as dark purple colored fruit.
However, it is the stem bark which is mainly used to make medicine although the flowers are also used When we refer to the health benefits of lodhra, we are actually referring to lodhra stem bark and not any other parts of the plant.
Medicinal Compounds and Properties
Lodhra bark contains various compounds which give it its wide variety of medicinal uses. It contains alkoloids including loturine, loturdine and colloturine as well as various glycosides. According to Ayurvedic texts, lodhra has various medicinal properties including antibacterial, astringent, stomachic, expectorant, hemostatic and absorbent properties.
Health Benefits of Lodhra
1) For Female Disorders
While Lodhra has many uses, it is perhaps best known for its benefits to women’s health and gynecological disorders. In Ayurveda, women have traditionally been treated with Lodhra for many years and there is some scientific evidence to support its use.
Lodhra works because it helps regulate and normalize two female hormones namely the follicle stimulating hormone – FSH and the Luteinizing hormone.
FSH regulates the growth, development and reproductive process in the body. The hormone controls the menstrual cycle in women as well as stimulating egg production in the ovaries. Low levels of FSH are a good indicator of decreased fertility and may also indicate imbalance in the hypothalmus or pituitary gland. Luteinizing hormone or LH triggers ovulation.
In animal studies, researchers have found that liquid extracts of lodhra could significantly stimulate levels of these two hormones. (1)
According to Ayrvedic medicine, lodhra can also help maintain the balance of estrogen to progesterone in a woman’s body. This helps prevent irregular menstruation and regulate the monthly cycle.
A decoction made from the powdered bark mixed with water is also used to stop uterine bleeding.
2) Skin Benefits
Lodhra can be applied topically in the form of a paste to treat various skin issues. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat skin complaints like acne and psoriasis. It is also astringent in nature which helps to tighten the skin and get rid of scars, wrinkles and other blemishes.
Lodhra can also be applied to the skin to help treat rashes, insect bites and stings. Its soothing anti-inflammatory properties can help relieve any irritation while its antibacterial actions can help prevent infection from taking a hold.
3) For Eye Disorders
Lodhra has long been used as a natural remedy for various eye conditions, especially for conjunctivitis or red eye. In Ayurveda, the lodhra powder is often fried up with ghee then put in some sort of cloth pouch, dunked in hot water and before being applied to the affected eye like a poultice. According to Ayurveda, this remedy works wonders for conjunctivitis but can also help relieve other symptoms like itching, burning and pain.
4) For Oral Health and Teeth
Lodhra has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well as the ability to relieve pain making it a suitable natural remedy for toothache and gum issues like gingivitis. You can make a paste with lodhra root powder and water and apply it to the affected tooth or gums. It can help relieve inflammation, soothe pain and put a stop to any infection you may have.
5) To Heal Wounds
According to traditional use, lodhra can be used to speed up the healing process after a minor wound, cut or scrape. A paste made from lodhra bark powder can be applied directly to the wound and because of its anti-inflammatory properties and medicinal compounds, it can help speed up the wound healing process. Because lodhra is also antibacterial in nature, it can help ensure that any wound does not become infected and prevent any infection from spreading.
6) To Stop Bleeding
We have already mentioned that lodhra is used traditionally to stop uterine bleeding but it can also help put an end to other types of bleeding too. According to Ayurvedic texts, lodhra has properties that can thicken the blood and put an end to bleeding. It is used to prevent bleeding from wounds and scrapes and also for nose bleeds.
7) Other Uses of Lodhra
In India, lodhra is also used for a wide range of other medical issues. These include the following:
- A decoction made from the stem bark is taken in small doses to treat diarrhea.
- A cold infusion made from lodhra flowers can be used to treat respiratory ailments like coughs.
- A cold infusion of the flowers can help to relieve fever.
- It is applied topically to help deal with ear infections. You can make a poultice from the root powder using the same method used to treat conjunctivitis.
How to Use Lodhra
Lodhra is available in supplementary form including powders, liquid extract and capsules. For internal use, the recommended dose is usually no more than 5 grams mixed in water. Make sure that you buy your lodhra supplements from a reputed dealer and read the instructions on the package carefully.
Lodhra also has many external uses and there are several ways to use the herb externally depending on the condition you are trying to treat.
- For skin conditions such as acne, lodhra powder is mixed with water and made into a smooth paste. This can be applied to the affected area of your skin.
- A paste made from lodhra powder and water can also be applied to infected gums, canker sores or painful teeth. You can also add a little lodhra powder to a home made toothpaste recipe.
- To make an eye wash to cleanse the eyes or treat conjunctivitis, a decoction is usually made with lodhra and hot water. For conjunctivitis, you can add this decoction to a poultice and apply it to your eyelids.
- For vaginal infections or to clean the vagina, women can make a decoction of lodhra powder and use it as a vaginal douche.
Precautions and Side Effects
As is the case with any herbal remedy, you should make sure that you use follow any dosage guidelines carefully. If you have any doubts at all about taking lodhra, consult your doctor to be sure.
- The topical use of lodhra is probably safe.
- When lodhra is taken internally, there are certain potential side effects.
- Lodhra should not be taken by men long term since it may decrease testosterone levels and increase both estrogen and progesterone.
- You should not take lodhra on an empty stomach as it may cause upset stomach, nausea and constipation.