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 Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 6-11

Identity of Ṭaṅkārī (Physalis Minima Linn.) in Ayurvedic Classics: A Literature Review


1 Department of Dravyaguna Vigyana, MGACHRC, Slaod(H), Wardha, Karnataka, India
2 Division of Ayurveda, CIMR, Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Dravyaguna Vigyana, KVGMC, Sullia, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication9-Dec-2016

Correspondence Address:
Supriya S Kallianpur
Department of Dravyaguna Vigyana, MGACH and RC, Salod (H), Wardha, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0257-7941.195408

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  Abstract 

Proper identification of drugs and their use in proper doses are important for successful treatment. Physalis minima Linn commonly known as country gooseberry has anti-cancerous, anti-diabetic, analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory potentials. The present paper is aimed to ascertain the proper identity of Ṭaṅkārī (Physalis minima Linn.) in Ayurvedic classics by a meticulous search and hence a review of the drug Ṭaṅkārī (Physalis minima Linn) was carried out in the texts of Ayurveda, modern literature, journals and online publications. The result of the search showed that the name “Ṭaṅkārī” is not found in Vedic lore. In Saṃhitās, it is mentioned in Bhāvaprakāśa. Reference of the drug “Śārṅgeṣṭhā” is found in Bṛhattrayī, Bhela, Kāśyapa, Cakradatta and Vaṅgasena. It is variously named as Cirapoṭikā, Kākatikta, and Vāyasī by ḍalhaṇa and he describes it as gaura (pale), vartula (round), and as having avaguṇṭhita/veṣṭhita (covered) fruit which matches the description of Ṭaṅkārī (P. minima Linn). A search for terms Kākatikta and Vāyasī showed Kākatikta to be synonymous to Śārṅgeṣṭhā and Vāyasī to be synonymous to both Kākatikta and Kākamācī (Solanum nigrum). Madanapāla and Śāligrāma Nighaṇṭus have mentioned the name Cirapoṭikā to be synonymous with Ṭaṅkārī. Śodhala has used the term Parpoṭī as a synonym of Ṭaṅkārī, which is the Gujarati name of P. minima Linn. Recent authors have considered Śārṅgeṣṭhā as either P. minima or Cardiospermum helicabum. The regional names of P. minima are Cirpoṭi (Hindi), Cirboli (Marathi), also the folklore uses and pharmacological activities of P. minima are in accordance with the indications of Śārṅgeṣṭhā in classics. Thus with a complete review of both Ayurveda and modern literatures, it can be concluded that the drug mentioned as Ṭaṅkārī in Bhāvaprakāśa is the same as Śārṅgeṣṭhā mentioned in the classics. Cirapoṭikā and Kākatikta are its synonyms. Cardiospermum helicabum is Karṇaspoṭha, and hence Śārṅgeṣṭhā of classics is P. minima which is supported by the regional names, pharmacological activity and folklore claims.

Keywords: Ayurveda, Cirapoṭikā, Kākamācī, Physalis minima Linn., Śārṅgeṣṭhā, Ṭaṅkārī


How to cite this article:
Kallianpur SS, Gokarn RA, Rajashekhar N. Identity of Ṭaṅkārī (Physalis Minima Linn.) in Ayurvedic Classics: A Literature Review. Ancient Sci Life 2016;36:6-11

How to cite this URL:
Kallianpur SS, Gokarn RA, Rajashekhar N. Identity of Ṭaṅkārī (Physalis Minima Linn.) in Ayurvedic Classics: A Literature Review. Ancient Sci Life [serial online] 2016 [cited 2017 Nov 22];36:6-11. Available from: http://www.ancientscienceoflife.org/text.asp?2016/36/1/6/195408


  Introduction Top


It is imperative to have accurate knowledge of a drug right from its identification to its use as medicine. Caraka states that when drug is wrongly identified or administered it may act as poison.[1] In earlier times, drugs were identified with the help of cowherds, and people dwelling in the forest who were close to nature.[2] In the Nighaṇṭus (lexicons), the use of synonyms and a description of morphology of the drug was in vogue. Presently the drug is described based on modern taxonomy. There are many drugs whose nomenclature remains controversial. A reason for this maybe the lack of proper understanding and inability to identify the drug with the information present in the classics. Other reasons are regional variations in understanding of herb and unavailability of drugs in certain geographies. Considering the importance of proper identification and appropriate use of the drug, it necessary to disambiguate and authenticate drugs with the help of review works and standardisation techniques.

Physalis minima Linn. commonly known as Ground cherry has anti-cancerous, anti-diabetic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic potentials and also has wide ethno-medicinal uses.[3] The drug “Ṭaṅkārī“ is identified as P. minima by K.C. Chunekar in Bhāvaprakāśa. The term Ṭaṅkārī is not present in any other classics and hence it is placed under the list of controversial drugs by recent authors.

Chunekar in his comments on Ṭaṅkārī in Guḍūcyādi varga of Bhāvaprakāśa Nighaṇṭu has pointed towards its similarities with the drug Śārṅgeṣṭhā of the classics based on the descriptions given by ḍalhaṇa.[4] Some other authors while discussing Śārṅgeṣṭhā have considered it to be Cardiospermum helicabum.[5] The aim of present work was to ascertain the proper identity of Ṭaṅkārī in Ayurvedic classics by a meticulous review. The review of modern literature for its ethno medicinal uses, regional language names, reports of pharmacological activity were done to support the indications in the classics and bring about clarity about the identity of the drug.


  Materials and Methods Top


A review of the drug Ṭaṅkārī (Physalis minima Linn.) was carried out in texts of Ayurveda, modern literature, journals and online publications. The classics including Bṛhat trayī, Laghu Trayī, Cakradatta, Bhela, Kāśyapa, Śārṅgadhara, Vaṅgasena were searched manually with the terms Ṭaṅkārī, Śārṅgeṣṭhā, Kākatikta, Vāyasī. Nighaṇṭus such as Bhāvaprakāśa, Rāja, Madanapāla, Kaiyadeva, Śodhala, Śāligrāma and Ādarśa were searched. Books written by recent authors were also searched. Modern literature including books of flora and databases were searched. Online Journals were searched with key terms such as Ṭaṅkārī, Śārṅgeṣṭhā, Cirapoṭikā, Kākatikta, Vāyasī, P. minima in various search engines such as Google, Google scholar, Pubmed, Dhara online and AYUSH portal.


  Results Top


Review of the classics

The description of Ṭaṅkārī (Physalis minima Linn.) is mainly seen in Guḍūcyādi varga of Bhāvaprakāśa Nighaṇṭu and here it is said to be useful in conditions such as śotha (inflammation), udara (diseases of abdomen) and visarpa (erysipelas). It is said to be tikta (bitter) in taste, dīpana (stimulator of digestive fire), laghu (light to digest).[4]

The reference of Ṭaṅkārī is not found in Vedic texts.[6] In Saṃhitās the name Ṭaṅkārī is not found, except in Bhāvaprakāśa Saṃhitā where Ṭaṅkārī is mentioned as an ingredient of Mahānārāyaṇa Tailam.[7] K.C. Chunekar while commenting on Ṭaṅkārī states that the drug Cirapoṭikā described by ḍalhaṇa in his commentary on Śārṅgeṣṭhā in Suśruta Saṃhitā might be Physalis minima Linn.[8]ḍalhaṇa in his commentary on Śārṅgeṣṭhā describes Ṭaṅkārī to be locally known by various names such as Kākajaṅghā, Vikasavanī, Bhūrudākā, Kākādanī, Guñjā. It is popularly known as Cirapoṭikā and some authors have called it as Kākatikta and Kākamācī.[9]ḍalhaṇa describes its fruit as gaura (pale), vartula (rounded) and avaguṇṭhita or veṣṭhita (covered)[10] and to be similar to Kākamācī (Solanum nigrum).[11] Another drug Vāyasī has also been commented upon by ḍalhaṇa as Cirapoṭikā.[12] The term “Cirapoṭikā” is found only in commentaries and no direct reference is present in the Saṃhitās. The references of Śārṅgeṣṭhā are found in Bṛhat trayī, Bhela Saṃhitā, Kāśyapa Saṃhitā, Cakradatta and Vaṅgasena. The details are summarized in [Table 1].
Table 1: References to Śārṅgeṣṭhā in Ayurvedic classics

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The direct reference of Kākatikta is found only in Aṣṭāṅga Hṛdaya Sūtrasthāna in the context of Aragvādādi gaṇa dravyas. Here, commenting on Kākatikta, Hemādri claims Kākatikta to be Śārṅgeṣṭhā whereas Aruṇadatta calls it Karañjikā.[13] Further, in Mustādi gaṇa dravyas, Dvitikta has been mentioned and here Aruṇadatta commenting on it has considered, Kaṭukī and Kākatikta as Dvitikta. In Suśruta Saṃhitā, Dvitikta is composed of Kaṭukī and Śārṅgeṣṭhā.[14]The references of Vāyasī are present in Bṛhat trayī, Bhela Saṃhitā, Cakradatta and Vaṅgasena. The details are summarized in [Table 2].
Table 2: References to Vāyasī in Ayurvedic classics

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Among Nighaṇṭus, Bhāvaprakāśamentions Ṭaṅkārī in Guḍūcyādi varga. In the Śodhala Nighaṇṭu, there is a reference of Parpaṭī phala, which is considered as fruit of Physalis minima Linn. Phalāmla and Jvarakāriṇi are given as synonyms, as the ripe fruit is considered to increase pitta-kapha and cause fever.[15]The word Cirapoṭikā is used in Madanapāla Nighaṇṭuand the properties ascribed to it are tikta (bitter), śīta (cold potency), bhedana (ability to disintegrate/breakdown solid mass), śvāsahara (useful in dyspnoea) and kāsahara (useful in cough/bronchitis).[16] The same is also found in Śāligrāma Nighaṇṭu.[17] Śārṅgeṣṭhā, Kākatikta and Vāyasī are found among the synonyms of Karañjikā in Kaiyadeva Nighaṇṭu.[18]

Various recent authors including P.V. Sharma, Thakur Balwant Singh, K.C. Chunekar, Raghuveerprasad Trivedi and J.L.N. Shastry have discussed about the identity of Physalis minima Linn. Based on their commentator's views, Śārṅgeṣṭhā is equated with either Physalis minima Linn or Cardiospermum helicabum.

Plant description

Physalis minima Linn belongs to the family Solanaceae, and genus Physalis that is a common weed in found by roadsides. It is distributed more or less throughout India, Baluchistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Tropical Africa and Australia and ascends to 2300 m.[19],[20]Physalis is a genus of herbaceous annuals or perennials mostly native of tropical North and South America with a few species widely distributed in warmer parts of the world. Some species are grown for their edible fruits. One or two species occurs wild in India, while other three are cultivated.[21]

P. minima is an annual herbaceous plant with erect stem, more or less pubescent; leaves are ovate, acute, shallowly toothed or lobed, more or less pubescent, and thin, with cuneate base. Flowers are solitary; calyx is yellow, ovary ovoid, styles glabrous. The berry is 8 mm subglobose, reticulately veined and entirely enveloped in the enlarged calyx. Seeds are discoid or subreniform, 2 mm diameter, finely muriculate, and orange yellow.[20],[22] The flowers appear in acropetal succession, i.e. the lower flowers appear and form fruits earlier than the upper ones, which emerge as well as set fruit later. The flowering and fruiting season of this plant starts from March-April and continues up to the end of November. The fruiting starts from the middle of August and continues until the end of November.[23] In Physalis minima Linn. the leaves and fruiting calyx are more glabrous and the latter is distinctly 5-angular. P. angulata Linn. is sometimes confused with this species, but may be distinguished by its bluish anthers. Physalis minima Linn. is said to be a collateral host to the strain of xanthomonas vescicatoria Dowson which infects the Chilli (Capsicum frutescens). It is also subject to xanthomonas physalidis, The fruits and leaves are said to be edible. In parts of Africa, the fruits are used as preservatives.[24]

Names in various languages

English-Country gooseberry, Little gooseberry, Wild cape gooseberry, Ground cherry, Sunberry; Hindi-Bandhapriya, Chirpoti.; Marathi-Chirboli, Dhanmori, Ran-popti; Tamil- Sodakku thakkaali;; Gujarathi-Parpoti, Popti.[20]

The Taxonomical position of Physalis minima Linn. is as per [Table 3].[25]
Table 3: Taxonomical position of Physalis minima Linn

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Phytochemistry

Leaf stem and immature fruit show positive test for alkaloids. Fruit contains 61.4% extractable juice, 76.7% moisture, Acidity: 1.84%, Total sugars: 5.97%, Reducing sugars: 3%, Non reducing sugars: 2.8%, Tannins: 0.64%, Pectin: 0.52%, Vitamin C: 24.45 mg/100 ml of juice. The protein content of the fruit is 2.75 percent. The content of some of the important minerals are phosphorus (0.108%), potassium (0.613%), calcium (0.024%), magnesium (0.056%) and iron (0.006%). Other contents are Quercetin 3-0 galactoside, 5-methoxy-6-7-methylene-dioxyflavone. Leaf contains arachidic acid, linoleic acid, with aphysalins A, B, C; Physalins A, B, C; 5β, 6β epoxyphysalin B, dihydroxyphysalin B etc., Physalin is mainly accumulated in mature plants. Physalin A is accumulated in young fruit; Physalin B is present in young leaf and flower bud; Physalin D in Flower bud; Physalin F in mature leaf; Physalin J is seen in immature and ripe fruit calyx and Physalin N in leaf tissues.[20],[26]

Ethnomedical uses

Various folklore uses of the drug have been reported. The fruit is considered as tonic, diuretic and purgative in Punjab. In the Konkan, the plant is made into a paste with rice water and applied to restore flaccid breasts, in accordance with the doctrines of signature. The Mundas of Chota Nagpur use the juice of the leaves mixed with water and mustard oil as a remedy for earache. After injecting some drops of this mixture, they plug the ear with cotton wool.[27] Fruit infuses vigour in worn out system and cures premature decay. A compound medicated oil containing P. minima, Aplotaxis auriculata, Hing Hardan, long pepper, black salt, saindhava, rock salt, javakhara, ginger, butter or ghee is used as an application in cases of enlargement of spleen. The drug is also used in snake and scorpion envenomation.[28] The whole plant is indicated in disorders of blood and bronchial asthma. In Siddha system, Physalis minima Linn. is called as Sodakku thakkali and the whole plant is used in diabetes, dysuria, and swellings.[26] The ethno-medicinal use of each part is also described, whole plant is used in earache Leaf is indicated in fever root in Gastric diseases and fruits in diarrhoea and toothache).[26]

Pharmacological activities

Quercetin 3-0 galactoside isolated from the crude extract of the leaves is reported to exhibit anti-inflammatory activity compared to phenylbutazone in carrageenan induced rat paw edema. The alcoholic extract of the plant showed anti-malarial activity in vivo against erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium berghei (NK-65 stra). In China, the alkaloids of Physalis minima Linn. are reported to inhibit DNA synthesis in mouse s-180 ascitic tumor cells and mouse marrow cells in vitro. The alkaloids may have potential in leukaemia chemotherapy but at higher doses may cause bone marrow inhibition. Physalin X extracted from the plant is reported to exhibit abortificient activity in female albino rats.[29] Aqueous extract of leaves of Physalis minima was found to be effective in scavenging free radicals and has the potential to be a powerful antioxidant.[30]Physalis minima Linn. extract has potent alpha glucosidase inhibitory activity and may be effective in reducing the blood glucose level after oral administration of maltose to rats.[31]

Chloroform extract of P. minima exhibited remarkable cytotoxic activities on NCI-H23 (human lung adenocarcinoma) cell line at dose and time dependent manners (after 24, 48 and 72 h of incubation). Analysis of cell-death mechanism demonstrated that the extract exerted apoptotic programmed cell death in NCI-H23 cells with typical DNA fragmentation, which is a biochemical hallmark of apoptosis.[32] A study conducted with Methanolic Extract of Physalis minima showed that it produced notable diuretic effect which appeared to be comparable to that produced by the standard diuretic, Furosemide.[33] Methanolic extract of Physalis minima leaves was investigated on ethanol induced ulcer models and pylorus ligation in Wistar rats. The study indicated that Physalis minima leaves extract have potential anti ulcer activity in both models.[34]


  Discussion Top


On the basis of the results obtained above, it is seen that the drug “Śārṅgeṣṭhā” described as gaura (pale), vartula (rounded) and having avaguṇṭhita/veṣṭhita (Covered) phala, matches with the description of P. minima Linn which has fruits enclosed in calyx and which turns yellow when fully ripe. Śārṅgeṣṭhā is said to be similar to Kākamācī (Kākamācī anukara) and both P. minima and Kākamācī (Solanum nigrum) belong to Solanaceae family and have similar morphology and properties. “Cirapoṭikā” is used as a synonym to “Śārṅgeṣṭhā”. MadanapālaandŚodhala Nighaṇṭushave described Cirapoṭikā. The regional names of P. minima are Cirapoṭi in Hindi and Cirboli in Marathi.[35]Kākatikta is another synonym of Śārṅgeṣṭhā. Śārṅgeṣṭhā is indicated in conditions such as stanyaduṣṭi (abscess of breast), śopha (oedema), prameha(diabetes), plīharoga (disorders of spleen), jvara (fever) and kāsa (cough/bronchitis) which corroborates with the folklore uses and also the proven pharmacological activities viz. analgesic, anti inflammatory, diuretic and antidiabetic potentials.

Vāyasī is commented upon as Kākamācī in most places but in Mahānīlaghṛtam, Vāyasī and Kākamācī are both mentioned in the list of ingredients and here the commentator has called Vāyasī as Kākatikta.[36] Hence, Vāyasī is a common synonym for both Kākamācī and Kākatikta/Śārṅgeṣṭhā. P.V. Sharmahas identified Parpaṭī phala ofŚodhala Nighaṇṭu, as P. minima. Śodhala being a Gujrati might have used the regional Gujarati name of P. minima i.e., Parpaṭī.[5],[37] Thakur Balwant Singh also considers Parpaṭakī phala mentioned in Caraka Saṃhitā as P. minima Linn.[38] Cardiospermum helicabum Linn, which is considered by some authors as Śārṅgeṣṭhā is identified as Karṇasphoṭa/Kākamardanikā.[39]


  Conclusion Top


The drug Ṭaṅkārī mentioned in Bhāvaprakāśa is same as the Śārṅgeṣṭhā of the classics. Its scientific name is Physalis minima Linn. Cirapoṭikā and Kākatikta are its synonyms.

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Conflicts of interest

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  References Top

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