Chaturushana – Group Of Four Spices: Uses, Side Effects, Research

Chaturushana is a group of four herbs containing Shunti, Maricha, Pippali and Pippali moola (root of Pippali plant). Hence trikatu with pippali mula combined together is called as chaturushana. The word Chaturushana is derived from Chatu – Four and Ushana – hot in potency.

All the four herbs contain similar pharmaco – dynamic action like Ushna veerya (Hot potency) and Katu vipaka (Pungent taste after digestion). Acharya Bhavaprakasha was the first scholar to classify these herbs into the group called as Chaturushana in the 1st chapter of Hareetakyadi varga.

Latin name and family of the herbs in the group:
Shunti – Zingiber officinale; Zingiberaceae
Maricha – Piper nigrum; Piperaceae
Pippali – Piper longum; Piperaceae
Pippali moola – Root of Pippali 

Preparation of Chaturushana powder:
In many of the ayurvedic formulations, chaturushana is used in powder form. All the four herbs, after drying properly, are taken individually and powdered into fine form using pulveriser or grinder. Later they are taken in equal quantity and mixed properly.

Shelf life of the product: Due to the vacuum/air tight packing done by the manufactures, the powder can be stored for about 10 – 12 months but once the packing is opened, the powder is to be used within 3 – 4 months for better result. On exposure to moisture, the powder will lose its potency quickly and spoil.

Uses as per traditional Ayurveda Books –
The qualities are similar to Trikatu – Pepper, long pepper and ginger, but a little higher.
Deepana – improves digestion strength
Indicated in the treatment of
Shwasa – asthma and chronic respiratory disorders
Kasa – cough, cold
Kushta – skin diseases
Gulma – Tumors of the abdomen
Meha – diabetes, urinary tract disorders
Sthaulya – Obesity
Meda – cholesterol, fat
Shleepada – Elephantiasis
Peenasa – rhinitis

Quality of chaturushana:
Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent)
Guna (Qualities) Laghu (Light for digestion), Ruksha (Dry), Teekshna (Strong)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes Pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphavata shamaka (reduces vitiated kapha and vata dosha)

Part used – Fruit (Pippali and Maricha), Rhizome/ Root (Shunti and Pippali moola)
Dose: About 2 – 3 g in divided dose/day

Anupana: Usually honey is the co drink during the intake of chaturushana choorna. Honey will reduce the hot potency of the powder and aid in the action of the herbal powder.

Chemical content:
Several aristolactams and di oxoaporphines have been isolated from Indian long pepper. It also contains the long chain isobutyl amide, longamide, besides guineensine and the lignans, pluviatilol, methyl pluviatilol, sesamin and asarinine.

In pepper, Piperine is the major alkaloid. Apart from it, the fruit yielded piperatine and piperidine; amides, piperyline, piperoleins A and B, and N – iso – butyl – cicosa – trans – 2 – trans – 4 – dienamide.

The rhizome of ginger contains an essential oil containing monoterpenes, mainly geranial andneral; and sesquiterpenes, mainly beta – sesquiphellandrene, beta – bisabolene, arcurcumene and alpha – zingiberene; pungent principles, consisting of gingerols, shogaols and related phenolic ketone derivatives. Other constituents include diaryl heptenones, diterpenes, gingesulphonic acid and mono acyldi galactosyl glycerols.

Main action of Chaturushan:
Deepana – it improves digestion strength.
Shleshmaghna – it balances Kahpa dosha.
Medoghna – it burns fat. Reduces cholesterol levels

Jwaraghna – reduces fever
Kushta – useful in skin diseases.
Peenasa – useful in running nose, allergic rhinitis
Jayet Arochakam – relieves anorexia.
Ama – useful to relieve ama (a state of indigestion).
Meha – useful in diabetes
Gulma – useful in abdominal tumor, bloating
Galamaya – useful in throat infection and diseases

Uses of Chaturusana:

  • 2 – 3 g of chaturushana powder is mixed with honey and consumed to treat respiratory diseases like cough, asthma and allergic rhinitis.
  • 2 – 3 g of chaturusan powder added in a glass of hot water or buttermilk is consumed to treat anorexia, indigestion and fever associated with indigestion.
  • Powder of chaturushanam is mixed with cow urine and made into paste and this paste is applied over joints having pain and inflammation as part of treatment.
  • Chaturushana powder in a dose of 2 – 3 g is mixed with about 30 ml of castor oil to cause purgation and treat condition of intestinal worm.
  • Intake of chaturushana powder in a dose of 2 g with manjishta kashaya and tila taila is used as part of treatment for skin diseases.
  • Diarrhea caused due to indigestion can be treated by giving 2 g of chaturushana powder mixed with buttermilk.

Contraindication: People suffering from peptic ulcer, gastritis, reflux disorders are advised not to take this powder as it may further aggravate the condition.

Research articles related to Chaturushana:
Anti – oxidative and anti – cancer action:
The anticancer potential of ginger is well documented and its functional ingredients like gingerols, shogaol, and paradols are the valuable ingredients which can prevent various cancers.

As appetite stimulant: This study was conducted to evaluate the action of trikatu as appetite stimulant. The symptoms like weak digestion, heaviness of head, excess salivation, gurgling sound in the abdomen etc were graded and studied. At the end of the study it was proved that trikatu churna acts like appetite stimulant by reducing the above said symptoms.

Anthelmintic action: The present study was done with the aim to evaluate anthelmintic activity of Trikatu churna containing traditionally user herbs viz., Piper nigrum L. (Piperaceae), Piper longum L. (Piperaceae) and rhizome of Zingiber officinale Roscoe using adult earthworm Pheritima posthuma. All these three ingredients are spicy, commonly used in our daily diet, also well known for their tremendous therapeutic potential, since from the Vedic period. The aqueous and ethanolic extract of Trikatu churna and its ingredients were also screened for preliminary phytochemical studies. Piperazine citrate was used as standard and it was found that the TCEE activity is higher than TCAE.

Anti – inflammatory action: The present study has beenundertaken to evaluate the anti – inflammatory activity of two varieties of Pippali in acute and sub – acute experimental models of inflammation in albino rats. Among the two different test samples studied, it was found that Chhoti variety of Pippalisuppressed inflammation of both acute and sub – acute phase, while Badi variety of Pippali only of acute phase.

Ayurvedic formulations containing Chaturushana:
There is not much formulation containing chaturushana but formulation containing trikatu has shunti, maricha and pippali, except root of long pepper.
Read related – Trikatu Churna – Benefits, Dose, Side Effects

Author:  Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: drprashanthbk@gmail.com
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