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Capsule Bala

Latin name: Sida Cordifolia
Family: Malvaceae
Common name: Bala
English name: Country mallow


Habitat: Grows wild along roadsides throughout the tropical and sub-tropical plains of India and Sri Lanka.
Macroscopic identification: a shrub 2-5 feet in height, with thick roots and stem. Leaves are elliptical in shape and flowers are white/yellow in color
Parts used: Roots, leaves, seeds and stems
Pharmacological action: Stem is used as a demulcent, emollient, febrifuge, diuretic and in skin disorders. Roots are used in rheumatism, leucorrhea, inflammation and liver diseases. Leaves are analgesic, aphrodisiac, demulcent, diuretic, nervine, rejuvenative, stimulant and tonic.
Actions and uses in ayurveda: tridosharam, asthi jwaraharam, netrdosh hara, vrishyam, rasayan, balya.

Photochemical: The whole plant (including leaves, seeds, stems and roots) contains about 0.085% alkaloids. The seeds contain 0.32% of alkaloid. The seeds contain more alkaloids that that is found in either the stems, roots or leaves. The whole plant also contains fatty oil, phytosterol, mucins, potassium nitrate, and resins

No tannin or glucoside is found. 

The stem of this plant contains a number of active compounds, including small amounts of an essential oil, and most important, 1-2% alkaloids composed mainly of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, with ephedrine ranging from 30-90%, depending on the source. Sida cordifolia extract contains 0.8% to 1.2% of the alkaloid ephedrine

Furthermore, Sida cordifolia contains other bronchodilating principles which ephedra does not have in particular vasicinone, vasicine, and vasicinol. Ayurveda physicians use it as an antipyretic in febrile and infectious diseases. Sida cordifolia is also useful in the treatment of chronic broncho-pulmonary conditions characterized by bronchospasm and cough

Properties and action:
Rasa: madhura
Guna: laghu, snigdh, pichhil
Virya: sita
Vipaka: madhura
Karma: balya
Indications: it is useful in pulmonary tuberculosis and rheumatism

Preparations: powder, oil, paste, and decoction

Therapeutic classification index:

  • Central nervous system: It is used for nervous diseases, facial paralysis, and sciatica. It is very efficacious in curing those diseases when they are due to inflammation of the nerves
  • Cardiovascular system: it is cardio protective
  • Digestive system: Seeds are used in gonorrhea, cystitis, piles, colic and tenesmus.
  • Respiratory system: Sida cordifolia has been used for over 2,000 years to treat bronchial asthma cold & flu, chills, lack of perspiration, headache, nasal congestion, cough & wheezing.
  • Skin: In infusion they are prescribed in fevers as a cooling medicine and to check bloody fluxes, for elephantiasis
  • Genito-urinary system: Juice of the whole plant pounded with a little water is given for spermatorrhoea, and gonorrhea in males and leucorrhea in females
  • Musculoskeletal system: Juice of the whole plant pounded with a little water is given for rheumatism
  • Eye: cooling leaves are applied in ophthalmia

Bala- as a cardiac stimulant
Indian scientists in 1930 reported the presence of a sympathomimetic alkaloid in this herb whose pharmacological action closely resembled that of ephedrine and they thought that the alkaloid was undoubtedly ephedrine. Later work has shown that the sympathomimetic alkaloid had showed all the chemical and physical characteristics of ephedrine. This explains the widespread use of this herb in Ayurveda as a cardiac stimulant. Scientists have also reported that the pharmacological action of this herb caused marked and persistent rise of blood pressure in anaesthetised or decerebrated animals The effects of ephedra are generally attributed to the alkaloid "ephedrine" which produces central nervous system (CNS) stimulation, peripheral vasoconstriction, elevation of blood pressure, bronchodilation, cardiac stimulation, and a decrease of intestinal tone & motility, among other effects. According to Dr. Albert Leung in his second edition of "Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics" (John Wiley & Sons, 1995), the central stimulant action of ephedrine appears to be mediated by '1-adrenoceptors', and not by 'dopamine receptors'. He also notes that pseudoephedrine has similar activities as ephedrine, except that its hypertensive and central nervous system effects are weaker.

Antimicrobial activities of bala
Studies done on rats suggest S. cordifolia has antibacterial, anti fungal and antiviral activity. Anti protozoal activity against E histolytica and anti-helminthic activity against H. nana and A. galli has also been demonstrated. Anticancer activity was seen against human nasopharyngeal carcinoma (in tissue culture) and lymphoid leukemia and Sarcoma 180 in mice

Dose: powder-3-6 gms fresh juice: 10-20 ml
Capsule Bala contains pure and powder of Bala
Dosage: one capsule twice a day.
Package 60 capsules

References:

  1. Prof P.V Sharma, Dravya Guna Vigyana, Vol II, pg 735
  2. Dr.KM Nadkarni, The Indian Materia Medica, Vol.I, pg 1137
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