Botanical Name:
Hemidesmus indicus
Anantha, shariva, shyama, krishodhari, chandanaa, gopi
Malayalam name:
Description Of plant:

Slender, twiner with terete stem
Leaves : broadly ovate to oblong-elliptic, linear or linear lanceolate
Flowers: Small, yellow or greenish purple subsessile cymes
Fruit : follicles


Swetha and krishna
H. indicus & Ichnocarpus frutescens respectively


Rasa- Madhura tiktham
Guna- Guru, snigdhm
Virya- Sheetham
Vipaka- Madhuram
Karma- Tridoshaharam, grahi

Jwara, kantu, premeha, kaasa, shwasa, udara, aruchi
Parts Used:
Choornam: 3-6gm
Infusion: 50-100ml; Paste: 5-10gm
Pinda taila, sharibadyasavam, pippalyaadi grutham,
Chemical constituents:
Rutin, desinine, b-sitosterol, hemidesminine



Sariva has been used to treat a vast range of ailments through ages. Especially, it is popular mainly for its blood purifying and cooling attributes. Because of its beautiful fragrance, it is also known as sugandha. Maharishi Charka refers to it as one of the potent panacea for Rakta pitta – bleeding disorder and diarrhea. Samhita, It has been classified under the sugandhi dravyas (aromatic drugs), varnya dravyas (complexion improving herbs) and dahaprasamana (herb relieving burning sensation on the skin) (Caraka Samhita, Sutra, A-4). Sariva is traditionally given to pregnant women, who have a tendency of abortion, to help to secure the fetal growth, with great benefit.

The plant grows all over India and Sri Lanka. A twining shrub grows 1.5-3 meters tall, with very slender, woody stems. The branches are much elongated, whip-like, simple and smooth. The leaves are opposite, dark-green, smooth and variable in form viz. elliptic, oblong to linear lanceolate, apiculate. The size of the leaves vary from 2.5 cm x 10 cm to 0.5 x 4 cm. The flowers small, crowded in sub sessile cymes. The fruits are scylindrical, 10 cm long, 2 widely divaricated follicles, tapering at the apex. The seeds are numerous and brownish black. The tuberous roots, dark brown in colour and fragrant like camhor, when fresh.

In ayurvedic Samhita, two kinds of sarvia namely Svetasariva (white) and Krsnasariva (black) are mentioned. Their botanical names are Hemidesmus indicus and Cryptolepis buchani respectively. Sariva belongs to family Asclepiadaceae. The white variety of sariva is commonly used in medicines. It grows all over India and Sri Lanka. The roots are used for medicinal purpose. The components isolated from its roots are an essential oil containing 80% hydroxyl -4 methoxy- benzaldehyde, fatty acids, a ketone, saponin, tannis, resin acids, sterol, sterol, stigmasterol and sarsapic acid. Detection of hexatriacontane, lupeol, its octacosanoate, amyrin, its acetate and sitosterol in roots by chromatography. A new pregnancies ester diglycoside – desinine – isolated from twigs and characterized.

Ayurvedic Properties
Sariva has sweet and bitter tastes, sweet in post digestive effect and cold potency. It alleviates vata, kapha and pitta – all the doshas. It has snigdha and guru (heavy) attributes. The roots are refrigerant, demulcent, aphrodisiac, appetizer, expectorant and tonic. It is effectively used in vitiated conditions of pitta, burning sensation, bronchitis, asthma, pruritus, skin diseases, leucorrhoea, fever, diarrhea, dysentery and general debility. It tackles the digestive problems, especially, due to ama the toxins in undigested food.

It is used internally as well as externally. The paste of the root is applied on the skin in cases of swelling associated with burning sensation due to pitta. The fresh juice, instilled in the eyes, help to alleviate burning sensation of eyes in conjunctivitis. It works well in acne, when applied by it or in combination with yasthimadhu, candana, jatamansi, to improve the complexion of the skin and mitigate dispigmentation.

Sariva is used with great advantage, internally, in a number of gastrointestinal problems such as loss of appetite, poor digestion, distaste, diarrhea and dysentery. It is used for generations to alleviate burning sensations of hands feet, eye, and ear especially due to vitiated pitta.

Being a very effective blood purifier, it ameliorates many skin diseases viz. scabies, ringworm, urticaria etc. Sarvia detoxifies ama, hence is very beneficial in gout, arthritis, chronic rheumatic disorders, glandular swellings. The decoction of the roots is used to increase the amount of urine in burning micturation with excellent results.

Another attribute of this herb, which is appealing to women, is its ability to purify and increase the quantity of breast milk. Sariva decoction is recommended during antenatal period to stabilize the foetus and to prevent abortion. The herb is also used in fevers of pitta type. It stimulates the production of reproductive hormones in males and has a tonic effect in sexual debility. As a blood purifier, sariva combines well with guduchi or manjistha. The decoction of sariva is recommended in asthma and cough for expectoration of the phlegm.

Ayurvedic Preparations
Sarivadi vati
Sarivadi kvatha etc.



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