Darbha - usage in traditional medicines, beyond the Vedic rituals.


Kusa and Darbha are grasses that form a vital ingredient in various Vedic sacrifices (Yagnas) and rituals. They are found along river beds and plains throughout India and are well known for their medicinal properties as supported by traditional Ayurvedic scriptures and are a vital component in traditional medicinal formulations such as Tripanchamool, Kusadya-ghrita and Kusablecha, etc

Literally and botanically there is some controversy regarding the proper identity of this well known drug. In Vedic and Samhita period both Darbha and Kusha were recognized as two separate drugs, because in several places both have been mentioned together. 

This also indicates these two drugs have certain similar properties, actions and indications. On the basis of these similarities and morphological appearance, the later texts of Ayurveda have mentioned both Darbha and Kusha as synonyms for each other, which is the main origin of controversy among these two drugs.

In some places of Ashtanga Hridaya we may find the words like Kushdvaya and Dvidarbha (dvi means - double) which indicates that two types of Kusha and two types Darbha were mentioned in Astanga Hridaya without differentiation between Kusha and Darbha. 

Dalhana, commentator of Sushruta Samhita and the field botanist of Ayurveda, clearly differentiates Darbha and Kusha as follows. Kusha is small, soft and has leaves like needles (young shoots) while Darbha is thicker with scabrid and longer leaves (S.S.Su.35/75). He also mentioned Darbha and Kusha as synonyms (S.S.Su 38/8).

Herb - Darbha

Ayurvedic Action

Rasa (Taste)Madhura,kasaya
Virya (Energy)Cooling
Vipak (Post-digestive effect)Madhura
Guna (Quality)Light , Unctous
Doshic EffectBalance v-p-K

Health benefits

Urinary health 

Diuretic  property and Cooling property of this drug helps to treat the burning micturition and retention of urine in the renal calculi and cleanse the urinary bladder.

Diabetes

Darbha has a hypoglycemic effect that helps in maintaining euglycemic levels (a normal level of glucose in the blood). 

Diarrhoea and Dysentery

Desmostachya bipinnata root has an antidiarrheal property which is useful for the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. 

Leucorrhoea

Kush is beneficial in getting relief from this. Drinking rice paste from a root of Kush root (2-4 grams) for three days provides relief from leucorrhoea (kusha grass benefits).

Bleeding piles , Menorrhagia

Kusa root mixed with bala root taken with rice water helps to control bleeding.

Dosage and side effects (only after consultation with an ayurvedic doctor).

Part used - Root
Dosage - Decoction - 50-70 ml

Generally there are no side effects of this herb, but should always be taken under the guidance of a physician. (Pregnant and lactating women also).

References

  1. http://www.ayurvedjournal.com/JAHM_201623_08.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665103/

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