Prospects of Bergenia : a medicinal herb (Pashanbhed)
Authors: Preeti choudhary1, Parshant Bakshi 2 and Rafiq Ahmad2
1School of Biotechnology, University of Jammu, 2 Division of Fruit Science, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of Jammu,180009
Corresponding author:,

1. Introduction

The Genus Bergenia is a small group of hardy perennials growing wild plant found from Afghanistan to southeast Tibet and the Himalayas. These plant form clumps of large, evergreen leaves, which have leathery texture, and clusters of small flowers. Bergenia species are evergreen herb belonging to the family saxifragaceae. The rhizomes of these plants are used in the indigenous system of medicines. Bergenia consists of many different active compounds including bergenin, norbergenin, catechin, gallic acid, arbutin and other polyphenols. . There are three species of Bergenia, namely B. ligulata, B. ciliata and B. Stracheyi that are found in India. The use of various names attributed to it, viz., Pashanbheda (in general), Pashana, Zakhmehayat (in Kashmir), Asmaribheda, Ashmabhid, Ashmabhed, Nagabhid, Upalbhedak, Parwatbhed and Shilabhed (dissolving or piercing stones or slabs) etc, its medicinally used part is rhizome.

Bergenia , a genus included in the family Saxifragaceae, is a valuable source of healing matters. About 30 Bergenia species are known all over the world. Scientific research is focused on five species mainly distributed in the mountains of Central and East Asia: Bergenia ciliate, Bergenia stracheyi, Bergenia crassifolia, Bergenia ligulata and Bergenia himalaica Boriss. These taxons belong to the widely used medicinal herbs in the traditional Indian, Nepalese and Chinese medicine, for therapy of cough and pulmonary diseases, to stop bleeding, to increase immunity and to dissolve kidney or bladder stones. Bergenia consists of many different active compounds including bergenin, norbergenin, catechin, gallic acid, arbutin and other polyphenols. Individual parts of this plant demonstrate an interesting biological activity, and antibacterial, antiviral, cytoprotective and antioxidant effects.

Pashanbheda or stone breaker is a well known Indian drug referred to botanical name Bergenia ligulata. This plant already has been recognized for its role in dissolving kidney stone. Its pharmacological activity are antidiabetic, antipyretic, hepatoprotective, anticancer, antiprotozoal, diuretic, cardiovascular, antiscorbutic, antilithiatic, anti-inflammatory due to phytochemicals Bergenin, Pashaanolactone,β-Sitosterol, Stigmesterol, Tannic acid, Gallic acid, Parasorbic acid, Isovaleric acid, 1,8-cineole present in Pashanbheda The rhizome and other parts of B. ligulata is used in urinary bladder stone, diuretic activity, anti-bradykinin activity, antiviral activity, antipyretic activity, antibacterial, anti inflammatory, hepatoprotective activity, insecticidal activity, α-glucosidase activity and all these activities of the plant is due to presence of its constituents like; β-Sitosterol, Tannic acid, Stigmesterol, Gallic acid, Bergenin, (+)- Afzelechin, (+)-afzelechin, (+)-afzelechin tetraccetate, (+)-5,7,4’-trimethoxyafzelechin, (+)-tetramethoxyazelechin, (+)-3-acetyl-5,7,4'-trimethoxyafzelechin. The second species is B ciliata, have antitussive, antiulcer, antioxidant, antibacterial, hypoglycemic, toxicological activity. The plant contains Tannic acid, Gallic acid, Glucose, Metarbin, Albumen, Bergenin, (+)-Catechin, Gallicin and Gallic acid B. stracheyi is third species shows DPPH radical scavenging activity, antimicrobial and xanthine oxidase inhibitory activities. It also used in arthritis. The main chemical constituent of the species is Bergenin.

2. Prospectus:

Medicinal Fields:

Bergenia is one of the most important folk medicinal herbs, in India; it is often used for treating cough, stop bleeding, increasing immunity. The rhizomes of bergenia have been used for centuries in the Ayurvedic formulations to dissolve kidney and bladder stones. In fact, the whole plant of Bergenia can be used in medicine, but its active ingredients were mainly focused on polyphenols, among which bergenin is studied.

Edible and cosmetic:

As for food aspect, Bergenia has many kinds of amino acids and mineral elements which are helpful in health care. Additionally, arbutin contained in Bergenia are beneficial for diuresis and antibiosis and thus, it can be used as the disinfectant of urine. At same time, it can inhibit degradation of insulin. For cosmetic application, the ingredient arbutin can make skin whiten and be manufactured into cosmetic brightening agent, because it can prevent tyrosinase within skin from taking effect.

3. Bergenia ligulata

Bergenia ligulata commonly known as Pashanbhed belonging to family Saxifragaceae is distributed in temperate Himalayas from Kashmir to Bhutan and in Khasia hills.

Importance and Uses in Ayurveda : Himalayas are rich in biodiversity and home of several medicinal plants. Our ancestor were aware of the medicinal values of Pashanbheda and proves are our ancient literatures like Ayurveda, Charaka Samhita, Susrata Samhita and Vagbhata which were known as divine truth of this plant. Bergenia ligulata is used as a medicine in different diseases as described:

Ayurveda : Leaf juice in urinary troubles, cold, hemorrhagic disease, distension of stomach and epilepsy.

Sushruta Samhita : In stones and sugars.

Charak Samhita : Useful in urinary complaints and stones.

Unani : In dissolving stones.

Chakradatta : In urinary troubles and stones.

Rajnighantu : In urinary disease.

Bhavaprakash : Astringent, bitter and sweet, purifies the urinary bladder

The plant contains bergenin, azelechin, pashaanolactone, β-sitosterol, Stigmesterol, Tannic acid, gallic acid, Parasorbic acid, Isovaleric acid and 1,8-cineole. Crushed rhizomes are used for treating chronic ulcers. Rhizome powder is used to increase aphrodisiac activity. Leaves and rhizome powder is boiled in water and given for cough and cold. Pashanbhed had reported to show antiviral, antilithic, diuretic, and antibacterial, anti inflammatory and anti-bradykinin activity Rhizome of the plant is used in kidney and gall bladder stone.Urolithic activity of B.ligulata reveals that it inhibits crystal growth of calcium oxalate monohydrate which is the mineral found in most of the kidney stones. Drug consists of rhizome of B.ligulata. It is employed as an ingredient of drug formulation used in dissolving kidney and bladder stones (nephro/ Cisto lithiasis) leucorrhoea, piles. The main preparations are pashenbhed kwatha, pashenbhed ghriti.

Pashanbhed is bitter in taste, cold in potency and laxative it cures dysuria, prameha (obstinate urinary disorders) disease of the female genital tract and ulcers. In Ayurveda, its roots are known for their acid, bitter, cooling and laxative properties which are used in tridosha in piles, tumours, calculi, urinary discharges, heart diseases, enlargement of spleen, ulcers and dysentery while tonic are useful in hydrophobia, spleenic enlargement, menorrhagia ad biliousness. After bruising these are applied to boils and in opthalmia, in case of constipation, its root paste is taken with luke warm water.

It is also used in unani system of medicines, these are known to be alexiteric, astringent, diuretic tonic. Therapeutic uses of Bergenia ligulata in case of calculus (asmari), Excessive flow of urine (meha), Dysuria (mutrakicchra) are known in ayurveda. Frilly bergenia is widely used plant as an traditional medicine for treatment of urolithiasis or kidney stones. It is an effective remedy for haemoohoids, diarrhea, dysentery, heart diseases, raktapitta and splenic disorders. It relieves the obstructed phlegm in respiratory catarrh like cough and colds. Pashenbhed is useful as an antidote in opium poisoning. Bergenia ligulata powder pacifies all the three doshas so it is very useful in conditions of Tridosha involvement.

Uses of Pashenbhed Powder in Ayurveda:

• Basti Shodhana: In Ayurveda; the word Basti stands for Urinary bladder but here it is about the whole urinary system. Pashanbhed Powder is one of the best Ayurveda herbs for urinary system.

• Ashmari Bhedana: In Ayurveda Ashmari means kidney stones and Bhedana means to break; more than this; Pashanbhed itself means an Ayurveda herb which breaks down the kidney stones. So it is one of the best Ayurveda supplement for kidney stones.

• Arsha hanta: It is a proven fact that a supplement useful for urinary system also improves working of the digestive system as well as that of reproductive system. Arsha i.e. the piles are the resultant of disturbed digestive system. So it is also a recommended Ayurveda herb for piles.

• Mutra krichchha hanta: Pashanbhed Powder not simply helps in breaking the kidney stones it also benefits in over all working of the urinary system. Thus Bergenia ligulata Powder is a recommended Ayurveda supplement for painful urination.

• Yoni Rogan hara: As said above; Pashanbhed Powder also nourishes and corrects the working of reproductive organs. It is an important Ayurveda supplement for gynecological problems.

• Prameha hara: In Ayurveda; word Prameha stands for the metabolic disorders specially diabetes. Pashanbhed Powder is of great value as a dietary supplement for diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

Pliha hara: As said above Pashanbhed Powder is one of the best Ayurveda herb for metabolic disorders and spleen and liver are directly concerned with the metabolism so

Bergenia ligulata Powder is also a useful dietary supplement for liver and spleen diseases specially enlarged spleen.


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About Author / Additional Info:
Working as Research Associate at SKUAST-J. Worked on different medicinal and herbal plants at Jammu University for medicinal properties and additional properties