Vacha: brain tonic
VACHA is one of the most renowned herbs used for mental disorders and diseases of the nervous system. In Sanskrit vacha literally means speaking. It is a strongly aromatic, semi-aquatic perennial herb with a ginger-like stem which spreads into the ground. This rhizome part of the plant is of medicinal use.
Vacha (botanically known as Acorus calamus; Hindi — Bach) is one of the rare medicines which find mention in the Vedas. Laterday acharyas worked to find more of its benefits not only to the brain and the nervous system but also to other parts of the body. It has been described as bitter and pungent in taste and hot, sharp, dry and light in effect. It alleviates kapha and vata but aggravates pitta. Dry rhizomes of vacha contain a yellow aromatic oil which is volatile. It also has a bitter substance known as acorin.
In the ayurvedic system vacha is used as a nervine tonic and an anti-stammering drug. Experimental studies have shown that it is a potent psycho-pharmacological agent having a positive effect on the memory and the learning process. Many ancient texts have described vacha as an anti epileptic and anti-hysteric herb. It is also known to possess carminative, digestive, diuretic and mildly sedative properties.
Though as a psychotropic medicine vacha is beneficial in cases of anxiety and depression, it is best used as a nervine tonic.
Ayurvedic texts suggest that it is the premium herb to be used in cases of mental retardation, stupor, syncope and epilepsy. It is helpful in many other problems like anorexia, chronic gas trouble, hypertension, sluggishness of the liver — and also in skin diseases. As a household remedy some of the common uses of vacha are as under:
Combine in equal amounts the powders of vacha, shankhpushpi and brahmi. Half a teaspoonful of this powder mixed with one teaspoonful of honey, if taken daily, is a good adjunct in the cases of epilepsy and mental retardation. Taking with warm water, half a pinch of the vacha powder works well in the loss of appetite, flatulence, distaste, dull abdominal pain and worms. It is a herb of choice to be used in the case of loud eructations.
The powder of vacha and white sandal makes a very effective face-pack in the treatment of blemishes and pimples. In many Indian homes, customarily, vacha is administered with honey in a minute quantity to infants on the 11th and 21st days of birth. It is believed that this practice helps the child to be mentally active and vocal.
Classic ayurvedic formulations like sarswatarishta and sarswata churna contain vacha as the chief ingredient and are used for the promotion of memory and also in the treatment of many psychiatric problems. As a single drug, the dose of vacha powder is 125 mg to 500 mg. Its overdose can induce vomiting and such a situation can be managed by giving the powder of saunf with lime water. Different varieties of vacha are available in the market, but the best of them is known as ghorha bach.