Bala, Indian Country Mallow
Bala, what gives strength, owing to its strong tonic properties
Part used: Mainly root
Energetics: Sweet/Cooling/Sweet VPK = K and Ama+(in excess)
Tissues: works on the all tissue elements, especially marrow or nerve tissue
Systems: circulatory, nervous, urinary, reproductive
Actions: tonic, rejuvenative, aphrodisiac, demulcent, diuretic, stimulant, nervine, analgesic, vulnerary
Indications: heart disease, facial paralysis, sciatica, insanity, neuralgia, rheumatism, asthma, emaciation, exhaustion, sexual debility, cystitis, dysentery, leucorrhea, chronic fevers, convalescence
Precaution: few, congestive disorders of high ama or kapha
Preparation: decoction, milk decoction, powder (250mg to 1 g), paste, medicated oil
Ayurvedic medicine uses several varieties of the Mallow family – like marshmallow – as tonics, demulcents, and rejuvenatives.
Bala is a tonic and Rasayana for all kinds of Vata disorders. It feeds the nerves and is soothing for arthritic pain. It is also rejuvenative, nutritive and a stimulant to the heart. For deep seated intermittent fevers, it can be given with ginger or black pepper. It relieves inflammation of nerve tissue.
Externally, as a medicated oil, it is good for nerve pain and numbness, and its softening action dispels muscle cramps. As a milk decoction with sugar, it is good nutritive and aphrodisiac. It promotes healing of tissue in chronic infectious diseases.
There are Bala, Mahabala (Sida rhombifolia), and atibala (Abutilon indicum), as well as Cotton Root, the root of the cotton plant – though they possess similar properties, Bala is a more effective heart tonic, and atibala is a stronger diuretic, while cotton root is heating and is a stronger emmenagogue.
Reference: The Yoga of Herbs (An Ayurvedic Guide To Herbal Medicine) by Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad
*picture credit: Cyril Crusson
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