Shirisha (Albizzia lebbeck Benth.)
Shirisha consists of the powder of the bark of Albizzia lebbeck, a large, deciduous tree, which is found all over India up to 900 meters in the Himalayas.
It grows wild especially in the moist and dry deciduous forests.
The bark of the tree is thick and dark or brownish grey with numerous short irregular cracks. The seeds are oval or oblong, pale brown, smooth with a hard testa.
Shirisha is described as one of the best Vishaghna (anti-toxin) drugs in Ayurvedic texts. Clinical studies show that Shirisha acts as an antidote to animal poisons which are histaminic in nature and are also responsible for the production of allergic dermatitis, urticaria and anaphylactic shock.
Composition - Shirisha powder is prepared from its bark for oral use and decoction for washing the affected skin
English name - Siris tree, East Indian walnut, Kokko
Latin name - Albizzia lebbeck Benth.
Family - Fabaceae
Plant part used - Stem bark
Dosage form - Grayish-brown powder or warm dark brown liquid having bitter taste.
Therapeutic properties - Shirisha bark is anti-protozoal, anti-histaminic, anti-allergic, antifungal, analgesic, anti-anaphylactic, anti-bacterial, central nervous system depressant and bronchodilator.
Indications and uses - The bark is useful in allergic and chronic skin diseases including various kinds of eczema.
Precaution and safety aspects -
(1) Clinical and experimental studies have indicated the absence of any serious toxicity if normal dose of Shirisha is used.
(2) Its safety in pregnancy is not proven. Therefore, it must be used cautiously. However, it is safe for the baby if a nursing mother is taking this medication.
(3) As it has mild spermicidal activity, its use in oligospermic persons should be avoided.