Large genus (Elaeocarpus. Linn.) of trees belonging to the family Eleocarpaceae distributed from South and East Asia through Malaysia to Australia and Pacific Islands. About 25 species occur in India. This medium sized tree also occurs in Nepal, Bihar, Bengal, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. But the author has noticed its presence in the Nicobars, especially in Great Nicobar Island. Morphologically, leaves are oblong-lanceolate, subentire, nearly glabrous. Flowers are white in dense racemes, arising mostly from old leaf aisles. Drupe, deep or Bluish purple, globose or obovoid (0.5 - 1.0 in diameter) enclosing a hard, longitudinally grooved, tubercled normally five-celled stone. In which five seeds are embedded.
The stones are cleaned and polished, some times stained and used as beads for rosaries, bracelets and other ornamental objects. They are frequently set in gold and stones with fewer or more than five cells, fetching high prices. Rudraksha beads have mukhas or 'faces' that differ in number and this is what distinguishes them from each other. Almost all beads are five-faced, with a very small percentage being more or less. The therapeutic and spiritual attributes of Rudraksha beads is dependent on the number of 'faces' it exhibits. Beads having a single face to about twenty one faces have been found. The Rudraksha treasured by the followers of the God of the hindu trinity, Siva the Destroyer. According to the Siva Purana, It is impossible to describe adequately, the benefits of wearing a Rudraksha even in a 100 years. In Ayurveda, Rudraksha is useful in the treatment of high blood pressure, allergies, neurological diseases, asthma, diabetes, cancer and many other Raktavaha Srotadhikara (blood circulatory disorders) and Manas Rogas (mental disorders), due to its Guru (heaviness), Snigdha Guna (greasy nature) Madhura Rasa, Madhura Vapaka and Sita Virya (cooling properties) and Vata Pitta samaka pharmacodynamic action. On the basis of above mentioned pharmacodynamic properties and actions the significance of various types of beads of Rudraksha. (Actually it is a phalasthi (fruit) which is the used part of this tree) can be considered as follows. External use-External therapeutic uses of Rudraksha can be performed by Darsana (By looking like tratak in Yoga) and Sparsana (By wearing, and pressing the beads).
The application of lepa of Pancha mukhi beads leads to pacification of Pitta or Dahasamana as like as chandana and apply on Masurika eruption. - Wearing of Eka Mukhi (one faced) beads fulfils desire. - Wearing of Dwi Mukhi (Two faced) ensures control of desires. - Rubbing of Tri Mukhi (three faced) in milk and applied to the eye in eye ailments. - Wearing of Chatur Mukhi (four faced) can increase grasping power and intelligence. - Wearing of Pancha Mukhi (five faced) increases mental peace, normalizes blood circulation. This type is also used as an ornament. - Wearing of Shasta Mukhi (six faced) beads increases memory retention. -Wearing of Sapta Mukhi (seven faced) increases will power. -Wearing of Ashta Mukhi (Eight faced) beads increases concentration, develops knowledge and removes obstacles in proposed plans and works. - Wearing of Dasa Mukhi (Ten faced) useful in spiritual enlightenment and reduces mental stress and strain. Rudraksha is also known as Bhuta Nasana (literally, destroying ghosts) due to its action in relieving mental disorders. Wearing the Rudraksha benefits in various ways depending upon the number of faces. On the basis of pharmacological experiements by experts, it has been proven that Rudraksha is beneficial in the treatment of neurological and mental disorders. It has been found that, smaller or medium sized Rudraksha are most effective for wearing and japam. Moreover, when in japam (meditation with chanting) using the rudraksa mala keeping the beads a little pressed develops a pressure in the thumb and middle finger, improving blood circulation in the eye and brain (Acupressure Theory). They can be worn on the wrist, forearms, neck, chest, head, forehead, earlobes and around the midrib. A Rudraksha mala can be made of 108, 54, 36, 27 or 18 beads. But one must use only the strong, well formed and grooved Rudraksha.
The natural central holed ones are the best. Internal use of Rudraksha Apart from the external uses, Rudraksha is also administered in powdered form in dosage of 3-5 gm or mixed with other Ayurvedic herbs. The internal administration improves their effectiveness and shortens the treatment period. The systemic action of Rudraksha is as follows:- It acts as an anticonvulsant and analgesic on the nervous system. The six-faced beads are particularly effective in the treatment of epilepsy and hysteria, whereas the ten-faced beads are used in reducing mental stress and strain. It is hepatotonic on the gastrointestinal system and is useful in the treatment of jaundice and other hepatic disorders. Three faced beads are useful in curing indigestion. Three faced and five faced beads are effective in the treatment of circulatory system disorders like hypertension. It affects the respiratory system by acting as a bronchodilator and is useful in the treatment of dynsnoea. Three-faced beads are effective in the treatment of asthma, whereas ten-faced beads controls whopping cough. Nine-faced beads are effective in the treatment of urino-genital disorders, and aid in the prevention of miscarriages. Moreover, these beads are also useful in lowering the body temperature and act as an antipyretic agent during fever. Three-faced beads are effective in treating malaria. Ten-faced beads are effective in treating temperature regulation related disorders. Four-faced Rudraksha beads are effective in treating skin disorders. Form of Uses The Rudraksha beads are taken orally and externally in the form of Him (frozen), Kvatham, Milk, Bhasma (ash), Vibhuti, Tailam (oil), Kalkam, Mandap, Kirtanan, Mala etc.
Precautions 1. To maintain its potency Rudraksha beads must be kept off the ground and wrapped in wool or silk when not in use. Cleaning the beads with sandal wood oil once a month is also recommended. 2.The bigger Rudrakshas are the best for both medicinal purposes and worshipping whereas for wearing and japam, smaller sized Rudraksha are more potent. 3. Only the strong, well formed and grooved Rudrakshas are recommended. The natural, central holed ones are the most effective. 4. It is found that Rudraksha must be used for more than 40 days, to achieve the desired results. 5. Before using Rudraksha, one must test its genuineness by the following ways: - The central hole of the rudraksa should be natural - When an original Rudraksha is kept between two clean copper coins, it will move slightly due to the magnetic effect - When a Rudraksha is kept in water, a little heat is discharged after a few hours and the color of water changes - Rudraksha sinks when put in water. As a Rudraksha ages, it loses weight. Only a genuine Rudraksha must be selected as it has great medicinal and spiritual attributes. It is recommended for physical and mental ailments. To verify this recommendation in scientific explanation it is felt by the author to research on evaluation of Rudraksha. References : The wealth of India, Raw Materials, Vol. III, D.E. CSIR New Delhi 1952 Dictionary of Economic Products, DEP - III, 205, Commercial Products (CP) 511 Hooker's Flora of British India (F1. Br. Ind.) I, 400 Kirt & Basu I, 404 Shruti Sharma in Indian Express S.K. Bhattacharya et at. Pharmacological Investigations on Elaeocarpus ganitrus, Plant Media, October 1775 Dravya Guna Vigyan by Priyavrat Sharma Chaukhambha Bharti Academy, 1983. Dr. Raakhee Mehra, M D (Ay.), Ph.D, Officer In-charge, Tribal Health Care Research Project (Ay.), Car Nicobar, A & N Islands, India