Journal of Indian System of Medicine

: 2022  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 241--250

External applications of Shigru (Moringa oleifera Lam): A comprehensive review

Swati K Gavadiya1, Tarun Sharma2, Vidhi M Bapna1,  
1 Post Graduate Department of Dravyaguna, J. S. Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, Nadiad, India
2 Post Graduate Department of Dravyaguna, National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur, India

Correspondence Address:
Swati K Gavadiya
Post Graduate Department of Dravyaguna, J. S. Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, Nadiad, Gujarat


Background: Plants are the main source of medicine in traditional system of medicines like Ayurveda. In Ayurvedic literature, there are indications of Basti (drug administration through anal route) and Nasya (drug administration through nasal route) along with oral route. Similarly, for external application, there were many forms such as lepa (external application of paste), Aschyotana (eye drops), Anjana (collyrium), etc. The Ayurveda literature is a treasure of many formulations that can be therapeutically used through various routes in Netra roga (eye disorders), Karna roga (ear disorders), Kustha (skin diseases), Apsmara (epilepsy), Galganda (goitre), and Slipada (elephantiasis). Systematic monographs of single drugs can be very useful for clinical application. Moringa oleifera is a single drug, which is abundantly available as well as therapeutically efficacious; this review is an appraisal to compile and present the external therapeutic uses of Shigru (Moringa oleifera Lam). Aim: The aim of the study was to review the Ayurvedic literature to collect information regarding the external therapeutic use of various parts of Shigru. Materials and Methods: Extensive review of Shigru involves the study of Veda, Samhita, Chikitsa granth, Ayurvedic compendia, and various databases like database of India, etc., regarding various formulations, dosage form, indications, and useful parts. Result: During the literature survey, a total of 149 formulations in 145 dosage forms of Shigru have been recommended for 24 diseases. Conclusions: Shigru is extensively useful for external application, and based on the information presented in this literature survey, it can be therapeutically used in many diseases as well as novel formulations and dosage forms using Shigru (Moringa oleifera Lam).

How to cite this article:
Gavadiya SK, Sharma T, Bapna VM. External applications of Shigru (Moringa oleifera Lam): A comprehensive review.J Indian Sys Medicine 2022;10:241-250

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Gavadiya SK, Sharma T, Bapna VM. External applications of Shigru (Moringa oleifera Lam): A comprehensive review. J Indian Sys Medicine [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 31 ];10:241-250
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Full Text


As per Charaka Samhita, while describing the components of therapeutics, drug has been placed on the second position after physician.[1] From the ancient time, plant, minerals, and animals are the source of medicine. In classical Ayurveda texts, various medicinal plants and their medicinal uses have been described extensively. Rigveda documented Shigru as a domestic plant. It is applied externally mixed with butter in krimi rogas.[2] Ayurveda classics have abundant references for the external and internal uses of Shigru. Generally, its bark is useful for krimi rogas, seeds are used for Nasya karma, and leaves are used for Sveda.[3]Bhavaprakash Nighantu described Shigru leaves as Sukrala, and its seeds are Avrisya.[4]

Shigru (Moringa oleifera Lam) is a small- or medium-sized tree with corky, soft, thick, deeply fissured bark, and soft wood. Leaves are tripinnate compound, leaflets are elliptic, flowers are bisexual, irregular, fragrant, white in color, and in large panicles. Pods are green in color, 1–1.7 ft or more in length, pendulous, and triangular ribbed. Seeds are trigonous and winged.

According to Sushruta Samhita, two types of Shigru were mentioned: (1) Shigru (white) and (2) Shigruka (red).[5] In Bhavaprakash Nighantu, three varieties of Shigru were mentioned: (1) Shyama (black)—Grahi, (2) Shweta (white)—Dahakara, and (3) Rakta (red)—Saraka.[6]Raj Nighantu also described three types of Shigru, i.e., Shweta Shigru (Moringa oleifera Lam), Rakta Shigru (Moringa Concanensis Nimmo), and Nila shigru[7] (yet to be identified). Thus, Shigru whose popularity for medicinal usage is on its peak, nowadays, needed a thorough literature survey from the ancient literature to dig up its more therapeutic uses for health benefit of community at large.

This article presents a systematic review about the external therapeutic application of Shigru.

 Materials and Methods

For this literary study, information regarding the external applications of Shigru was reviewed from 27 texts. Among them, 14 classical texts have references regarding the external application of Shigru, which are enlisted below: (1) Charaka Samhita (C.S.),[8] (2) Sushruta Samhita (S.S.),[5] (3) Ashtanga Samgraha (A.S.),[9] (4) Ashtanga Hridaya (A.H.),[10] (5) Kashyapa Samhita (K.S.),[11] (6) Bhela Samhita (B.S.),[12] (7) Harita Samhita (H.S.),[13] (8) Chakradatta (Chak.),[14] (9) Vangasena Samhita (V.S.),[15] (10) Sharangdhara Samhita (S.S.),[16] (11) Bhavaprakasha Samhita (B.S.),[6] (12) Yogaratnakara (Y.R.),[17] (13) Bhaishyajya Ratnavali (B.R),[18] (14) Bharata Bhaisajya Ratnakara (B.B.R.).[19]Shigru is also reviewed from other 13 texts for collecting more detailed information: (15) Rigveda,[2] (16) Bhavaprakash Nighantu,[4] (17) Raj Nighantu,[7] (18) Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India,[20] (19) Ayurvedic Formulary of India,[21] (20) Madhava Dravyaguna,[22] (21) Dhanvantari Nighantu,[23] (22) Kaideva Nighantu,[24] (23) Madanpala Nighantu,[25] (24) Priya Nighantu,[26] (25) Madanadi Nighantu,[27] (26) Dravyaguna Vijnana part 2,[8] and others.

 Results and Discussion

During the literary study, which was done as per the above given methodology, it was observed that Shigru has been used as an ingredient in a total of 149 formulations for the clinical management of various diseases. The disease-wise external application of Shigru is as below:

Netra roga (eye disorders): A total of 47 formulations for Netra roga have Shigru as an ingredient. Among them, Anjana (21) has been reported maximum time followed by Aschyotana (12), Pindi (one), Kwath (one), Sek (three), Varti (one), Dhoopa (one), Churna (one), Swarasa (one), and Taila (one). The details are given in [Table 1].

Karna roga (ear disorders): To manage Karna roga, a total of 29 formulations have Sahijana as an ingredient, which includes different dosage form. Among them, Taila (12) reported maximum followed by Swarasa (10), Lepa (three), Karnapoorana (one), Kwath (one), and Dhoopa (one) [Table 2].

Kustha (skin disease): A total of 12 formulations of shigru have been found to be indicated in Kustha roga. Out of them, Taila (six) is reported maximum time followed by Lepa (three), Pralepa (two), and Churna (one) in the treatment of Kustha [Table 3].

Apasmar (epilepsy): A total of eight formulations having Sahijana as an ingredient, were reported to be useful in Apasmar. Among them, Taila (five) is reported maximum followed by Lepa (two) and Swarasa (one) [Table 4].

Galganda (goitre): Seven formulations having Shobhanjana as an ingredient were indicated in Galaganda. Out of them, Lepa (four) is reported maximum time, Kalka (one), Pradeha (one), and Pralepa (one) [Table 5].

Slipada (elephantiasis): Shigru was an integral ingredient of seven formulations, which were indicated in Slipada: out of them Lepa (four), Pralepa (two), and Kalka (one) in the management of Slipada [Table 6].

Khalli–Visuchika: A total of six yoga have Shigru as an ingredient, which includes two different dosage form: Churna (four) and Taila (two) in the treatment of Khalli–Visuchika [Table 7].

Urustambha: A total of five formulations of Shigru, which included two Lepa, one Taila, and one Kwath, were recommended for the management of Urustambha [Table 8].

Udara roga (abdominal diseases): A total of six formulations of Shigru in the form of Taila (two), Lepa (two), Praleha (one), and Kalka (one) were indicated in the treatment of Udara roga [Table 9].

Jwara (fever): Shigru was one of the important ingredients in three formulations indicated in Jwara, which includes Taila (two) and Lepa (one) [Table 10].

Balgraha (pediatric diseases): Three formulations of Shobhanjana, which include Kwath (one), Ghrita (one), and Taila (one), cited in the management of Balgraha [Table 11].

Vatrakta (gout): Two formulations have Shigru as an ingredient and were recommended for the management of Vatrakta, which includes two Kalpanas: one is Kalka and another is Pradeha [Table 12].

Visarpa (erysipelas): Two formulations have Shigru as an ingredient, which include various dosage forms such as Kwath (one), Taila (one), and Ghrita (one) in the management of Visarpa [Table 13].

Aamvata (rheumatoid arthritis): Two formulations have Sahijana as an ingredient, which include only Lepa Kalpana (two) mentioned in the management of Aamvata [Table 14].

Other indications were Arbuda, Granthi, Gandamala, Apachi, Visha, Vatvyadhi, Akshepaka, Hanustambha, Aptantraka, and Ardita in which different dosage forms such as Taila (four), Lepa (three), Pralepa (two), and Pottali (one) were recommended [Table 15].{Table 1} {Table 2} {Table 3} {Table 4} {Table 5} {Table 6} {Table 7} {Table 8} {Table 9} {Table 10} {Table 11} {Table 12} {Table 13} {Table 14} {Table 15}

Shigru, being a highly useful medicinal plant, was found to be an integral ingredient of more than 100 formulations. A number of formulations indicated in different diseases are presented through a pie chart in [Figure 1].{Figure 1}

 Useful Parts of Shigru

Different parts of Shigru (i.e., bark, leaves, root, fruit, seed, pallava, etc) are used to make various formulations that are used for external application. Among them, patra (leaves) reported maximum in 49 dosage forms followed by Twaka (stem bark) (27), Beeja (seeds) (25), Moola (roots) (16), Phala (fruit) (nine), Pallava (tender leaves) (nine), Moola twaka (root bark) (four), Pallava niryasa (one), and Pushpa (flowers) (one). For a better understanding, the data are also presented through [Figure 2].{Figure 2}

 Dosage Forms

In Ayurveda, there are a vast variety of dosage forms, which shows the insight of ancient seers regarding the solubility and applicability of drugs. As far as Shigru is concerned, in external applications, dosage forms include Taila (oil) (Tl) (37) and Lepa (pasting) (Lp) (26) followed by Anjana (collyrium) (An) (21), Swarasa (extraction) (Sw) (12), Aschyotana (eye drop) (As) (12), Pralepa (paste) (Prl) (seven), Churna (powder) (Ch) (six), Kwath (decoction) (Kw) (five), Kalka (paste) (Kl) (four), Seka (Sk) (three), Pradeha (paste) (Prd) (two), Ghrita (Gh) (two), Dhoopa (fumigation) (Dh) (two), Karna poorana (drug administration in ear) (Kp) (one), Pottali (Pt) (one), Pindi (Pd) (one), and Varti (Vr) (one). Total numbers of dosage forms in different formulations were mentioned in [Figure 3].{Figure 3}

According to Acharya Charaka, Chakshu (eye) is Tejomay Indriya (sensory organ with predominance of Teja mahabhoot or fire element). It should be protected from Kapha dosha. Shigru is reported to possess Katu (pungent), Tikta Rasa, Laghu (light), Ruksha (dryness), Tikshna guna (sharp), Katu (pungent) Vipaka, and Ushna Veerya (hot potency).[4] Because of Laghu, Ruksha, Tikshna guna, and Ushna veerya, it acts as a Kapha doshashamaka (alleviates the vitiated kapha humor in body). Thus, it is beneficial for eyes and helps in cleansing of eyes and can be very useful in Netra roga.[28] Its seeds are also reported to Lekhana and Chakshushya karma (scraps excessive abnormal tissue and is also an eye tonic).[4] As per modern medical science perspective, the main cause for eye disorders is inflammation. Shigru possess anti-inflammatory activity,[29] which is evident from many researches, as per one study, methanolic and aqueous extract of root and bark, methanolic extract of leaves and flowers, and ethanolic extract of seeds of Moringa oleifera possess anti-inflammatory activity.[29] Antimicrobial activity[30] of shigru has also been reported. As per one research, leaves, roots, bark, and seeds of Moringa oleifera show antimicrobial activity against bacteria and fungi.[30]Moringa oleifera having a good amount of flavonoid and phenolic acid so it has antioxidant activity, which leads to the rejuvenation of cells and tissues of eyes.[31] In relation with the management of Apsmara, methanolic extract of Moringa oleifera leaves exhibit potent anticonvulsant activity.[32] The ethanolic extract of Moringa concanensis leaves may produce its anticonvulsant effects via multiple mechanisms because it abolished the hind limb extension induced by maximal electroshock-induced seizures as well as abolished seizures produced by pentylenetetrazole.[33] The Moringa oleifera dichloromethane extract shows high antioxidant activity[34]; antidiabetic, aqueous extract of Moringa oleifera leaves shows antidiabetic activity and controls diabetes and thus exhibits glycemic control[35],[36],[37]; cardiovascular activity, ethanolic extract of Moringa oleifera leaves showed prominent antihypertensive or hypotensive activity[38]; antifertility activity, aqueous extract of Moringa oleifera roots was found to be effective as antifertility in the presence or absence of estradiol dipropionate and progesterone[39]; antiurolithiatic activity[40]; antiasthamatic activity[41],[42]; hepatoprotective activity[43]; anticancer activity,[44] etc. In Ayurveda, karma of Shigru is as Kusthaghn,[8],[22]Vishghna,[4],[5],[22],[23],[24]Chakshushya,[4],[7],[22],[24],[25],[26] and Jwaraghna[22]dravya.


The Shigru plant has a wide range of medicinal uses with high nutritional value. Through the review of external uses of Shigru, a total of 149 formulations in 24 diseases were found. Patra (leaves) are reported maximum in 49 dosage forms and oil is used in maximum 37 formulations in external applications. The maximum number of formulations of Shigru is found in the management of Netra roga (eye disorders). As this plant is available easily and abundantly throughout India, so, it can be utilized in the treatment for various disease conditions.

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