Vol 4, Issue 3, 2016 ISSN- 2347-5544
SANKHAHOLI ȍEVOLVULUS ALSINOIDES LINNȎ: A REVIEW
QAMAR ALAM KHAN*, ASIM ALI KHAN, AZHAR JABEEN, SHABNAM ANSARI
The Sankhaholi (Evolvulus alsinoides Linn. [EA]) of family Convolvulaceae which is commonly known as Shankhpushpi, in the traditional system of
medicine including Unani medicine. It is a perennial herb with a small woody branched rootstock which contains alkaloids: Shankhapushpine and
evolvine. Fresh plant of sankhholi contains volatile oil. It also contains a yellow neutral fat, an organic acid, and saline s ubstances. Therapeutic uses
of Sankhaholi EA, mentioned in the Unani medicine are alexiteric (Mufarreh), cardiac tonic (Muqawwi-e Qalb), brain tonic (Muqawwi-e Dimag),
digestive (Hazim) Musaffi-e-Khoon (blood purifier), general tonic (Muqawwi-e-am), diuretic (Mudirr-e-Baul), anti-inflammatory (Muhallil-e-waram),
hypoglycemic (Dafa-e-Ziabitus), and antihypertensive (Dafye Imtella). It is also used in a headache, asthma, hyperlipidemia, etc. The present article
reviews the pharmacological actions and therapeutic uses of Sankhaholi (EA) present in Unani literature supported with the available clinical and
Keywords: Sankhahol; Evolvulus alsinoides Linn; Shankhpushpi; Unani medicine
The traditional system of medicine is now gaining popularity after
population became aware of side effects and limitation of synthetic
medicine. In both organized (Unani, Ayurveda) and unorganized
forms, plants have been utilized as therapeutic agents since old age.
Shankhaholi (Evolvulus alsinoides Linn. [EA]) is one of such effective
herb and has been used since ancient times by physicians .
Shankhaholi, with flowers shaped like a shankh (conch), is one of Lord
Shiva’s sacred instruments often used in ritual worship. It is considered
memory enhancer in Unani literature and has been used as rejuvenator,
anti-aging, mental stimulant, and tranquilizers. All parts of EA are
accepted for medicinal uses as per the Indian pharmacopoeia .
Four plants referred to as Sankhaholi in literature they are:
(i) Convolvulus pluricaulis Chois, (ii) EA (iii) Canscora decussate roem,
and (iv) C. ternatea .
EA, family Convolvulaceae, is an important medicinal plant.
Traditionally, it is used for different ailments in India and o ther
countries, and grows in the open and grassy places almost throughout
India and other subtropical countries . Various dosage forms and a
wide range of original products have been used in the traditional system
of medicine and have reported therapeutic activity experimentally and
clinically in various scientific journals . The present article reviews
the pharmacological actions and therapeutic uses of Sankhaholi (EA)
present in Unani literature supported with the available clinical and
SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION OF SANKHAHOLI ȍEAȎ
Kingdom Planate - Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Super division Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family Convolvulaceae - Morning-glory family
Genus Evolvulus L. - dwarf morning-glory
Species EA - slender dwarf morning-glory 
EA: Evolvulus alsinoides
Hindi Shyamkranti, Sankhapuspi
Sanskrit Vishnukranti, Vishnugandhi
Punjabi Shankhpushpi, Kodyali
Tamil Vishnukarandi, Vishnukaranthi
Telgu Vishnukranta, Kancakura
English Canscora [4-9]
EA (dwarf morning glory) belonging to the family Convolvulaceae
and is a perennial herb with a small woody branched rootstock; stem
membranous, more than 30 cm long, prostrate, spreading, slender or
rounded, wiry usually covered with long spreading hairs but sometime
quite glabrous. Leaves are small numerous 6-20 by 4-8 mm, alternate,
elliptic-oblong, obtuse, strongly petioles very short, sometimes almost
absent. Flowers light blue, or deep blue very small solitary, or sometime in
pairs. Peduncles are very long, filiform, axillary, calyx densely silky, sepals
4 mm long, lanceolate, very acute. Corolla 5 mm long; fruits are usually
glabrous, four-valved thin capsules, 3-4 mm diameter [4,10-12,25].
Habitat and distribution
Sankhaholi is a small, hairy, diffuse, and perennial herb. It grows in open
and grassy places throughout India and other sub-tropical countries.
The plant of sankhaholi contains alkaloids: Betaine, shankhapushpine,
and evolvine. Fresh plant of sankhaholi contains volatile oil. It also
contains a yellow neutral fat, an organic acid and saline substances.
An unidentified compound has been isolated. Scopoletin, scopoli n,
umbelliferone, 2-methyl-1,2,3,4-butanetetrol, ferulic acid esters
with alcohols and palmitic, stearic, oleic, 8-methyldecanoic, and
heptadecanoic acids have been reported [13,14]. 2,3,4-trihydroxy-
3methylbutyl 3-2-propenoate (1) and 1,3-di-O-caffeoyl quinic acid
methyl ester, caffeic acid, 6-methoxy-7-O-glucopyranoside coumarin,
Department of Moalejat, Faculty of Medicine (U), Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, India. Email: Qamaralamkhan911@gmail.com
Received: 22 April 2016, Revised and Accepted: 29 April 2016
Khan et al.
Innovare Journal of Health Sciences, Vol 4, Issue 3, 2016, 1-3
2-C-methyl erythritol, kaempferol-7-O-glucopyranoside, kaempferol
glucopyranoside, and quecetine-3-O-glucopyranoside were reported
from n-BuOH soluble fraction from the ethanol extract of EA [15,28].
• Barid Ratab [7,16]
• Har Ratab [8,17].
Therapeutic dosage (Miqdar-e-Khurak)
• 6-9 g [16,17]
• 3-5 g 
• 3-8 g .
Medicinal action of Sankhaholi (Afa’al wa khawas)
Anthelmintic (Qatile Deedan) [4,5,6,11]
Alexiteric (Mufarreh) [4,9]
Anti-diarrheal (Dafaye ishal) [4,9]
Aphrodisiac (Muqawwi-e-Bah) [9,27]
Appetizers (Mushtahi) [9-11]
Brain tonic (Muqawwi-e Dimag) [4,5,7-9,16,17,27]
Cardiac tonic (Muqawwi-e Qalb) [7,17,27]
Laxative (Molayyen) [7,9,16,17]
Febrifuge (Musakkin-e-Hararate) [4,5,11,12,27]
Conception promoter 
Digestive (Hazim) [7,27]
General tonic (Muqawwi-e-am) [4-7,12]
Blood purifier (Musaffi-e-Khoon) [7,8,16,17]
Hair tonic (Muqawwi-e-Shaar) [4,5,26]
Nervine tonic (Muqawwi-e-Asab) [7,27]
Anti-inflammatory (Muhallil-e-waram) [7,17]
Eye tonic (Muqaww-e-Basar) [7,8,17,27]
Detergent (Jali) 
Hypoglycemic (Dafa-e-Ziabitus) [7,27]
Anti-convulsant (Dafa-e-Tashannuz) 
Anti-emetic (Mane-Qai) 
Coolant (Mubarrid) 
Mumbite sha’r 
It is mostly used in zofe dimagh, zofe qalb wa asab, diabetes, ihtebas-
e-baul wa haiz, istisqaa (ascites), zof-e-meda (gastric upset), nafakh-
e-shikam (flatulence), anxiety neurosis, stress Condition, qulanj
(intestinal colic), bawaseer (piles) warm-e-rahem, inteshar-e-shar,
wajaul-qutn (backache), mirgy (Sara) taqteerul baul [4,7,24]. It is also
used in nazla (common cold), suaal (cough), asthma and used in dard-e-
chashm  it is also used in skin eruption and fasad-e-khoon (bahaq,
It is used to cure insomnia, irritability as well as epilepsy [4,5,9], as it
has a relaxing effect on the brain [7,8]. It is a natural tranquilizer that
promotes deep and revitalizing sleep. Recommended where the mind
becomes overactive, Agitated and restless. It is slightly laxative in action
and improves digestion. It promotes health of both the male and female
reproductive organs. It is a rejuvenative herb with anti-aging properties.
May also help in preventing changes in the neuron cell bodies in specific
brain areas. It is also useful in fever, asthma, bronchitis, biliousness,
and hypertension. It is a sovereign remedy in bowel complaints
especially diarrhea and dysentery. It has been found to be effective in
reducing different types of stress including psychological, chemical and
traumatic. A decoction of the whole plant of Sankhaholi with Ocimum
sanctum is administered in fevers accompanied by indigestion or
diarrhea. Decoction was given in cases of malarial fever [7,27]. The root
of Sankhaholi is used with sandal, for intermittent childhood fever. The
leaves of Sankhholi are made into cigarettes and smoked in chronic
bronchitis and asthma. The Sankhaholi oil promotes the growth of
According to an ethnobotanical survey conducted among
Kani/Kanikaran ethnic groups in Southern Western Ghats of India,
whole plant of EA is used for the treatment of venereal diseases .
PHARMACOLOGICAL/CLINICAL STUDIES ON SANKHAHOLI
S. No. Actions References
Cervenka et al., 2008, Kumar M
et al., 2010, Gomathi et al., 2013
2 Antidiabetic activity  Gomathi et al., 2013
Ganju et al., 2003,
Mahiuddin et al., 2010
4 Anti-stress activity [15,23] Gupta et al., 2007
Kiran et al., 2005,
Joshi et al., 2012
Gomathi et al., 2013, Deepa
et al., 2014
7 Anti-anxiety activity  Shamsi et al., 2007
8 Antiulcer activity  Purohit et al., 1996
Chander et al., 2014,
Ravichandra et al., 2013
Babu et al., 2005
11 Antifungal activity  Deviha et al., 2015
• Barhammi .
• Majoon-e-Suparipak .
• Demagheen (Jamia Tibbiya)
• Saϔi (Hamdard).
Sankhaholi (EA) is a very beneficial plant for human being due to its
pharmacological actions of the whole plants in almost all the disease.
Sankhaholi (EA) is widely acceptable due to its antibacterial activity,
anti-diabetic activity, and antioxidant activity, antifungal activity,
immunomodulator, hepatoprotective activity, nephroprotective and
neuroprotective activity, antihyperlipidemic activity, antihypertensive
activity. Sankhaholi is a very effective in anxiety neurosis and stress
condition. This drug is used in the traditional system of medicine since
long time. Hence, this study may be helpful to know the pharmacological
actions and uses of Sankhaholi (EA) which are mentioned in the Unani
system of medici n e .
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