Dagad phool (Parmelia perlata) health benefits

Know in one minute about Dagad phool

  • Dagad phool is a lichen found on the rocks, surface of walls, or dead wood.
  • It is used as spices to enhance the taste and flavor of food.
  • It is dirty white or grayish brown, with a bitter or saline taste.
  • This lichen contains several bioactive compounds that have various therapeutic values.
  • Fights against infections and inhibits the growth of several bacteria.
  • Treat dysentery, diarrhea, dyspepsia, infection stones, and kidney stones.
  • It manages diabetes, lowers cholesterol levels, reduces swelling, fever, and arthritic pain.
  • Useful as an anti-fertility agent and treat liver injuries.

Introduction

Dagad phool (Parmelia perlata) is a perennial lichen species belonging to the family Parmeliaceae. It is a complex association composed of fungi and one or more algae or living in symbiosis (1). They are found on the rocks, surface of walls, or dead wood. This lichen occurs in humid (60 %-85 %), rainy, and relatively shady habitats (2).

Traditionally it is useful in treating sores, bronchitis, excessive salivation, toothache, boils, inflammations, seminal weakness, and dyspepsia. It also treats kidney stones, blood disorders, heart diseases, stomach disorders, enlarged spleen, piles, scabies, leprosy, and general pain. 

SynonymParmotrema chinense 

Common name- Patthar phool, Kalpasi, Shilaapushpa, Chharila, Stone flower, Dagad phool, Charela, Litho   Lichen, Rock   Moss,   Yellow Lichen

Geography 

It occurs throughout the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and tropical areas (3). It is widespread in many European countries as well as other Asian countries including Australia, India, Japan, and Taiwan (4).

Main components

It contains several phytoconstituents including lichen acids like lecanoric acid, atranorin, usnic acid, dibenzofuran, terpenes, phenolic compounds, etc. 

Importance in recipes 

It has a dirty white or grayish-brown flattened thallus, with stictic acid in the medulla and a bitter or saline taste. It is used in India as spices to enhance the taste and flavor of food.

Health benefits of Dagad phool

1. Antimicrobial properties

It contains Sictic acid, salazinic acid, atranorin, and chloroatranorin that are potent inhibitors against various microorganisms (5). Shows antimicrobial activity against different bacteria namely Clavibacter michiganensis, Pseudomonas solanacearum, and fungi like Fusarium oxysporum and Rhizopus nigricans (6). Also fights against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas sp. Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus (7).

2. Treat stomach ulcers

Ulcers occur when stomach acid damages the lining of the digestive tracts such as the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine. However, dagad phool reduces the free and total acidity and treats gastric ulcer incidences (8).

3. Protect liver

Intake of this spice repairs and recovers the liver t and reduce the liver damage caused by chemicals. Thus oral consumption of this lichen protects the liver from injury (9).

4. Treat cancer

Phenolic compounds like salazinic acid and stictic acid in this spice act as anticancer agents (10). These compounds kill human melanoma, colon, and breast cancer cells (11).

5. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic properties

Dagad phool contains polyphenols (especially flavonoids) that inhibit inflammation. It also contains usinic acids which reduce swelling, fever, and arthritic pain (12).

6. Contraceptive properties

Dagad phool decreases the sperm cell counts and testis weight in males.  It also reduces sperm density and motility thus may be used as an antifertility agent (13).

7. Manage diabetes and lower cholesterol levels

It contains glycoside that lowers the blood glucose level and increases the level of plasma insulin in the blood (14). This lichen also improves the serum lipid profile by reducing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol levels (15).

8. Prevent Urolithiasis or urinary and kidney stone formation

Infection stones are formed in humans by urinary tract infection. These stones may grow rapidly and if not properly treated, can lead to kidney failure (16).

However, it inhibits the growth of this crystal stone, stimulates the dissolution, and restores the normal kidney architecture and functions (17).

9. Antioxidant properties

Dagad phool contain antioxidants like phenolic compounds, glycoside, and alkaloid. These compounds remove harmful radicals from the body and prevent the occurrence of various diseases (18).

10. Treat dysentery, diarrhea, and dyspepsia

Helicobacter pylori are gastric bacteria that grow in the digestive tract and cause chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer,   and gastric cancer.  Intake of this inhibits the bacterium growth thus treating dysentery, diarrhea, and dyspepsia (19).

Is dagad phool safe?

It is found to be safe can be considered safe with a wide margin for oral use because no mortality was recorded.

It showed no abnormal fluctuation in body weights and food and water intake of the animals. However, further study is needed to know its long term and high dosage effect on the human.

Some important recipes which use this dagad phool

It is used extensively in non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes like chicken curries, Nahari (Paaya), Naali, Bombay biryani, soups, and Goat meat stews. Due to its earthy, smoky flavor and aroma, it is an ingredient in the ‘Goda’ masala or Kala masala of Maharashtra

Q&A

What is dagad phool in English?

It is called Litho lichen, Rock moss,   Stone flower, and Yellow lichen in English.

What is dagad phool?

Dagad phool is a perennial lichen that is not only used as a spice to enhance the taste of food but also has medicinal properties.

How to use dagad phool in biryani?

Dagad phool is a spice that looks like scraps of wood or burnt paper. It can be used either in whole or powder form in biryani. It is dirty white or grayish brown, with a bitter or saline taste.  This unique aroma and taste of dagad phool give wonderful color and aroma to the biryani. 

What are stone flowers/ kalpaasi / dagad phool?

Stone flowers, kalpaasi or dagad phool are common names of Parmelia perlata.   It is a composite alga having a symbiotic association with a fungal partner, found in rocky areas and old tree trunks.

What is dagad phool used for?

Dagad phool can easily be blended with any food preparation and enhance the taste of food. It also treats infections, inflammation, pain, fever, ulcer, skin diseases, dysentery, diarrhea, cough, fever, and kidney stones.

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