Botanical Name :- Laccifer lacca Kerr. Family :- Lacciferidae.
Synonyms :- Coccus lacca, Kerria lacca.
Regional Name :- English : Shellac, Laksha (Lac). Hindi : Lakh, Sanskrit : Laksha, Bengali : Gala, Gujarati : Lak, Telugu : Kommolakka, Lakka, Tamil: Komburrki, Malayalam: Arakku, Ambalu.
Part Used :- Resin.
Description :- India and Thailand are the main areas in the world where lac is cultivated. Over 90% of Indian lac comes from the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Orissa. Lac insects thrive on certain trees and the principal lac host trees in India are Banyan, Peepal, Khadira, Palash, Kusum and Ber.
Lac are scale insects (Laccifer Lacca) which live on trees called lac host trees where they secrete the lac resin which is scraped off and manufactured into shellac. To produce just 1 kilogram of lac resin around 300,000 insects lose their tiny lives. A scale insect is a common name for any of about 2000 insect species found all over the world that attach themselves in great numbers to plants and trees. Scale insects range from an almost microscopic size to more than 2.5 cm. They can be very destructive to trees - stunting or killing twigs and branches by draining the sap.
The life cycle of a lac insect takes about six months and consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. With this life cycle, the lac industry obtains two lac crops each year from each tree. Females lay up to 100 eggs, which hatch out into larvae. These small red larvae, roughly 0.5mm, long crawl out of the brood lac (or mother cell) and settle on the twigs. At this stage both the male and female larvae live off the sap of the trees. The lac scraped from the branches is known as crude lac or sticklac. Crude lac or stick-lac, consists of the resin, the encrusted insects, lac dye, and twigs. This is crushed, washed, dried to form Seedlac. Seedlac is then converted into Shellac by hand or machine.
Phytoconstituents :- The major constituent of laksha is the resin (70-80%); other constituents present are: sugar, proteins, and soluble salts, coloring matter, wax, sand, woody matter, insect bodies and other extraneous matter; a volatile oil is present in traces. Lac resin is composed of mainly hydroxy fatty acids of C14- C18 carbon chains, such as aleuritic, butolic, C14- C16 mono- and di-hydroxy acids along with hydroxy terpenic acids having the rare cedrene skeleton as jalaric, laccijalaric, shellolic, and laksholic acids.
Ayurvedic Properties :- Rasa : Kasaya, Guna : Laghu, Snigdha, Sneha, Virya : Shita, Vipaka : Katu, Karma : Kappa, Pitta.
Ayurvedic Applications :- Pachana, Depana, Apasmara, Kushta, Raktadosha, Kasa, Antrasula, Prameha, Atisara, Arocaka, Hidhma.
Medicinal Uses :- It is used for liver diseases, Diarrhoea, Dysentery, Intestinal parasites (worms), Injuries, Fungal infections, Eczema, Scabies, Herpes, haemostasis, Internal bleeding disorders, Hiccup, Cough, It is also used for Low bone mineral density, jaundice, dropsy, kidney disease, reduces fat the Adipose persons, joint disorders, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, osteoarthritis etc. It is also helpful in obesity, renal and spleen disorders, jaundice, backache problems, leprosy, ulceration, epilepsy and chicken pox.