Adhatoda Vasica is a herb, also popularly known as Malabar Nut in English, Adosa in Hindi and Vasaka in Sanskrit. It has been used in preparation of herbal medicines for the past 2000 years. Yogic practitioners often use this herb to clear their respiratory tracts during the course of breathing exercises.
CHARACTERISTICS OF ADHATODA VASICA
The herb reaches 1300 meters in height and is grown throughout India on wastelands in different habitats and different types of soil. It is grown in other countries like Sri Lanka and Malaysia as well.
This evergreen perennial shrub has leathery leaves. The flowers are dense and large having large bracts and whitish pink/purple colored.
The herb is often grown as a hedge and its leaves and twigs are utilized as green-manure. The whole plant or its roots, leaves, bark and flowers are used in various herbal preparations.
THERAPEUTIC POWERS OF ADHATODA VASICA
In ayurvedic medicine, Adhatoda is mainly used to relieve respiratory disorders and cough. The leaves of Adhatoda Vasica are rich sources of carotene and Vitamin-C.
- The plant as a whole along with its root, leaves, bark and flowers are extensively used to relieve cough, cold, whooping-cough, asthma and bronchitis due to their pharmacological properties.
- The extract from leaves has been used to relieve asthma, bronchitis, breathlessness and cough for centuries. It is also used to relieve other conditions like local bleeding due to piles, peptic ulcers and menorrhagia; and relief from bleeding gums and pyorrhea.
- Crushed leaves are applied to relieve conditions like skin ailments, worms and amavata. Warm crushes are effective to relive dislocated joint and rheumatic pain.
- Powder of Adhatoda boiled in sesame oil is an effective management for stopping bleeding and relieving ear infection.
- A paste of the leaves is applied on the abdomen for relieving urinary infection.
- The flowers are used to relieve burning micturation, and as an effective expectorant to relive congestion and dyspnoea.
PARTS OF THE PLANT USED
In some parts of India like Bihar, a decoction from the leaves is used to induce abortion and facilitate child-birth. The Khasi tribe in India cooks the leaves and vegetables to prepare a delicious vegetable.
Herbal practitioners in Europe use this herb as a febrifuge, antispasmodic and expectorant.
Adhatoda Vasica contains certain components which make it a sought after herb in traditional medicines including:
- Alkaloids: Vasicine is the major alkaloid available in different parts of the herb. The leaves contain alkaloids like vasicinone, vasicinol, adhatonine, adhatodine and so on. The roots contain vasicinol, vasicinolone, vasicol and so on.
- Triterpenes and phytosterols: These include a-amyrin, epitaraxerol and oaucosterol.
- Flavonoids: The flowers and leaves contain flavonoids like apigenin, kaempferol, astragalin, quercetin, isovitexin, vitexin and so on.
- Essential oils: The flower has volatile oil which contains ‘ketone’ apart from 36 other components.
- Hydrocarbons and fatty acids: The oil extracted from the leaves contains almost 50 compounds. The major component is ‘decane’ along with hydroxyalkanes, hydroxyhexatetracont, and methyltriacontan. It also contains lilolenic, arachidonic, palmitic and oleic acids.
Experimental studies have proven therapeutic effectiveness of Adhatoda Vasica through various activities like:
- Antiasthmatic and bronchodilatory activity: Vascine which is a major component of the herb’s alkaloids displayed bronchodilatory activity in-vivo and in-vitro.
- Anti-bacterial activity: The methanolic extract from the leaves showed strong activity of the alkaloid against certain bacteria. Another study proved the ability of the extract in inhibiting bacterial population in unrelieved water which suggested its use in improving quality of drinking water.
- Anti-tubercular activity: Certain derivatives of vasicie are used as mucolytics. This along with other direct and indirect effects makes Ahatoda vasica useful in relieving tuberculosis.
- Cholagouge activity: In experiments conducted on cats and dogs, the amount of excretion of bile increased with an additional effect of diluting the bile and increasing bilirubin excretion.
- Anti-dyspepsia activity: Ahatoda vasica syrup improved symptoms related to dyspepsia.
- Uterotonic and abortifacient activity: Vasicine displayed both these effects due to priming effect of oestrogen hormone.
- Wound-relieving activity: On relieving buffalo calves with powdered, chloroform or alcoholic extracts of Ahatoda vasica, marked improvement in the process of relieving was observed.
The rhizomes and leaves of Ahatoda vasica are used to relieve:
- Cold and cough.
- Asthma and throat infection.
- Contagious abortion.
SAFETY AND PRECAUTIONARY TIPS WHILE USING ADHATODA VASICA
This herb should be avoided during pregnancy except at the time of birth since it contains oxytocic which stimulates utrine-contractions and abortifacient which induces abortion. Avoid consuming large doses of adhatoda since it can cause irritation in the alimentary canal, vomiting or diarrhea.
PLANET AYURVEDA PRODUCTS CONTAINING ADHATODA VASICA
Adhatoda Vasica is found in the following Planet Ayurveda products:
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