If we told you there was an Ayurvedic plant so strong that it could possibly cut an axe, would you believe us? Probably not. But the natural Ayurvedic world is full of surprises. The plant in question here is called Nagkesar or Vajrakat (Vajra means an irresistible force or a mythical weapon).
Nagkesar has multiple uses, benefits, forms, and names. Whether you know it by the name of Cobra Saffron (English name), Nagakeshara (Sanskrit name), or Mesua Ferrea (Botanical name) – this wonder herb is among the star ingredients in the traditional Ayurvedic world. Extracted from the flowers of the majestic Mesua Ferrea tree, this plant is native to the Indian subcontinent growing along the Western Ghats and Eastern Himalayan region. It belongs to the Calophyllaceae family of plants.
Nagkesar Tree: Understanding its Anatomy
The Nagkesar tree – also goes by the name of Indian Chestnut tree – is a medium-sized plant. The Nagkesar flower is strongly-scented and comes in white and red colours, making it perfectly suitable to be used as a perfume. The stamen (Pum Kesara) is commonly used for a variety of benefits.
Nagkesara Medicinal Qualities
Nagkesar’s flowers are astringent and bitter in taste, dry and light to digest has pungent and hot after-effects post digestion and is known to balance the Kapha and Pitta Dosha.
Ayurvedic Medicines with Nagkesar as an Active Ingredient:
- Mahanarayan Oil: This herbal oil is used in the treatment of arthritis, paralysis, and eye diseases.
- Puga Khanda: This herbal jam (Chyawanprash) is used in the treatment of nausea, gastritis, dizziness, abdominal pain, etc.
- Gulgulwasavam: It is beneficial in treating diseases related to the liver and spleen.
- Mahadraksha: This liquid form of Ayurvedic medicine provides vitality and strength, and improves digestion.
- Shringharabhra Rasa: This tablet form of Ayurvedic medicine is useful for treating respiratory and digestive disorders.
- Nagkesar Churna: This churna (powder) helps in the treatment of fever, vomiting, urinary tract disorders, migraine, menorrhagia, piles, metrorrhagia, epistaxis, etc.
Nagkesar Universal Uses: At a Glance
In terms of applications, Mesua Ferrea’s multi-dimensional uses do not disappoint. Every part of the Nagkesar plant is useful in some form or another. The dried flowers can be used to make an incense and can be used to fill up pillows. The seeds are typically used to treat problems related to vata, rheumatism, and wounds. The root and root bark, on the other hand, are considered as a powerful antidote against snake- and scorpion-bite poisons. Additionally, Nagkesar also acts as a primary source of hardwoods used for railroad ties – it is known to produce one of the strongest timbers in the world!
It may also come in handy to note that Nagkesar belongs to the Chaturjata Churna group of herbs. Simply put, Chaturjata Churna is a herbal, 4-spice ayurvedic medicine which is used to enhance the skin complexion, balance the Kapha Dosha, and detoxify the body. Typically used in the powder form, Nagkesar is added to Chyawanprash for added health benefits which we will discuss below.
Mesua Ferrea Recommended Dosage
- Nagkesar powder: 1-3 gm per day (in divided doses). It typically takes somewhere between a week and a month to show positive effects.
- Nagkesar oil: 2-5 drops per day (or as required).
- It is the state flower of Tripura and the national tree of Sri Lanka.
- It is used in puja and offered to Lord Shiva. It is also used as an offering in yagna/havan as it is known to attract auspiciousness.
Nagkesar’s 360 Degree Benefits
Typically, Nagkesar comes with wide-ranging health benefits. It can help in treating vomiting/nausea, dysentery, leprosy, herpes, gout, etc. Seed oil extracted from Nagkesar can help reduce arthritis or other joint pains and related swelling and inflammation if applied externally. Additionally, can be used in the treatment of:
It helps treat digestive issues such as gastritis, constipation, indigestion, etc. and aids in proper digestive functioning.
Remedy: Take 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of Nagkesar powder, mix it with honey or lukewarm water, and consume (once or twice a day).
Nagkesar helps to reduce a stress-induced headache by alleviating stress and fatigue and relaxing the tensed muscles.
Remedy: Take 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of Nagkesar powder. Mix with lukewarm water and make a paste. Finally, apply to the affected area once a day. It is preferable to leave it for 1-2 hours and wash off with water. Repeat as necessary to manage the headache.
It can be used as a skin-toner, exfoliator, and skin lightener and hence is extremely effective in treating acne and blemishes. Reputed brands like Forest Essentials also have products such as Facial Ubtan that contain Nagkesar root extracts which come with re-texturising, toning, and firming properties.
Alternative remedy: Take 2-5 drops of Nagkesar oil, mix with 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil, and apply on the affected area once a day. It is recommended to leave it for 2-4 hours and repeat as necessary.
Nagkesar flowers can help treat respiratory problems such as asthma, excessive cough, breathlessness, and tightness in the chest.
Nagkesar is used to treat eczema and scabies. It is a great hemostatic which aids in reduced bleeding and quickens the process of healing wounds. So next time you have a cut, apply Nagkesar to stop the bleeding immediately.
Cough & Cold
Its anti-bacterial properties help reduce congestion, soothe the throat, and relieve uneasiness. Nagkesar’s leaves are used to treat cases of cold and cough.
Remedy: For sore throat, mix Nagkesar with cardamom and mishri, and chew on this mixture.
Nagkesar helps stop excessive bleeding during periods and irregular periods, thereby increasing the chances of fertility. A teaspoon of Nagkesar’s flower in the powdered form can be mixed along with buttermilk and consumed. Alternatively, Nagkesar powder can be mixed with fenugreek seeds, vijaysar seeds, and bay leaves. Consume it twice daily with rice water or cow’s milk for a period of five days.
It also helps reduce the symptoms of chronic fever by hydrating the body and relieving the person from excessive thirst.
If there’s an imbalance in the Pitta Dosha in the body, bleeding disorders occur. Nagkesar can cure the body’s heat imbalance and pacify the Pitta Dosha. It also aids in reducing pile lumps, helps stop excessive bleeding and related swelling.
Ayurvedic Remedy For Piles: Take 1 gm of Nagkesar (powdered form), add half teaspoon mishri (sweetener) and half teaspoon butter. Consume twice a day, preferably after consuming food.
Urinary Tract Disorders
It helps increase water and salt levels in the body, eases urine flow, and helps to flush out toxins from the body.
The Nagkesar flowers can aid in treating impotence in men.
Its anti-inflammatory effects help in reducing swelling and oedema.
Excessive Itching & Sweating/Burning Sensation
For immediate relief, take Nagkesar powder and mix with half teaspoon butter, and apply this paste on the affected area. This paste works as a natural deodorant and controls excessive sweating.
Nagkesar’s seed oil when applied on the joints relieves the person from arthritis-related pain.
It doubles as a tonic for the heart and aids in serious issues such as heart blockage, high blood pressure, etc. It is recommended that you consume Nagkesar tea regularly to improve blood circulation and prevent heart problems like a heart attack.
Important: Please make sure to consult your doctor before consuming this herb in any form just as a precautionary measure.
Where You Can Buy It Online
Nagkesar’s price generally ranges between INR 90 – 500 (depends on the product size).
Nagkesar’s Side-Effects & Precautionary Measures
- Pregnant mothers should consult a physician before consuming it.
- It is safe to administer to children and can be used by lactating mothers under expert help.
- Avoid consuming it on an empty stomach; always consume Nagkesar post meals along with water.
- Avoid overdosing on this herb; always consume it within the recommended dosage.
- Patients with diabetes and on heart medicine should consume Nagkesar under expert guidance.
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