Medical Reviewer: Dr Surabhi Rawat
Vasaka is a herbaceous evergreen shrub that has a dense appearance. It is due to its multiple branches growing in an ascending manner in opposite sides. The flowers of this plant are white and purple in colour and have inflorescence. Adhatoda Vasica is the scientific name of vasaka and it is also known as Malabar Nut.
It is an ayurvedic herb that grows in the Sub-Himalayan region. Those suffering from asthma are benefitted by consuming vasaka, either in powder or in liquid extract form. The liquid extract of this herb is rich in vasicine. Consuming this extract opens up the breathing tubes and removes chest congestion. Vasaka also acts as an antihistamine agent which helps control common cold & cough.
Each and every part of the vasaka tree is useful for its medicinal properties. Its leaves are rich in phytochemicals like alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, tannins and phenolics. Vasicine, quinazoline alkaloid and essential oils are also present in the leaves of this plant. A lot of chemicals present in vasaka are responsible for making it medicinally useful.
Rasa(taste) –Tikta(bitter), Kashaya(astringent)
Vipaka– Katu (has a pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya – Sheeta– cold potency
Karma– balances Kapha and pitta
Composition:- Alkaloids are the principal constituents of Vasaka. The chief one being vasicine. Vasicine and vasicinone are two major alkaloids which are found in leaves. Vasicine and vasicinone are well known for their pharmacological activities. Recent investigations on vasicine showed bronchodilatory activity which is comparable to theophylline (a drug used in therapy for respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma).
Vasicine also exhibits strong respiratory stimulant activity. It has also shown thrombopoietic (platelet increasing) activity. Uterine stimulant and moderate hypotensive activity of the alkaloids have also been observed.
The leaves of Vasaka are rich in vitamin C, carotene and essential oil. It has also been found that Mycobacterium tuberculosis was inhibited by the essential oil when given at a specific concentration.
Leaf Juice – 10 to 20 ml
Flower juice – 10 to 20 ml
Flower powder: 250 mg to 1 gm
Root decoction- 40 to 80 ml
Leaf decoction: Prepared with 5 gm of leaf powder
Leaf dry powder- 1 to 3 gms which is to be consumed once or twice a day.
Vasa Ghrita– herbal ghee – 5 to 10gms once or twice before food or as per the doctor’s instruction.
Kshaya– useful in chronic respiratory tract infections
Kasa– useful in cough and cold
Asrajit– useful in bleeding disorders, helps in detoxifying blood
Chardi– useful in cases of vomiting
Kushta– useful for skin disorders like itching, rashes, eczema etc
Jwara– useful to fight against fever
Trut– useful in excessive thirst
Hrudya– A cardiac tonic
Svarya– good for throat function
Shwasahara– useful in asthma and cases of chronic bronchitis
Mehahara– useful in urinary tract infections (UTI) and diabetes
Aruchi– helps against anorexia
Kaamala– useful in jaundice and liver disorders
The paste of these leaves are applied to relieve from pain, rheumatoid arthritis, worm-infested wounds and various skin disorders
Manyfold Benefits Of The Malabar Nut
Common Cough And Cold
Vasaka has been used for treatment and prevention of cough and chest congestion. Coughing and wheezing can be uncomfortable if not treated on time. Liquid extract of vasaka can be consumed to suppress coughing. This is generally prescribed when a person coughs up yellow sputum or is not able to expel the sputum stuck in the nasal passage or in the lungs. It also helps ease breathing.
It is useful in all upper respiratory infections which are sometimes also accompanied by fever. Vasableha (vasavaleha) is a well-known formulation for these infections.
Asthma is a condition in which the airways become narrow and they tend to swell. They start to produce extra mucus. This makes it difficult to breathe and hence triggers coughing, chest congestion and wheezing. Vasaka is just the medicine to cure this condition.
This herb has an anti-inflammatory property. During asthma the air passage and lungs become inflamed. To prevent this inflammation and to cure asthma at its initial stage, Vasaka is recommended by the doctors. The Vasicine found in the leaves of the plant dilates the air passage(bronchi and bronchioles) hence increasing airflow. Hence, Vasaka is also called a mild bronchodilator.
Tuberculosis is a disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. It attacks the lungs and at the same time damages different parts of the body. It is a communicable disease.
In Ayurveda, vasaka flowers are used to prepare the herbal medicine, known as gulkand. Gulkand is used for the treatment of tuberculosis. A few fresh petals of vasaka flowers should be bruised and put in a pot of chill for three days. A small number of sugar crystals are added. The jar is kept in the sun so as to provide the right amount of slow heat. The mixture is stirred every morning and evening. It takes a month for the preserve to be ready for use. The juice which is extracted from its leaves is also useful in treating tuberculosis.
Suggested Remedy: Take approximately 30 ml of the juice three times a day with honey. It helps in relieving the irritable cough by its soothing action on the nerve. It also liquefies the sputum, which makes expectoration easier.
Sinusitis is a kind of swelling of the tissue that lines the sinuses. Usually, they are filled with air but the sinuses get blocked as when get inflamed and filled with fluid, pus and nasal discharge. This can lead to infections and the development of germs. It is usually caused by a common cold. Vasaka is a good ayurvedic solution for this condition.
The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of Vasaka are responsible for the treatment of such conditions. It clears the pus and fluid accumulated in the sinuses. This reduces the blockage and bacterial activity in the sinuses, eliminating the infection.
Bronchitis is a condition in which the lining of bronchial tubes become inflamed. This leads to thickened cough and respiratory problems. The bronchial tubes get blocked due to collection of mucus on its walls which narrows the air passages making it harder to breathe. Vasaka is a mucolytic (dissolves this mucus) which helps clear the blocked passages and also reduces cough, chest discomfort and breathlessness that is caused by this condition.
The antiviral properties of Vasaka are extremely beneficial in a condition known as viral fever. It is a common condition in tropical countries and also places with warm and wet weather condition as it provides a suitable habitat for the growth of various microbes and their carriers.
Vasaka is extremely useful in treating this problem. It lowers the body temperature and also works as an expectorant and a mucolytic.
Sore Throat & Tonsillitis
Sore throat, throat pain and tonsillitis are common problems faced by many. The frequency for such instances increases during changing seasons or due to change in lifestyle. The antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory attributes present in vasaka are some major factors that help provide relief. This herb also takes care of redness, pain and swelling of the soft palate.
An ulcer is a sore on the lining of the stomach, small intestine or the oesophagus. Vomiting, weight loss and abdominal pain are the common symptoms of ulcers. To cure this Vasaka is useful.
Vasaka leaves have NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs eg. aspirin) properties. They reduce swellings without the side effects of countertop medication and steroids. Vasaka is useful for both Peptic and duodenal ulcers.
Against Intestinal Worms
Vasaka contains Anthelmintic properties. Its leaves, bark, the root-bark, the fruit and flowers are beneficial in the removal of intestinal parasites.
Suggested Remedy: The decoction of its root and bark in doses of 30 grams twice three times a period of 3 days can be given for this purpose. The juice extracted from its fresh leaves can also be used in doses of a teaspoon three times a day for 3 days.
Excessive Uterine Bleeding
This is a very common condition which is developed after pregnancy. Hormonal imbalance in women is also a reason why uterine bleeding may be seen in many women. Vasaka juice or extract obtained from the leaf is used to cure this condition.
Suggested Remedy: Mix 10 ml Vasaka juice or 50 ml Vasaka decoction with 10 grams of Misri powder (use pure misri with a thread). The solution obtained is beneficial for treating excessive uterine bleeding. This treatment should be at least 4 to 6 weeks long. To restore the natural health of uterine and maintain its proper functioning, Chandraprabha Vati should also be used with the above remedy.
Joint Pain Due To Gout / Uric Acid
Joint pain is a major problem that many face, and is especially frequent in the older population. In Ayurveda, joints are referred to as the site of vata. This is due to a raised level of uric acid that causes such pain.
If taken in combination with other herbs, vasaka roots reduce the level of uric acid content in the blood. The pain and tenderness caused during gout are also diminished. Its anti-inflammatory property helps reduce inflammation of the joints as well. It is most commonly prescribed with Giloy and Amaltas.
Effective on Uremia
The function of the kidney is to filter out the harmful and unnecessary substances from the body. When the kidney fails to so the toxic materials tend to get accumulated in the blood. Compounds of nitrogen and urea form a large part of these toxic wastes. These harmful materials are passed out of urine. Such malfunctioning of the kidney happens mostly during renal failure or due to severe injury to the kidney or its related parts or.
Adhatoda Vasica root decoction helps in decreasing the urea level and other nitrogenous wastes in the blood. It increases the excretion of urea and other wastes through the urine.
Suggested Remedy: 50 ml Vasaka root decoction taken along with Chandraprabha Vati on the empty stomach can be highly effective in the initial phase of chronic renal failure. The benefits are seen within the first week of the treatment.
Acidity & Gastritis
Vasaka has shown great results against dyspepsia, gastritis or acidity. It reduces acid formation in the stomach. In a study, scientists have observed that it reduces free and total HCL in patients with non-ulcer dyspepsia, hyperacidity, and gastritis.
Suggested Remedy: Mix 1 gram of Vasaka Powder/ Churna, 0.5 gram of Shatavari Churna, 0.5 gram of Pitpapra, 0.5 gram of Banslochan, 0.5 gram of Amla Churna, 1 gram of Mulethi and 1 gram of Misri. Use this mixture in case of hyperacidity and gastritis.
Side Effects & Precautions
- As this herb reduces blood sugar levels, patients suffering from diabetes should always take precautionary measures before consuming this medicine.
- Should be avoided during pregnancy.