Nirgundi (Scientific Name: Vitex Negundo), also known as Five-Leaved Chaste is a herb with extraordinary pain relief properties. It’s benefits and properties and described in the Ayurvedic text ‘Charaka Samhita’. It is found all over the world and the appearance is quite similar to holy basil (Tulsi). Various parts of the plant like its leaves, bark, roots, seeds and fruits are used in the treatment of various diseases especially caused by vata and kapha aggravation. It also pacifies amavata.
There are two varieties of this herb; the white-flowered is called Nirgundi and the blue flowered is called Sindhuvaara. One biggest property of this plant is that where ever it is grown, the surrounding environment becomes free from any viruses and bacteria. It cleans the air and makes it healthy. You can burn its leaves to smoke your surrounding environment. Other properties of Nirgundi are mentioned below:
- Analgesic / Pain Relieving
- Muscle Relaxant
- Phlegm Reducing
- Anti-parasitic / vermifuge
- Anti piratic / Febrifuge
- Diuretic (Increases the amount of water and salt expelled from the body)
1. Pain and Inflammation Relief:
It is argued in Ayurveda that all kinds of pains in the body are created by an aggravated vata dosha. Nirgundi leaf is an Ushna Virya herb, which is hot in nature and suppresses aggravated vata and kapha doshas. The effects of this herb on all kinds of pains and inflammations are excellent. It is used in pains and inflammations of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, knees and shoulder pain, lower back pain related to bulging disc and slip disc and all sort of back pains as well as sciatica pain. It is also useful in pain and inflammation occurred due to injuries.
How to use?
Take a bunch of nirgundi leaves and boil with a litre of water. Use this water to do hot fomentation. This will relieve the pain and reduce inflammation quickly. You can also use the leaves directly for hot fomentation by heating them and tying on the painful area of the body. The Europeans named Nirgundi as ‘fomentation shrub’ because of its use for hot fomentation.
Another method of use is that you can also make a decoction of Nirgundi root bark and drink. This also reduces pain quickly.
In the case of Rheumatism, Nirgundi Oil (Leaves are ground and cooked in sesame oil) is applied over the painful area. Another method is to heat a leaf, press and tie over the affected area.
2. Women Gynaecological Health:
Nirgundi leaves are an excellent remedy for women gynaecological health. It is beneficial for treating
- Pre Menstrual Syndrome PMS
- Menstrual Irregularities
- Extreme Menstrual Pains
- Luteal Phase Defect (LPD)
- Breast Pain
- Menopausal Symptoms
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder(PMD)
It regulates the female reproductive hormone oestrogen and regularises the Menstrual cycle. It also improves the fertility levels and helps in conceiving without any problems.
How to use?
For dysmenorrhoea (painful menstrual cramps), take a few leaves of Nirgundi and dry them in a shady area. Boil the leaves in 600ml of water. When only 150ml is remaining, filter it out and drink it slowly like a tea. Drink this Nirgundi Tea for a few days in the evening time.
In case the dysmenorrhoea is extreme, grind the seeds of Nirgundi and consume 2 grams every day in morning and evening.
If you do not find fresh leaves, you can use juice available on the internet but it is recommended to grow your own plant at home as it can be easily maintained throughout the year.
3. Respiratory Disorders: Asthma, Sinusitis, Cough and Cold
Nirgundi is Kaphahara, which means it pacifies Kapha Dosha. Respiratory disorders caused by access kapha in the respiratory passage eg, Asthma, Bronchitis, Sinusitis, Rhinitis, Pneumonia and Pleurisy are cured by Nirgundi. It ventilates the respiratory passage.
How to use?
According to Aastangahridaya, ghee (Ghritam) prepared with the fresh juice of nirgundi leaves cures cough and cold.
4. Digestive Health:
It increases the digestive fire and increases appetite. It relieves stomach ache, gas, bloating and swelling of stomach, indigestion.
How to use?
In 10ml of Nirgundi leaves juice, add 2 black peppers and Ajwain. Have this mixture 2 times at any time in the day.
5. Vermifuge / Destroys Worms (Krimighna Gana)
The juice of leaves of Nirgundi is Vermifuge. It destroys intestinal worms, bacteria and microorganisms. Nirgundi is known to relieve 20 types of diseases related to worms as well as disorder generated by them. It also eliminates worms from ulcers and foetid discharges.
You can buy the leaves juice online easily.
6. Increases Immunity
By applying the oil of Nirgundi prepared with the juice of leaves and sesame oil cooked together, on a regular basis, increases the immunity of the body. It also improves blood circulation. Use this oil at any time of the day. You can also use it as for Abhyanga.
Another way to use it is to cook a litre of Nirgundi juice in low flame until it becomes thick. Store it in an airtight container and have 2 teaspoons every day for unto 3 months.
7. Treatment of Goitre / Tonsils:
Nirgundi root and leaves are very useful in treating cases of Goitre and Tonsils.
How To Use?
Take a few leaves of Nirgundi and boil it in 600ml of water. When the water left is only 150 ml the required decoction is prepared. Use this to gargle every day in the morning.
Along with drinking the above decoction, take the bark of Nirgundi root and grind it. Apply this grind outside the affected area every day and the swelling, inflammation as well as any pain will disappear in a few days.
8. Treatment of Skin Diseases
It is useful in the treatment of extremely dry skin, chapped lips, eczema, ringworms (kustha), urticaria and eruptions. Applying Nirgundi oil on affected area gives relief in just a few days. It is also helpful in case of wounds like fractures or any external wound. Washing the wounds with decoction can relieve pain and inflammation and heal wounds quickly.
For common skin problems like pimples, boils and acne, applying a grind of Neem, Nirgundi and Karanja will help.
9. Improves Liver Health
Nirgundi is found highly useful in Liver enlargement. It is Hepatoprotective and prevents liver damage. Combined with Kutki (A magical herb for liver health), it flushes out toxins from liver and repairs damage.
How To Use?
A decoction prepared from boiling the roots of Nirgundi can be given to reduce high fever especially in case of non-breaking fevers.
11. Hair Tonic
Regular use of Nirgundi leaves decoction is also beneficial for improving hair quality. Nirgundi oil can be mixed with other natural oils like organic cold pressed coconut oil, castor oil and can be used to obtain stronger and thicker hair. It also helps prevent premature greying of hair and hair fall.
12. Treatment of Fungal Ear Infection
For ear infections, putting 1 to 2 drops of Nirgundi oil in ears helps clear the infections and pus.
There are many other benefits of this herb like treatment of food Allergies (grain allergies) and food poisoning, Paralysis (nirgundi oil is one of the ingredients of many Ayurvedic oils prepared for paralysis), Treatment of Ascites, Migraine and headache relief, Filariasis, mouth ulcers, improving male libido, treatment of leprosy, eye and nose disorders.
Should not be used during pregnancy and lactation. It is a uterine stimulant and can negatively affect all stages of pregnancy. It also can decrease break milk production if used in a high dosage while it can also increase it if used in low dosage.
It has a hormone regulating herb so it can reduce the effect of oral contraception and hormone replacement therapy.
It the past, Roman wives used the leaves of nirgundi on their husbands when they went abroad on wars as the leaves can have a libido-suppressing effect.
If used in standard dosage, the consumption of the fruit of Nirgundi can have mild and very infrequent side effects like fatigue, headache, nausea, gastrointestinal upset, agitation, urticaria and tachycardia.
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