Adhatoda Vasica (Justicia Adhatoda) – Malabar Nut, Vasa, Vasaka, Adulsa

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Adhatoda Vasica is an ayurvedic medicinal plant used for a cough, asthma, breathing trouble, nasal congestion, bleeding disorders, allergic conditions, upper respiratory infections, excessive uterine bleeding, heavy menstruation, and epistaxis (nosebleed).

Vasaka has mucolytic, expectorant and bronchodilator action, so it is greatly used in respiratory troubles. It relieves a cough, fights off respiratory infections and helps in the management of asthma.

“BROMHEXINE IS AN EXPECTORANT, MUCOLYTIC AND BRONCHODILATOR MODERN DRUG, WHICH IS A SYNTHETIC FORM OF ALKALOID VASICINE FOUND IN ADHATODA VASICA”

Botanical Classification (Plant Taxonomy)

KingdomPLANTAE
Sub-KingdomVIRIDIPLANTAE
Infra KingdomSTREPTOPHYTA  (land plants)
Super DivisionEMBRYOPHYTA
DivisionTRACHEOPHYTA (TRACHEOPHYTES or Vascular Plants)
Sub DivisionSPERMATOPHYTINA (SPERMATOPHYTES or Seed Plants)
ClassMAGNOLIOPSIDA
Super OrderAsteranae
OrderLamiales
FamilyAcanthaceae
GenusJusticia L. (Water Willow)
SpeciesJusticia Adhatoda+ (Malabar Nut)

+ Accepted Botanical Name is Justicia Adhatoda. The Scientific community has not accepted Adhatoda Vasica.

Also Known As:- VASA, ADULSA, ADUSA (In Hindi), VASAKA (In Sanskrit) & Malabar Nut (In English)

Phytochemistry (Chemical Composition)

Adhatoda Vasica contains following active principles, which might responsible for its therapeutic properties.

  1. Vasicine (quinazoline alkaloid)
  2. Vasicine acetate
  3. Vasicinone
  4. Vasicinolone
  5. 2-acetyle benzyle

Medicinal Properties

Adhatoda Vasica has following medicinal properties.

Anti-bacterialIt helps in upper respiratory infections
Anti-viralCommon Cold and dengue fever
Anti-inflammatoryEffects are visible in respiratory diseases
Antitussiverelieves a cough
Bronchodilator
Expectorantpromotes expectoration
AntispasmodicHelps in abdominal spasms and relaxes muscles (its action is confirmed due to the presence of Vasicinone alkaloid in VASAKA)
AntihemorrhagicStops bleeding
Anti-hypertensiveReduces blood pressure
Mild SedativeCalms the mind
Anti-allergicFights off allergies
AntifungalWorks against ringworm
AnthelminticAnti-parasite or removes worms
Appetite stimulantImproves appetite

Adhatoda Vasica also has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

Therapeutic Indications

Adhatoda Vasica is helpful in following diseases.

  1. Cough (with yellow thick sputum and fever)
  2. Chronic cough due to Tuberculosis along with anti-tubercular medicines
  3. Asthma (wheezing, breathing trouble and chest congestion)
  4. Upper respiratory infections (with a fever and productive cough)
  5. Common cold (with thick yellow discharge)
  6. Chronic Bronchitis
  7. Sinusitis
  8. Throat pain
  9. Throat Irritation
  10. Sore throat (throat infections)
  11. Tonsillitis (swelling or inflammation of tonsils with redness)
  12. Throat ulcers
  13. Excessive thirst
  14. Nosebleed (epistaxis) – due to excess heat
  15. Angina pectoris
  16. Heart diseases (including high blood pressure)
  17. Mild constipation
  18. Dengue fever

Benefits & Medicinal Uses

Adhatoda Vasica is a drug of choice for respiratory diseases in Ayurveda. It is the main ingredient in every proprietary ayurvedic medicines used for a cough and asthma. It is a simple, easily available and safe herb, which gives relief from bacterial infections and throat problems.

The main action of this herb is observed on the respiratory system and circulatory system. Here are some clinical uses and health benefits of Adhatoda Vasica.

Cough

Adhatoda Vasica has potent antitussive properties. It gives relief from a cough. The effects in suppressing cough in animal studies found to be similar to codeine. (1)

In ayurvedic, Adhatoda Vasica is used when patient coughing up yellow thick sputum and has fever, wheezing or difficulty in coughing up the sputum. Then the following herbal combination is given.

Adhatoda Vasica Powder2 grams
Sitopaladi churna2 grams
Honey1 tsp.

Some ayurvedic doctors also recommend using decoction made with Adhatoda Vasica leaves in such condition.

Asthma

Adhatoda Vasica has anti-inflammatory characteristics. It helps in asthma and reduces inflammation of airways and lungs. (2, 3)

Furthermore, VASICINE compound found in n Adhatoda Vasica is bronchodilator, which eases the breathing process and reduces wheezing due to asthma.

In Ayurveda, the following herbal combination is helpful for asthma.

Adhatoda Vasica Powder1 gram
Pushkarmool (Inula racemosa)250 mg
Long pepper250 mg
Black pepper125 mg
Dried ginger125 mg
Honey1 tsp.

The following herbal formula of VASA is also helpful in the management of asthma.

Adhatoda leaves juice5 ml
Ginger juice2.5 ml
Honey5 ml

Upper Respiratory Infections

Adhatoda Vasica has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Therefore, it is helpful in a variety of bacterial infections of the respiratory system. (4, 5)

Adhatoda Vasica is commonly used in Ayurveda for fever, upper respiratory tract infections, and cough. Many ayurvedic formulations used for this purpose contain it as a main ingredient. The most commonly used formulation is VASABLEHA. The following Vasica formulation is also helpful in the management of upper respiratory infections.

Sitopaldi Churna2 grams
Vasableha1 tsp.
Maha sudarshan Churna2 grams

This works when the patient has yellow thick sputum, cough, fever, nasal congestion, wheezing etc.

Common Cold

Adhatoda Vasica has anti-viral medicinal property, which makes it effective in viral diseases. Ayurvedic doctors use it in the common cold when nasal discharge is yellow and thick. Generally, Vasableha is recommended in such condition, but the following vasa combination is also effective in such cases.

Adhatoda Vasica powder1 grams
Sitopaladi Churna1 grams
Punarnava powder1 gram
Black pepper125 mg
Honey1 tsp.

Sinusitis & Sinus Infection

As explained above, Adhatoda Vasica has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. (6, 7)

It reduces inflammation of sinuses and fights off infections. It reduces the blockage of sinuses and removes pus or fluid from them.

Chronic Bronchitis

Adhatoda Vasica has antiseptic effects for bronchial tubes. It reduces the inflammation of bronchial tubes and reduces thickened mucus due to its expectorant effects. It clears the bronchial tubes and reduces a cough, production of sputum, fatigue, breathlessness and chest discomfort associated with bronchitis.

Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis is caused by chronic inflammation, which results in the failure to clear sputum. In such condition, abnormal dilation of airways causes excessive mucus production.

In Ayurvedic medicines, Vasaka is used for managing such condition. However, it has mild bronchodilator effects, but it has potent mucolytic and expectorant action. Therefore, the effect of its bronchodilatory properties becomes insignificant to cause further bronchodilatation. It helps expelling and coughing up the sputum and clearing the airways. Furthermore, it reduces chronic inflammation of airways, which helps to restore natural functions of the airways.

If the sputum is too thick and one feels difficulty to expelling it, then the mixture of 20 ml juice of Vasaka Leaves with 250 mg Black Salt (Kala Namak) is useful.

To reduce bronchodilatation, 3 grams Vasaka leaves powder is used with 50 mg Datura leaves powder and 1 teaspoon of honey.

Sore Throat, Throat Pain, Tonsillitis & Postnasal Drip

With medicinal properties like anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, antiviral, Adhatoda Vasica is helpful in a sore throat, throat pain and tonsillitis. It also reduces redness, pain, and inflammation of soft palate.

Patients with postnasal drip or discharge can get benefits using Vasa leaves along with sitopaldi churna and punarnava churna.

Ulcer

According to scientific study and analysis, Adhatoda Vasica has anti-ulcer property. Its leaves can reduce ulceration due to NSAIDs including aspirin. (8)

According to Ayurveda, it is beneficial in bleeding disorders and ulceration. It is also described in various ayurvedic ancient books including CHARAKA SAMHITA.

It can help in peptic and duodenal ulcer. The following vasa combination is used for this purpose.

Adhatoda Vasica powder1 grams
Glycyrrhiza glabra (Mulethi)1 grams
Asparagus250 mg

Dyspepsia, Gastritis or Acidity

Vasa has good results in dyspepsia, gastritis or acidity. It reduces acid formation in the stomach. In the study, scientists have observed that it reduces free and total HCL in patients with non-ulcer dyspepsia, hyperacidity, and gastritis. (9)

Many herbalists use following Vasa formula for hyperacidity and ulcer.

Adhatoda Vasica powder1 grams
Glycyrrhiza glabra (Mulethi)1 grams
Amla powder1 gram
Pitpapra (fumaria indica)1 gram

Bleeding disorders

(Including nosebleed and internal bleeding)

The following formulation is used for bleeding disorders, cough and asthma. It is described in CHARAKA SAMHITA (CHIKITSA SASTHANA, CHAPTER 4, RAKTPITTA, and VERSE 65)

Adhatoda leaves juice5 grams
Vitis Vinifera5 grams
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) Fruit pulp5 grams

Take above herbs in described amount and make a decoction in 400 ml water, when 100 ml water remains during heating and let it cool down. Now add 1 tsp. honey in decoction and drink twice a day.

Gout or Raised Uric Acid Level

Adhatoda Vasica also reduces joint inflammation. With other herbs, it helps in reducing raised uric acid and pain and tenderness associated with gout. It is used with Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia) and amaltas (Cassia fistula) in gouty arthritis.

Uremia (Uraemia)

Uremia (Uraemia) is the condition with elevated urea level and nitrogenous wastes in the blood. It commonly occurs in acute renal injury and chronic renal failure. In such case, kidneys become unable to eliminate these toxic wastes.

Adhatoda Vasica root decoction is beneficial in decreasing the urea level and other nitrogenous wastes in the blood. How does it work is not yet known, but it increases the excretion of urea and other wastes through the urine. 50 ml Adhatoda Vasica root decoction is effective in initial or starting phase of chronic renal failure when used along with Chandraprabha Vati on the empty stomach. The results start appearing within the first week of the treatment.

Excessive Uterine Bleeding

10 ml Vasaka juice or 50 ml Vasaka decoction along with 10 grams Misri powder is beneficial for treating excessive uterine bleeding. The treatment duration with this remedy should be continued at least for 4 to 6 weeks. Chandraprabha Vati should also be used with this remedy for restoring natural uterine functions.

Dosage & Administration

The different parts of Vasa herb have following recommended dosage.

Vasa leaves1 gram to 3 grams
Leaf DecoctionPrepared with 5 grams leaf powder
Vasa roots250 mg to 500 mg
Vasa Leaf juice5 ml to 10 ml
Vasa flower powder250 mg to 1000 mg

Caution & Side Effects

Adhatoda Vasica is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken in recommended dosage.

Pregnancy & Lactation

Adhatoda Vasica has studied for its abortive effects in rats. In this study, leaf extract was used, which has Standard Vasicine alkaloid about 0.85%. Adhatoda vasica did not cause abortion in any group treat with it. (10)

However, there is no study available for the crude form of Vasaka safety in breastfeeding and pregnancy. In Ayurveda, Adhatoda Vasica is used in pregnancy to reduce symptoms of nausea, vomiting, acidity along with ginger. Therefore, it might be safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding for short-term use.

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