Adhatoda Vasica – Vasaka

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Adhatoda Vasica (also called Vasaka) 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).

Adhatoda Vasica (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”

Phytochemistry (Chemical Composition)

Adhatoda Vasica (Vasaka) 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 (Vasaka) has following medicinal properties.

  • Antitussive – relieves a cough
  • Expectorant – promotes expectoration
  • Bronchodilator – dilates bronchi
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation of airways
  • Antihemorrhagic (styptic) – checks bleeding
  • Antioxidant
  • Antispasmodic – Helps in abdominal spasms and relaxes muscles (its action is confirmed due to the presence of Vasicinone alkaloid in Vasaka)
  • Antifungal – Works against ringworm
  • Mild Sedative – Calms the mind
  • Anti-allergic – Fights off allergies
  • Anthelmintic – Anti-parasite or removes worms
  • Appetite stimulant – Improves appetite
  • Mild Anti-hypertensive – Reduces blood pressure

Therapeutic Indications

Adhatoda Vasica (Vasaka) 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 or along with secondary bacterial infection)
  6. Chronic Bronchitis
  7. Sinusitis
  8. Sore throat
  9. Throat pain
  10. Throat Irritation
  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

Adhatoda Vasica (Vasaka) Benefits & 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 Medicine, Adhatoda Vasica is used when patient coughing up yellow thick sputum and has a fever, wheezing or difficulty in coughing up the sputum. Then the following herbal combination is given.

Adhatoda Vasica Powder (Vasaka Churna)2 grams
Sitopaladi churna2 grams
Honey1 teaspoon

The decoction prepared from Adhatoda Vasica leaves can also help in such cases. Its decoction reduces inflammation, cough, and wheezing and it eases in breathing.

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.

Fresh Adhatoda Vasica leaf juice5 ml
Fresh Ginger juice2.5 ml
Honey1 teaspoon

If you cannot prepare fresh formulation, then the following herbal formula of Vasaka can also help to reduce asthmatic attacks and ease breathing.

Adhatoda Vasica Powder (Vasaka Churna)2 grams
Pushkarmool (Inula racemosa)250 mg
Trikatu Churna250 mg
Sitopaladi churna2 grams
Honey1 teaspoon

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)

Vasaka 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 (Vasavaleha). The following A. Vasica formulation is also helpful in the management of upper respiratory infections.

Adhatoda Vasica Powder (Vasaka Churna)1 grams
Sitopaladi churna2 grams
Maha Sudarshan Churna2 grams
Tulsi Churna (Holy Basil Powder)1 gram
Honey1 teaspoon

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, Vasavaleha is recommended in such condition, but the following Vasaka combination is also effective in such cases.

Adhatoda Vasica Powder (Vasaka Churna)1 gram
Sitopaladi churna1 gram
Punarnava Churna1 gram
Trikatu Churna125 mg
Honey1 teaspoon

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. Vasaka 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 to expel and coughing up the sputum and to clear 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 difficult to expel 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 Vasaka leaves along with Sitopaladi 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 vasaka combination is used for this purpose.

Adhatoda Vasica Powder (Vasaka Churna)1 gram
Glycyrrhiza glabra (Mulethi)1 gram
AsparagusShatavari Churna500 mg
Banslochan500 mg
Misri (sugar)1 gram

Dyspepsia, Gastritis or Acidity

Vasaka 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 Vasaka formula for hyper acidity and ulcer.

Adhatoda Vasica Powder (Vasaka Churna)1 gram
Glycyrrhiza glabra (Mulethi)1 gram
Amla Churna500 mg
AsparagusShatavari Churna500 mg
Pitpapra (fumaria indica)500 mg
Banslochan500 mg
Misri (sugar)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 teaspoon 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

Uremia 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 Vasaka herb have following recommended dosage.

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

Safety Profile

All parts of Adhatoda Vasica or Vasaka are likely safe to consume as per dosage described above.

Side effects of Vasaka (Adhatoda Vasica)

There are no side effects observed with Adhatoda Vasica or Vasaka when it is used in a natural form including leaf powder, leaf juice, decoction etc.

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 during pregnancy to reduce symptoms of nausea, vomiting, acidity along with ginger. Therefore, it might be safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding for short-term use. The long-term use should be discouraged.

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