Manish Kumar1, Vikram S. Chauhan2, Raaz K Maheshwari3*
1 Department of Zoology, Narain College, Shikohabad, UP
2 Department of Botany, Bangur Govt PG College, Pali, Rajasthan
3 Department of Chemistry, SBRM Govt PG College, Nagaur, Rajasthan
Adhatoda vasica is popularly known as Basak in Bangla, Malabar Nut in English, Adosa (ARADUSO) in Hindi and Vasaka in Sanskrit. It has been used in preparation of herbal medicines for the past 2000 years.
This evergreen perennial shrub has leathery leaves. The flowers are dense and large having large bracts and whitish pink/purple colored. The herb is often grown as a hedge and its leaves and twigs are utilized as green-manure. The whole plant or its roots, leaves, bark and flowers are used in various herbal preparations.
It is a primary medicinal plant for the respiratory tract ailments in the treatment of cough, bronchitis, asthma and symptoms of common cold. The medicinal uses of Adulsa leaves are attributed to its antitussive, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Its leaf juice is the most common home remedy for cough, respiratory diseases and bleeding disorders. It is also a highly effective natural medicine for respiratory infections. In ayurveda, Adulsa juice is also called Adusa Swarasa, Adulsa Swarasa and Vasa Svarasa.
Constituents of the plant have been exposed to have anti stress effects, which might be occasioned partly by an endocrine and partly by an immunomodulatory mechanism of action. This plant has medicinal uses, mainly antispasmodic, fever reducer, anti-inflammatory, anti-bleeding, bronchodilator, anti-diabetic, disinfectant, anti-jaundice and oxytocic. It is antiperiodic, astringent, diuretic, purgative and is also used as an expectorant in addition to liquefy sputum. The leaves, flowers and roots of this plant used in herbal drugs against tubercular activities cancer and possessed anti-helminthic properties.
A wide range of phytochemical constituents have been isolated from this plant having activities like antitussive, abortifacient, antimicrobial, insecticidal, hepatic protection, cardiovascular protection, anticholinesterase, antioxidant, antiinflammatory and other important activities. Some important bioactive compounds have been reported in various part of Adhatoda vasica are essential oils and quinazoline alkaloids. So this plant can form one of the best options for developing novel compounds having medicinal value.
The chemical compounds found in Adhatoda vasica plant includes essential oils, fats, resins, sugar, gum, amino acids, proteins and vitamins ‘C’ etc. The phytochemical analysis show that phenols, tannins, alkaloids, anthraquinone, saponins, flavonoids and reducing sugars were found in the leaves of plant. But the pharmacologically most studied chemical component in plant is vasicine, a bitter quinazoline alkaloid, the novel alkaloid isolated leaves and characterized as 1, 2, 3, 9-tetrahydro- 5-methoxypyrrol [2, 1-b] quinazolin-3-ol. It is present in the leaves, roots and flowers. Besides vasicine, the leaves contain several alkaloids (Vasicinone, Vasicinol, Adhatodine, Adhatonine, Adhvasinone, Anisotine and Hydroxypeganine), betaine, steroids and alkanes . The leaves contain two major alkaloids called vasicine and vasicinone.
Glycodin Terp, which is a famous product used for the cure of bronchitis has been a product extracted from the leaves of Adhatoda vasica. Further, the extracts have been found to be quite effective against tuberculosis. Various parts of the plant have been used in Indian traditional medicine for the treatment of asthma, joint pain, lumber pain, sprains, cold, cough, eczema, malaria, rheumatism, swelling and venereal diseases.
In India paste of the fresh root applied on abdomen and vagina minutes before childbirth facilitates easy delivery. The extract of roots of Adhatoda vasica has commonly been used by rural population against diabetes, cough and certain liver disorders . whereas its paste has been used for curing tuberculosis, diphtheria, malarial fever, leucorrhoea, eye diseases, acute nightfall [(paste mixed with sugar) in Sitapur district, Uttar Pradesh, India. Further, the root’s decoction has been used for gonorrhoea and as an expectorant, antispasmodial / anthelmintic agent.
The various preparations of leaves has been used for curing bleeding, hemorrhage, skin diseases, wounds, headache and leprosy (chronic infection) while their infusion or the solvent extract has been observed to be an excellent agent for the destruction of white ants, flies, and mosquitoes.
The fresh juice of leaves mixed with honey and ginger juice cures all types of acute cough, chronic bronchitis, breathlessness and liquefies sputum and asthma . The extract obtained by decoction of its leaves along with fruit of Phyllanthus emblica, mixed with honey has been effective against asthma.
The crushed fresh leaves of the plant have been used to treat snake bites (India and Sri lanka). Macerated extract from leaves/ Yellow leaves/smoke from dry leaves acts against cough and phlegm blockage during cold (Bangladesh) and an infusion protects from headache (Myanmar and Pakistan).
The leaf powder boiled in sesame oil stops bleeding, earaches as well as pus from ears and jaundice. Leaf juice has been used as the best medicine to enhance platelet count during dengue like viral fevers, postpartum hemorrhage, urinary trouble, acidity and belching and its mixture with jaggery reduces excessive menstrual flow get cured. Externally warmed leaves have been used for rheumatic pains and dislocation of joint, stomach catarrh with constipation, rheumatism, gout, fever and urinary stone. Juice made from the bark and leaves help against vomiting.
The flowers have been known to possess expectorant and antiasthmatic, antiseptic properties and have been used against of ophthalmic, cold, phthisis, asthma, bronchitis, cough, antispasmodic, high fever and gonorrhoea. Also the flowers improve blood circulation and hectic heet of blood . Fruits: Fruits of the Adhatoda vasica are four seeded capsules. In Pakistan, fruits of the plant are used for cold, antispasmodic and bronchitis. The fruit of the plant are also used for Diarrhea, Dysentery, Fever and as laxative.
A wide range of phytochemical constituents have been isolated from this plant having activities like antitussive, abortifacient, antimicrobial, insecticidal, hepatic protection, cardiovascular protection, anticholinesterase, antioxidant, antiinflammatory and other important activities. A wide range of phytochemical constituents have been isolated from this plant having activities like antitussive, abortifacient, antimicrobial, insecticidal, hepatic protection, cardiovascular protection, anticholinesterase, antioxidant, antiinflammatory and other important activities A. vasica has emerged as imperative medicinal herb well known for its applications in different traditional medicinal system such as Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani etc.
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