Adhatoda Vasica Medicinal Plant

Vasaka or Malabar Nut is a very well-known medicinal herb in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine system also known as Basak. This medicinal herb is native to India and found throughout India up to an altitude of 1300 meters. Vasaka is indicated in treatment various diseases, and especially in cold, cough, chronic bronchitis and asthma. All part of this plant contains alkaloid vasicine which is a bronchodilator, respiratory stimulant, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), cardiac depressant (decreases heart rate and contractility), uterotonic and abortifacient.

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Justicia
Species: J. adhatoda
Botanical name: Adhatoda vasica Nees.
Synonym: A. zeylanica Medic., Justicia adhatoda Linn.

Vernacular name

Sanskrit: Vrsha, Atarusa, Vasaka, Simhasya, Vajidana
Assamese: Titabahak, Bahak, Vachaka
Bengali: Bakas, Basak
English: Vasaka, Malabar Nut tree
Gujrati: Ardusi, Aradusi, Araduso
Hindi: Adoosa, Arusa, Aduss, Bansa Vasika
Folk: Piya-bansa 
Kannada: Adusoye
Malayalam: Adalodakam, Adarooshaka
Marathi: Adulsa, Vasa
Oriya: Vasanga, Basanga
Punjabi: Vishuti, Bhekar, Vansa, Arusa
Tamil: Adatodai
Telugu: Adda, Saramu
Urdu: Adusa ( Arusa)


Vasaka is a tall, branched, dense evergreen shrub of about 2.2-3.5 meters height. It has large leaves. Its flowers are white in colour with some purple. Its fruits are capsular with four seeds.
Roots- normal with tap root and secondary and tertiary rootlets.
Stem- woody in young plants breaking with a short fracture.
Leaves- minutely pubiscent entire leaves, arising from swollen nodes. Broadly lanceolate, long, tapering, pointed and much lighter in colour on the under surface.
Flowers- hermahrodite, corolla are large and white with a funnel shaped lower portion, lower lip of corolla is streaked purpule.
Fruits- small capsule

Vasaka has following medicinal properties

  • Anti-diabetic and anti-ulcer
  • Anti-implantation (Prevents attachment of the fertilized egg to the uterine lining) and abortifacient (causes miscarriage)
  • Anti-allergic, anti-tussive, bronchodilator, Expectorant
  • Antioxidant, hepatoprotective, radioprotective, antispasmodic, febrifuge

The leaves of Vasaka plant comprises the drug. These contain alkaloid, vasicine which has strong bronchodilator activity and used in form of juice, or decoction to treat respiratory infections. It is also useful in treating leprosy, blood disorders, heart troubles, thirst, fever, vomiting, loss of memory, leucoderma, jaundice, tumors, mouth troubles, sore-eye, fever, and gonorrhea.
Leaves have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties and used externally in form of poultice for treating wounds and joint pain.

Warning: The leaves in recommended doses cures ailments and in large doses causes irritation and vomiting.
Ardusa/Vasaka has anti-plantation and abortifacient activities, therefore it must not be used during pregnancy.

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