Bhutakeshi Information, Medicinal Uses and More

Know about Bhutakeshi's (Selinum vaginatum) botenical description, medicinal properties, medicinal uses in Ayurveda. The roots of plant is used to treat high blood pressure, sleeping disorders, neurological disorders etc.

Selinum vaginatum is known as Bhutakeshi, Bhootkeshi, Akasamamsi, Mura, Bhurigandha and Gandhamadanri in Ayurveda.

bhootkeshi herb

This medicinal plant is indigenous to India and found at high altitude in the Himalayan region. In Ayurveda, the rhizomatic roots and fruits of the plant are used for medicinal purpose. The roots are covered by hair like fibres and hence it is named as Bhutakeshi. The roots of Selinum vaginatum has hypotensive, analgesic and nervine sedative action.

As the roots of Selinum vaginatum and Nardostachys jatamansi resemble each other in external morphological characters and characteristic odour, therefore many times the roots of S. vaginatum are used as a substitute of Jatamansi (N. jatamansi rhizome). Studies suggest both of the plants exhibit distinctive medicinal properties.

Bhutakeshi is used in the treatment of high blood pressure, sleep and mental disorders. It is also indicated in neurological disorders like epilepsy, hysteria, syncope, convulsions, and mental weakness.

General Information

Plant Description:

Selinum vaginatum grows in Himalaya from Kashmir to Kumaun between altitudes of 1800 to 3900 meters.

An erect, tall, glabrous and hairy herb reaching up to a height of 1.5 m. with biennial tubers and lustres of small, white flowers on long, thin stems.

  • Stem: Hollow and finely grooved.
  • Leaf: Lower leaves broad-long with gradually narrowing. Upper leaves deeply incised. Leaf segments lanceolate, serrate, lobed or pinnatifid.
  • Flower: White, long stalked, with compound umbels.
  • Fruit: Yellowish-brown separated mericarps. Each mericarp broadly oblong, dorsally compressed, 5 to 9 mm long, 3 to 4 mm wide and 1 to 2 mm thick. Ridges five, yellowish-brown, 3 dorsal and 2 lateral. The lateral being large, membranous and winged. Taste bitter and spicy. Odour sweet and musk-like.
  • Rootstock: robust, aromatic with thick tufts of grey fibres.
  • Dried Rhizome Pieces: cylindrical, curved, up to 12 cm long and 0.5 cm thick; surface earthy brown to brown in color, rough, longitudinally wrinkled, bearing horizontally arranged, protruded lenticels and circular scars of roots
  • On fracture: short, horny revealing distinct creamish white, central cylinder of wood and brownish bark towards periphery.
  • Odour and taste: Not distinct and Astringent.
  • Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Fruits, Rhizome
  • Plant type / Growth Habit: Herb
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Distribution: North-Western Himalayas, Kangra, Holi range of Chamba, Parvati Valley and Rohtang area in Kullu, Rampur and Rohru division of Shimla district, at altitudes of 1800 to 3900 meters
  • Habitat: The meadows, shrubberies and dry areas, in the temperate and alpine moist pastures.

Vernacular names / Synonyms

  1. Scientific name: Selinum vaginatum
  2. Ayurvedic: Rochanatagara, Mansri Vishesa, Rochana-Tagara
  3. Bengali: Bhutakesi
  4. Hindi: Bhutakesi, Muramaansi
  5. Kannada: Mura
  6. Malayalam: Moramamsi
  7. Marathi: Mura
  8. Oriya: Bhutakesi
  9. Punjabi: Pushwari
  10. Telugu: Bhutakesi
  11. Garhwal: Taggar
  12. Kumaun: Moor
  13. Kashmir: Pushwari, Peshavari, Bhutakeshi
  14. Trade name: Bhutkeshi

Scientific Classification

All plants are scientifically classified into main 7 levels. These levels are the Kingdom, Division, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. A genus comprise of many species and the botanical name consists of Genus (uppercase) followed by Species (lowercase). Genus consists of many species which are closely related and have lots of similarities. Species is the lowest level and represents the group of the same plant.

The botanical name Bhutakesi of is Selinum vaginatum C.B. Clarke. It belongs to plant family Apiaceae. Below is given taxonomical classification of the plant.

  • Kingdom: Plantae (comprising all living or extinct plants)
  • Subkingdom: Tracheobionta (have lignified tissues or xylem for conducting water and minerals)
  • Superdivision: Spermatophyta (produce seeds)
  • Class: Magnoliopsida (flowering plant producing an embryo with paired cotyledons)
  • Subclass: Rosidae
  • Order: Apiales
  • Family: Apiaceae ⁄ Umbelliferae – Carrot family
  • Genus: Selinum L. – selinum
  • Species: vaginatum

Constituents of Selinum vaginatum

Rhizome: Coumarins, vaginatin, selinidin, vaginol, vaginidin and archangelone.

Fruit: Essential oil and coumarins

Ayurvedic Properties and Action of Bhutakehi

In Ayurveda, the roots and fruits of the plant are used for medicinal purpose. Bhootkeshi Rhizome is astringent, bitter in taste (Rasa), pungent after digestion (Vipaka), and is hot in effect (Virya). The fruit is Astringent, Pungent, Bitter, Sour in taste (Rasa), pungent after digestion (Vipaka), and is cool in effect (Virya).


  • Rasa (taste on the tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Tikta (Bitter)
  • Guna (Pharmacological Action): Ruksha (Dry), Snigdha (Unctuous)
  • Virya (Action): Ushna
  • Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)

Action / Karma

  1. Tridoshahara: Pacifies all the three doshas
  2. Vedanahara: Gives relief in Vedna or Pain.
  3. Rakshoghna: Protects against diseases
  4. Keshya: Nourishes and improves hair condition.
  5. Vranashodhana: Wound cleaning.

It is an Ushna Virya herb. Ushna Virya or hot potency herb, subdues Vata (Wind) and Kapha (Mucus) and increases Pitta (Bile). It has the property of digestion, vomiting and purging, and gives a feeling of lightness. It is considered bad for sperms and fetus.

Important formulation: It is used as single drug.

Indications of Rhizome powder

  1. Apasmara (Epilepsy)
  2. Jvara (Fever)
  3. Kasa (Cough)
  4. Krimi (Helminthiasis)
  5. Pratisyaya (Coryza)
  6. Uchha Raktacapa (Hypertension)
  7. Unmada (Mania / psychosis)
  8. Vatavyadhi (Disease due to Vata dosa)


  1. Rasa (taste on the tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter), Amla (Sour)
  2. Guna (Pharmacological Action): Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Dry)
  3. Virya (Action): Shita (Cooling)
  4. Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)

Action / Karma

  1. Tridoshaghna: helps in equilibrium of localized vitiated Vata-Pitta-Kapha.
  2. Vedanahara: Gives relief in pain.
  3. Rakshoghna: Protective against diseases.
  4. Keshya: Nourishes and improves hair condition.
  5. Kantiprada: Improves skin complexion and lustre.

Important formulations -Chandanadi Taila

Indications of Fruit powder

  1. Apasmara (Epilepsy)
  2. Bhrama (Vertigo)
  3. Jvara (Fever)
  4. Kshaya (Pthisis)
  5. Murccha (Syncope)
  6. Raktagata vata (Hypertension)
  7. Raktapitta (Bleeding disorder)
  8. Shvas (Asthma)
  9. Trishna (Thirst)
  10. Vatavyadhi (Disease due to Vata dosa)

It is pungent in both the initial and post-digestive tastes (Rasa and Vipaka) and hot in effect (Virya). It gives relief in Vata and Kapha and increases pitta. It is carminative, antiemetic and thermogenic. It is useful in indigestion, low appetite, nausea and piles.

Important Medicinal Properties

Selinum vaginatum is rich in medicinal properties. The understanding of these properties will help us to better utilize this herb. These also indicate the conditions in which we should avoid it.

Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.

  1. Analgesic: Pain relieving.
  2. Antispasmodic: Relieve spasm of involuntary muscle.
  3. Aromatic: Pleasant and distinctive smell.
  4. Carminative: Relieves flatulence.
  5. CNS-Depressant: Slow brain activity. This property makes them useful for treating anxiety and sleep disorders.
  6. Emmenagouge: Stimulates or increases menstrual flow.
  7. Hypotensive: Lower blood pressure.
  8. Nervine sedative: Nerve Tonic, calms nerves.

Medicinal Uses of Selinum vaginatum

Selinum vaginatum fruits and roots are valued as folk medicine in the Himalayan region. The fruits are used in the treatment of psychological disorders and the roots for hypertension, anxiety, and painful conditions. The rhizome of the plant are used for Vata and Kapha Rog and mental disorders.

Hysteria, convulsion, epilepsy

The root powder of Paeonia emodi (Himalayan Peony, Peony Rose, Bhuma-madiya, Udsalap, Yet-ghas), Acorus calamus (Vacha, Ugragandhaa, Jatila, Vijaya, Bhadra, Ikshupatrika) and Selinum vaginatum are mixed and given in a dose of half teaspoon twice a day.


Paeonia emodi Root powder mixed with Selinum vaginatum root powder is given ½ teaspoon twice a day up to 6 months.


The volatile oil extracted from roots has antibacterial and analgesic properties and is applied over wounds.

Other Uses

  1. The rhizome is used for fumigation to ward off ghosts and spirits.
  2. The rhizomes are used for liquor preparation.
  3. The roots are aromatic and used as incense or Dhoop.
  4. A pinch of powdered dried roots are used as a spice to add flavour.
  5. The leaves of the plant are edible and used as a fodder for sheep and goats.

The Dosage of Selinum vaginatum

  1. The fruit powder is taken in a dose of 1 to 3 grams.
  2. The root powder is taken in a dose of 3 to 6 grams.

Contraindications, Interactions, Side-effects, and Warnings Selinum vaginatum

  1. Use of the drug is contraindicated during pregnancy.
  2. No health hazards are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.
  3. Always use in the recommended dosage. It has blood pressure lowering and central nervous system depressing properties.

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