Justicia adhatoda

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Justicia adhatoda
Justicia adhatoda 1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Angiosperms
Class: Eudicots
Order: Lamiales
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Justicia
Species: J. adhatoda
Binomial name
Justicia adhatoda

Adhatoda vasica Nees

Justicia adhatoda, commonly known in English as Malabar Nut, Adulsa, Adhatoda, Vasa, or Vasaka,[1][2] is a medicinal plant native to Asia, widely used in Siddha Medicine, Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine.[3]

The plant's range includes Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and China, as well as Panama where it is thought to have been introduced.[3]

Botanical description[edit]

J. adhatoda is a shrub with lance-shaped leaves 10 to 15 centimeters in length by four wide. They are oppositely arranged, smooth-edged, and borne on short petioles. When dry they are of a dull brownish-green colour. They are bitter-tasting. When a leaf is cleared with chloral hydrate and examined microscopically the oval stomata can be seen. They are surrounded by two crescent-shaped cells at right angles to the ostiole. The epidermis bears simple one- to three-celled warty hairs, and small glandular hairs. Cystoliths occur beneath the epidermis of the underside of the blade.

Chemical composition[edit]

Several alkaloids are present in the leaves. The most important is vasicine, a quinazoline alkaloid.[3] The vasicine yield of the herbage has been measured as 0.541 to 1.1% by dry weight.


This shrub has a number of traditional medicinal uses in Siddha Medicine, Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine.[3]

Vasicine, the active compound, has been compared to theophylline both in vitro and in vivo.[4] Another, vasicinone, showed bronchodilatory activity in vitro[5] but bronchoconstrictory activity in vivo.[6] Both the alkaloids in combination (1:1) showed pronounced bronchodilatory activity in vivo and in vitro.[7] Both alkaloids are also respiratory stimulants.[7] Vasicine has a cardiac–depressent effect, while vasicinone is a weak cardiac stimulant; the effect can be normalized by combining the alkaloids.[7][8] Vasicine is reported to have a uterine stimulant effect.[8] Vasicinone was shown to have an antianaphylactic action.[8] Clinical trials of a commercial drug containing vasicinone and vasicinone have not revealed any side effects while treating bronchial asthma.[9]

Cultural reference[edit]

It is the Unofficial provincial flower of the Punjab province of Pakistan.


It is also called Adhatoda vasika, which is derived from a former scientific name. It has different names in different Indian languages.[10]

  • sinhala: pawatta(පාවට්ටා)
  • Malayalam: Atalotakam (ആടലോടകം)
  • Sanskrit: Sinhapuri, Vasaka (वसाका)
  • Hindi: Adosa, Arusha, Rus, Bansa
  • Bengali: Adulsa, Bakash,Vasok
  • Gujarati: Aradusī, Adulso, Aduraspee, Bansa (અરડૂસી)
  • Kannada: Adusogae
  • Marathi: Adulsa, Adusa (अडुळसा)
  • Oriya: Basanga
  • Persian: Bansa
  • Punjabi: Bhekkar
  • Tamil: Adathodai
  • Telugu: Adamkabu, Adampaka, Addasaram (అడ్డసరం)
  • Nepali: Asuro, Kalo vasak (नेपाली)
  • Mizo: Kawldai


  1. ^ "Common Names for Malabar Nut (Justicia adhatoda)". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Aslam, Mohd; Rais, Sumbul; Alam, Masood; Pugazhendi, Arulazhagan (2013). "Adsorption of Hg(II) from Aqueous Solution Using Adulsa (Justicia adhatoda) Leaves Powder: Kinetic and Equilibrium Studies". Journal of Chemistry 2013: 1–11. doi:10.1155/2013/174807. ISSN 2090-9063. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Facts about for Malabar Nut (Justicia adhatoda)". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Nepali, Kunal; Sharma, Sahil; Ojha, Ritu; Dhar, Kanaya Lal (2012). "Vasicine and structurally related quinazolines". Medicinal Chemistry Research 22 (1): 1–15. doi:10.1007/s00044-012-0002-5. ISSN 1054-2523. 
  5. ^ Amin, A. H.; Mehta, D. R. (1959). "A Bronchodilator Alkaloid (Vasicinone) from Adhatoda vasica Nees". Nature 184 (4695): 1317–1317. doi:10.1038/1841317a0. ISSN 0028-0836. 
  6. ^ Mehta, D. R.; Naravane, J. S.; Desai, R. M. (1963). "Vasicinone. A Bronchodilator Principle from Adhatoda Vasica Nees (N. O. Acanthaceae)". The Journal of Organic Chemistry 28 (2): 445–448. doi:10.1021/jo01037a041. ISSN 0022-3263. 
  7. ^ a b c Avula, B.; et al. (2008). "Quantitative determination of vasicine and vasicinone in Adhatoda vasica by high performance capillary electrophoresis". Die Pharmazie – An International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 63 (1): 20–22. doi:10.1691/ph.2008.7175. 
  8. ^ a b c Rajani, M; Soni, S; Anandjiwala, Sheetal; Patel, G (2008). "Validation of different methods of preparation of Adhatoda vasica leaf juice by quantification of total alkaloids and vasicine". Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 70 (1): 36. doi:10.4103/0250-474X.40329. ISSN 0250-474X. 
  9. ^ Roja, G.; Vikrant, B.H.; Sandur, Santosh Kumar; Sharma, Asmita; Pushpa, K.K. (2011). "Accumulation of vasicine and vasicinone in tissue cultures of Adhatoda vasica and evaluation of the free radical-scavenging activities of the various crude extracts". Food Chemistry 126 (3): 1033–1038. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2010.11.115. ISSN 0308-8146. 
  10. ^ Dr. K. M. Nadkarni's Indian Materia Medica, Volume 1, Edited by A. K. Nadkarni, Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1976, pp. 40.

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