Vasaka is a tall, dense, and an evergreen shrub with several branches. Leaves are large and lance shaped. It has capsular four seeded fruits. The flowers are either white or purple in color. Vasaka is also called Malabar nut tree. The leave contain an alkaloid vasicine besides an essential oil.
Botanical Name: Adhatoda vasica
Indian Name: Adusa
Below are some of the medicinal properties of vasaka:
- Vasaka leaves, bark, the root bark, the fruit and flowers are useful in the removal of intestinal parasites. The decoction of its root and bark in doses of 30 grams twice or thrice a day for 3 days can be given for this purpose. The juice of its fresh leaves can also be used in doses of a teaspoon thrice a day for days.
- In acute stages of bronchitis, vasaka gives unfailing relief, especially where the sputum is thick and sticky. It liquefies the sputum so that it is brought up more easily. For relief in asthma, the dried leaves should be smoked.
- In Ayurveda, a preparation made from vasaka flowers, known as gulkand is used to treat tuberculosis. A few fresh petals of vasaka flowers should be bruised and put in a pot of china clay. Some sugar crystals are added and the jar kept in the sun. It should be stirred every morning and evening. The preserve is ready for use in about a month.
Even the juice from its leaves is valuable in treating tuberculosis. About 30 ml of the juice is taken thrice a day with honey. It relieves the irritable cough by its soothing action on the nerve and by liquefying the sputum, which makes expectoration easier.
- A poultice of its leaves can be applied with beneficial results over fresh wounds, rheumatic joints and inflammatory swellings. A warm decoction of its leaves is useful in treating scabies and other skin diseases.
- For cough, 7 leaves of the plant are boiled in water, strained and mixed with 24 grams of honey. This decoction provides relief. Similarly a confection of vasaka flowers eaten in doses of 12 grams twice daily relieves cough. About 60 grams of flowers and 180 grams of jaggery should be mixed for preparing this confection.
- The juice from its leaves should be given in doses of 2 to 4 grams in treating diarrhea and dysentery.
Vasaka is often taken in the form of juice extracted from its leaves, mixed with ginger or honey, in doses of 15 to 30. The leaves can be made into a decoction or the dried leaves can be given in powder form in doses of 2 grams. Both the decoction and powder are constituents of many preparations used in the Ayurvedic medicine for various affections of the respiratory tract. The root and the bark have the same medicinal uses as the leaves. A decoction of the bark is given in 30 to 60 ml doses and the powdered root bark in 0.75 to 2 grams doses.