Medicinal value of Adhatoda | Daily News


Medicinal value of Adhatoda

Adhatoda or known as the Malabar Nut in English is known as the plant with flowers that resemble the face of a Lion. Institute of Indigenous Medicine, Department of Dravyaguna Vignana, Senior Lecturer, Dr. S. D. Hapuarachchi assures you that it is a valuable plant to have in your home garden. Green Thumbs features the Adhatoda also known as the five in one herbal tea because it combines the properties of leaves, roots, flowers, stem bark and leaf petiole to make a nourishing herbal tea.

Cultivation of these plants on a small scale/home garden is useful as people can earn some money by supplying these leaves to the nearest Ayurveda hospital. This is because Adhatoda leaves are in demand in these hospitals. You can grow a plant that provides nutrition to the entire family and also get some added income.

Hapuarachchi had words of caution when she said that the Pavatta plant can be mistaken for Adhatoda. Readers need to remember that Pavatta is mostly used as an ornamental plant while Adhatoda is known for its high medicinal value.

“People during my era called it Adhatoda Pas Panguwa because a form of herbal tea can be prepared combining the leaves, roots, flowers, stem bark and leaf petiole. Some people have problems with phlegm, wheezing and cough and this herbal tea can bring relief. Traditionally this remedy was prepared at homes. It has a phlegm expectorant quality. However it is unadvisable for a pregnant woman to use any form of Adhatoda, herbal tea or any other because it heavily impacts the uterus,” said Hapuarachchi.

She pointed out that making herbal tea is not the only benefit that Adhatoda can offer someone. Its leaves have many health benefits. If you have joint diseases the leaves can help. Here we use Adhatoda leaves, Nika Leaves and Sudu Lunu for the pain relief. All three are pounded together and the content is prepared. A separate container is filled with boiling water, the content is wrapped with a cloth and placed over the mouth of the container. The fumes will heat the content. Then the content is administered into places where there is discomfort.

“It is a plant very easily grown in home gardens. It is the necessary herbal plant in the home garden. It is also excellent for horticulture as it can be used in the form of hedges. It can mark boundaries in gardens as well. The Adhatoda parts can all be used as decoctions as well. It can also be used as Syrups and Pastes – Vasaka Syrup and Vasava Leha (a paste). The Sanskrit name is Vasaka. This is excellent as a cough remedy. The Adhatoda leaf extract is boiled with sugar and is prepared as syrup. Vasava Leha is a leaf extract used with other ingredients and is good for cough and phlegm. The Vasava Leha is applied to the tongue and can be swallowed. Both Syrup and Leha are used for bronchitis and Asthma. Both also function as remedy for phlegm,” explained Hapuarachchi.

Hapuarachchi made special mention of the fact that the fresh flowers of Adhatoda are used for certain eye conditions and is used along with fruits and roots for the treatment of some cough and phlegm conditions. It is rarely that the flowers of Adhatoda are taken alone internally but is popular as a part used for herbal tea along with the other parts. She also pointed out that all the five parts of the plant are used for Tuberculosis. The leaves are given for people with diarrhea and dysentery. The leaf extract is taken by boiling in water, or as it is we can crush the leaves and get the juice. Juice from leaves is usually good for the wound healing and relief of joint pain.

“The whitish flowers of the Adhatoda resemble a lion. We can boil the flower and drink it. But that is rarely practiced. Roots also we can drink but very rarely. But the most popular method is boiling the leaves and drinking,” said Hapuarachchi.

Hapuarachchi further added that the Adhatoda plant is good for combating viral fever and malarial fever. It purifies the blood.

The Syrup is good for the clearing of voice and is a good solution for skin diseases. However we must be mindful if we are on diabetic medication as it may have adverse effects.

“The roots, leaves and flowers have a number of pharmacological properties. It is used for cough and chronic bronchitis, rheumatoid arthritis and Asthma. The Adhatoda plant is found in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Panama, China, Indonesia and Malaysia. The flavor of the herbal medicine is pleasant to the tongue. Root and flowers can be taken internally as decoction but is usually done with ingredients. However for those who have phlegm and cough conditions it is better to use the herbal tea,” said Hapuarachchi.

She also enthusiastically pointed out that the leaf extract can be served as an insecticide. It can also be used to heal the wounds of livestock. Hapuarachchi also stated that certain societies in India cook the leaf to prepare delicious food. The infused leaves also help in killing white ants, mosquitoes and flies.

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