Health Benefits of Doctorbush (Plumbago zeylanica)

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Doctorbush Quick Facts
Name: Doctorbush
Scientific Name: Plumbago zeylanica
Origin South Asia
Shapes Oblong (7.5-8 mm long) five-furrowed capsule
Doctorbush is a multipurpose medicinal herb of family Plumbaginaceae. It is native to South Asia and is distributed throughout most of the tropics and subtropics. It grows in deciduous woodland, savannas and scrublands from sea level upto 2000 meters altitude. In India, it is widely distributed from Central India to West Bengal, Southern India Maharashtra.

Doctorbush is a perennial herb which attains the height of 0.5-2 m (1.6-6.6 ft). Leaves are simple, alternate, elliptical or oblong, ovate-lanceolate measuring 0.5–12 cm long with a tapered base and hairy margin. Stipules are absent and petioles are 0–5 mm long, narrow with small auricles in young leaves. Inflorescence is of terminal raceme type, many flowered and about 6-30 cm long. The white flowers borne in axillary and terminal elongated spikes. Usually the flowers are regular, bisexual, sweet scented, pedicellate and pentamerous. Flowers have tubular calyx measuring 7-11 mm long and 5-ribbed having glandular trichomes which secrete a sticky mucilage. The flower blooms year round and pollination occurs by insects. Flowers are followed by oblong, five furrowed, capsule which is 7.5–8 mm long that contains single seed. Seeds are oblong, reddish-brown to dark brown measuring 5-6 mm long. Roots are smooth, straight, unbranched or branched and about 30 cm long and 6 cm in diameter. It is light yellow when fresh and turns reddish-brown on drying.


Roots are stout, friable, cylindrical, blackish red about 30 cm or more in length.  It is yellow colored when fresh and reddish brown when dry, slightly branched or straight unbranched. Roots impart strong, characteristic odor with bitter and acrid taste.


Stems are spreading, somewhat woody, striate, terate and glabous. It is about 0.5-2 m (1.6-6.6 ft). The bark is thin and brown.


Leaves are simple, alternate, ovate or oblong, about 8 cm long and 3 cm broad. Petioles are narrow and amplexicaul at the base and dilated into stipule like auricles.


Flowers are white, about 10-25 cm long, inbracteate, axillary or terminal elongated spikes and bisexual. Calyx is covered with sticky and stalked glands. Corolla is white, slender and tubular.


It is oblong, five furrowed capsule that contains single seed. Seeds are oblong, 5-6 mm long and reddish- brown to dark brown.

Traditional uses

  • The entire plant promotes digestion.
  • The plant is helpful for gastric diseases, diarrhea and skin disorders such as herpes.
  • Milk sap is applied topically for skin problems such as boils and ringworm.
  • Roots are used for phlegm, gas, bile problems, blood purification and deworming.
  • It is used as a cure for leucoderma, dysentery, bloating, lung diseases, aches, pain, wasting and ringworm.
  • Apply the mixture of crushed roots, vinegar, milk and salt topically as an aid for leprosy and other skin infections.
  • Root juice is used to induce sweating.
  • It is an aid for infections, skin diseases, intestinal worms, scabies, leprosy, hookworm, ringworm, acne, dermatitis, ulcers and sores.
  • In West Africa, leaves or roots are crushed with lemon juice and used as vesicant and counter irritant.
  • Take the root infusion orally to treat shortness of breath.
  • Take root decoction with boiled milk for treating inflammation in mouth, chest and throat.
  • In Rodrigues and Mauritius, root decoction is used for treating dyspepsia and diarrhoea.
  • Root juice is used for internal piles.
  • In Nigeria, roots are used with vegetable oil to treat rheumatic swellings.
  • In Ethiopia, root, leaves or bark powder is used for treating rheumatic pain, tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, wounds and swellings.
  • In Southern Africa, the root paste in milk, vinegar and water for treating influenza and blackwater fever.
  • Take root infusion orally to treat shortness of breath.






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