Malabar Nut facts and health benefits

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 Malabar Nut facts and health benefits

Malabar Nut Quick Facts
Name: Malabar Nut
Scientific Name: Justicia adhatoda
Origin Native to Asia
Shapes Small capsule stipitate, broadly clavate, c. 2.5 cm long, 4-seeded, pubescent
Taste Bitter
Health benefits For Removing Phlegm in Adults, Gout or Raised Uric Acid Level, Dyspepsia, Gastritis or Acidity, For Excessive Bleeding, Chronic Bronchitis, Cough Syrup for Kids, Excessive Uterine Bleeding, For Inflammation, Ulcer, For Hemorrhoids, Sinusitis & Sinus Infection, For Skin Diseases, For Indigestion, Sore Throat, Throat Pain, Tonsillitis & Postnasal Drip, For Bleeding Gums, Asthma, Uremia (Uraemia), For Cough in Adults, Upper Respiratory Infections
More facts about Malabar Nut
Justicia adhatoda is an herb, also commonly known as Malabar Nut in English, Adosa in Hindi and Vasaka in Sanskrit. It is a medicinal plant native to Asia widely used in Siddha Medicine, Ayurvedic, homeopathy and Unani systems of medicine. It is a small evergreen plant, of the Acanthaceae family that has been used in preparation of herbal medicines for the past 2000 years. 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. Apart from Malabar nuts it is also known as adulsa, arusha, vasaka, justicia adhatoda, adulsa arusa, adathodai, bakash, adathoda, adalodakam, adusoge, addasaramu, lion’s muzzle and stallion’s tooth. The whole plant or its roots, leaves, bark and flowers are used in various herbal preparations. Yogic practitioners often use this herb to clear their respiratory tracts during the course of breathing exercises.


Malabar is an erect much branched, gregarious, evergreen shrub growing up to 4 m tall but exceptional cases to 6 meters can be found. It normally grows best in shaded or semi-shaded areas. It requires dry, moistures and tropical forest for better growth. It prefers moist, well-drained soil with reasonable fertility, though it can withstand some drought. It will not however tolerate water-logging which can cause root-rot which can kill it very quickly. Root is hard, woody, and almost cylindrical; tap root having lateral branches, rough due to longitudinal cracks or fissures; greyish-brown to dark brown externally; creamish-white internally; fracture, hard; taste, bitter. Trunk of this shrub has numerous, long, opposite and ascending branches. This plant contains yellow colored bark.


Leaves are 10-30 cm long and 3-10 cm broad, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, slightly acuminate, base tapering, petiolate, petioles 2-8 cm long, exstipulite, glabrescent, 8-10 pairs of lateral vein bearing few hairs, dried leaves dull brown above, light greyish brown below, odor is characteristic and taste bitter.


The flowers are hermaphrodite. The corolla is large and white with a funnel shaped lower portion, the lower lip of corolla is streaked purple. Its shape is said to be like the mouth of the lion.


The fruit of the plant is a small capsule that is stipitate, broadly clavate, c. 2.5 cm long, 4-seeded and pubescent. Seeds are orbicular, 2-3 mm across, glabrous.


Malabar nuts are considered to have originated from Asia. 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. Because of its huge nutritive values and health promoting benefits it is cultivated throughout the world.


Health benefits of Malabar nut

The leaves, roots and flowers of Malabar nuts are mostly used medicinally. The chemical constituents of this are alkaloids vasicine, vasicinone, vasicinol, maiontone and essential oil ketone. The leaves possess an unpleasant smell and grazing animals cannot eat this. The medicinal values  and health benefits of Malabar Nut are described below:

1. Upper Respiratory Infections

Malabar nut has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Therefore, it is quite helpful in a number of bacterial infections of the respiratory system.

Malabar nut is commonly used in Ayurveda for fever, upper respiratory tract infections, and cough. Several Ayurvedic formulations used for this purpose contain it as a main ingredient. The most commonly used formulation is VASABLEHA. The following Vasica formulation is also helpful in the management of upper respiratory infections.(1), (2)

2. For Cough in Adults

 Malabar juice made by grinding the leaves with little bit of water is very effective for treating all cold related problems, especially cough. To make the juice, pound the washed Malabar nuts leaves along with little boiled water and strain to get the juice. The dosage is around 1 tsp of the juice 3 times a day.

3. Uremia (Uraemia)

Uremia (Uraemia) is the condition with elevated urea level and nitrogenous wastes in the blood. It normally occurs in acute renal injury and chronic renal failure. In such case, kidneys become unable to eliminate these toxic wastes.

Malabar nut root decoction is quite beneficial in decreasing the urea level and other nitrogenous wastes in the blood. How does it work is not yet acknowledged, but it increases the excretion of urea and other wastes through the urine. 50 ml Malabar nut root decoction is effective in initial or starting phase of chronic renal failure when used along with Chandraprabha Vati on the empty stomach. The results start appearing within the first week of the treatment.

4. Asthma

Malabar nuts have anti-inflammatory characteristics. It helps to deal with asthma and reduces inflammation of airways and lungs. Additionally, VASICINE compound found in Malabar nut is bronchodilator, which helps to ease the breathing process and decreases wheezing due to asthma.(3), (4)

5. For Bleeding Gums

Fresh Malabar nuts leaves are very effective in dealing with bleeding gums. To treat, take the leaves and pound it excellently into a paste using mortar and pestle. Take the paste and rub it gently in the gums, this can be done daily till one gets good relief.

6. Sore Throat, Throat Pain, Tonsillitis & Postnasal Drip

With medicinal properties like anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, antiviral, Malabar nut is helpful in dealing with sore throat, throat pain and tonsillitis. It also helps to reduce redness, pain, and inflammation of soft palate. Patients with postnasal drip or discharge can get benefits using Vasa leaves along with sitopaldi churna and punarnava churna.

7. For Indigestion

Malabar nuts are wonderful in treating indigestion and flatulence. To treat, gather the fresh juice of Malabar nuts by pounding it in mortar and pestle along with little boiled water and strain. Mix 2 tsp of the juice with 1/2 tsp of fresh ginger juice and take, this will give good relief. You can take it twice a day, both morning and evening. This mixture also improves appetite.

8. For Skin Diseases

 Malabar nut is excellent for treating all skin related diseases. A Malabar nut is cooling in nature and its juice can be used as a poultice for treating all kinds of skin diseases as it is very calming. To use, pound the leaves into a fine paste and apply as a poultice over the affected area.

9. Sinusitis & Sinus Infection

As mentioned before, Malabar nut has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to reduce inflammation of sinuses and fights off infections. It reduces the blockage of sinuses and removes pus or fluid from them.(5), (6)

10. For Hemorrhoids

Malabar nuts leaf juice is very effective for treating bleeding piles too. One teaspoon of the fresh juice taken twice a day will greatly help. You can also buy it in pill form and take it according to the instructions given.

11. Ulcer

According to scientific study and analysis, Malabar nut has anti-ulcer property. Its leaves can reduce ulceration due to NSAIDs including aspirin. It is beneficial in bleeding disorders and ulceration. It is also mentioned in various Ayurvedic ancient books including CHARAKA SAMHITA.(7)

12. For Inflammation

A Malabar nut has got anti-inflammatory properties and it can be used as an external poultice for treating all the inflammations. For rheumatic pain, inflamed joints, bleeding wounds, Malabar nuts can be applied as a poultice.

13. Excessive Uterine Bleeding

10 ml Malabar nut juice or 50 ml Malabar nut decoction together with 10 grams Misri powder is beneficial for dealing with excessive uterine bleeding. The treatment duration with this remedy should be continued at least for 4 to 6 weeks. Chandraprabha Vati should also be used with this remedy for restoring natural uterine functions.

14. Cough Syrup for Kids

This cough syrup for kids is quite effective and can be given for children from 2 years on wards. To make the syrup, take fresh Malabar nuts leaves and steam it in steamer. Once the leaves are steamed, take the leaves in your hands and crush to get the juice. Take 1/8 tsp of the juice, mix with honey and give it to children to treat phlegm.

15. Chronic Bronchitis

Malabar nut has antiseptic effects for bronchial tubes. It decreases the inflammation of bronchial tubes and reduces thickened mucus due to its expectorant effects. It clears the bronchial tubes and decreases a cough, production of sputum, fatigue, breathlessness and chest discomfort related with bronchitis.

16. For Excessive Bleeding

For women who experience excessive bleeding during menstruation Malabar nuts will give good relief. To treat, take 5 to 6 leaves and pound to get the fresh juice like mentioned above and take it both morning and evening. Malabar nuts extract can also be effectively used for treating all kinds of bleeding.

17. Dyspepsia, Gastritis or Acidity

Malabar nut has good results in dyspepsia, gastritis or acidity. It reduces acid formation in the stomach. In the research, scientists have observed that it reduces free and total HCL in patients with non-ulcer dyspepsia, hyperacidity, and gastritis.(7)

18. Gout or Raised Uric Acid Level

Malabar nut also reduces joint inflammation. With other herbs, it helps in decreasing raised uric acid and pain and tenderness related with gout. It is used with Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia) and amaltas (Cassia fistula) in gouty arthritis.

19. For Removing Phlegm in Adults

For treating phlegm, take 6 to 7 leaves of Malabar nuts and boil it along with a cup of water, once it boils take a small piece of dry ginger, pound and add it to the mixture. Strain, mix it with pure honey and drink for 3 days in the morning.

Traditional uses and benefits of Malabar Nuts

  • Roots and leaves are widely used in the Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine in India and Thailand for treating jaundice, bronchitis, fever and asthma.
  • The plant is said to have definite expectorant activity and is used in the treatment of bronchitis.
  • Leaves are used as an herbal treatment of cold, cough and asthma treatment.
  • Leaves are used for malaria treatment.
  • Extract from the leaves cure diarrhea, stomach upset, dysentery and vomiting.
  • It cures jaundice and protects the liver.
  • Traditionally, it is used to improve the delivery rate during childbirth.
  • It is proved helpful for curing gonorrhea.
  • Malabar Nut is used for the treatment of leucodermia.
  • Plant cures leprosy and blood disorders.
  • It levels the body temperature during malarial fever.
  • Malabar nut can be used against heart disorder.
  • It protects the respiratory system. The leaf juice is proved effective against bronchitis.
  • Malabar nut also cure difficult breathing problems and gives comfort.
  • It gives relief from excessive thirst and proved good for the throat.
  • It is used for the treatment of sore eyes and mouth problems due to pyorrhea.
  • It is useful for various skin diseases, infections and eczema.
  • It is also proved helpful for the treatment of burning sensation in hand and feet tuberculosis.
  • Malabar nut also are used for the treatment of urinary tract infection.
  • Extract also is used to get comfort during a headache.
  • It is also used to kill worms in intestines.
  • It reduces high blood pressure.
  • It also reduces blood sugar level.
  • It is proved as a very good medicine against dengue.
  • Infused leaves help in killing white ants, mosquitoes and flies.
  • Leaf decoction with honey gives good result by breaking constipation.
  • Leaves are made into paste and applied to relieve inflammation, pain, rheumatoid arthritis, worm infested wounds and skin disorders.
  • Plant as a whole along with its root, leaves, bark and flowers are extensively used to relieve cough, cold, whooping-cough, asthma and bronchitis due to their pharmacological properties.
  • Extract from leaves has been used to relieve asthma, bronchitis, breathlessness and cough for centuries.
  • It is also used to relieve other conditions like local bleeding due to piles, peptic ulcers and menorrhagia; and relief from bleeding gums and pyorrhea.
  • Crushed leaves are used to relieve conditions like skin ailments, worms and amavata. Warm crushes are effective to relive dislocated joint and rheumatic pain.
  • Powder of Malabar nut boiled in sesame oil is an effective management for stopping bleeding and relieving ear infection.
  • Paste of the leaves is applied on the abdomen for relieving urinary infection.
  • Flowers are used to relieve burning micturation, and as an effective expectorant to relieve congestion and dyspnea.
  • Decoction from the leaves is used to induce abortion and facilitate child-birth in some parts of India like Bihar.
  • Juice made from the leaves was used as a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery.
  • Powdered leaves were used to treat malaria in Southern India.
  • An extract of the root is also used for liver problems, particularly for jaundice, for diabetes, and coughs.
  • Chewing the leaf bud, either alone or with a little ginger root is said to clear the respiratory passages.
  • Dried leaves are occasionally smoked in the treatment of asthma.
  • Fresh sap from the leaves is used for bleeding gums, diarrhea and dysentery, glandular tumors, and T.B.
  • Leaves are given to lower high blood pressure.
  • Leaf powder boiled in sesame oil, is used to staunch bleeding and is used as ear drops for ear aches.
  • Warmed leaves are used as poultices for the pains of rheumatism and dislocated joints.
  • Dry flowers of Malabar nut in shade and then grind them into fine powder. Take 5gm of this powder, mix jiggery and prepare 2 doses. As soon as the headache begins, give 1 dose to the patient. It gives immediate relief.
  • Heat 1-3 flowers and then tie them on the eyes. It cures inflammation of the retina of eyes.
  • Give 1 teaspoonful juice of its leaves with 1 teaspoonful ginger juice and 1 teaspoonful honey. It cures all types of cough.
  • Give 30-40 gm. decoction of its leaves with 2 gm. powder of pippali mixed in it. It cures severe bronchitis, bronchial asthma and tuberculosis.
  • Heat its leaves along with leaves of neem and apply them near the belly button area. Also give 6 gm. juice of Malabar nut leaves with 6 gm. of honey mixed in it. It gives relief from intense pain in kidneys.
  • Give 20-30 gm. juice of its leaves, 4-6 times a day. It is beneficial in bleeding diarrhea.
  • Take equal amounts of seeds of melon and leaves of Malabar nut. Grind them well and give this to the patient to drink. It causes effortless urination.
  • Soak 8-11 flowers in a glass of water over night and next day morning crush the flowers, strain the solution and give this to the patient. It cures burning sensation during urination and also cures the redness.
  • Grind its dried flowers and sieve and give this to the patient along with sugar syrup and cucumber. It cures spermatorrhoea.
  • Take juice of 15 gm. of Malabar nut leaves with 2 teaspoonful honeys, every morning and evening. It cures leucorrhoea.
  • Give 15 ml juice of its whole plant with equal amounts of honey and sugar candy mixed in it. Give this to the patient, it cures jaundice completely.
  • Take equal quantities of its leaves and white sandalwood. Grind them together to form, a fine powder. Give 4 gm. of this powder to the patient, every morning and evening. It is very beneficial in case of bleeding piles and also controls bleeding from the boils. In case of swelling in piles, take steam of its decoction.

Other Facts

  • Plant is often used in hedges.
  • Plant is used for reclaiming waste land.
  • Extracts of the leaves are used as insecticides and fungicides.
  • Wood is made into beads.
  • Wood is used for fuel and a Good quality charcoal is made from it.
  • Boiled leaf gives a durable yellow color to dye coarse cloth and animal skins.
  • Leaves can be applied as green manure – it contains potassium nitrate.
  • The leaves contain the alkaloid vasicine, which is toxic to cold blooded animals (including fish) but not to mammals.
  • Leaves are used in packing and storing fruit as it help immature fruits to hasten the process of ripening – it also prevent fungi and repel insects from stored fruits.
  • An infusion of the leaves can be used for destroying termites, flies, mosquitoes and other noxious insects.
  • Leaves inhibit and check the development of parasitic vegetation on neighboring plants.
  • Decoction of Malabar nut’s bark, leaves, and flower can be used to eradicate living red spider mites and eggs.


  • People with diabetes should use this medicine with care, because it helps to reduce blood sugar levels. Hence, the dose needs to be adjusted carefully.
  • It is safe to use in children above 1 year of age.
  • It is best avoided in pregnancy. Can be used in lactation, under medical supervision.
  • Avoid consuming large doses of Malabar nuts since it can cause irritation in the alimentary canal, vomiting or diarrhea.






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