The bitter-tasting Adhatoda is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy for chest problems. Because of its expectorant qualities, it’s useful for bronchitis, tuberculosis and other chest conditions. The leaves are smoked to relieve asthma. A poultice of fresh leaves is applied to wounds and inflamed joints in rheumatism. It relieves cough and breathlessness.

It is also prescribed commonly for bleeding due to idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, local bleeding due to peptic ulcer, piles, menorrhagia etc. Its local use gives relief in pyorrhea and in bleeding gums. Vasicine stimulates contraction of uterine muscles, thus inducing or accelerating labour.

Botanical Name

Adhatoda vasica

Part Used

Leaf, flowers, root.

Common Names

vasa, vasak, Vasaka (Sanskrit); Adusa, Arusha (Hindi); Adulasa; Arusa (Unani); Adathodai (Tamil); Bakash (Bengali); Da Bo Gu (Chinese)

Brief History

Adhatoda vasica Leaf

Introduced to Europe in 1699. Honoured for its strength, in Sanskrit botany this shrub is named Lion’s Muzzle and Stallion’s Tooth after the shape and colour of its flowers. But its antiseptic and pesticidal qualities justify the popular name of savaka, which means “Little Dweller,” or “protector of the dwelling place.”


Prefers well-drained soil in sun or partial shade, minimum 50-59F. Propagate by softwood cuttings in spring or early summer. Cut back ornamental specimens hard in early spring to control size. Plants under cover may be attacked by whitefly. Leaves are collected during the growing season and dried for use in herbal smoking mixtures, liquid extracts and tinctures.


alkaloids vasicine, N-oxides of vasicine, vasicinone, deoxyvasicine and maiontone

Therapeutic Properties

Expectorant, bronchodilator, antiasthmatic, oxytocic.

Vitalist Properties

Temperature: Cool

Moisture: Drying

Therapeutic Indications

  • Respiratory diseases such as asthma and acute and chronic bronchitis.
  • Post-partum haemorrhage and to assist uterine involution.
  • Locally for gum disease (proven in a clinical trial)

Primary Uses

Respiratory Problems

The juice expressed from the leaves and the decoction of the leaves and roots is useful in asthma, bronchitis, and other chronic coughs. Dried leaves are used in dhoomapana (smoking) in the treatment of bronchial asthma. The leaf decoction is an excellent expectorant when decocted with punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa) and then combined with ginger juice and black pepper. Another effective preparation for the treatment of asthma is the decoction of vasa, guduci (Tinospora cordifolia), and kantakari (Solanum surratense) mixed with honey.

Clinical Research

Asthma & Bronchitis

Clinical studies showed an expectorant action, especially in acute bronchitis with a loosening of thick phlegm. Benefits in asthma are as much due to expectorant and antiallergic effects as to bronchodilation.

Bleeding Gums

Significant improvement in the inflammation and bleeding of gums was noted in 25 patients after the application of Adhatoda vasica extract.

Dosage (Divided Daily)

• Dried Leaf: 5,000mg (as a tea)

Dried Powder: 500 – 1,500mg

• Tincture: 1 – 3mL (1:2)

Buy Adhatoda Loose Herb, Powder or Capsules
Adhatoda Leaf


Do not take if pregnant, except at birth.

Side effects

None known

Interactions with other drugs

None known


  1. Bone, K. (1996). Clinical applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs: monographs for the western herbal practitioner. Warwick, Qld.: Phytotherapy.
  2. Chevallier, A. (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine (2nd American ed.). New York: DK Pub.
  3. Herbalpedia (2013)
  4. Khare, C. P. (2004). Indian herbal remedies: rational Western therapy, ayurvedic, and other traditional usages, botany. Berlin; New York: Springer.

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

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