The plant, known, as the, ‘Malabar Nut’ is a small shrub found all over India. The Botanical name of this plant is ‘Justicia adhatoda.’ The bark, leaves, flowers and roots are used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine. It is also commonly called as ‘Vasaka.’
The Ayurvedic physicians prize this remedy very much and call it ‘BAIDYAMATA’ meaning ‘mother of all physicians.’ There is a Sanskrit hymn in praise of this remedy which says that, as long as Vasaka will remain, patients suffering from spitting of blood, phthisis and common cough and cold need not despair. Ayurvedic physicians even proclaim that no death can take place from cough from any kind if Vasaka can play its role and be used judiciously to heal the patient.
Ayurvedic Uses: Charaka used it spitting of blood. Sushruta found it an excellent remedy in tuberculosis, respiratory troubles and jaundice. Bavaprakasha found it useful in fevers associated with biliousness and respiratory troubles. Charakadatta found it excellent in slow fevers and leprosy. Bangasena found it useful in piles. In short, all major Ayurvedic books uniformly extol the virtues of Vasaka.
Homoeopathic physicians find this remedy useful hoarseness of the voice and rattling cough, sneezing and whenever copious yellow mucous is expectorated from the chest.
Allopathic research has revealed that it contains fat, resins, a bitter alkaloid, vasicine, an organic acid, adhatodic acid, sugar gum and salts. Allopathic research has also revealed that Vasaka has medicinal properties and is useful in rheumatism, constipation, asthma, chronic bronchitis and other chest affections.
Today, there is a sharp increase in respiratory disorders due to pollution. We are encountering antibiotic resistant bacteria. There has also been a sharp increase in Community Acquired Pneumonias and Viral lung disorders. There is a tremendous resurgence of Tuberculosis due to the AIDS epidemic.
At such a time, more research should be done on herbs like Vasaka and our rapidly declining Bio-diversity. Our ancient traditions should be researched and preserved.