Adhatoda vasica-Therapeutic Monograph



Author: Dr Amrit Pal Singh, B.A.M.S, MD (Alternative Medicine), Medical

Executive, Ind –Swift Ltd.

Address for correspondence:


Dr. Amrit Pal Singh

House No.2101, Phase-7










Vasaka is a common shrub distributed throughout India. In Ayurveda, the ancient system of Indian medicine it is commonly known as vasa.  It commonly grows in waste places. The medicinal value of the medicinal herb has been mentioned in old texts. It is household remedy for various disorders. Charaka Samhita has classified the drug under mucolytic and expectorant drugs.






Ayurvedic pharmacology


Taste:  Bitter, Astringent.

Quality: Light, Unctous.

Post Digestion Effect: Pungent

Potency: Cold




Adhatoda vasica belongs to family Acanthacrae. Leaves, flowers and bark found use in medicine.


A.     Habitat

            The plant is distributed in lower Himalayan range.


B. Botanical Identification


          1. Vasaka is a dense pernnial shrub.

          2. Leaves are of dark green colour above and pale yellow below. Flowers are typical, white arranged in pendunculated spike.

          3. Commercial samples consist of dried drug consisting of leaves mixed with other parts.





Alkaloids: Vasicine, and vasicinone.

Essential oil, coloring matter.

An organic acid (Adhatodic acid)






Adhatoda is obtained from commercial sources or collected from open fields. Since it is easily identified, it is not difficult to get a genuine product.


A. Taste: Bitter

B. Fresh juice collected from flowers and aerial parts is of typical odour and consistency.


Powdered Adhatoda


1.  Colour:        Grey brown

2.  Odour:        Characteristic

3.  Taste:          Bitter

4.  Positive for alkaloids



  1. Colour: Light yellow
  2. Nature: Alcoholic
  3. Particle size of vasa powder for extract
  4. Positive for alkaloids
  5. Extract (prepared from dried leaf)

Strength 5:1

Total alkaloids NLT 0.5%

Ash value (app. 8%)

Moisture determination (8.46 approx)

PH 7-8





1. Petroleum ether extract: Expectorant, and bronchodilator


2. Alcoholic extract: weakly antibacterial.


3. The alkaloids vasicine and vasicinone are potent bronchodilators.


4. In large doses vasicine is abortifacint.


5. Expectorant action is due to volatile oil. (In animal studies, it has been found that bronchodilator activity of vasicine is increased after administration of atropine. It has no marked action on alimentary canal and cardiovascular system).


6. Vasicinone, oxidation product of vasicine is more potent bronchodilator besides having anti-anaphylactic activity.


7. Vasakin a non-nitrogenous principle obtained from alcoholic extract is antidiabetic.





In respiratory disorders like bronchial asthma and chronic bronchitis.




Adhatoda is contraindicated in pregnancy.




1-3 G of dried leaves.






1.      Chopra, R.N.: Indigenous Drugs of India, Academic Publishers, Calcutta (1982).


2.      Gogate, V.M. : Dravyagunavignyana, continental prakashan, Pune (1982).


3.      Pandita, K: Planta Med, 48:81 (1983).


4.      Nath, D., N. Sethi, et al. (1992). Commonly used Indian abortifacient plants with special reference to their teratologic effects in rats. Journal Of Ethnopharmacology 36(2): 147-154.


5.      Glasby JS. Encyclopedia of the alkaloids. London: Plenum Press; 1978. p. 1367.


6.       Rajani, M. and K. Pundarikakshudu (1996). A note on the seasonal variation of alkaloids in Adhatoda vasica Nees. International Journal of Pharmacognosy 34(4): 308-309. {a} Dep. Pharmacognosy, J. J. De Chane Lab. Pvt. Ltd., Residency Road, Hyderabad 500 001, India.


7.      Thappa, R. K., S. G. Agarwal, et al. (1996). Two pyrroloquinazolines from Adhatoda vasica. Phytochemistry Oxford 42(5): 1485-1488. {a} Regional Res. Lab., Jammu Tawi-180 001, India.