Nowadays Ayurveda has started getting back its share and is steadily becoming popular amongst both the masses and the classes across the globe. The ancient Indian Medical Science, as Ayurveda is commonly known, is based on the principle of cleansing the infirmities from the roots. The world has now understood that many chronic conditions respond better to Ayurvedic medicines for a permanent remedy in contrast to the lifelong medication of conventional medicine and its side effects. We are lucky to be born in the land of its origin and should also thank our forefathers who have left for us this miraculous legacy.
The Base of Ayurveda: Herbs & Plants:
The plant-based healing process forms the foundation of Ayurveda. Speaking in broader terms, herbs and spices are termed as the spirit of Ayurveda. More than 10000 species of plants, herbs, and shrubs are known to have some of the other medicinal uses, but there are few of them which have real magical qualities and have proved good for more than one disorder. In classical Ayurvedic preparations, poly-herbal combinations from 3 to 30 plants are blended accurately to get the desired balanced outcome. Out of these, one or two will be the active ingredients whereas the others play a supportive role for either absorption, transportation, or reduction of toxicity to ensure that the final product is excellent. Some recent research on plant-based medication shows that combining the plants of differing potency uplifts the impact as compared to the use of a singular plant. This is nothing but the impact called synergy.
What is Justica Adhatoda:
Adulsa, Vasa, Vasaka, Malabar Nut, etc. is what we commonly term this plant, Justica Adhatoda. Though the plant’s origin is the Indian Subcontinent i.e. India, Srilanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Laos, etc. today it is cultivated around the globe due to its magical properties. In India, this shrub is found all across – right from the terrains of the Himalayas up to the southern tip of the country in Tamilnadu.
The average height of a mature Adulsa tree ranges from 2 meters to 3.5 meters. This is an evergreen shrub that remains green and leafy throughout the year. Its leaves are long and extremely dark green on top and pale green below with a smooth finish. Due to the unpleasant smell emitted by the leaves of the Vasa plant, the cattle do not eat this plant.
The trunk has many long and opposite rising branches and its bark is yellowish in colour. Flowers of Malabar Nut trees are attractive white with red or yellow shades. They have 5 petals attached to a slightly thick base which is green in colour. Its fruits are in the shape of capsules whereas the seeds are distinctively large, non-endospermic, and have small hooks known as Jaculators. The flowering and fruiting time of the Vasa tree is from December to June.
The Wonder World of Justica Adhatoda alias Adulsa alias Vasa:
Let’s see here how and why this shrub is known as the Magical Plant. The leaves, roots, flower, stem, and seeds – each and every part of this plant has spell bounding attributes. This plant is full of phytochemicals namely alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, tannins, phenolics, etc. from which Vasicine and Vasicinone – quinazoline alkaloids – are the most important extract. Vasicine, as major research suggests, shows high respiratory stimulant capabilities along with its ability to increase platelet counts in the human body.
For ages, Justica Adhatoda has been used in Ayurveda for treating respiratory disorders. Adhatoda Vasica is very effective in the treatment of excessive cough. It just does not reduce cough but also relieves congestion in the chest cavity by reducing mucus which generally leads to excessive coughing. Along with cough and mucus, it also relieves the headache associated with cough and coryza. Vasa is extremely effective for patients suffering from excessive sneezing and who have difficulty in breathing.
Leaves of Justica Adhatoda are boiled in water, concentrated, and condensed to produce the medicine for cough. Its soothing effect helps reduce the irritation in the throat whereas the expectorant will help release mucus stored in the air route which makes Adulsa a good rectifier for sore throat too.
Vasa has shown impeccable results in the critical stages of bronchitis. When the sputum becomes thick and sticky, Vasa liquefies the inclined sputum to bring it up and out of the body more easily. For asthma patients, professionals have suggested inhaling the smoke of the dried leaves of the Malabar Nut tree to get faster relief.
Preparations from the flower of Justica Adhatoda have proven to be good in the treatment of Tuberculosis (T.B.). A preserve prepared from the fresh petals of Vasa flowers, mixing it with some sugar and keeping it under direct sunlight for about a month in a clay pot, stirring it twice a day, gives quite a relief in the irritable cough by creating a pacifying effect on the nerve and by softening the sputum making salivation and breathing easier.
With the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, Adhatoda has been comprehensively used for treatments of bleeding, both internal and external, such as piles, peptic ulcers, bleeding gums, wounds, etc. Its lotion helps get rid of the arthritic symptoms when applied to joints suffering from pain. The juices from its leaves are likewise used in the treatment of Diarrhea and Dysentery. The bark, rout-bark, fruits, and flowers of Adhatoda Vasaka are used for removing the intestinal parasites. As this shrub, Adulsa shows antispasmodic and blood purifying properties, it is also used to speed up the delivery process during childbirth.
Vasa plant, in rural, remote, and tribal areas, is used to reclaim wasteland whereas its leaves are utilized as natural pesticide and fungicide in farming. The leaves when boiled with sawdust of specific wood, give a bright yellow colour pigment which is used to dye clothes.
Justica Adhatoda for COVID-19:
Today the COVID-19 Pandemic, caused by the virus SARS CoV-2, directly attacks the lungs and the respiratory system of the human body. It is the reason for millions of people losing their lives. A study was recently conducted by the Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India, which focused on the effectiveness of Vasicine, the primary active alkaloid of Malabar Nut plant, against the infectious symptoms of CoronaVirus. In the results, it is observed that Justica Adhatoda has a good potential to be one of the medicines that can be helpful in reducing the symptoms of mild COVID cases who are under self-quarantine. Also, in moderate to severe cases, Adulsa could be an add-on therapy along with the existing modern curative therapies.
Though these researches are still at quite a nascent stage and many further trials need to be conducted before coming to a final conclusion, initial findings have shown impressive results using Justica Adhatoda for COVID treatment.
To Wrap up:
Not just in Ayurveda but Justica Adhatoda or Vasaka is extensively used in the making of homoeopathy, naturopathy, Sidha, Unani and other alternative medicines too. There is an ancient Sanskrit saying whose meaning is that NO man on the earth suffering from tuberculosis, spitting of blood or similar medical conditions needs to worry until the Vasaka plant exists.
Though the Adulsa plant has astonishing healing qualities, any treatment using the said should be strictly under the guidance of a medical practitioner or under the expert’s advice.