Vitex negundo (Verbenaceae)[edit]

<a href=""><img src="" alt="Vitex negundo" width="300" height="300" align="right" title="Five-leaved chaste tree">

Five-leaved chaste tree


Nirgundi (Vitex negundo)[edit]

Sanskrit Names: Nirgundi, Sinduvara, Sinduka English Name: Three or five leaved chaste Hindu Name: Samhalu, Meurhi Botanical Name: Vitex negundo Synonyms: Nirgundi (protects from diseases) Family: Verbenaceae


Vitex negundo is an erect shrub or small tree growing from 2 to 8 m (6.6 to 26 ft) in height. The bark is reddish-brown. It leaves are digitate, with five lanceolate leaflets, sometimes three. Each leaflet is around 4 to 10 cm (1.6 to 3.9 in) in length, with the central leaflet being the largest and possessing a stalk. The leaf edges are toothed or serrated and the bottom surface is covered in hair. The numerous flowers are borne in panicles 10 to 20 cm (3.9 to 7.9 in) in length. Each is around 6 to 7 cm (2.4 to 2.8 in) long and are white to blue in color. The petals are of different lengths, with the middle lower lobe being the longest. Both the corolla and calyx are covered in dense hairs.

The fruit is a succulent drupe, 4 mm (0.16 in) in diameter, rounded to egg-shaped. It is black or purple when ripe 1

Vitex negundo L. (Verbenaceae) is a hardy plant, flourishing mainly in the Indian subcontinent. All parts of the plant, from root to fruit, possess a multitude of phytochemical secondary metabolites which impart an unprecedented variety of medicinal uses to the plant. It is interesting to note that a single plant species finds use for treatment of a wide spectrum of health disorders in traditional and folk medicine; some of which have been experimentally validated. The plant is a component of a number of commercially available herbal formulations and has also shown potential as an effective bio-control agent. Employment of techniques such as cell and tissue culture would provide means of rapid propagation and conservation of the plant species and, from the point of view of phytochemistry, give scope for enhancement of the quality and quantity of the bioactive secondary metabolites occurring in the plant.

Vitex negundo Linn. (Verbenaceae) is a woody, aromatic shrub growing to a small tree. It commonly bears tri- or penta-foliate leaves on quadrangular branches, which give rise to bluish-purple coloured flowers in branched tomentose cymes. It thrives in humid places or along water courses in wastelands and mixed open forests and has been reported to occur in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, eastern Africa and Madagascar. It is grown commercially as a crop in parts of Asia, Europe, North America and the West Indies.

Though V. negundo (will henceforth be referred to as Vn for sake of convenience) also finds use as a food crop (Facciola, 1990) and a source of timber, this review deals only with the medicinal importance and other related attributes of the plant.2

<a href=""><img src="" width="400" height="300" alt="Vitex negundo" align="right" title="Vitex negundo leaves">

Vitex negundo leaves


Principle Constituents[edit]

Classical Categories (Gana)[edit]

Caraka Ganas: Vishaghna, Krimighna
Susruta Ganas: Surasadi


Rasa (taste): Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter)
Guna (quality): Laghu (light), Ruksha (rough)
Virya (energy): Ushna (heating)
Vipaka (post digestive effect): Katu (pungent)
Prabhava (Special quality): None
Dosha Effect: KV-
Dhatus (tissues): Rakta, Meda, Asti
Srotas (channels): Rasavaha, Raktavaha, Majjavaha, Astivaha

Chemical Constituents[edit]

Phytoconstituents: citric acid, hesperidin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C)

Ayurveda Actions[edit]

Ama pachana - digests ama
Artavajanana - menogouge
Balya - strengthening tonic
Chakshushya - good for vision
Keshya - good for the hair
Krumighna - destroys parasites
Kustaghna - skin conditions
Medhya - brain tonic
Mutrajanana - diuretic
Rasayana - rejuvenative
Shotahara - anti-inflammatory
Vatahara - pacifies vatav
Vedanasthapana - removes pain
Vishaghna - anti-poison
Yakrituttejaka - liver regulator

Important Actions[edit]

For pacifying vata nerves, mind or joints. R-arthritis and hepatitis. In the ear for relieving pain, headaches, eczema, psoritic arthritis internally and externally.


Hair loss, arthritis, fever, amavata, all vata conditions, joint pain, ear ache, intestinal worms, skin conditions, improves memory, tonic, hepatitis

External use[edit]

A great analgesic, anti inflammatory, antibacterial, cleaning and healing wounds, hair tonic. Heated Nirgundi leaves are tied over the affected part (or poultice) headache, scrotal swelling, synovitis, arthritis pain and rheumatic arthritis. Decoction prepared from leaves used in tub bath for endometritis, colitis and orchitis. In these conditions reduces obstruction of blood and amakapha, increases perspiration, reduces oedema and also relieves pain. Gargles with decoction of leaves useful in pharyngitis, stomatitis, difficulty in deglutation and inflammation. Smoke of the dry leaves useful for headaches, sinusitus and common cold. Nirgundi oil best in wounds for dry cleaning, anti-infective and to remove foul smell. Oil is also useful in baldness.

Internal use[edit]

Circulatory system: White flowered Nirgundi used in oedema induced by kaphavata. As acts on the raktadhatu and alleviates vata and kapha, used in inflammatory conditions of liver and spleen. Mixture of leaf juice and cow's urine an effective remedy for ascitis.
Digestive system: As tikta, katu and ushna properties improves appetite and digestion. Useful in loss of appetite, anorexia, amadosha, hepatitis and is anthelmintic.
Nervous System: An analgesic, brain tonic and alleviates vata, therefore useful in headache, sciatica, rheumatic arthritis, synovitis, improves memory.
Respiratory system: By removing kapha from the respiratory passage, improves ventilation, therefore used in kapha kasa, asthma, pneumonia and pleurisy.
Reproductive system: Improves menstral flow, therefore used in dysmenorrhoea and obstetric conditions.
Skin: Valuable medicine for skin diseases, urtucarua and eruptions.
Urinary system: Diuretic, hence useful in dysuria and anuria. In gonorrhoeal infection helps in passing urine smoothly.



No drug-herb interactions known.

Parts Used[edit]

Parts used: Leaves, roots, juice.
Dosage: Root bark powder 3-6 gms; Seed powder 3-6 gms

Important Combinations[edit]

Nirgundi taila (joint pains, ear ache, head ache, skin conditions as external applications).