This plant originates in India and Sri Lanka. The medicinal properties of Adhatoda vasica Nees (order: Acanthaceae), have been known in India and several other countries for thousands of years. The plant has been recommended by Ayurvedic physicians for the managements of various types of respiratory disorders.
The leaves of the plant contain an essential oil and the quinazoline alkaloids vasicine, vasicinone and deoxyvasicine. The roots contain vasicinolone, vasicol, peganine and 2’-hydroxy-4-glucosyl-oxychalcone. The flowers contain Beta-sitosterol-D- glucoside, kaempferol and its glucosides, as well as the bioflavonoid, quercetin.
The leaves are used in the treatment of respiratory disorders in Ayurveda. Research over the last three decades revealed that the alkaloids vascinine and vasicinone, present in the leaves, possess respiratory stimulant activity. Vasicine, at low concentrations, induced bronchodilation, and relaxation of the tracheal muscles. At high concentrations, vasicine offered significant protection against histamine-induced bronchospasm in guinea pigs. Vasicinone, the auto-oxidation product of vaccine, has been reported to cause bronchodilation both in vitro and in vivo. In another study, vasicine showed appreciable bronchodilatory affect and marked respiratory stimulant activities whereas vasicinone showed relaxation of the tracheal muscles in vitro and bronchoconstriction in vivo. Of the two alkaloids, vasicinone is more potent than vasicine, with antiasthmatic activity comparable to that of disodium cromoglycate.
Traditional and other therapeutic uses:
3. respiratory ailments
Adhatoda vasica has a very low toxicity and very rare side effect reported.