Adhatoda vasica Nees., ADHATODA ZEYLANICA Medic.
Family: Acanthaceae

Bengali/vernacular name: Basak.
Tribal name: Sada basak (Chakma).
English name: Malabar Nut, Vasaka.

Description of the plant:
JUSTICIA ADHATODA L.is an evergreen dense shrub, up to 2 m high. Leaves up to 20 x 7.6 cm, elliptic-lanceolate, acute at both ends. Flowers white, 2-liped, in short, dense, axillary pedunculate spikes. Capsule 18 mm long, clavate.

Using information:
The root, bark and leaves are useful in cough, asthma, ague and phthisis. The extract or juice of the plant makes sputum more fluid and thereby facilitating its removal and breathing. It is also used in bleeding piles. Root has expectorant, antispasmodic, diuretic, anthelmintic and antiseptic properties. Powdered root is used in the treatment of malarial fever and diphtheria. Leaves are emmenagogue; it has antiseptic and parasiticidal properties; useful in gonorrhoea and rheumatism. The dried leaves made into cigarettes are smoked in asthma. The fresh flowers are used in ophthalmia. Leaves are used in diarrhoea in Rem-Kalenga in Moulvi Bazar district.


Alcoholic extract is hypotensive, bronchodilator, respiratory stimulant, hypoglycaemic and antispasmodic. Crude extract is more useful for respiratory ailments than pure alkaloids, as latter exhibit uterine stimulant and bronchoconstrictor as the undesirable side-effects (Asolkar et al., 1992). The alcoholic extract and crude alkaloids of the leaves possesses moderate antibacterial and antifungal properties (Ahmed et al., 1998).

Chemical constituents:
Quinazoline alkaloids, l-vasicinone, adhatodine, vasicolinone, vasicoline, vasicolinine, vasicinine, l-vasicine (peganine), l-vasicol, vasicinol, anisotine and 3-hydorxy anisotine have been isolated from the leaves. They also contain adhatodic acid, betaline, visicine, tritriacontane, essential oil, fats, resins, ß-sitosterol and vitamin C. Roots contain vasicine, vasicinol and an essential oil. A novel indole alkaloid, C13H12N2O a galactoside, D-galactose and deoxyvasicinone have also been isolated from the roots.

Flowers contain vasicine, vasicinine, kaempferol, quercetin, α- amyrin, tritriacontane and ß-sitosterol and its glucoside. Seeds contain fatty oil consisting of arachidic, behenic, lignoceric, cerotic, oleic and linoleic acids, and sitosterol (Ghani, 2003). Inflorescence contains alkaloids vasicinone, dl-vasicinaone and l- vasicinone (Asolkar et al., 1992).

Cultivated throughout Bangladesh.