Nirgundi, also called a five-leaved chaste tree, is a potent ayurvedic plant, that possesses noteworthy therapeutic properties and heals several ailments including asthma, muscle spasms and anxiety. It is scientifically termed Vitex negundo and commonly known as “Nishinda” in Bengali, “Nallavalli” in Telugu, “Nagod” in Gujarati and “Nallanochi” in Tamil.
Nirgundi’s natural habitats are chiefly in the Southern parts of Asia and Africa, being widely cultivated in the tropical environments of China, India, Indonesia, Tanzania, and Madagascar. It is a deciduous shrub, usually 2 to 8 meters in height, with a brown bark and green leaves that hold five leaflets. The flowers are white or blue in colour and upon developing, give rise to succulent, oval-shaped, purple fruits or drupes, with a fleshy pulp and seed in the interior.
Ancient Ayurvedic texts praise the curative traits of “Nirgundi”, which in Sanskrit literally translates to “that which protects the body from diseases”. True to its name, this wonderful gift of Mother Nature offers some fantastic rewards for overall human health.
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The roots, leaves, flowers, fruits and bark of the Nirgundi plant are utilized in herbal concoctions in the form of oils, pastes, juices and powders, to cure disorders ranging from widely prevalent fevers to the very rare leprosy. This is owing to the multitude of beneficial plant compounds like flavonoids, terpenoids, organic fatty acids, alkaloids, as well as vitamin C reserves and oil extracts, which are present in vast amounts in Nirgundi.
Nirgundi Health Benefits:
- Remedies of Asthma Symptoms:
Applying nirgundi oil, a strong antihistamine on the nose, neck and chest diminishes congestion in those suffering from asthma. Much like sitopaladi churna, it is also effective in healing several respiratory illnesses like bronchitis, allergies and breathing difficulties. Also Read: Sitopaladi Churna: This Traditional Medicine Helps You Breathe Easy
- Treats Menstrual Cramps:
The fruits of Vitex negundo abound in terpenoids, which contribute towards rectifying hormonal imbalance in the female system. This, in turn, assists in easing conditions of discomfort such as menstrual cramps and uterine fibroids, besides treating infertility.
- Relieves Anxiety:
Nirgundi is laden with valuable flavonoids and fatty acids, which promote intelligence and improve memory capacity of the brain. In addition, they also uplift moods and regulate sleep, thereby remedying anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
- Alleviates Joint Pain:
The alkaloid nishindine, present in ample amounts in nirgundi root and bark extracts, has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) qualities. This helps to mitigate joint pain and muscle spasms in those who have arthritis.
- Cures High Fevers:
Nirgundi helps to reduce high body temperatures, combat infections and boost immunity, due to its rich vitamin C content and natural antibiotic characteristics. Boil nirgundi leaves in water, filter it out and consume, for instant relief from fevers.
Effect On Doshas:
Nirgundi has an intrinsically Katu (pungent) and Tikta (bitter) Rasa; balances the Vata (air and ether) and Kapha (water and earth) Doshas, besides eliminating AMA toxins from the body.
Mild stomach upset can sometimes occur post ingesting nirgundi juice or powder.
Skin irritation can develop upon application of nirgundi oil or paste.