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.
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. Today, this magical herb is being naturalized and propagated worldwide, including America and Australia, so the global population can reap the excellent advantages that Nirgundi offers, for overall well-being.
Biochemical Components Of Nirgundi:
A vast array of beneficial plant-based compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory traits are present in nirgundi. These include flavonoids and phenols which display cardioprotective qualities for heart wellness, besides terpenoids and organic fatty acids that are laden with calming and analgesic properties to relieve mental stress, joint pain and muscle aches. Nirgundi is also bestowed with alkaloids such as nishindine, vitricine, which confer useful anticancer and antimicrobial effects on the body, thus combatting tumour growths and stomach infections.
Profuse amounts of vitamin C and vitamin E in nirgundi leaf and stem extracts showcase natural antioxidant capabilities. This helps protect cells, tissues from oxidative damage by harmful free radicals and also enriches skin texture, nurtures the growth of thick, long, silky hair. Housing valuable bioactive constituents such as camphene, pinene, dulcitol, nirgundi effectively lessens inflammation in the body, which in turn alleviates symptoms of asthma, arthritis, anxiety and enhances digestion, metabolism.
Nirgundi Health Benefits:
1. 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
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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 them out and consume, for instant relief from fevers.
6. Remedies Epilepsy Symptoms
Nirgundi is laden with ample phytonutrients including polyphenols, alkaloids and organic steroids, that possess neuroprotective properties. These help to regulate nerve signals originating from the brain and relay sensory perceptions of touch, smell, sight, sound, taste smoothly. Moreover, antispasmodic constituents in nirgundi effectively control abrupt muscular motions and seizures. Being a very powerful herb, it is bestowed with “Medhya” i.e. memory-promoting and “Shulahara” which implies antispasmodic qualities, that mitigate the incapacitating signs of epilepsy.
7. Averts Premature Greying Of Hair
Blessed with revitalizing antioxidants, namely flavonoids, terpenoids, in addition to vitamin C, vitamin E, nirgundi delivers wonderful merits for healthy hair growth. The oil extracts of nirgundi are usually mixed with sesame oil and applied externally on the scalp, as well as the tresses, from root to tip, intensely massaging so as to allow it to penetrate the deeper layers. Imbued with rejuvenating “Keshya” properties that fortify hair texture and strength, nirgundi nourishes the hair roots i.e. follicles, prevents early onset of grey hairs, to bestow long, dense and lustrous mane.
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.
Also Read: Introduction To Ayurveda: Learn About Vata, Pitta And Kapha Doshas
- Mild stomach upset can sometimes occur post ingesting nirgundi juice or powder.
- Skin irritation can develop upon application of nirgundi oil or paste.
Nirgundi is indeed a unique and versatile ayurvedic herb, being used both for external application and internal consumption, to treat a host of illnesses like arthritis and menstrual cramps. It augments physical and mental wellness and bestows holistic healing benefits. Always consult with a professional Ayurvedic practitioner, to ensure taking the correct dosage and to avoid the risk of side effects caused by excessive use.