Scientific Name : Adathoda vasica, Adathoda beddomei
Adathoda is a medicinal plant of common occurrence in Kerala. Botanically,
the plant is a profusely branching shrub growing up to a height of 1.5 metres. Two
major species are important medicinally viz., Adathoda vasica (Valiya adalodakam)
and Adathoda beddomei (Chittadalodakam or cheriya adalodakam). Chittadalodakam
is the medicinally important species mostly seen in Kerala. It is one of the main
ingredients of many ayurvedic preparations. Leaves and roots of the plant are medicinal.
Leaves contain an alkaloid vasicine, which is effective against cough, chronic bronchitis,
Climate & Soil
Though the crop grows in a variety of climatic and soil conditions, alluvial soils
are best suited for raising the crop. The plant is tolerant to shade but is susceptible
to water logging. It can be cultivated either as a pure crop or as an intercrop
in coconut and rubber plantations in the initial 3-4 years.
Adathoda is propagated by tender stem cuttings. Stem cuttings of 15-20 cm long and
3-4 nodes are ideal for planting. It is better to root the cuttings in nursery before
transplanting in the main field. Nursery preparation can be done in March-April.
For this, the tender stem cuttings are planted in poly bags filled with farm yard
manure, top soil and sand in the ratio 1:1:1. Cuttings will root readily and will
be ready to transplant to main field after two months.
Rooted cuttings of adhatoda can be planted on mounds or on ridges. Plough and level
the main field thoroughly and ridges or mounds are prepared 60 cm away from each
other. With the commencement of rainfall, rooted cuttings are planted on the ridges
with a plant to plant spacing of 30 cm. If grown on mounds, up to 5 cuttings may
be planted on a single mound. In sloppy areas cuttings are planted directly by making
pits with a sharp pole. Adequate care should be taken to prevent water logging as
it may promote rotting.
Manures and fertilisers
Apply organic manure in the form of FYM, compost or green leaf at the rate of 10
t/ha as basal dressing. Apply N:P:K each at the rate of 50 kg/ha. Entire P should
be given basally and N and K may be given in two equal splits. Keep the field free
of weeds and give earthing up after topdressing with fertilisers.
Leaves, roots and stem of adhatoda are of medicinal value. Leaves can be harvested
from the first year of planting itself; but roots will be ready to harvest only
two years after planting. December-January is the ideal time for harvesting adhatoda.
In the second year, the entire plant is harvested and roots are carefully dug out
wholly without damage by carefully removing soil. Harvested roots are cleaned and
marketed either in fresh form or after drying. Total yield of root, stem and leaves
from one hectare of area will be 10-11 tonnes.
Action and uses
Adathoda of commerce consists of the fresh or dried leaves of Adathoda. Dried leaves
are of a dull brownish-green colour, characteristic odour and bitter taste. The
leaf extracts of adathoda is used as an expectorant especially in chronic bronchitis
and asthma. It relieves cough and breathlessness. It is also prescribed commonly
for local bleeding due to peptic ulcer, piles etc. Its local use gives relief in
pyorrhoea and in bleeding gums. The leaves of the plant contain two major alkaloids
called vasicine, and vasicinone, which are shown to be having bronchodilator and
antihistaminic effects. These alkaloids are said to exist in combination with an
acid that has been named adathodic acid.