Amruth Heritage February 2006
Let me share with youreaders, something aboutVasa, the plant popularlyknown as the “plantexempted by the goats”.As a drug, used quite oftenin the Ayurveda, Vasa isinvincible! The traditionaland tribal healers treatcough by exclusively usingthis plant. In case if you facean episode of respiratorydistress, Vasa is there tohelp you get out of it.This shrub is used as ahedge plant also and itmakes a good ornamentalplant for your gardenand moreover a usefulemergency medicine.
Properties accordingto Ayurveda
Vasa in Sanskrit denotes the shrubwhich covers the ground with densefoliage. The medicinal value of this herbhas been mentioned in ancient texts.It is a household remedy for variousrespiratory disorders. Charaka Samhitahas classified the drug under mucolyticand expectorant drugs. Its leaves areused in conditions such as burningsensation of feet, cough and respiratorytroubles, fever, hoarse throat andmenstrual disorders.
Alkaloid Vasicine and Volatile oil
Leaves, Flowers and Roots are generallyused.
- Essential oil has high activityin inhibiting tuberculosis. Its alcoholicextract acts as a broncho-dilator andrespiratory stimulant. The alkaloidsVasicine and Vasicinone combinedhave more bronchodilatory action andprovide protection against inducedbronchial obstruction.
- Ether extract stimulatesbronchial glands directly and increasesthe flow of respiratory tract fluid.Vasicine has Bronchodilator andstimulant action.
- Acts as airway smoothmuscle relaxant.Crude extracts are more useful inrespiratory ailments than pure alkaloidsas they cause bronchoconstriction.
How does it look?
An evergreen, densely branched shrubwith unpleasant smell (foetid scent).The older stem is grayish–green, wartyand woody. The leaves are large, brightgreen, and lance like with pointedtip. The leaves are bitter to taste. Theflowers are 2-lipped (appears like snakewith mouth open), creamish-white withpurple streaks on the lower lip of theflowers. They are arranged on a denseleafy spike.
Where is it found?
It occurs in the plains and submontane(lower Himalayan) regions of ourcountry, upto an altitude of 1300 m.The species occurs from the Indiansubcontinent to Malaysia, oftencultivated as a hedge plant.
How to grow itin your garden?
Due to its evergreen dense foliage, itmakes a good house plant that canbe grown as hedge or as an individualplant where a mature plant needsabout 1.5 sq m space or in pots of 25