Justicia adhatoda: Aadalodakam

Family: Acanthaceae
Common name: Malabar nut, Adathoda, Aadalodakam

A herb used for relief from cough, allergies and respiratory ailments, Aadolodakam is considered a very valuable plant. It grows to a height of about 2.5 meters with long lance-shaped leaves. Aadalodakalam plants produce pretty white flowers with purple colored markings at the center. They grow on long racemes in bunches, making the plant look like an ornamental garden plant.

Young shoots of Aadalodakam plants can be cooked and eaten, but they have a distinct bitter taste. The leaves, stem, flowers and roots are used in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and traditional medicines.

One tablespoon of juice from the leaves, mixed with honey and taken three times a day helps relieve cough and chest congestion. The leaves are dried, powdered and mixed with pepper, cumin and other herbs to relieve throat irritation and cough.

Aadalodakam leaves contain many beneficial chemicals, the most important one being Vasicine which is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and a bronchodilator. The flowers, leaves and roots are used in making cough syrups, as they can liquify phlegm, relax bronchial passages and alleviate allergies. In addition to respiratory ailments, Aadaladakam plants are used in treatment of cuts and wounds, fever and also diabetes.

Propagation is from stem cuttings or seeds.

Photo Courtesy: love4gardening.com

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