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nirgundi - Vitex negundo Linn.

nirgundi :

nirgundi : Vitex negundo Linn.

Vitex negundo Linn is a large aromatic shrub (commonly known as Nirgundi,

Five leaved chaste tree) belonging to the family Verbenaceae.

Almost all the parts of this plant possesses great medicinal values and it is employed as a remedy in various traditional systems of medicine like ayurveda, chinese, siddha and unani to treat various diseases.

In Indian traditional medicine system Vitex negundo Linn is referred as ʽsarvaroganivaraniʼ – the remedy for all diseases .

A popular local quote of the Bhangalis in the Western Himalayan region of India which translates as – A man cannot die of disease in an area where Vitex negundo Linn, Adhatoda vasica and Acorus calamus are found (provided that he knows how to use them) .

 Nirgundi in Sanskrit means which protects the body from diseases 


In Malaysia, it is used in traditional herbal medicine for womens health, including treatments for regulating the menstrual cycle, fibrocystic breast disease and post-partum remedies

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Verbenaceae
Genus: Vitex
Species: Vitex Negundo

Allied species:

Vitex trifolia, Vitex altissima


Sanskrit: Nirgundi; Sephalika; Sindhuvara; Svetasurasa; Vrikshaha (सिन्धुवार)
English: five-leaved chaste tree Horseshoe vitex; Chinese chaste tree
Hindi: Mewri; Nirgundi; Nisinda; Sambhalu; Sawbhalu (निर्गुंडी)
Urdu: Sumbaloo
Telugu: Sindhuvara; Vavili; Nalla-vavili; Tella-vavili (వావిలి / సింధువార) lekkali
Bengali: Nirgundi; Nishinda; Samalu
Marathi: Nirgudi (निरगुडी)
Konkani: Lingad
Oriya: Thingkhawilupa, Niligund
Gujarathi: Nagoda; Shamalic
Tamil: Chinduvaram; Nirnochchi; Nochchi; Notchi; Vellai-nochchi
Malayalam: Indrani , കരിനൊച്ചി karinocchi
Kannada: Bile-nekki
Punjabi: Banna; Marwan; Maura; Mawa; Swanjan Torbanna
Sindhi: Marvandaey (Buner), nirgud (Margallah hills), kalgari (Siran valley)
Santal: Bengunia, luguni, sindwar (Chhota Nagpur), sinduari (Bihar)
Arabic: أرثد نيغوندو
Spanish: sauzgatillo chino/extracto de sauzgatillo chino/tintura de sauzgatillo chino
Assamese: Pochotia (পচতীয়া)
Chinese: Huang jing (黄荆)
French: gattilier en arbre
German: ndischer Mönchspfeffer/Indischer Mönchspfeffer
Burma: Kiyow-bhan-bin, kiyuban-bin
Nepal: सिमली Simali Nirgundi
Persian: Sisban, panj-angasht, banjangasht, panjngust (Fazan Khist)
Sinhalese: Nika (නික)


V. negundo var. cannabifolia - V. negundo var. incisa


सिन्दुवारः श्वेतपुष्पः सिन्दुकः सिन्दुवारकः | 
नीलपुष्पी तु निर्गुण्डी शेफाली सुवहा च सा ||९८|| 
सिन्दुकः स्मृतिदस्तिक्तः कषायः कटुको लघुः | 
केश्यो नेत्रहितो हन्ति शूलशोथाममारुतान् ||९९|| 
कृमिकुष्ठारुचिश्लेष्मज्वरान्नीलापि तद्विधा | 
सिन्दुवारदलं जन्तुवातश्लेष्महरं लघु ||१००|| 


Synonyms in Ayurveda: nirgundi, nirgudi, sinduvarak, shephali, suvaha, bhutkeshi, nilsinduk, pushpanilak, shitbhiru, vanak

सिन्दुवारः श्वेतपुष्पः सिन्दुकः सिन्दुवारकः | 
नीलपुष्पी तु निर्गुण्डी शेफाली सुवहा च सा ||९८|| 

Rasa: Katu Tikta
Guna: Laghu Ruksha
Veerya: Ushna
Vipaka: Katu
Karma: Vathakaphahara

Vitex negundo Linn is a popular medicine for human kind.

It possess a variety of phytochemical constituents which makes it very effective antimicrobial, cytotoxic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti arthritic, anxiolytic, anti amnesic, antidote for snake venom.



  • It is widely planted as a hedge plant in between the fields and usually not browsed by the cattle.
  • It can be reproduced readily from shoot cuttings.
  • It produces root suckers which can also be utilized as planting material.
  • An easily grown plant, it prefers a light well-drained loamy soil in a warm sunny position sheltered from cold drying winds succeeds in poor dry soils.
  • Plants tolerate temperatures down to about -10°C.
  • The leaves and stems are strongly aromatic.
  • The flowers have a most Pronounced musk-like perfume


Seed - sow March in a greenhouse. It does not need any pre-treatment.

  • Germination is usually free and quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter.
  • Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year.
  • Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Good percentage.
  • Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, November in a cold frame
Germination is usually free and quick. 
Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them in the greenhouse for their first winter. 
Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year 


Leaves are harvested in early summer and used fresh or dried


Roots are harvested in late summer and autumn, and dried for later use



6′-p-hydroxybenzoyl mussaenosidic acid; 2′-p-hydroxybenzoyl mussaenosidic acid viridiflorol; β-caryophyllene; sabinene; 4-terpineol; gamma-terpinene; caryophyllene oxide; 1-oceten-3-ol; globulol; 5,3′-dihydroxy-7,8,4′- trimethoxyflavanone; 5,3′-dihydroxy,6,7,4′trimethoxyflavanone; 5-hydroxy-3,6,7,3,4-pentamethoxy flavones; 5,7dihydroxy-6,4 dimethoxy flavonone; 5hydroxy-7,4 dimethoxy flavones; 5,3-dihydroxy-7,8,4-trimethoxy flavanone; betulinic acid [3β-hydroxylup-20-(29)-en-28-oic acid]; ursolic acid [2β -hydroxyurs-12-en-28-oic acid]; n-hentriacontanol; β-sitosterol; p-hydroxybenzoic acid; protocatechuic acid; oleanolic acid; flavonoids angusid; casticin; vitamin-C; nishindine; gluco-nonitol; 


3β-acetoxyolean-12-en-27-oic acid; 2α, 3α-dihydroxyoleana-5,12-dien-28-oic acid; 2β,3α diacetoxyoleana-5,12- dien-28-oic acid; 2α, 3β-diacetoxy-18-hydroxyoleana-5,12-dien-28-oic acid; vitedoin-A; vitedoin-B; a phenylnaphthalene-type lignan alkaloid, vitedoamine-A; five other lignan derivatives, 6-hydroxy-4-(4-hydroxy-3- methoxy-phenyl)-3-hydroxymethyl-7-methoxy-3,4-dihydro-2-naphthaldehyde, β-sitosterol; p-hydroxybenzoic acid; 5-oxyisophthalic acid; n-tritriacontane, n-hentriacontane; n-pentatriacontane; n-nonacosane. 


 2β,3α-diacetoxyoleana-5,12-dien-28-oic acid; 2α,3α-dihydroxyoleana-5,12-dien-28-oic acid; 2α,3β-diacetoxy-18- hydroxyoleana-5,12-dien-28-oic acid; vitexin; isovitexin, negundin-A; negundin-B; (+)-diasyringaresinol; (+)- lyoniresinol; vitrofolal-E; vitrofolal-F, acetyl oleanolic acid; sitosterol; 3-formyl-4.5-dimethyl-8- oxo-5H-6,7- dihydronaphtho (2,3-b)furan. 

Essential oil of fresh leaves, flowers and dried fruits 

δ-guaiene; guaia-3,7-dienecaryophyllene epoxide; ethyl-hexadecenoate; α-selinene; germacren-4-ol; caryophyllene epoxide; (E)-nerolidol; β-selinene; α-cedrene; germacrene D; hexadecanoic acid; p-cymene and valencene. viridiflorol (19.55%), β-caryophyllene (16.59%), sabinene (12.07%), 4-terpineol (9.65%), γ-terpinene (2.21%), caryophyllene oxide (1.75%), 1-oceten-3-ol (1.59%), and globulol (1.05%). Viridiflorol


oxidative stress, 
snake venome neutralization and 
anti-allergic activities

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Leaves, Root, Seed, ,


  • Leaf juice - 10-20 ml
  • Root bark powder - 3-6 g
  • Seed powder - 3-6 g


VITEX NEGUNDO is used as a subtitute for OCIMUM TENUIFLORUM L. 


-Nirgundi is cheap, easily available, free from controversy, and very effective in joint disorders.

Commercial value:

- Essential oil of plant shows many biological activities in addition to their use in pharmaceutical industries.



  • Roots are woody, fairly thick, 8-10 cm in diameter; external surface brownish, rough due to the presence of longitudinal fissures and a small rootlets.
  • The bark is very thin and corky portion can be scrapped off easily.
  • Transverse section shows outer cork consisting of 12- 20 rows of nearly cubical to rectangular cells, the cells of peripheral rows being thick walled but not lignified.

Stem Bark:

  • Bark occurs in channelled pieces, 0.3- 0.5 cm thick; outer surface yellowish grey, rough, lenticelular, longitudinally channeled and transversely cracked;
  • inner surface darker than outer,
  • blackish and smooth; fracture short and splintery;
  • taste slightly bitter. In transverse section the bark
  • shows well developed periderm and secondary phloem elements.


·         Leaves are palmately compound,

·         petiole 2.5-3.8 cm long;

·         3-5 foliate;

·          the middle leaflet is petiolate;

·         in trifoliate leaf, leaflet lanceolate or narrowly lanceolate, acute, entire or rarely crenate,

·         middle leaflet 5-10 cm long and 1.6-3.2 cm broad, with 1-1.3 cm long petiolule, remaining two subsessile;

·         in pentafoliate leaf inner three leaflets have petiolule and remaining two sub-sessile;

·         Odour is agreeably aromatic surface glabrous above and tomentose beneath; texture, leathery


  • Petiole shows single layered epidermis having a number of unicellular, bicellular and uniseriate multicellular
  • covering trichomes and also glandular trichomes with uni to tricellular stalk and uni to bicellular head;
  • cortex composed of outer collenchymatous tissue and inner 6-8 layers of parenchymatous tissue;
  • collenchyma well developed in basal region and gradually decreases in middle and apical regions;
  • pericyclic fibres absent in basal region of petiole and
  • present in the form of a discontinuous ring in apical region surrounding central horse shoeshaped vascular bundle;
  • a few smaller vascular bundles present ventrally between arms of central vascular bundle and two, or rarely three, bundles situated outside the arms.

Geographical distribution:

v  Vitex usually grows from three to nine feet tall, but under cultivation can develop to 20 feet tall.

v  Nirgundi occur in tropical to temperate regions (up to 2200 m from east to west)

v  grows gregariously in wastelands and is also widely used as a hedge-plant.

v  This species is globally  distributed in Indo-Malesia,

v  cultivated in America, Europe, Asia and West Indies.

v  Within India, it is found throughout the greater part of India, ascending to an altitude of 1500 metres in the outer Himalayas



Ø  It is abundant in open-waste lands.

Ø  Locally distributed throughout the State Maharashtra along the banks of rivers; very common near the sea-coast in tidal and beach-forests in Konkan; along Deccan rivers. 


Vitex negundo Linn. has shown promise as an effective bio-control agent.
The extracts of Vitex negundo Linn. possess inhibitory, deterrent or lethal activity on biological agents that cause disease and damage to other
organisms .
Additionally, production of plant secondary metabolites de novo, by in vitro cell culture methods, has assumed importance in the last two decades
because the structural complexity of naturally occurring metabolites forms the basis for the chemical synthesis of novel and more potent analogues

Plant conservation:

IUCN threat status : Not evaluated (This taxon has not yet been assessed for the IUCN Red List)

General Use:

 The plant finds mention in the verses of the Charaka Samhita which is unarguably the most ancient and authoritative textbook of Indian Ayurveda. Vitex negundo Linn. has been designated as an anthelmintic and is prescribed as a vermifuge in the exposition on the Charaka Samhita. Other Ayurvedic uses of Vitex negundo Linn. are people sleep on pillows stuffed with Vitex negundo Linn. leaves to dispel catarrh and headache and smoke the leaves for relief. Crushed leaf poultice is applied to cure headaches, neck gland sores, tubercular neck swellings and sinusitis. Essential oil of the leaves is also effective in treatment of venereal diseases and other syphilitic skin disorders. A leaf decoction with Piper nigrum is used in catarrhal fever with heaviness of head and dull hearing. A tincture of the root-bark provides relief from irritability of bladder, rheumatism and in dysmenorrhea. Formulations described in Anubhoga Vaidya Bhaga, a compendium of formulations in cosmetology, in outlining the use of Vitex negundo Linn. leaves along with those of Azadirachta indica, Eclipta alba, Sphaeranthus indicus and Carum copticum in a notable rejuvenation treatment known as Kayakalpa.  

Therapeutic Uses:

The leaves possess discutient (Muhalil) properties and are applied to rheumatic swellings of the joints and in sprains. 
The juice of the leaves is used for the treatment of foetid discharges. 
They  show  anti-inflammatory,  antibacterial  and  antifungal  activity.  
Because  of  its  anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties, the plant is useful in treating sores and skin infections. 
Vitex negundo relieves muscle aches and joint pains. 
The herb is effective in treating vaginal discharge.
 It also enhances the male lidibo

Systemic Use:

1. In cold, its decoction 20 ml should be used along with 1gm Pippali and 250 mg Vacha. 

2. In pneumonitis, Swarasa of its leaves 10 ml is so beneficial along with Pippali.

3. It’s paste on affected site is painkiller and anti-inflammatory




The decoction of leaves is used for treatment of inflammation, eye-disease, toothache, leucoderma,
enlargement of the spleen, ulcers, cancers, catarrhal fever, rheumatoid arthritis, gonorrhea, sinuses,
scrofulous sores, bronchitis and as tonics. As vermifuge, lactagogue, antibacterial, antipyretic,
antihistaminic, analgesic, insecticidal, ovicidal, growth inhibition and morphogenetic agents. antigenotoxic, antihistamine, CNS depressant activity and anti-fertility effects were reported from the leaves of Vitex negundo Linn

Clinical trials:

1. Medicinal uses and biological activities of Vitex negundo VR Tandon - 2005 -
2. An experimental evaluation of anticonvulsant activity of Vitex-negundo VR Tandon, RK Gupta - Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology, 2005 -


1. Molecular assessment of protective effect of Vitex negundo in ISO induced myocardial infarction in rats
Myocardial infarction (MI) is the one of the major causes of death worldwide, however the molecular mechanisms hidden under this disease conditions remain unknown. This demands serious attention to unravel the molecular mechanisms  by Dr. E. Maruthi Prasad

2. Antioxidant and α-glucosidase inhibitory properties of soluble melanins from the fruits of Vitex mollis Kunth, Randia echinocarpa Sessé et Mociño and Crescentia alata Kunth


Nirgundi should be used with caution with the concurrent use of psychotropic drugs, including analgesics, sedatives, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and antipsychotics. Vitex negundo Linn. is quite similar botanically to the better studied Vitex agnus castus, and thus may have a similar range of contraindications, including the concurrent use of progesterogenic drugs and hormone replacement therapies8 . 

Toxicity studies:

Preliminary acute toxicity study of ethanolic leaf extract in albino rats by oral route carried out by Tandon and Gupta 2004) indicated it to be practically nontoxic, as its LD50 dose recorded was 7.5 g/kg/wt. The stomach showed no histomorphological changes in any of the doses of theextract studied. However, dose dependent histomorphological changes were observed in the specimens of the heart, liver and lung

Use in other system of medicine:

Unani medicine:

Vitex negundo Linn. is commonly known as Nisinda in Unani medicine. 
- seeds are administered internally with sugarcane vinegar for removal of swellings. 
Powdered seeds are used in spermatorrhoea and serve as an aphrodisiac when dispensed along with dry Zingiber officinale and milk. 

 Chinese medicine: 

The Chinese Pharmacopoeia prescribes the fruit of Vitex negundo Linn. in the treatment of reddened, painful and puffy eyes, headache and arthritic joints. 

Uses in western herbal medicine

Modern medical world with Vitex began with the introduction of concentrate extracts of Vitex fruits in the 1950. 
From 1943 to 1997, approximately 32 clinical trial were conducted on a propriety 
Vitex agnus berry product for evaluating its effectiveness in treating mastitis and fibrocystic diseases, menopausal symptoms, poor lactation, uterine bleeding disorder and menstrual irregularities9,23 . 

In homoeopathic medicine, 

Vitex agnus and Vitex negundo Linn. is used for various sexual debilitiesmarked depression of vital power, premature old age with apathy, self contempt for the sexual abuse nervous debility in unmarried person feeble erection without sexual desire, emission of prolactic fluid when straining at stool, cold, hard, swollen, painful testicle. 

In general practice, the drug is prescribes to female for leukemia staining yellow suppressed menses, slangy or suppressed breast milk, inflammation of uterus. 

The flowers are astringents and used in fever, diarrhoea and liver complaints. 

The fruits are prescribed in headache catarrh and watery eyes when dried. It is consider vermifuge. 

They are much valued medicinally in china. An aqueous extract of the fruits was found to be good analgesic action. 

In Philipins – the seed are reported to eaten after boiling. 

The young shoots are used in the basket making. 

The ash of the plants is source of potassium carbonate or peer ash and is reported to be used as an alkali in drying . 

Folk medicine: 

Folklore systems of medicine continue to serve a large segment of population, especially those in rural and tribal areas, regardless of the advent of modern medicine. 


Vitex negundo (nirgundi, in Sanskrit and Hindi) is a deciduous shrub naturalized in many parts of the world. Some consider it to have originated in India and the Philippines. There is no reference to nirgundi in the Vedas, while several references occur in post-Vedic works. In India, the plant has multifarious uses: basketry, dyeing, fuel, food, stored-grain protectant, fi eld pesticide, growth promoter, manure, as medicine for poultry, livestock, and humans. It is used in all systems of treatment – Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy, and Allopathy. It is commonly used in folk medicine in India, Bangladesh, China, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Japan. True to its meaning in Sanskrit (that which keeps the body free from all diseases), it is used to treat a plethora of ailments, ranging from headache to migraine, from skin affections to wounds, and swelling, asthmatic pains, male and female sexual and reproductive problems. Referred to as sindhuvara in Ayurveda, nirgundi has been used as medicine since ancient times. It is taken in a variety of ways, both internally and externally. The whole plant, leaves, leaf oil, roots, fruits, and seeds are administered in the treatment of specifi c diseases. However, in Ayurveda, the leaves, roots, and bark are the most important parts. 

KEY WORDS: nirgundi Vitex negundo Linn.

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