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tikshnaksha - Toddalia asiatica (Linn.) Lam., Toddalia aculeata Pe..

tikshnaksha :

Plants growing in a herbal garden in southern India Photograph by: Thamizhpparithi Maari Toddalia asiatica (L) Lam. (Rutaceae) (Syn: Paullinia asiatica L., Scopolia aculeata Sm., Toddalia aculeata Pers.) is amedicinal plant commonly known as Orange climber (Eng.).The species is traditionally used as a browse for goats and as ahedge among the Maasai and Kipsigis communities (Glover etal., 1966a). However, the most important use of Toddalia asiatica is medicinal.


Toddalia asiatica, has been in folklore use in India and China from 18th century. 

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Streptophyta
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Toddalia
Species: Toddalia asiatica

Allied species:

Aralia labordei H.Lév.

Paullinia asiatica L.

Toddalia aculeata Pers.

Toddalia angustifolia Lam.

Toddalia floribunda Wall.

Toddalia nitida Lam.

Toddalia rubricaulis Roem. & Schult.

Toddalia tonkinensis Guillaumin


Sanskrit: Kanchanah, Tiksnaksah, Dahana
English: forest pepper, wild orange tree, Lopez-root tree
Hindi: Jangli Kali Mirch, Kanch, Dahan
Telugu: Konda Kasinda, Vana Kasinda, Mulla Kasinda, Erra Kasinda, Mirapakanda, Mulla Morinda
Bengali: kada-todali
Marathi: दहन dahan, जंगली काळी मिरची jungli kali mirchi, रान मिरवेल ran mirvel
Konkani: Galayi
Oriya: ହାଇମରିଚା hai maricha, ତୁଣ୍ଡ ପୋଡ଼ା tunda porda
Tamil: Milagaranai, Kattumilagu
Malayalam: കാക്കത്തുടലി kakkattutali ,Mulakutali, Vallinarakam, Kara, Mulakutanni
Kannada: Kaadumenasu, Inasingi.
Japanese: Saru-kake-mikan
Chinese: XIiao jin teng, You po le, Hua mei tiao, San xue fei, Wen dan, Yi lei, Jian xue fei, Huang jiao gen, Xi jiao, Huang jiao gen, Ci mu teng, Huang rou shu, Da jiu jia, Niu ma le, Ji zhao le, Ru shin hu, Fei long zhang xue
French: liane patte poule piquante
Nepal: मैन-काँड़ा main kanda
Sinhalese: Kudumirissa


Two varieties of Toddalia asiatica viz  var. gracilis  and  var.  floribunda  are  found  in  the  west and  southern  parts  of  India.  Plants  of  var.  gracilis are   generally   found   in   denuded   slopes.   


Toddalia is a monotypic genus (only one species). In South Africa, close relatives are the genera Vepris, Teclea and Toddaliopsis.


Synonyms in Ayurveda: tikshnaksha, kancana, dahana

The name Toddalia derives from kaki-toddalia, the Malabar name for an Indian species of climbing orange.

Rasa: Kashaya Madhura Tikta
Guna: Laghu Snigdha
Veerya: Ushna
Vipaka: Katu
Karma: Kaphahara Vatahara

The fruit is traditionally used to treat malaria and coughs; roots to treat indigestion and influenza and theleaves for lung diseases and rheumatism. Toddalia asiatica is also used to treat nasal and bronchial pains, stomachache, snake bites, andin rituals 


A plant of subtropical to tropical climates, it will only flourish in frost-free areas with a fairly high annual rainfall.
Succeeds on clay soils.
The whole plant is covered in numerous glandular dots which contain acidic oils - it is believed that these can help protect the plant from pests.
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.


Seed - it germinates quickly.
Cuttings about 30cm long taken from the growing tips. Place the cuttings in damp sand. A growth hormone can be used to stimulate the development of roots


The plant is harvested from the wild


The root bark of T. asiatica is a rich source of active constituents belonging to various classes of secondary metabolites which include benzophenanthridine, quinoline, protoberberine alkaloids, coumarins, biscoumarins, furanocoumarins, benzopyrans, terpenoids, cyclohexylamides. Literature reveals that several of these chemical constituents have been isolated and studied for their pharmacological activities


Important formulations 

- Used as a single drug

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Bark, Fruit, Leaves, Root, ,


 6 to 9 gms dried material in decoction.


Fossil seeds of Toddalia have been described as †Toddalia nanlinensis from the Miocene of Nanlin Formation in Longchuan Basin, Dehong Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China; the fossil seeds are boat-shaped with tegmen that is composed of thin-walled cells with fine criss-crossed spiral lignifications

Commercial value:

Toddalia asiatica could be used very successfully in larger gardens where the glossy light green leaves will attract the attention of visitors to your garden. This plant tends to grow as a large shrub, not a liana, if planted in full sun. Because it is extremely thorny, it could also be used as a security fence. It will only flourish in frost-free areas with a fairly high annual rainfall.


It is an evergreen climber (woody Liana) with rambling stems  up to 15 m high and 10 cm diameter. Bark of the plant is pale brown, fairly smooth with numerous conspicuous pale circular lenticels, armed with small hooked prickles about 2.5 mm long raised on old stems on the top of a conical woody pedestal up to 1.2 cm high. Blaze 2.5-7.5 mm crisp, pale yellow closely mottled with sclerotic orange portions in the outer half, turning pinkish brown on exposure. Leaves are alternate, digitately trifoliate. Petiole 1.5-3 cm long. Leaflets sessile, 5-10 cm x 1.8-3.8 cm, obovate- oblong or oblong, crenulate, shortly blunt-acuminate, base acute, glabrous, criaceous, dark shining green above with many slender parallel nerves. Inflorescences with male flowers corymbose panicles, with female flowers cymose panicles, bract scale like. Flowers polygamous, 3.8-6 mm diameter, pale greenish yellow, in axillary and terminal pubescent panicles, 2.5-6.3 cm long. Stamens 4 or 5, ovary 4 or 5 locular. Fruit orange to dark red, 7.5-12mm. diameter, subglobose, with 5 shallow grooves, yellowish, seeds dark brown, several reniform, surrounded by colorless mucilage 


T.S of leaf consists of single layers of upper and lower epidermis covered with thin cuticle. Mesophyll is differentiated in to upper palisade and lower spongy cells. Palisade consists of compactly arranged cylindrical cells and filled with chloroplast. Oil glands are observed on both surfaces . Midrib shows well developed vascular bundle. Unicellular and thick walled trichomes were present on midrib. Anisocytic stomata were present on dorsal surface of the leaf , Stomata index was 29.

Geographical distribution:

Toddalia is native of tropical Asia from India and SriLanka to Malaysia; also available in Mauritius and Madagaskar. It is also found in Sumatra, Java, China, Philippines, tropical Africa, Mascarene Islands. It is found almost throughout India upto an altitude of 2500 m. It is common in the Nilgiri and Palni Hills and in the shrub forests of Orissa. It is also found in Mantur, Godavari agency, Mamandur, Sunkarimetta, Tirumala Hills, Satyavedu, Karka, Bhimavaram, Balapalli, Circars areas of 
Andhra Pradesh.


Forests near rivers or streams. Thickets and forests near coasts, especially in calcareous regions, in southern Japan. Humid forests, from sea-level up to 2300 metres

Bees pollinate the flowers and birds and monkeys disperse the seeds. Birds love the fruit and therefore the seeds are carried over large areas.

Plant conservation:

Not evaluated 

General Use:

The whole plant is aromatic or hot and pungent, and used as a bitter or aromatic tonic. It is used to boost digestive function and to treat fevers

The fruit is used as a cough remedy

The roots are used in the treatment of indigestion and influenza
The root and its bark have been used as a remedy for fever, malaria, cholera, diarrhoea and rheumatism.

The leaves are used in the treatment of lung diseases and rheumatism. An infusion is used as a treatment for asthma

Therapeutic Uses:

Root bark considered antimalarial, antiperiodic, antipyretic, tonic and carminative.
- Volatile oil from the leaves have a pleasant odor resembling verbena of basilicum. 

Systemic Use:

The plant is used medicinally by many African peoples, including the Maasai, who use it for malaria, cough, and influenza. The roots contain coumarins that have antiplasmodial activity. Extracts of the plant have demonstrated antiviral activity against H1N1 influenza in the laboratory

Plant pacifies vitiated vata, kapha, hemiplegia, malaria, colic, flatulence, diarrhea, wounds, ulcers, epilepsy and poison insect bites


Root extract


Studies have shown antiplasmodial, antimicrobial, antiviral, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, repellent, antioxidant, anti-diarrheal, antihyperglycemic properties.

Clinical trials:

1. K.V. Rao, K, Sreeramulu and D. Gunasekar, Flavonoid constituents of Toddalia floribunda, Journal of the Indian Chemical Society, 70: 274,(1993).

2. Hisashi Ishii, Jun-ichi Kobayashi, Eri Sakurada and Tsutomu Ishikawa, The absolute stereochemistries of (+)-toddalactone and its related chiral coumarins from Toddalia asiatica (L.) 
Lam (T. Aculeate Pers.) And their optical purities. J. Chem. Soc. Perkin Trans. I., 13: 1681–1684, (1992).


1. Huang Ping, Karagianis Gloria, Wei Shan-xin, Waterman Peter, Triterpene acids from Toddalia asiatica, Natural Product Research And Development, 641-657(4):404 – 408,(2005). 

2. Subhash C. Jain, Mukesh K. Pandey, Ravi K. Upadhyay, Rohtash Kumar, Geeta Hundal and Maninder S. Hundal,Alkaloids from Toddalia aculeate, Phytochemistry, 67(10):1005-1010,(2006).

Use in other system of medicine:

The plant is well known for its antipyretic property. All parts of the plant have characteristic pungent taste. It is used in sprains, contusions, intercostal neuralgia, cough, malaria, dysentery, gastralgia, poisonous snake bites and furuncle infections. Fresh bark of the root is used in the treatment of hill fever. The root is used as dental analgesic. It is also used in odontalgia, paralysis, intermittent fevers, dyspepsia, colic, flatulence, bronchitis, nausea, wounds, filthy ulcers, epilepsy, gonorrhoea, constitutional debility, convalescence after febrile and exhausting diseases, blood motions and arthritis. The root bark is bitter, astringent, acrid, digestive, carminative, constipating, diaphoretic, expectorant, antibacterial, vulnerary, aromatic, tonic, stimulant, antiperiodic, antidiarrhoeal, antipyretic and diuretic. Fresh leaves are eaten raw for pin in the bowel. The leaves are burnt and the ash is used as tooth powder and in decayed teeth. The flowers are useful as an external application in wasp-stings. The unripe fruit is rubbed down with oil to make a stimulant liniment for arthritis. The fruits are used for Cough and throat pain. The roots and leaves are boiled and used orally or inhalation for common cold and cough. Apart from these the fruits are also used for culinary purposes in the form of pickles


Toddalia asiatica (Lopez root): Rutaceae, a woody liana, is used traditionally in the treatment of malaria, sprains, cough, fever, neuralgia, epilepsy, dyspepsia and other disease conditions. Extracts of the plant have been reported to have anticancer, anti-HIV, antimicrobial, antifeedant activities. A wide range of chemical constituents such as benzophenanthridine alkaloids, coumarins, cyclohexylamides and terpenoids have been isolated especially from the root bark of the plant. 

Photos of tikshnaksha - ,

Herbal plants of Srilanka - toddalia asiatica

KEY WORDS: tikshnaksha Toddalia asiatica (Linn.) Lam., Toddalia aculeata Pers.

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