Justicia adhatoda – Herb garden

Justicia adhatoda is an herb plant and ornamental shrub. This fast-growing shrub can reach heights of up to 5 m with lance-shaped leaves ten to fifteen centimeters in length by four wide are oppositely arranged, smooth-edged, and borne on short petioles. The trunk has many, long branches and the bark is yellowish in color. The blossoms are an unusual shape, having two large white lips with purple veining. They bloom in the dry, winter season, tightly packed on erect flower spikes and are followed by club-shaped seed capsules up to 1 inch long. When mature, the light-brown seedpods pop open and expel their seed some distance from the parent

Scientific classification

Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Justicia
Species: J. adhatoda

Scientific Name: Justicia adhatoda
Synonyms: Adeloda serrata Raf., Adhatoda pubescens Moench, Adhatoda vasica Nees, Dianthera latifolia Salisb., Ecbolium adhatoda (L.) Kuntze, Gendarussa adhadota (L.) Steud.
Common Names: Malabar nut, Adulsa, Adhatoda.

Justicia adhatoda

How to grow and maintain Justicia adhatoda


It thrives best in bright light with some direct sunlight, tolerating light shade. A sunny windowsill will be an ideal position for these plants.


It grows well in well-drained soil with a pH in the range of 6.5 – 7.5, tolerating 5.5 – 8. Add coconut coir and Pine bark to make the soil more drainage friendly.


Water your plant regularly during the growing season and always keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. You can allow the topsoil to become slightly dry between each watering. During the winter months, reduce watering.


It prefers ideal room temperatures of around 60°F – 75°F / 15.5°C – 24°C. During winter no less than 50°F / 10°C.


Fertilize every two weeks during the growing season from spring to autumn with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Do not fertilize during the winter.


Re-pot in spring when the plant becomes root bound or the soil needs renewing.


It should be pruned back after flowering by removing old, damaged, or dead wood, you increase air flow, yielding less disease, and given some general-purpose fertilizer at this time.


It can be easily propagated by seed and by cuttings from spring to early summer.

Pests and Diseases

It has is no serious pest or disease problems. But they are susceptible to whiteflies and phytophthora root rot.

Benefits of Justicia adhatoda

  • Justicia adhatoda (Malabar nut) has been used in traditional Indian medicine for thousands of years to treat respiratory disorders and it is valuable in treating bronchitis, tuberculosis, and other lung and bronchiole disorders.
  • The leaves, roots, blossoms, and stem bark of this plant are used in medicinal applications.
  • The liquid extract of this plant is used in many pharmaceutical formulations as an expectorant.
  • The leaves, roots, and flowers are extensively used in indigenous medicine as a remedy for cold, cough, bronchitis, and asthma.
  • A decoction of the leaves can be used as an herbal treatment for cough and other symptoms of colds. The soothing action helps irritation in the throat and the expectorant will help loosen phlegm deposits in the airway which makes Adhatoda a good remedy for sore throat.
  • Justicia Adhatoda has been used to control both internal and external bleeding such as peptic ulcers, piles, and bleeding gums.
  • A poultice of the leaves may be applied to wounds for their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The poultice is also useful in relieving rheumatic symptoms when applied to joints.
  • Justicia Adhatoda herb exhibits antispasmodic, expectorant, and blood purifying qualities and it has also been used to speed delivery during childbirth.
  • A poultice of its leaves can be applied with beneficial results over fresh wounds, rheumatic joints, and inflammatory swellings. A warm decoction of its leaves is useful in treating scabies and other skin diseases.
  • Regular application is said to cure eye irritation and other minor ailments.
  • The juice obtained from the leaves can be used to treat bloody stool and mucus in stool.

Methods for Using Justicia adhatoda

  • For coughs, seven leaves of the Justicia Adhatoda plant are boiled in water, strained, and mixed with 24 grams of honey. This decoction provides relief. Similarly, a confection of Adhatoda flowers eaten in doses of 12 grams twice daily relieves cough. About 60 grams of flowers and 180 grams of jaggery should be mixed for preparing this confection.
  • The dry leaves can be rolled and smoked as a cigar to treat wheezing. The flower of adathoda can be used to treat ailments of the eye. For this, the flowers are slightly shown on fire and then placed on the eyelids.
  • The juice from its leaves should be given in doses of 2 to 4 grams in treating diarrhea and dysentery.

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