Properties and uses of Lagundi leaf

Lagundi, also known as Negundo Chaste Tree, Cut-Leaf Chaste Tree, Five-Leaved Chaste Tree, Indian Privet, Horseshoe Vitex, Lenggundi, Nirgundi, Sindvar, Negundo, Dabtan, Dangla, Khemao, etc. is a large shrub recognized for its wide variety of health benefits. The scientific name of this plant is Vitex negundo.

It has been used as a traditional herbal medicine for centuries. The Philippine Department of Health, too, has included lagundi in its list of 10 medicinal plants with clinically proven medicinal values.

Lagundi is native to the Philippines, in fact it is usually seen in swamps in the Philippines. It grows in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate regions of the world.

The palmately leaves, blue to lavender-colored flowers, root and seeds of this shrub, all have healing properties. The root, for instance has tonic, expectorant and febrifuge properties. In addition, the fruit has nervine, cephalic, aphrodisiac, and emmenagogue properties; when dried it is considered a vermifuge.

The best way to use this herb is to have it in the form of an herbal tea or concoction. For this, you need to boil one cup of lagundi leaves, whether fresh or dried, in four cups of water for 10 to 15 minutes, let it steep and then strain the liquid. You can also use other parts of the plant like the leaves, root or seeds to prepare the decoction.

It is generally recommended to drink one-half cup of this lagundi tea three times a day. Store the remaining solution in a glass container for future use. Continue the treatment for about one week. Though lagundi has not been found to cause any side effects still, make sure to consult a medical professional before starting this or any other herbal treatment.

Health benefits of Lagundi:

  1. Relieves digestive troubles
  2. Tonic for Liver
  3. Treats respiratory complaints
  4. Combats rheumatism
  5. Heals skin diseases
  6. Analgesic for pain relief
  1. Relieves Digestive Troubles
    Lagundi flowers can be used to get rid of digestive troubles such as diarrhea, cholera, and the same. The root too is good for relieving colic, dyspepsia and intestinal worms. The powdered root works as a demulcent and hence, is often used for treating hemorrhoids.

    To relieve digestive distress, you can prepare a decoction by boiling a handful of lagundi leaves and flowers in two cups of water till the amount of water reduces to half. Strain the solution and divide it in three parts to be taken three times a day.

  2. Tonic for Liver
    Lagundi flowers help treat diseases of the liver. Mover, studies have found lagundi leaves to have hepatoprotective effects on liver toxicity because of an iridiod glycoside, Negundoside.

    A decoction prepared from lagundi flowers also works as a cardiac tonic. Plus, research has found that the herb offers anticonvulsant benefits that protect against seizures.

  3. Treats Respiratory Complaints
    The Philippine Department of Health has recognized the efficacy of this herb for the treatment of respiratory complaints like asthma, pharyngitis, cough, cold, and flu. In fact, the Philippine government is promoting this herb as a natural alternative to Western cough medicines.

    To relieve cough you can either drink lagundi tea or combine it with other herbal remedies as well. It is generally suggested to take one cup of the three times a day for cough relief.

    When down with fever, drink it every three hours. Those suffering from asthma can boil six tablespoons of fresh or four tablespoons of dried leaves from this plant in two cups of water for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid and drink one-third cup of this decoction three times a day. Continue the treatment for one week.

    The herb has been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and analgesic properties. Plus, it contains a compound called Chrysoplenol D with anti-histamine and muscle relaxant properties that help relieve respiratory problems.

    For instance, it prevents the production of a group of chemicals called leukotrienes that accompany inflammation occuuring during an asthma attack. In addition, lagundi offers antitussive and anti-asthma effects due to its anti-inflammatory activity. Thus, lagundi helps reduce the severity of symptoms of an asthma attack.

  4. Combats Rheumatism

    Taking a tincture of lagundi root-bark is considered effective for treating rheumatism. Plus, a vapor bath prepared from the plant too helps treat rheumatic affections. The leaves of the plant also relieve inflammation and swelling in the joints.

    Plus, lagundi leaves are used to relieve muscle sprains as well. For this, the leaves are crushed or heated over fire on an earthen pot and then used as a poultice.

  5. Heals Skin Diseases
    Lagundi seeds are great for providing relief from skin issues such as boils, chicken pox rashes, and even leprosy due to their cooling as well as antiseptic properties. Plus, the anti-histamine properties of lagundi contribute to its anti-itching effects.

    You can also use a decoction prepared from the seeds for curing mouth inflammation. Soaking in warm bath water to which lagundi leaves have been added helps prevent insect bites.

    Furthermore, when dealing with burns and scalds, the leaves can be bruised and used as a poultice on the affected area. It helps disinfect wounds and clear ulcers.

    Another remedy involves boiling a handful or two of lagundi leaves in a pot of water for five minutes, cool and strain the solution, and then wash the wound with this decoction once or twice a day to stop bleeding.

  6. Analgesic for Pain Relief
    Lagundi has been shown to be quite effective as a pain reliever due to its analgesic properties and has even been compared to drugs like aspirin in trials.

    As a folk remedy, people in Philippines, China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia and other Asian countries often take lagundi as a herbal remedy for pain relief after dental extractions.

    The herb can be taken for headache as well. Apart from taking it as a decoction, you can also apply crushed lagundi leaves on the forehead or stuff the leaves in a pillow and then sleep on it to relieve headache and catarrah.

    For relief from toothache, boil six tablespoons of fresh or four tablespoons of dried lagundi leaves in two cups of water until half the amount of water evaporates. Divide the solution in three parts and drink it every three to four hours. When using this remedy for children, use fewer leaves to make the decoction.

    If you cannot get fresh lagundi leaves, flowers or root then you can get this herb in the form of capsule and syrup at the drug stores. Furthermore, you may find similar preparations from this herb through naturopaths, or practitioners of herbal and alternative medicine.

Resources:

World Journal of Gastroenterology– Negundoside, an iridiod glycoside from leaves of Vitex negundo, protects human liver cells against calcium-mediated toxicity induced by carbon tetrachloride

Indian Council of Medical Research– Vitex negundo Linn (VN) leaf extract as an adjuvant therapy to standard anti-inflammatory drugs

ScienceDirect– Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of mature fresh leaves of Vitex negundo

NOTE by Ricardo B Serrano: Lagundi’s health benefits are included because it proved to myself as an effective cold and cough reliever during my 2016-2017 holidays in the Philippines.

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