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Botanical Name: Plumbago zeylanica Linn.

Family: Plumbaginaceae

Introduction: If this drug given in pregnancy, it causes irritation of pelvic organs which leads to abortion. Present research reveals that plumbagin obtained of P. zeylanica is a potent cytotoxic/anti-cancer agent.

Names in different Indian languages:

Hindi: Chitraka

Telugu: Chitramulamu

Tamil : Chittiri

English: Ceylon Leadwort,Leadwort.

Gujrati : chitrok

Marathi: Chitramul

Kanada: Kempucitramula.

Malayalam: Vella Kotuveli

Sanskrit: Sveta Chitraka


Chitraka, Agni, Vahni, Jvalanaakhya, Krshaanu, Hutaasha, Dahana, Sikhi.

Classification according to Charaka, Susrutha & Vagbhata:

Charaka: Dipaniya, sulapraamana, Arsoghna, Lekhaniya

Susrutha: Pippalyãdi, Mustãdi, Amalakyãdi, Varunãdi

Aragvadhadi Vagbhata: Pippalyãdi, Mustãdi, Varunadi, Aragvadhadi

Varieties & adulterants – (CV – controversy, AD – adulterants):

1. Sveta

2. Pita

3. Asita

4. P. rosea

5. P. capensis

6. P. indica

7. P. auriculata


A perennial herb with 0.5-1.5 m long stems, some what woody, spreading, glabrous.

Leaves- simple, alternate, oblong, thin, 3.5- 7.5x 2-4 cm, ovate, subacute, entire, glabrous, reticulately veined, petiole short, amplexicaul at the base.

Flowers- white, in elongate spikes; rachis glandular, striate. Calyx 1-1.5 cm. long, narrowly tubular, densely covered with stalked glands. Corolla white, slender; tube 2-2.5 cm long.

Fruit- Capsule, oblong, pointed; pericarp thin below, thick and hardened above.

Distribution & Habitat:

Found throughout India and sometime cultivated.

Chemical composition :

Pungent, having yellow and irritant principle called as plumbagin, 91%.

Active principle does not dissolve in cold water. In boiling water or ‘alcohol it dissolves easily.

Chitranone, plumbagin, lumbagin, droserone, elliptinofle, isozeylinone,isozeylan-one, zeylanone and zeylinone, maritone, plumbagic acid, dihydrosterone, beta sitosterol etc.


Rasa : Katu

Guna : Laghu, Rüksa, Tiksna Virya : Usna

Vipãka : Katu

Karma : vata kapha hara, dipana, pacana, grahi,rasayana, arosaghna

Anti inflammatory, digestive, narcotic, gastric & nerve stimulant, rejuvenating


Arsas, Grahani,Krimi,Udara, kusta,vrana, i, sula, pandu, kasa

cough, bronchitis, helminthiasis, haemorrhoids, fever, leucoderma, scabies, odontalgia, skin disease,.

Parts used: Root.

Dosage: 2 to 4 gm. High dose causes burning and intoxication.

External uses:

Being irritant and hot, it develops blisters and has scraping action.

Its paste causes blisters resulting in discolouration, So it is called as chili-ak (chitra= two colours). In skin disorders like filariasis. oedema, etc. paste causes blisters thus relieving vitiated doshas.

Paste is applied in arthritis.

Internal uses:

Central nervous system : Stimulant in low dose but sedative in higher dose. Useful in nerve weakness and vata disorders.

Digestive system : Due to its pungent, hot properties, it acts as an appetizer, digestive, but astringent and anthelmintic. Therefore, it is useful in anorexia, indigestion, abdominal pain. liver disorders, spite. haemorrhoids and worms. Mainly effective in non-bleeding piles.

Circulatory system : Chitrak vitiates pitta and reduces oedema. so it is useful in oedema, liver and spleen disorders and proctitis.

Respiratory system : It is effective in chronic rhinitis and cough.

Reproductive system It causes uterine contraction, cures menstrual disorders and post partem disorders. It is also used internally and externally in impotency.

Skin : Diaphoretic. useful in skin disorders (vitiligo etc.) 15 to 45 drops of alcoholic extract of  chitrak acts as a potent diaphoretic. Application of small quantity of chitrak is used in abscess.

Temperature Febrifuge: It is used in chronic fever (kapha) and malaria. It improves liver function, digestion and helps in splenomegaly. Chitrak is the best medicine for diseases like haemorrhoids, which are caused by abnormality of agni.

Satmikaran : Acts as a bitter tonic in low dose. It is helpful in post pyrexial debility.

Important Yogas or Formulations:

Chitrakadi gutika, Chitrakharitaki, Chitrak ghrit, Chitrakadi churna, Trimad churna

Improper use of chitrak causes toxicity. Higher dose of it creates irritant and intoxicant effects. It causes burning of tongue; throat, stomach and all over the body, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dysuria, burning micturation. Pulse becomes-feeble and skin becomes wrinkled and cold:


Dosha : Alleviates vata, kapha and eliminates pitta (gives yellow colour to the stools). Dhatu : Rakta, meda (vitiligo)

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