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Bhallataka:Marking – Nut Uses, Purification, Side Effects

Bhallataka is one of the most powerful and fast acting Ayurvedic hrebs. It is used extensively in piles, skin diseases, etc. Its botanical name is Semecarpus anacardium. It belongs to Anacardaceae family. Since it is very hot in potency, it is used only after purification procedures

Hindi name – Bhilawa
English name – Marking nut
The word semearpus-greek simeion-marking/tracing, carpus in Greek means nut,Anacardiummeans like cardium i.e heart shaped marking nut.

Sanskrit synonyms:
Arushkara – produces wounds, merely by skin contact
Shophakrut – causes inflammation on skin contact
Agnimukha – as hot as fire

Classical categorization:
Charaka –
Deepaneeya – Group of herbs that promotes digestion,
Bhedaniya – group of herbs that cause mild purgation,
Kushtaghna – group of herbs that are useful in skin diseases
Mutrasangrahaneeya – group of herbs that cause urine retention.

Sushruta and Vagbhata – Nyagrodhadi, Mustadi gana.

Globally it is distributed in the Paleotropics, from Tropical Asia to Australia. Within India it is distributed in the Sub-Himalayan tracts, Central, Peninsular and Eastern regions of the country.

Medicinal properties:
Rasa (taste) – Katu (pungent), Tikta (Bitter), Kashaya (Astringent)
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (light to digest), Teekshna (piercing), Snigdha (Unctuous)
Vipaka – Madhura – undergoes sweet taste conversion after digestion.
Veerya – Ushna – hot in potency

Bhallataka Shodhana –
Because it is very hot in nature, its mere skin contact may cause boils. To reduce its hot potency and toxicity, it is subjected to purification procedure.

bhallataka shodhana

Bhallataka ripe seeds are taken, and put into water. Only those which sink are used for purification and rest are discarded.
The seed is cut into two and kept immersed in dry brick powder for sometime. During this time, the dry brick powder absorbs all the strong pungent oil of Bhallatak, reducing its pungency and making it usable for medicinal purposes.

therapeutic uses of Bhallatak –

1. There is no Kapha imbalance disease, no constipation, which can’t be cured by Bhallataka. It improves intelligence and promotes digestion.
2. Khadira seeds help to treat all skin diseases. Similarly, all hemorrhoids can be well treateed with Bhallataka.

Bhallatak fruit
after ripening, it is
Svadupaka rasa – sweet in taste.
Laghu – light to digest
Kashaya – astringent
Pachana – helps in digestion
Snigdha – unctuous
Teekshna – piercive
Ushna – hot
Chedana – has cutting, slicing effect
Bhedi – induces purgation.
Medhya – improves intelligence
vahnikara – promotes digestion
kaphavatahara -balances Kapha and Vata
Vranahara – induces quick wound healing
Udarahara – useful in ascites
Kushta – useful in skin diseases
Arshahara – useful in piles
Grahani – Useful in malabsorption syndrome
Gulma – Useful in gaseous distention of abdomen
Shopha -Relieves inflammation
Anaha – relieves bloating
Jwara – useful in fever
Krimi- useful in worm infestation.

Bhallataka seed kernel is sweet, aphrodisiac,
Bruhmani – nutritious, balances Vata and Pitta
Bark is good for hair and improves digestion.

Bhallataka and cancer: There are many Ayurvedic formulations that are prepared with Bhallataka, used in cancer treatment. As yet, there is no specific lead that is got to prove its efficacy beyond doubt. Nevertheless, Marking nut is one of the potential herb having scope against cancer. Read more

Important Ayurvedic medicines
Bhallataka Rasayana – useful in skin diseases and as anti aging medicine.
Amrita Bhallataka Ghrita – Useful in skin diseases and hemorrhoids.
Sanjivani Vati – useful in poisoning and fever

In Bhallataka usage, to counter its side effects – 
For its allergic reactions like rash, itching and swelling, the antidotes used externally are coconut oil, rala ointment, ghee, coriander leaves pulp or butter mixed with musta (Cyperus rotundus) – A cream is prepared and administered.

The milk medicated with bhallataka or bhallataka modaka mitigates the skin diseases like scabies, eczema, ringworm infestations.

As a nervine tonic, it is beneficial in the diseases due to vata, like sciatica, paralysis, facial palsy, epilepsy, rheumatic conditions and also asa brain tonic.

The combination, bhallatak, haritaki, tila (sesame seeds) powders with jaggery, awards excellent results in chronic rheumatic disorders.

Parpataka kashaya or Palashamool kashaya subsides the poisonous effects caused by Bhallataka seeds or oil. – Vaidya Sara Sangraha – Parishishta

Collection of  fruits of Bhallataka:
Reference: Charaka Samita Chikitsa 1.2/13
The fruits

  • which are not damaged,
  • free from physical defects,
  • full of Rasa (taste),
  • having full size,
  • ripe in potency (veerya) and
  • which resemble ripe fruits of Jambu (Jamun fruit)

Time when it is to be collected:
In the months of Suchi or Jyestha (May-June) and Shukra or Ashadha (June-July)


  • It is stored for 4 months inside a heap of Yava – Barley (Hordeum vulgare) or Masha (Black gram)

Method of Administration of Bhallatak Rasayan:

  • Is done in the month of Sahas or Agrahayana (November-December) or Sahasya, i.e Pushya  (December-January),
  • It is administered to a patient after his body has been smeared with the cooling, unctuous and sweet herbs. (This is because, Bhallataka is very hot in nature and may cause excessive burning sensatiuon in the patient).
  • In the beginning, 10 fruits of Bhallataka should be well boiled in 8 parts of water.
  • After boiling, when 1/8th of water remains, it is filtered, added with milk and given to the patient after his mouth has been smeared with ghee.
  • Ten fruits should be added every day by one fruit till the number becomes thirty and thereafter, it should be decreased by one fruit per day till it reaches the original number – ten.
  • It should not be further increased because thirty fruits of Bhallataka is the maximum dose.
  • Following this procedure, one thousand Bhallatakas can be administered.


  • After digestion, the person should take the rice of Shali or Shashtika along with milk and ghee.
  • After administration for a few days, the person should take milk only twice per day. (Milk acts as coolant and will take away hot effects of Bhallatak).

By the use of this recipe, one lives for one hundred years and gains such other excellent results as are described in paragraph 4, 5 and 6 above.[13]


Dr JV Hebbar B.A.M.S, MD (Ayu), is an Ayurveda Doctor. Click here to consult Dr Hebbar
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  1. bunty rahmaniac says:

    Here in Surat,Gujarat Swami Atmanad Saswati Ayurvedic Sahkari Pharmacy Ltd. makes Bhallatak Dantmanjan which they claim for toothache, pyorrhoea & foul mouth.

    Is bhallatak useful for teeth diseases or can be used as dantmanjan without side effects like Dashan Sanskar Churna ?

    • Dr JV Hebbar says:

      Yes it can be used. If the company is using Bhallatak in a tooth powder, then I am sure they will add coolant herbs to negotiate the heat effect of Bhallatak.
      However, it is best to use only a little quantity of the tooth powder for a week to test before using it on daily basis.

  2. Is this same as cashew nut sir? Is there any reference of cashew in ayurveda texts?

  3. Hello,
    How to get pure bhilawa oil without mixing in coconut or sesame oil. In market ,, bhilawa or marking nut is boiled in any other oil then they make oil. Its wrong way. I know its very hot or pungent in original. But i need original one , i know how to dilute it or use it. But tell me how to extract it or which company sell that original , rare bhilawa oil.

  4. how we get extract of oil of bhilawa

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, during purification (Shodhana) process, as explained above, the oil, with its irritant and poisonous properties are removed from Bhilawa.
      To prepare its sesame oil based oil, Purified Bhallataka is added with sesame oil and water and taila is prepared.

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