Nagkesar is a very famous Ayurveda herb used in treating fever, vomiting, urinary tract disorders, migraine etc. It is one among Chaturjata group of herbs. It is used in powder form along with other spices, and is used in many herbal jams including Chyawanprash.
It is the national tree of Sri Lanka. It produces one of the hardest commercial deep dark red timber in the world.
Botanical name – Mesua ferrea
Family – Guttiferae
Vernacular names, Sanskrit synonyms
English name – Ironwood of Assam or Ceylon Ironwood, Indian Rose Chest Nut, Cobra’s saffron
Hindi Name – Naghas, Nogkesar
Kannada name: Kanchana, Nagasampige ( ನಾಗಸಂಪಿಗೆ )
Malayalam name: Nagachempakam, Velluttachembagam
Tamil name – Irul (இருள்) , Karunangu
Assam name – Nabor
Bihar name – Nagakeshur
Farsi name – Naremushk
Bengali name – Nagesar
Marathi name – Nagachampa
Punjabi name – Naga kesar
Telugu name – Naga Kesaralu
Oriya Name – Nageshvar
Synonyms in Sanskrit
Nagakeshara, Nagakesara, Nag keshar, Ahipushpa, Kanakahva, Ibha, kanchanahvaya, Nageeya, Kinjilka, Kesahara, Champeya, natam, Nagam, Nagarenuka, Panchabhuvayam, Phanipannagam, Rukmam, Suvarnam, Naga Kinjalka
Kanaka, Hemapushpa, Kanchana, Hema Kanchana – Golden yellow colored flower
Sushruta – Eladi, Vachadi, Anjanadi, Priyangvadi Gana.
Bhavaprakasha – karpuradi varga
Dhanvantari Nighantu, Sodala Nighantu – Shatapushpadi Varga
Rajanighantu – Pippalyadi Varga
Habitat – It is commonly found in eastern Himalayas, Bengal, Assam, Eastern and Western Ghats, Andaman Islands of India. It is a a native tree of Tropical Srilanka.
Chemical composition: It contains Mesuol, Mammeuisin, Mammegin, bioflavonone called Mesuaferrone A, etc.
Substitutes & Adulterants
अभावे नागपुष्पस्य पद्मकेशरमिष्यते ||१६५|| – Bhava Prakasha
Padmakeshara – stamen of lotus is used as substitute for Mesua ferrea.
Laal Nagakeshara – immature floral buds of Punnaga (Calophyllum inophyllum) & Sura punnaga (Mammea suriga)
The unripe fruits of Cinnamomum wightii or Cinnamomum tamala are sold in the markets of Chennai, which is considered as an adulterant Malabar Nagakeshara
Unripe fruits of Bhavya (Dillenia indica) is sold as Nagakeshara in Kerala.
Part used, Dosage
Part used: Stamens (Pum Kesara)
Dosage: Powder – 1- 3 grams in divided dose per day
Medicinal qualities, Uses
Rasa – Kashaya Tikta – Astringent, bitter
Guna (qualities) – Rooksha (dryness), Teekshna (piercing), Laghu (light to digest)
Vipaka – taste conversion after digestion – Katu – pungent
Veerya – Ushna – Hot
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha.
Mesua ferrea uses:
Bastirogahara – useful in urinary tract disorders
Vishahara – Anti toxic
Vatasrahara – useful in gout
Kandughna – useful in relieving pruritis (excessive itching)
Shophahara – relieves swelling, edema, anti inflammatory
Ama Pachana – Digestive, relieves Ama Dosha
Jvarahara – useful in fever
Trushnahara – Relieves thirst
Chardihara – relieves vomiting
Hrullasa – relieves nausea
Daurgandhyahara – relieves bad breath, excess sweating
Kushtahara – useful in skin diseases
Visarpahara – useful in herpes
Sheersharujahara – useful in headache
It is used in the treatment of female infertility.
Seed oil is applied externally to relieve pain and inflammation.
Ayurvedic medicines with Nagkesar as an ingredient:
Mahanarayan oil – one of the best pain relieving oil
Puga Khanda – used in the treatment of vomiting, gastritis, dyspepsia, abdominal colic pain, dizziness.
Gulgulwasavam – used in the treatment of diseases pertaining to liver and spleen.
Mahadraksha – used in the treatment of diseases related to respiratory and digestive track.
Shringarabhra Rasa – used in the treatment of respiratory and digestive disorders.
Research, Side effects
Research: Its anti-convulsant and anti inflammatory activities have been studied.
Traditionally, it is also used in leucorrhoea and bleeding disorders.
There are no known side effects with this herb.
It is safe to use this during lactation and in children. Seek medical advice for usage during pregnancy.