Nerium indicum – Karavira – Benefits, Usage, Side Effects – Ayurveda details

Karaveera is a toxic herb used in Ayurvedic therapeutics. Its external application is indicated in toxic bites.
Botanical Name- Nerium Indicum (N. Odorum Soland).

Family- APOCYANACEAE (Kutaja Kula)
Vernacular Names
Hindi Name- Kaner, Kanail
Telugu Name- Erra Ganneru, Jannerat
English Name- Indian Oleander
Bengali Name- Karavi
Marati Name- Kanher
Gujarati Name- Kaner, Karena
Tamil Name- Alari
Arabian Name – Sammul hibar
Farsi name – Kharjahara

Asvamaraka, Hayamara, Hayamaraka – kills horse
Chandataka, Pratihara

dogbane oleander - Nerium indicum, Karaveer

Classical Categorization
Kusthaghna – group of herbs used in the treatment of skin diseases
Tiktaskandha – bitter tasting group of herbs

Susruta- Laksadi, Sirovirecana
Vagbhata- Laksadi

Different varieties
Samhithas and Nighantus Mainly described two varieties. Viz. white and red varieties, which are identified as N.indicum botanically. The difference between the two lies in the colour of the flower.
In Raja Nighantu total four kinds of Karavira are described viz. Shweta (white), Rakta (red), Peeta (yellow) and Krishna (black) varieties.
The yellow variety is Thevetia peruviana (pers. K. Schum.

Distribution- cultivated as or namental shrub in gardens throughout India. In Southern India, it is found on the road sides and grown in the fences. Its flowers are used in God worship.

Major chemical constituents

N. Indicum– Karabin, Neriodorein, Neriodorin, B-Sitosterol, Neriodin, Neriodorin, NeriumD, Nerioum E (Anhydrooleandrin), B- D Digitaloside, Nerioside, obandrin, Digitoxigenin, oleandroside, rutin,,plumericin etc.

T.  Peruviana– Epiperuviol Acetate, Cerberoside (thevetin B), Thevetin A, Thevefolin, Neriifolin, Cerberin, Perveside, Peruvosidic Acid(Perusititiin), Ruvoside== Theveneriin, Theveside, Theviridoside, Thevetin, Viridoside etc.
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna VIjnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)
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Medicinal Properties of Nerium indicum
Rasa (taste) – Katu (pungent),  Tikta (bitter)
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (lightness), Rooksha (dryness)
Veerya – Ushna – hot potency
Vipaka- Katu – undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion.
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Vata.

Part used- Root/ root bark
Dosage- Powder 30-125 mg per day is its maximum dose.

Therapeutic uses of Nerium indicum –
karavira - Nerium indicum

The below qualities are seen on external application. On internal administration, it acts as poison.
Jwarapaha – useful in fever
Chakshushya – good for eyes – leaf juice extract is used as eye drops to relieve eye inflammation.
Kushtahrut – useful in skin diseases. Its root paste is applied over the wounds of syphilis.
Kandughna – relieves itching
Akshikampa – relieves excessive movement of eyes
Vranapaha – useful in quick wound healing

Ayurvedic medicines with Nerium indicum / Nerium odorum as ingredient –
Manikya Ras
Used in allergic dermatitis, fever
Chitrakadi Taila – useful in fistula treatment, for external application.
Brihat Marichadi Taila – useful in the treatment of spondylosis, sciatica etc.

Nerium indicum side effects –
It is a cardiac toxic herb. Hence should not be used without doctor’s advice.
It is not safe for children, pregnant and lactating mothers, even for external application.
Keep this herb out of sight and reach of children.
Accidental oral intake may lead to severe poisonous symptoms.

Miscellaneous uses of Karaveera:
In case of skin diseases where the skin lesions are numb and absolutely anesthetic, if there is absence of sweating and itching, then they are rubbed with the brush made of stem of Karaveera so as to initiate bleeding. This is described as a method of blood letting therapy to treat skin diseases. Reference: Charaka Chikitsasthana 7/56

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  1. Manoj Patil says:

    Sugar in my blood before lunch is 245 mg% and post lunch is 289 mg%.

    Urine Sugar Fasting and Post lunch is (++++). My age is 63 years.

    Please guide me about how to take gulvel for diabetes.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Gulvel alone might not be useful.

      For personal health advice, please consult an Ayurveda doctor directly.
      If you want my help in finding a good Ayurveda doctor for you, then let me know your place.

      For email advice (not a reliable option, we do not promise any cure), please write to our health expert Dr Raghuram BAMS MD (Ayu), here (paid service) –

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