• Name : Chitrak
  • English Name :Leadwort
  • Scientific Name :Plumbago zeylanica



Chitrak consists of dried mature root of Plumbago zeylanica, a large perennial sub-scandent shrub, found throughout India in wile state and occasionally cultivated in gardens.1


Morphological Description (Habit):

Roots 30 cm or more in length, 6 mm or more in diameter as also as short stout pieces, including root stocks reddish to deep brown, scars of rootlets present, bark thin and brown, internal structure striated, odour, disagreeable, taste, acrid.1


Parts Used:






As per Ayurveda:

           Rasa (Taste)                 : Pungent

           Guna (Property)           : Light, dry, sharp

           Veerya (Potency)         : Hot

           Vipaka (End Result)      : Pungent


Pharmacological Actions:

Chitrak is Kaphavatahara. The primary pharmacological actions of Chitrak are summarized as under:


Digestive System:

i. Exerts hepatoprotective activity.2

ii. It has been shown that the presence of infection by Helicobacter pylori is strongly associated with gastric cancer and peptic ulceration. In a study done over 50 medicinal plants, Plumbago zeylanica L. exhibited the highest inhibitory effects against H. pylori, which establishes its usage in digestive disorders.3


Endocrinal System: 

i. Chitrak exerts antihyperglycemic action. Plumbagin, its main phytoconstituents, has been observed to enhance GLUT4 translocation and contribute to glucose homeostasis.4


Reproductive System: 

i. The extract possesses reversible female antifertility activity without adverse toxicity.5


Musculoskeletal System: 

i. Plumbagin is very effective in the mechanism based treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis.6


Skin and Hair: 

i. Exhibits significant wound healing activity.7

ii. The root extract of P. zeylanica possesses good antimicrobial activity, which suggests its therapeutic use in the Ayurvedic system of medicine to cure skin diseases.8



i. Exerts larvicidal activity against malarial vector.9

ii. Plumbagin, a quinonoid constituent isolated from the root of Plumbago zeylanica L., has been proven to possess anti-tumor activity both in vitro and in vivo. Plumbagin has been observed to induce the apoptosis of Tongue Carcinoma cells through mitochondria-mediated pathway.10

iii. Inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis in human breast cancer cells.11

iv. Plumbagin inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis in human lung cancer cells through an NF-κB-regulated mitochondrial-mediated pathway, involving activation of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).12

v. Inhibits tumor growth and metastasis of human Prostate Cancer (PCa) cells, which could be used as a therapeutic agent for the prevention and treatment of human PCa.13

vi. It could be a novel chemopreventive agent against PCa.14

vii. Plumbagin has also been observed to inhibit UV radiation induced development of skin cancer and it may be a novel agent for the prevention of skin cancer.15



Indigestion, Flatulence


Rheumatoid Arthritis

Type 2 Diabetes mellitus

Skin ulcers and infections



1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part-1, Vol-1.

2. Kanchana N, Sadiq AM. Hepatoprotective effect of Plumbago zeylanica on paracetamol induced liver toxicity in rats. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2011; 3(1): 151-154.

3. Wang YC, Huang TL. Anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of Plumbago zeylanica L. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2005 Mar 1;43(3):407-12.

4. Christudas S, et al. Antidiabetic effect of plumbagin isolated from Plumbago zeylanica L. root and its effect on GLUT4 translocation in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2012;50(12): 4356-4363.

5. Sandeep G, Dheeraj A, Sharma NK, et al. Effect of plumbagin free alcohol extract of Plumbago zeylanica Linn. root on reproductive system of female Wistar rats. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011 Dec;4(12):978-84.

6. Poosarla A, Rao DN, Athota RR, et al. Modulation of T cell proliferation and cytokine response by Plumbagin, extracted from Plumbago zeylanica in collagen induced arthritis. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2011; 11:114

7. Kodati DR, Burra S, Goud. Evaluation of wound healing activity of methanolic root extract of Plumbago zeylanica L. in wistar albino rats. Pelagia Research Library. Asian Journal of Plant Science and Research. 2011; 1 (2): 26-34.

8. Jetty A, Subhakar C, Rajagopal D, et al. Antimicrobial activities of neo- and 1-epineo-isoshinanolones from Plumbago zeylanica roots. Pharm Biol. 2010 Sep;48(9):1007-11.

9. Pradeepa V, Sathish-Narayanan S, Kirubakaran SA, Senthil-Nathan S. Antimalarial efficacy of dynamic compound of plumbagin chemical constituent from Plumbago zeylanica Linn (Plumbaginaceae) against the malarial vector Anopheles stephensi Liston (Diptera: Culicidae). Parasitol Res. 2014 Aug;113(8):3105-9.

10. Qiu JX, He YQ, Wang Y, Xu RL, et al. Plumbagin induces the apoptosis of human tongue carcinoma cells through the mitochondria-mediated pathway. Med Sci Monit Basic Res. 2013 Aug 28;19:228-36.

11. Yan W, Wang TY, Fan QM, et al. Plumbagin attenuates cancer cell growth and osteoclast formation in the bone microenvironment of mice. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2014 Jan;35(1):124-34.

12. Xu TP, Shen H, Liu LX, Shu YQ. Plumbagin from Plumbago Zeylanica L induces apoptosis in human non-small cell lung cancer cell lines through NF- κB inactivation. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013;14(4):2325-31.

13. Hafeez BB, Zhong W, Fischer JW, et al. Plumbagin, a medicinal plant (Plumbago zeylanica)-derived 1,4-naphthoquinone, inhibits growth and metastasis of human prostate cancer PC-3M-luciferase cells in an orthotopic xenograft mouse model. Mol Oncol. 2013 Jun;7(3):428-39.

14. Hafeez BB, Zhong W, Mustafa A, et al. Plumbagin inhibits prostate cancer development in TRAMP mice via targeting PKCε, Stat3 and neuroendocrine markers. Carcinogenesis. 2012 Dec;33(12):2586-92.

15. Sand JM, Bin Hafeez B, Jamal MS, et al. Plumbagin (5-hydroxy-2-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone), isolated from Plumbago zeylanica, inhibits ultraviolet radiation-induced development of squamous cell carcinomas. Carcinogenesis. 2012 Jan;33(1):184-90.


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Product Range:

Mahamarichyadi Taila , Mahamash Taila (Niramish)