• Name : Nirgundi
  • English Name :Five Leaved Chaste Tree
  • Scientific Name :Vitex negundo


A large aromatic shrub or a small tree, upto 4.5 m in height, common throughout the country ascending to an altitude of 1500 m in the outer Himalayas. It is common in waste places around villages, river banks, moist localities and in the deciduous forests.1

Morphology Description:

Roots cylindrical, hard, tough with irregular fractures; external surface rough due to longitudinal, narrow, cracks and small rootlets; cut surface shows cork region greyishbrown, middle region greyish-white, and xylem region cream coloured; bark thin, easily separates from wood; wood hard, forming major part of root.

Leaves palmately compound, petiole 2.5 - 3.8 cm long; mostly trifoliate, occasionally pentafoliate; in trifoliate leaf, leaflet lanceolate or narrowly lanceolate, middle leaflet 5- 10 cm long and 1.6 -3.2 cm broad, with 1- 1.3 cm long petiolule, remaining two sub-sessile; in pentafoliate leaf inner three leaflets have petiolule and remaining two sub-sessile; surface glabrous above and tomentose beneath; texture, leathery.

The fruit is a rounded drupe, 1 to 3 mm in diameter, 1/3 rd to 3/4 th of its size surrounded by a dull grey cup like, persistent calyx alongwith pedicel; calyx cup may show one or two vertical splits; fruit colour light brown to black; locules two, each containing two seeds; texture smooth, taste and odour not characteristic.1

Parts Used:            Root, Leaf, Fruit


Alkaloids and Essential Oil.

Seeds contain hydrocarbons such as n-tritriacontane, nhentriacontane, n pentatriacontane and nonacosane. Other constituents of the seeds include β- sitosterol, phydroxybenzoic acid and 5 oxyisophthalic acid.1

As per Ayurveda:

Rasa (Taste)                  Pungent, bitter and astringent

Guna (Property)             Light

Veerya (Potency)           Leaf, Root - Hot

                  Fruit ? Cold

Vipaka (End Result)       Pungent

Pharmacological Actions:

Nirgundi is Vatakaphahara; its primary pharmacological actions are summarized as under:

Central Nervous System: 

i. The leaf extract possesses anticonvulsant activity.2

Respiratory System: 

i. V. negundo exhibits antitussive effect and it was found devoid of toxicity. 3  

ii. Leaves of Vitex negundo possesses antieosinophilic activity. It reduces bronchial hyperresponsiveness. It may be useful in the treatment of asthma and various inflammatory, allergic, and immunologic diseases.4

Digestive System: 

i. Leaves have been observed to exhibit significant hepatoprotective activity against experimentally-induced liver fibrosis.5

ii. V. negundo leaves possess strong vibriocidal activity both in vitro and in vivo conditions.6

iii. V. negundo root is effective in the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis.7

iv. The antidiarrheal and spasmolytic effects of the crude extract of V. negundo are mediated through the presence of CCB (Calcium Channel Blocker)-like constituent(s).8

Endocrinal System: 

i. Iridoid glucoside from the leaves of Vitex negundo possesses significant productive effect on glycoprotein metabolism in addition to its antidiabetic effect.9

Reproductive System: 

i. The fruits (Renuka) are useful in menstrual disorders.

Urinary System: 

i. Exerts nephroprotective effect.10

Musculoskeletal System: 

i. V. negundo leaf oil is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and acts via inhibition of COX-2 without much interfering COX-1 pathways.11

i. Agnuside (AGN), a compound isolated from the leaf extract of Vitex negundo, can be useful as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of arthritis by the modulation of the host immune response.12

i. Possesses significant xanthine oxidase inhibitory effect.13

Skin and Hair: 

i. The essential oil can serve as an inhibitor of melanin synthesis and a natural antioxidant.14


i. The leaves exhibit significant antifilarial activity.15

ii. Lignan compounds, extracted from Vitex negundo, possess a broad spectrum cytotoxic effect via arresting cancer cells at G2/M phase cell cycle and subsequently inducing apoptosis.16

iii. The leaves possess significant antioxidant activity.17

iv. The seeds possess antinociceptive activity.18

v. Has been observed to exert anticataract effect against experimentally-induced lens opacification.19

vi. The fresh leaves of Vitex negundo have anti-inflammatory and pain suppressing activities possibly mediated via PG synthesis inhibition, antihistamine, membrane stabilising and antioxidant activities.20


 Root & Leaf - Musculoskeletal Inflammations and associated pain

 Fruit ? Female disorders


1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part-1, Vol-3-5.

2. Tandon VR, Gupta RK. An experimental evaluation of anticonvulsant activity of Vitex-negundo. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005 Apr;49(2):199-205.

3. Haq RU, Shah AU, Khan AU, et al. Antitussive and toxicological evaluation of Vitex negundo. Nat Prod Res. 2012;26(5):484-8.

4. Patel JI, Deshpande SS. Antieosinophilic activity of various subfractions of leaves of Vitex negundo. International Journal of Nutrition, Pharmacology, Neurological Diseases. 2013; 3(2): 135-141.

5. Kadir FA, Kassim NM, Abdulla MA, Yehye WA. Hepatoprotective Role of Ethanolic Extract of Vitex negundo in Thioacetamide-Induced Liver Fibrosis in Male Rats. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:739850.

6. Kamruzzaman M, Bari SM, Faruque SM. In vitro and in vivo bactericidal activity of Vitex negundo leaf extract against diverse multidrug resistant enteric bacterial pathogens. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2013 May 13;6(5):352-9.

7. Zaware BB, Nirmal SA, Baheti DG, et al. Potential of Vitex negundo roots in the treatment of ulcerative colitis in mice. Pharm Biol. 2011 Aug;49(8):874-8.

8. Munasib Khan, Abdul Jabbar Shah, Anwar Hassan Gilani. Antidiarrheal and antispasmodic activities of Vitex negundo are mediated through calcium channel blockade. Bangladesh Journal of Pharmacology. 2013; 8(3): 317-322.

9. Sundaram R, Naresh R, Shanthi P, Sachdanandam P. Antihyperglycemic effect of iridoid glucoside, isolated from the leaves of Vitex negundo in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats with special reference to glycoprotein components. Phytomedicine. 2012 Feb 15;19(3-4):211-6.

10. Kadir FA, Kassim NM, Abdulla MA, et al. Effect of oral administration of ethanolic extract of Vitex negundo on thioacetamide-induced nephrotoxicity in rats. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 2013; 13:294.

11. Chattopadhyay P, Hazarika S, Dhiman S, et al. Vitex negundo inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 inflammatory cytokine-mediated inflammation on carrageenan-induced rat hind paw edema. Pharmacognosy Res. 2012 Jul;4(3):134-7.

12. Pandey A, Bani S, Satti NK, Gupta BD, Suri KA. Anti-arthritic activity of agnuside mediated through the down-regulation of inflammatory mediators and cytokines. Inflamm Res. 2012 Apr;61(4):293-304.

13. Umamaheswari M, AsokKumar K, Somasundaram A, et al. Xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity of some Indian medical plants. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Feb 12;109(3):547-51.

14. Huang HC, Chang TY, Chang LZ, et al. Inhibition of melanogenesis versus antioxidant properties of essential oil extracted from leaves of Vitex negundoLinn and chemical composition analysis by GC-MS. Molecules. 2012 Mar 30;17(4):3902-16.

15. Sahare KN, Singh V. Antifilarial activity of ethyl acetate extract of Vitex negundo leaves in vitro. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2013 Sep;6(9):689-92.

16. Xin H, Kong Y, Wang Y, et al. Lignans extracted from Vitex negundo possess cytotoxic activity by G2/M phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis induction. Phytomedicine. 2013 May 15;20(7):640-7.

17. Nagarsekar KS, Nagarsenker MS, Kulkarni SR. Antioxidant and antilipid peroxidation potential of supercritical fluid extract and ethanol extract of leaves of vitexnegundo linn. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2011 Jul;73(4):422-9.

18. Zheng CJ, Huang BK, Han T, et al. Antinociceptive activities of the liposoluble fraction from Vitex negundo seeds. Pharm Biol. 2010 Jun;48(6):651-8.

19. Rooban BN, Sasikala V, et al. Vitex negundo modulates selenite-induced opacification and cataractogensis in rat pups. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2010 Dec;138(1-3):282-92.

20. Dharmasiri MG, Jayakody JR, Galhena G, et al. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of mature fresh leaves of Vitex negundo. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Aug;87(2-3):199-206.

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