Chitrak / Plumbago zeylanica

Chitrak is a herbaceous plant with several, erect, glabrous stems that are covered in hair. This plant can reach heights of three to four feet. The leaves are oval and lance-elliptic in shape, 4 cm long, thick, meaty, sessile, and have hairy borders. The apex of the leaf is obtuse or acute, and the base is attenuate. This plant has bisexual blooms that are white in color, 10 to 25 cm long, and placed in terminal and axillary elongated spikes. The calyx is heavily covered in a stalked and sticky material. The entire calyx is covered in granular hair, and it can kill and capture insects by secreting gooey mucilage. Fruits have a tiny, 5-furrowed apex. Fruits have a solitary, oblong, 5–6 mm length, reddish–brown to dark–brown colored seed. Fresh roots are straight and only slightly branched, whereas dried roots are reddish brown with a strong smell.

General Information

The word "plumb" is a slang term for lead and the name Plumbago is derived from it. Plumbago zeylanica is also known as Ceylon leadwort, doctor bush, and wild leadwort. Chitraka is a herb that has excellent digestive and carminative properties. Rasayan is a term used to describe Chitrak in the Ayurvedic medical system. This adaptable plant has flowers that are red, white, and blue in hue. It is a very significant medicinal herb, and the roots of this herb are excellent for treating nervous system, hepatic, and cardiac diseases.

According to Vagbhata, there are three varieties of Chitraka:-

  1. Shweta Chitraka
  2. Peeta Chitraka
  3. Asita Chitraka

Plumbagin is a yellowish, smelly chemical found in Chitrak roots. This Chitrak-found chemical is harmful in nature. The chemical substances 3-chloroplumbagin, plumbagic acid, glucose, fructose, sucrose, hydroxyproline, isozeylinone, and aspartic acid are also present in plumbago. In Hawaii, tattoo ink is colored blue and black using the juice of chitrak roots.


Primarily native to historical tropical areas of the Pacific and Hawaiian islands, plumbago. It is grown for both therapeutic and commercial purposes. South India, Sri Lanka, and other countries in the region contain a lot of chitrak. It is also easily accessible in Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, both in India.

Special note about Chitrak 

Since chitrak roots are poisonous by nature, it is crucial to clean them before using them. Small chunks of the roots are chopped up and placed in lime water for three hours. Roots that have been submerged are removed and re-dipped in lime water. To get pure Chitrak roots, this process is repeated three times.


Kingdom - Plantae

Order - Caryophyllales

Family - Plumbaginaceae

Subfamily - Plumbaginoideae

Other Names

Latin name - Plumbago zeylanica

Hindi name - Chitrak, Cheeta

English name - Leadwort, Doctorbush

Bengali name - Chita

Kannada name - Chitramula, Vahni

Malayalam name - Vellakeduveli

Oriya name - Chitamula

Punjabi name - Chitra

Telugu name - Chitramulam

Marathi name - Chitramul

Gujarati name - Chitro

Tamil name - Chittiri, Chittira

Arabian name - Sheetaraj

Farsi name - Sheetar

Ayurvedic properties


Hindi / Sanskrit


Rasa (Taste)



Guna (Physical Property)

Laghu, Ruksha, Tikshana

Light, Rough, Sharp

Virya (Potency)



Vipaka (Post-Digestive Taste)



Effects on Dosha

It balances vata and kapha dosha.

Charak Samhita

Sushrut Samhita


  • Deepneya - Herb used to enhance digestion and appetite.
  • Shool prashmana - the herb that is used to treat stomach aches.
  • Arshoghna - Herb used as a piles remedy.
  • Lekhneeya - herbs with strong scraping properties.

Amalkyadi, Pippladi, Mustadi, Varunadi, Aragvadhadi

Pippalyadi, Mustadi, Varunadi, Aragvadhadi

Practical uses

  • For those who suffer from diarrhea and piles, plumbago root powder is particularly beneficial.
  • The primary chemical constituent of plumbago serves to strengthen immunity.
  • This herb is used to get rid of the heavy nasal mucus that frequently causes colds and coughs.
  • It is used to lessen inflammation and is particularly successful in treating chronic sinusitis and bronchitis.
  • The plumbago root is used to stimulate the digestive tract and boost hunger. It is used as a carminative and to stimulate the digestive system.
  • Additionally, roots are utilized to treat spleen enlargement.
  • This plant's leaves can be used to cure rheumatism and laryngitis.
  • This herb's external paste is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including filariasis and skin irritation.
  • Root paste is given topically on syphilitic ulcers, carbuncles, and wounds.
  • This herb's pure extract is used to decrease cholesterol levels.
  • It is used to stop the proliferation of prostate cancer-causing cells.
  • Plumbago is a liver tonic that improves liver function.
  • This plant is used to lessen swelling since it has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can also benefit from it.
  • Chitrak is utilized as a Rasayana in Ayurveda and is said to rejuvenate the body.
  • It is employed to calm the vata and kapha doshas and promote ayurveda for kapha balance.

Part used




Root powder - 1-3gm


  • Pregnancy is not the time to take this plant.
  • Heavy periods may result in high doses.
  • This herb might make you feel like you're burning up if you use it too much.

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