Nagkesar – Mesua ferrea Uses, Research, Side Effects

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

Mesua-ferrea flower

Classical categorization

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.

Pharmacological Activity

Mesua ferrea contains antioxidant, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, central nervous system (CNS) depressant, analgesic, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antineoplastic, antivenom and immunostimulant activity.


Mesua ferrea is found in Asian countries including Burma, Cambodia, Indochina region, Malaysia, Myanmar, Southern Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sumatra and Thailand.

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

Sanskrit Verses

nagkesar uses

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.

External application:
Seed oil is applied externally to relieve pain and inflammation.

Ayurvedic medicines

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.

Anti-inflammatory Activity  – A research study conducted to investigate Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant and Phytochemical Analysis of Mesua Ferrea Bark Ext, have proved  presence of high amount of phenolic content, flavonoids, terpenoids and coumarins in Mesua ferrea bark ethyl acetate extract which is responsible for significant anti-inflammatory activity and antioxidant activity.

Anti convulsant activity – A study conducted to evaluate anticonvulsant activity of Mesua ferrea Linn. ethanolic flower extract have proved that ethanolic extract of Mesua ferrea inhibits Maximum Electroshock Seizure (MES) -induced convulsions.

Side effects:
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.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Patanjali Divya Naagkeasr Churna – manufactured by Patanjali Ayurved Limited.

Scientific classification

Kingdom – Plantae
Phylum – Tracheophyta
Class – Magnoliopsida
Order – Malpighiales
Family – Guttiferae
Genus – Mesua
Species – Mesua ferrea L

11 thoughts on “Nagkesar – Mesua ferrea Uses, Research, Side Effects”

  1. Dear doctor, Does Nagkesar churna help in improving fertility among women? for example in improving egg quality?

  2. sir it is whitening powder ? may i use this seeds with milk in night ? will i fair in my body ? is it really sir ?


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