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
Marathi Name- Kanher
Gujarati Name- Kaner, Karena
Tamil Name- Arali
Arabian Name – Sammul hibar
Farsi name – Kharjahara

Sanskrit synonyms

Asvamaraka, Hayamara, Hayamaraka – kills horse
Chandataka, Pratihara
Abjabijabhruta- Seeds resembles to lotus seed

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- Lakshadi, Sirovirechana
Vagbhata- Lakshadi

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, totally 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).


Cultivated as an ornamental shrub in gardens throughout India. In Southern India, it is found on the road sides and grown over the fences. Its flowers are used in God worship.


Evergreen shrub
Leaves – Linear, lanceolate, dark green above with stout midrib
Flowers – White or pink coloured
Fruits – Follicles

Major chemical constituents

N. Indicum– Karabin, Neriodorein, Neriodorin, B-Sitosterol, Neriodin, Neriodorin, Nerium D, 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)

Medicinal properties

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, dosage

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

karavira - Nerium indicum

Therapeutic uses

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

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.

Side effects

Nerium indicum side effects –
It is a cardiac toxic herb. Hence it 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.

Toxic symptoms

Abdominal pain
Frothy salivation
Slow and weak pulse
Lock jaw
Exhaustion and drowsiness
Coma, finally death

Fatal dose

15 gm of root

Fatal period

24 hours


Stomach wash

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.

Miscellaneous uses

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

3 thoughts on “Nerium indicum – Karavira – Benefits, Usage, Side Effects – Ayurveda details”

  1. 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.


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