Fagonia cretica (Virgin’s Mantle) Uses, Research, Remedies, Side Effects

Duralabha – Fagonia cretica, is a herb mentioned in Ayurveda for the treatment of general debility, mouth ulcer, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory disorders like cough and dyspnea, fever and difficulty in urination. 

Latin name- Fagonia cretica Linn.
Family- Zygophyllaceae (Gokshura Kula)

Vernacular names

Virgin’s mantle – Names in different languages:
Hindi name – Dhamasa
English name – Khorasan thorn
Bengali name – Duralabha
Gujarati name – Dhamaso
Marathi name – Dhamasi
Punjabi name – Dhamah
Tamil name – Tulaganari
Telugu name – Gilaregati


Morphology of Fagonia cretica:
Duralabha is a small shrub having thorns, growing to a height of 1-3 feet in the dry regions of western India. The small branches are thick and have nodules in them. The leaves are shrunken and have 3-4 leaflets in it. The thorns present in the plant are thick and strong. Flowers are pale red in color and are seen just before winter. The fruits have hairy structure, having edges and bent structure.

Properties, part used, dosage

Fagonia cretica medicinal properties:
Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet), Kashaya (Astringent), Katu (Pungent)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Snigdha (Slimy in nature)
Vipaka – Madhura (Undergoes sweet taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (cold)
Karma (Actions) – Vatapitta shamaka (reduces vitiated vata and pitta dosha)

Part used- Whole plant
Powder- 5 to 10 g
Decoction- 40 to 50 ml

Chemical composition

Fagonia cretica chemical composition:
The aerial parts contain several tri- terpenoid saponins which give sapogenin, nahagenin, oleanolic acid. Aerial parts also gave diterpenes, fagonone and its derivatives, besides flavonoids. The fruits are rich in ascorbic acid.

Uses of Duralabha

  • Decoction of the plant Duralabha is used for sprinkling or bathing to treat skin diseases like eczema and to treat conditions of fever.
  • Cold infusion of the plant Fagonia cretica is consumed in a dose of 50 ml to treat nausea and diarrhea.
  • The dried powder of the whole plant is burnt and the fumes coming from it are inhaled to treat the condition of cough, nasal block in cold and difficulty in breathing.
  • The dried powder of the plant Fagonia cretica is taken in a dose of 5 g and mixed with milk and consumed to improve the health in condition of general debility.
  • Cold infusion of Duralabha is given in a dose of 40-50 ml to treat conditions of burning micturition and difficulty in micturition.
  • The decoction of the plant is used for external wash to treat wound and ulcer related to wound.
  • The decoction of the plant is used for gargling to treat mouth ulcers and gingivitis.

Sanskrit verse


Uses as per traditional reference:
Sheetala – coolant
Dahahara – Relieves burning sensation, as in gastritis, neuropathy, burning sensation in eyes etc
Indicated in –
Vishamajwara – Intermittent fever
Trushna – excessive thirst
Chardi – Vomiting
Meha – diabetes, urinary tract disorders
Moha – delusion
Meadahara – burns fat
Visarpa – herpes
Vatasra – Gout
Jwara – fever

Adverse effects

No adverse effect is known or reported after the use of Duralabha.

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 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.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicine containing Duralabha:
Dermonim tablet: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine used in the treatment of pigmentation disorders of the skin.

Diakof linctus: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine used in diabetic people for the treatment of cough of varied etiology. It is sugar free cough linctus -thick cough syrup, which helps in productive as well as dry cough.

Sariva kalpa: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine used in the treatment of arthritis, oliguria, pimples, urticarial, nephritis, herpes, eczema, oedema, pruritus, dermatitis, psoriasis, allergic skin conditions and resistant urinary infections.

Ashoka compound: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine used in the management of Menorrhagia, Leucorrhoea, Young adolescent DUB, Anovulatory DUB and unexplained infertility.

Pachanamrita kashaya: This medicine is used in the treatment of digestion related diseases, fever associated with indigestion etc.

Punarnavasava: It is a liquid Ayurvedic medicine useful in gastritis, edema, fiver and liver diseases.

Ushirasava: Ushirasava is a liquid Ayurveda medicine used in treating bleeding disorders, skin diseases, worm infestation, inflammation etc.

Pushkaramoolasava: This formulation is used in treating Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, Bronchitis etc.


Research articles related to Fagonia cretica:
Hepato- protective action: The present study was designed to assess the hepatoprotective activity and cytotoxicity of methanolic and water extracts of F. cretica L. These extracts were studied for their hepatoprotective activity using CCl4 induced liver damage in wistar albino rats. The methanolic and water extracts of F. cretica L. at oral dose of (400 mg/kg) showed highly significant (p<0.01) hepatoprotective effect.

Anti- cancerous action: An aqueous extract of Fagonia cretica was able to reduce cell viability significantly in two phenotypically different breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231). This activity was markedly reduced in normal mammary epithelial cells (HMEpC).
Further investigation into the mode of action revealed that extract treatment induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines.

Anti- hemorrhagic action: The aim of this study was to determine the antivenom potentials of methanolic extract from the aerial parts (leaves and twigs) of Fagonia cretica L. on a hemorrhage induced by venom from Naja naja karachiensis. The hemorrhagic response of venom was dose dependent from 0.1 to 4.0 µg per 1.5 µL phosphate buffer saline (PBS) on vitelline veins of fertilized hens’ eggs in their shells. The extract effectively eliminated and neutralized, in a dose-dependent manner, the hemorrhagic activity of snake venom. The minimum effective neutralizing dose of F. cretica extract was found to be 15 µg per 1.5 µL PBS.

Anti- inflammatory and wound healing activity: the present study was conducted to investigate the anti-inflammatory and wound healing effects of 90% alcoholic extract of F. schweinfurthii formulated gel on carrageenan induced rats paw edema and excision wound model, respectively.  It was observed that gel formulations have progressive anti-inflammatory effects and accelerate the wound closure time. This study suggests that F. schweinfurthii plant extract gel formulation could be developed as a therapeutic agent for anti-inflammatory and wound healing effects.

Classical categorization

Charaka Samhita-
Kasahara gana – cough relieving group of herbs,
Hikka nigrahara gana – hiccup relieving group of herbs
Dhanvantari Nighantu- Guduchyadi varga
Bhavaprakasha- Mishra varga, Guduchyadi varga

Scientific classification

Kingdom – Plantae
Order – Zygophyllales
Family – Zygophyllaceae
Genus – Fagonia
Species – F. cretica

Sanskrit Synonyms

Dhanvayas – Yava variety growing in desert
Duralabha – Available with difficulty
Samudranta – Available in the coastal area
Gandhari – Available in Gandhar region
Kachura, Dusparsha 
Ananta – Spreads extensively on ground
Kashaya – It has astringent taste
Agraha – As it has thorns, difficult to hold
Marudbhava – Grows in dry places
Tamra muli – coppery red roots

Author: Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: drprashanthbk@gmail.com
Click to consult Dr Prashanth BK 

Sthanika Karma (Systemic Action)

External Application – Relieves burning sensation, It has wound healing property. Pouring of its decoction on the skin is beneficial to reduce itching, burning sensation and fever. Also used to clean wounds. Its powder is indicated in Apachi (Inflammation of the gland of neck). In mouth ulcers and diseases related to the neck, decoction can be used for gargling.

Internal administration-

Digestive System – Being Astringent in taste it has absorbent action. Indicated in vomiting, Diarrhea, and in malabsorption syndrome

Circulatory System – Remove toxins and purify blood. It has styptic action. Indicated in bleeding disorders, Vatarakta (Rheumatic Arthritis, Gout)

Respiratory system – Expels our excess kapha dosha, Indicated in Cough, breathing difficulties, Rhinitis etc. In Asthma conditions it can be used for fumigation purposes.

Excretory System – Indicated in Dysuria
Satmikarana –Indicated in conditions like general weakness after diarrhea etc.
Tvak (Skin) – Indicated in skin diseases
Tapakrama – Indicated in fever, Can be used as a preventive medicine for Chickenpox.

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