Vyaghranakhi (Capparis zeylanica) Qualities, Remedies, Research

By Dr Renita D’Souza
Capparis zeylanica is considered as ‘Rasaayana’ herb in Ayurveda system of medicine. Rasaayana plants are best used for the treatment of immune disorders. Research studies have also proved the potent immunostimulant effect of Capparis zeylanica. (Read more). 

Rasaayana drugs provide significant relief in condition of oxidative stress by imparting superior Rasa and other tissues which help to reduce oxidative stress. A research article has described the antioxidant potential of Rasaayana plants. (A)
Read – Rasayanam Medicines Mentioned In Chakradatta


Botanical Name – Capparis zeylanica
Family – Capparaceae
Synonyms – Capparis formosa, Capparis ovalifolia, Capparis rufescens

Vernacular Names

English Name – Indian caper, Ceylon Caper
Sanskrit Name – Vyaaghranakhi
Hindi Name – Ardand, Jhiris, Govindphal
Gujarati Name – Kakhbilado, Karrallura, Govindakal
Punjabi – Karvila, Garna, Karwilun
Bengali Name – Kalokera
Malayalam Name – Elippayar, Gitoran, Karthotti
Kannada Name – Mullukattari
Konkani Name – Vaghamti
Marathi Name – Kaduvaghanti, Govindi, Vaghanti, Wag
Tamil Name – Atandy, Ekkathari, Morandan, Suduthorati, Suduthoratti, Adondai
Telugu Name – Arudonda
Assamese Name – Gobindaphal
Arabic Name – الكبر الهندي alkibar alhindiu
Spanish – Alcaparra india
Japanese Name – インドケイパー Indokeipā
Chinese Name – Chui Guo Teng
French Name – câpres indiennes
German Name – Indische Kapriolen
Burma – Aindiy caper
Nepal – Ban kera
Sinhalese – Indiyānu kapar
Greek – ινδικό καπετάνιο indikó kapetánio
Read – Kareera – Capparis decidua Uses, Dose, Research, Side Effects

Medicinal Qualities

Taste (Rasa) – Katu (Pungent), Tiktha (Bitter)
Virya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Vipaka (Taste after digestion) – Katu (Pungent)
Guna (Quality) – Laghu (light to digest), Ruksha (dry)
Action (Karma)
Shothahara – Relieves inflammation
(Reference – Dravyaguna Vijnaana By Dr.J.L.N. Sastry)


Shotha – Inflammation
Agnimaandya – Low appetite
Granthi – Cyst
Hrdroga – Cardiac diseases

Botanical Description

Capparis zeylanica is a climbing shrub. Young parts clothed with rufous tomentum. Leaves are elliptic-oblong, obtuse, acute or retuse, with a long, stout mucro, narrowed at the base, reticulately veined, glabrous and shining above; petioles 6 mm. long, stipules spines hooked. Flowers supra-axillary, solitary or 2-3, one above the other in a vertical line, the upper the longest. Sepals 9 mm. long, densely rufous-pubescent outside, very concave. Petals twice as long as the sepals, densely villous. Gynophore 3.2 cm. long. Ovary ellipsoid, apiculate. Fruit subglobose, 3.2 cm. diam., on a greatly thickened stalk, obtusely 4angled, red-brown. Seeds many.(Reference – Dravyaguna Vijnaana by Dr Gyanendra Pandey)
Read – Saireyaka – Barleria prionitis: Uses, Research, Remedies, Side Effects


It is found throughout in India.


  • Vataja Shotha – Vyaaghranakhi (Ahimsra) and Raasna is applied externally (V.M).
  • In dysentery, Vyaagranakhi leaves juice with black pepper powder is consumed.
  • In cough and cold, Leaves juice is consumed along with cup of fresh gout milk.
  • In diabetes, ripe fruits are consumed twice for 2 weeks and during ingestion, stem bark extract is administered thrice daily
  • It is used as appetizer, prepared by dipping the plant paste with pepper, tamarind and garlic.
  • In colic, paste prepared from stem bark,10 seeds of black pepper and 2 bulbs of garlic is mixed with 500ml water and consumed twice daily for two days.
  • In convulsive seizures, handful fresh roots of Vyaghranakhi, 50 grams of onions, 50 grams jaggery is ground all together to make a bolus and given twice daily for 3 days
    Read – Onion Uses, Remedies, Research, Side Effects

Pharmacological Activities

Capparis zeylanica possess antioxidant, antipyretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and immunostimulant activity.

Effect on Doshas

Kapha Vaatahara – Vyaghranakhi alances aggravatedkapha and vaata dosha

Part Used

Root, Leaf


Kashaaya (Decoction) – 50 – 100 ml
Read – Immunity In Ayurveda: Concept, Diet, Herbs, Medicines, Exercise

Sanskrit Verses

Sanskrit Synonyms of Vyaghranakhi

Ahimsra, Alpa Himsra (Ref – Dravyaguna Vijnana’ book by Dr J.L.N. Sastry)
Govindi, Granthila, Kantakalata, Karambha, Katukandari, Kinkani, Krishangi, Tapasapriya, Vartala, Vyaghraghanti, Vyagrapada, Vyagranakhi (Ref – Dravyaguna Vijnana by Prof. D. S. Lucas)
Read – Jatamansi – Benefits, Usage, Side Effects


Capparis horrida is identified as Vyaghranakhi by some others.
As per Dalhana,
Himsra – Capparis sepiaria
Ahimsra – Gridhranakhi – Capparis zeylanica
All these have very similar qualities.

According to ‘Dravyaguna Vijnana’ book by Dr J.L.N. Sastry,
Vaghranakhi is termed as Grdranakhi by Sushrutha in Suthrasthana, 38th chapter and Vagbhata in Uttarasthana 35/46. However, the author further writes that,
Z.jujuba Lam.var fruitticosa haines may be considered as Grdranakhi.
P.V Sharma considered Capparis sepiaria as Grdranakhi
But Capparis sepiaria is considered as Himsra and Capparis zeylanica as Vyaghranakhi
Read – Himsra – Capparis sepiaria Uses, Side Effect, Research

Chemical Constituents

Capparis zeylanica plant contains fatty acids, flavonoids, tannins, alkaloids, E-octadec-7-en-5-ynoic acid, saponins glycosides, terpenoids, saponin, p-hydroxybenzoic, syringic, vanillic, ferulic and p-coumanic acid.


Antidiarrheal activity – Research study on Antidiarrheal activity of Capparis zeylanica leaf extracts have showed that methanolic extract of Capparis zeylanica leaf significantly reduced diarrhoea in mice with reduction in weight of stools.

Classical Categorization

Shodala Nighantu – Lakshmanaadi varga
Sushrutha Samhitha – Sutrasthaana Mishrakaadhyaaya 38/3
Read – Snail (Nakha) – Benefits, Qualities, Types, Indications


Bala Taila – Best Ayurveda oil for Vata diseases
Sarvamayanthaka Ghritam- It is used as part of Panchakarma and also as medicine in various health conditions.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom – Plantae
Phylum – Tracheophyta
Class – Magnoliopsida
Order – Capparales
Family – Capparaceae
Genus – Capparis
Species – Capparis zeylanica L.

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