One of the earliest members of the Acanthaceae family, the Justicia adhatoda is the tallest amongst them and can grow up to 4 m. Treated as a greenhouse plant in England, the plant was first discovered in India. It has lime-coloured flowers and large, attractive shiny leaves. Growing best in shaded and semi-shaded areas, it has a nice domed shape and provides a backdrop for lower plants. The plant is susceptible to phytophthora root rot, a condition that can cause it to drop dead overnight. It requires a moist, well-drained soil to grow with reasonable fertility. The plant can withstand some amount of drought. The Justicia adhatoda is highly regarded in Ayurvedic medicine.
In homeopathic medicine, the Justicia is known as Mother Tincture.
Used extensively in traditional Indian medicine, the roots, flowers and leaves are administered to treat respiratory disorders such as bronchitis and asthma. In fact, it is used to treat all types of lung disorders and infections and soothes irritated throats.
The extract of the Malabar nut has a soothing effect on the skin and can cure several diseases of the scalp. Its juice is actually an effective poultice.