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Nagkesar – Benefits, Uses, Side Effects & More!

By Dr Anuja Bodhare +2 more

The content has been written by a medical expert.



Mesua ferrea Linn, also known as Nagkesar in Hindi, and Ceylon ironwood in English is a tree with high ornamental value.

Mesua ferrea or nagkesar is a medium to a large-sized evergreen tree with a short trunk widely distributed in Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nādu, Western, and the Eastern Ghats in India. The flowers and leaves of Nagkesar are used for a variety of conditions.1

Did you know?

  • Nagkesar has been found to possess antimicrobial activity against various pathogens. source: NCBI
  • Nagkesar has been used in traditional medicine to relieve pain and inflammation. source: PubMed
  • In a study, Nagkesar was found to cause significant DNA damage in human lymphocytes. source: PubMed

Properties of Nagkesar:

  • It may have beneficial properties for liver
  • It may be an appetizer.
  • It may be an expectorant (used to treat cough)
  • It may have diuretic (expelling excess water from the body) properties
  • It may have antipyretic (reducing fever) properties 
  • It may have analgesic (pain-relieving) properties
  • It may have hemostatic (ceasing bleeding)properties
  • It may have anti-inflammatory properties
  • It may have antibacterial properties
  • It may have anti-fungal activity
  • It may show anti-arthritic properties
  • It may have anti-oxidant activity.2 

Nagkesar is believed to aid in irritable bowel syndrome. Ground Nagkesar consumed with the regular practice of Pranayama might relieve irritation and cramps. Nagkesar is said to have an anti-spasmodic nature.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Potential Uses of Nagkesar

Different parts of Nagkesar may be used to treat a variety of conditions, either alone or in conjunction with other herbal remedies.1,3,4 Some of the potential uses of brinjal are described as follows.

Potential Uses of Nagkesar in Piles: 

Piles or hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels that can occur inside or around the anus. This makes defecating difficult with continuous throbbing pain accompanied by bleeding stools. Bleeding disorders occur due to an imbalance in pitta (heat) dosha. Nagkesar may have some effect in the management of bleeding piles as may help in pacifying pitta dosha, resulting in a balance in the body’s heat.

Nagkesar may help to shrink pile lumps, decreasing inflammation, reducing pain, and arresting bleeding. The paste obtained from the flowers of Nagkesar can be used for treating piles.5 However, more studies on humans are required to validate this claim.

Potential Uses of Nagkesar for Arthritis: 

Arthritis occurs due to an imbalance in Vata dosha and the gathering of Ama (toxins) in the joints. Nagkesar may help balance Vata dosha and it might aid in reducing joint pain due to its Ushana (heat) property.6 However, every person has a different response to different herbs. Therefore, it is better to consult a doctor before you use tea tree oil for your acne problems.

Potential Uses of Nagkesar for Skin:  

The kernels of Nagkesar may be helpful in skin eruption. The oil obtained from Nagkesar can be used for skin infections, scabies, and wounds. Nagkesar also contains antiseptic and disinfecting properties. 

Nagkesar taken with red sandalwood might be made into a paste and used on the skin to fade away the dark marks on the face and to obtain glowing skin.1,7 It is better to consult a dermatologist for your skin related problems. They will be the best person to guide you with your condition.

Also Read: 15 Remedies for Glowing Skin

Potential Uses of Nagkesar on the Central Nervous System: 

Nagkesar contains potential anticonvulsant properties and may be used in curing seizures. Other central nervous system depressant effects like loss of muscle tone, ptosis (drooping of upper eyelids), and sedation might be observed with Nagkesar.6 

Though studies show the benefits of Nagkesar in different health conditions, these studies are insufficient and require further studies to establish the true scope of benefits of tea tree on human health. In addition, every person may respond differently to this herb. Therefore, it is essential to consult a doctor before using Nagkesar for any medical condition.

Other than medicinal uses, Nagkesar might be used to enhance beauty as well. It has several benefits for hair. It is believed that Nagkesar might aid in encouraging hair growth and thickness.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

How to Use Nagkesar:  

  • Mesua ferrea is available in different Ayurvedic formulations like dasamoolarishta, kanakasava, mahakaleshwara, lakshadi Taila, Nagakesaradi Churan, Kumaryasava, and various other churnas that are used to cure many conditions. 6,3 
  • The parts of Nagkesar used for treatment are Buds, bark, leaves, seeds, stamen, and fruits.  
  • Your Ayurvedic physician will prescribe you the form and dosage according to your health condition. 

Your Ayurvedic physician will prescribe you the form and dose as per your requirement. However, we advise you not to replace or change your current medications with any ayurvedic or herbal preparations made from the nagkesar.

Nagkesar can be used as a supportive aid in women’s hygiene maintenance! Researchers believe that due to its anti-inflammatory action, Nagkesar might help in minimizing the extra vaginal discharge in women.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Side Effects of Nagkesar:  

Nagkesar can be safely taken with other herbal medicines, vitamins, or remedies and no side effects are observed.3 However, if you see any side effects, seek immediate medical help from your physician who has prescribed it to you and get proper treatment to overcome your side effects.

Precautions and Warnings to be Taken with Nagkesar: 

Nagkesar must be taken under the supervision of a medical doctor in situations like pregnancy, breastfeeding, and diabetes.9 There is a lack of research regarding the safety of nagkesar in pregnant and breastfeeding women, so its use should be avoided during these times.4 It is better to keep nagkesar away from small children and older people to avoid harmful reactions in the body.

Without consulting a doctor, you should not use nagkesar to self-medicate yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) What are the Other Names of Nagkesar? 

The different names of Nagkesar include Mesua ferrea L, Ceylon Ironwood, Cobra’s Saffron, Penaga Lilin, Indian rose chestnut, etc. 

2) What are the Properties of Nagkesar? 

The properties of Nagkesar include anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritis, antifungal, anticonvulsant, anti-ulcer, wound healing, antivenom, disinfectant, diuretic, herbal formulation, anticancer, prevention of COPD, antidiabetic, immunomodulatory, hormone balancing, and more.9 

3) How Can Nagkesar be Used for Bleeding Piles? 

Nagkesar can be taken with butter and sugar for the management of bleeding piles.1 However there is requirement for more studies on nagkesar to understand its effect on humans.

4) Is Nagkesar Found Only in India? 

Mesua ferrea is distributed in countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Cambodia.1 

5) How is Nagkesar Used for Burning Sensation in Hands and Feet? 

The powder made from the dried fruits and leaves of Mesua ferrea mixed with ghee is used by some communities of Bangladesh for the treatment of burning sensation of hands and feet.6 You must consult a doctor for better advice if you observe such symptoms.

6) Can Nagkesar be Used as a Biofuel? 

The oil synthesized from the seeds of Nagkesar can be used as an alternate for petroleum gasoline.10 However more research based evidence must be collected to validate such claims.

Also Read: Shikakai – Benefits, Side Effects, Precautions & More


  1. Amit Sharma, Surbhi Sharma, Rohit, Naresh and Bharat Parashar; Mesua ferrae linn:- A review of the indian medical herb. Sys Rev Pharm. 2017 8(1): 19-23. Available from: https://www.sysrevpharm.org/articles/mesua-ferrae-linn-a-review-of-the-indian-medical-herb.pdf 
  1. Research journal of pharmacognosy. Phytochemistry and pharmacology of Mesua ferrea Linn.- A Review. [Internet] Available from: https://rjpponline.org/HTMLPaper.aspx?Journal=Research%20Journal%20of%20Pharmacognosy%20and%20Phytochemistry;PID=2012-4-6-2 
  1. Planet Ayurveda. Nagkesar, Ceylon Ironwood (Mesua ferrea). [Internet] Available from: https://www.planetayurveda.com/library/naga-kesar-mesua-ferrea/ 
  1. Vikaspedia. Mesua ferrea. [Internet] Available from: https://vikaspedia.in/agriculture/crop-production/package-of-practices/medicinal-and-aromatic-plants/mesua-ferrea 
  1. Planet Ayurveda. Nagkesar (Mesua ferrea)- Medicinal properties, benefits and uses. [Internet] Available from: https://www.planetayurveda.com/nagkesar-mesua-ferrea/ 
  1. Research gate. Mesua ferrea Linn (Nagkesar): A potent antimicrobial plant species. [Internet] Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/353573844_MESUA_FERREA_LINN_NAGKESAR_A_POTENT_ANTIMICROBIAL_PLANT_SPECIES 
  1. Ayush division. Ayurveda offering herbal healing. [Internet] Available from: https://www.esic.nic.in/attachments/publicationfile/7d11b02e5abb4717d53b4ce05efabd21.pdf 
  1. Dr. Nidhi Bajpai; Baladi Churna in management of anovulatory factor of infertility (Avaranatmak Apana Vata Dushti): A case report. Available from: https://www.worldwidejournals.com/paripex/recent_issues_pdf/2020/July/baladi-churna-in-management-of-anovulatory-factor-of-infertility-avaranatmak-apana-vata-dushti-a-case-report_July_2020_1594803113_7308117.pdf 
  1. Muhammad Asif, Seyedeh Fatemeh Jafari, Zafar Iqbal, Vageesh Revadigar, Chern Ein Oon, Aman Shah Abdul Majid, Amin Malik Shah Abdul Majid; Ethnobotanical and Phytopharmacological attributes of Mesua ferrea: A mini-review. Available from: https://www.japsonline.com/admin/php/uploads/2249_pdf.pdf 


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