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Nishigandha: Uses, Benefits and Side effects by Dr. Smita Barode 

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more

Introduction: 

When arranged in vases or bowls, nishigandha makes excellent table decorations. The scientific name of nishigandha (tuberose) is Polianthes tuberosa. Some of its common names are Nishigandha, Rajanigandha, Sugandharaj and Gulchhadi. Since the plant has been grown since ancient times, it has often indulged in international trade. Nishigandha has a high demand since it is economically affordable. The waxy, white spikes of the single and double varieties of nishigandha, which emit a sweet scent, are utilized in the perfume industry. Nishigandha originated in Mexico and spread throughout the 16th century to various parts of the world. It is believed that nishigandha arrived in India in the 16th century from Europe. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Orissa, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Uttarakhand and West Bengal are the primary regions in India where it is grown. Nishigandha is a multipurpose flower with several benefits.1,2  

Nutritional Value of Nishigandha: 

The chemical composition and the nutritional value of nishigandha may be: 

nishigandha

Nutritional Component Value (%) 
Geraniol 0.08  
Methyl eugenol 0.01 
Methyl 1 palmitate 0.22 
Ethyl palmitate 2.56 
Tricosane 1.56 
Isoeugenol 0.06 
Methyl stearate 0.06 
Ethyl stearate 0.61 
Hexasosan 0.62 
Palmitic acid 12.85 
Oleic acid 

Table 1: Nutritional Value of nishigandha3 

Properties of Nishigandha: 

Several studies have shown that nishigandha may have the following properties: 

  • Nishigandha may be a possible antioxidant.4 
  • It may have anti-cancer activity and inhibit the abnormal growth of cancerous cells.5 
  • It may reduce inflammation.7 
  • It may inhibit the growth of bacteria.8 
  • It may inhibit the growth of fungus.9 

Potential Uses of Nishigandha for Overall Health 

Some of the potential uses of nishigandha are described below. 

Potential use of nishigandha as an antioxidant 

Nishigandha may show antioxidant properties. According to the study in 2014 by Maiti et al., nishigandha might have an antioxidant potential due to the presence of phenols like benzenoids and phenylpropanoids. It may deactivate the free radicals (harmful molecules present in the body) and protect them from various damages.4 Further studies are required to check the antioxidant activity of nishigandha. 

Potential use of nishigandha for cancer 

A study by Khatun et al. in 2020 showed that nishigandha might be beneficial in pancreatic cancer. The bioactive compound geraniol in nishigandha may inhibit the growth of cancer-causing cells by stopping the cell multiplication process.5 However, further studies are required to check if nishigandha may help in the case of pancreatic cancer. Cancer is a dangerous disease; therefore, you must consult your doctor if you suspect any symptoms of cancer instead of self-medicating. 

Potential use of nishigandha as a mosquito repellant 

Essential oils present in nishigandha may show mosquito-repellant activity. This was shown by a study conducted by Rawani et al. in 2012. The alkaloids, phenols and terpenoids in essential oils in nishigandha may inhibit house mosquitoes from biting.6 However, further studies are required to check if nishigandha can be used as a mosquito repellant. 

Potential use of nishigandha for wound healing 

According to the book ‘Edible Medicinal And Non-Medicinal Plants,’ nishigandha can heal wounds and reduce inflammation and burns. Dried and powdered nishigandha is used for healing wounds.7 However, further studies are required to check these facts. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if your wound does not heal for a prolonged period. 

Potential use of nishigandha for bacterial infections 

Nishigandha is known to have antibacterial properties due to the presence of essential oils. The results of a study by Lodhia et al. in 2009 showed that nishigandha could be used for bacterial infections against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.8 However, further studies are required to check if nishigandha can be beneficial against bacterial infections. Therefore, you must consult your doctor in case of bacterial infections. 

Potential use of nishigandha for fungal infections 

Bioactive compounds like geraniol, indole and methyl anthranilate may inhibit the growth of fungus.9 The antifungal activity of nishigandha was shown in a study conducted in 2005 by Nidiry et al. However, further studies are required to check if nishigandha can be beneficial against fungal infections. Therefore, you must consult your doctor in case of fungal infections. 

Potential use of nishigandha for stress and anxiety 

Nishigandha might be beneficial for managing anxiety and stress. The result of a study conducted by Ghorat et al. in 2016 suggested that aromatherapy with the essential oil of nishigandha may be effective in reducing anxiety among students.10 However, further studies are required to check if nishigandha may be used to reduce stress and anxiety. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if you have anxiety and stress for a prolonged period. 

Potential use of nishigandha for rashes 

According to the book ‘Edible Medicinal And Non-Medicinal Plants,’ nishigandha can be used in case of rashes in infants. Dried and powdered nishigandha may be used for rashes in infants.7 However, further studies are required to check if nishigandha can be beneficial for rashes. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if you have rashes for a prolonged period. 

Though studies show the benefits of nishigandha in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of nishigandha on human health. 

In aromatherapy, Nishigandha (tuberose) is beneficial for its ability to open the heart, calming the nerves, and bringing peace, harmony, and restoring joy. Additionally, the essential oil of Nishigandha might have sedative and aphrodisiac effects.

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

Also Read: Echinacea: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

How to Use Nishigandha:

Nishigandha can be consumed in the following ways: 

  • Nishigandha can be consumed in soup. 
  • It can be eaten as a vegetable. 
  • The flowers can be used to make flower water. Flower water is water with a floral aroma which can be made by soaking the flowers in water.7 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking nishigandha in large quantities or any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor. 

Nishigandha (tuberose) might be beneficial for skin health. The flower, stem, and tuber of the Nishigandha plant possess antibacterial properties that are highly effective against acne-producing bacteria. Therefore, the use of Nishigandha might help in reducing acne.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Side Effects of Nishigandha: 

The alkaloids present in nishigandha may cause vomiting and suppress the immune system.7 Nishigandha has no specific side effects when consumed in normal amounts. However, if any reaction is noticed on using it, seek immediate medical attention. Consult your ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it to you; they will be able to identify the cause and treat it effectively. 

Also Read: Damiana: Exploring the Researched Health Benefits and Uses

Precautions to Take with Nishigandha: 

General precautions should be taken while having nishigandha as any other general medicine. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should take special care. You must consult your doctor before having nishigandha. Precaution should be taken before giving nishigandha to the elderly or children. In such cases, you must have nishigandha only if your doctor prescribes it. 

Also Read: Butterfly Pea Flower: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More! 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

There is not enough evidence on the interaction of nishigandha with other drugs. Further studies on the interaction of nishigandha are required. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if you are on any other medication before consuming nishigandha. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) What are the uses of the nishigandha flower? 

It may be used as an antioxidant and deactivate the free radicals (harmful molecules present in the body) and protect them from various damages. It may inhibit the growth of cancer-causing cells. Nishigandha may heal wounds and reduce inflammation, rashes and burns. It may inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi. It may reduce stress and anxiety. Additionally, it may be used as a mosquito repellant.4-9 However, you must consult your doctor if you have any symptoms of the mentioned conditions instead of self-medicating. 

2) What do you call the nishigandha flower in English? 

The scientific name of tuberose is Polianthes tuberosa.1 

3) What are the side effects of nishigandha? 

The alkaloids present in nishigandha may cause vomiting.7 Nishigandha has no specific side effects when consumed in normal amounts. However, if any reaction is noticed on using it, seek immediate medical attention. Consult your ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it to you; they will be able to identify the cause and treat it effectively. 

4) How is nishigandha beneficial in case of anxiety? 

Nishigandha may be beneficial for managing anxiety and stress. Aromatherapy with the essential oil of nishigandha may be effective in reducing test anxiety among students.10 However, you must consult your doctor if you have anxiety and stress for a prolonged period. 

5) What precautions shall be taken before consuming nishigandha? 

You must take adequate precautions before having nishigandha as you take for any other medications. Pregnant and lactating women should take special care. You must consult your doctor before having nishigandha. Precautions should be taken before giving nishigandha to the elderly or children. In such cases, you must have nishigandha only if your doctor prescribes it. 

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation. 

References: 

  1. Dalvi NV, Salvi BR, Pawar CD, Burondkar MM, Salvi VG, Dhekale JS, Khandekar RG. Effect of different holding solutions on vase life of tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/357672102_Effect_of_different_holding_solutions_on_vase_life_of_tuberose_Polianthes_tuberosa 
  1. Singh SR, Pal M, Singh AP, Ojha MD, Tiwari D. GROWTH, FLOW ER ING AND BULB PRO DUC TION OF TUBEROSE (POLIANTHES TUBEROSA L.) CV. DOU BLE AS IN FLU ENCED BY NPK COM BI NA TIONS. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Shashi-Singh-38/publication/354382827_GROWTH_FLOWERING_AND_BULB_PRODUCTION_OF_TUBEROSE_POLIANTHES_TUBEROSA_L_CV_DOUBLE_AS_INFLUENCED_BY_NPK_COMBINATIONS/links/613604fe2b40ec7d8beae5dc/GROWTH-FLOWERING-AND-BULB-PRODUCTION-OF-TUBEROSE-POLIANTHES-TUBEROSA-L-CV-DOUBLE-AS-INFLUENCED-BY-NPK-COMBINATIONS.pdf 
  1. Fragoso-Jiménez JC, TapiaCampos E, Estarron-Espinosa M, Barba-Gonzalez R, Castañeda-Saucedo MC, Castillo-Herrera GA. Effect of supercritical fluid extraction process on chemical composition of Polianthes tuberosa flower extracts. Processes. 2019 Jan 23;7(2):60. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/400320 
  1. Maiti S, Moon UR, Bera P, Samanta T, Mitra A. The in vitro antioxidant capacities of Polianthes tuberosa L. flower extracts. Acta physiologiae plantarum. 2014 Oct;36(10):2597-605. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tanmoy-Samanta-2/publication/264157459_The_in_vitro_antioxidant_capacities_of_Polianthes_tuberosa_L_flower_extracts/links/53cfe0f20cf25dc05cfb2f8c/The-in-vitro-antioxidant-capacities-of-Polianthes-tuberosa-L-flower-extracts.pdf 
  1. Khatun S, Hossain SM. A Short Review of Polianthes tuberose L considered a Medical Plant in Bangladesh. Journal of Pharma and Ayurved Research.; 1(2). Available from: https://www.academia.edu/download/67364194/A_short_review_of_Polianthes_tuberose_L.pdf 
  1. Rawani A, Banerjee A, Chandra G. Mosquito larvicidal and biting deterrency activity of bud of Polianthes tuberosa plants extract against Anopheles stephensi and Culex quinquefasciatus. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease. 2012 Mar 1;2(3):200-4. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2222180812600462 
  1. Lim TK, Lim TK. Polianthes tuberosa. Edible Medicinal And Non-Medicinal Plants: Volume 7, Flowers. 2014:126-33. Available from: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-007-7395-0_8 
  1. Lodhia MH, Bhatt KR, Thaker VS. Antibacterial activity of essential oils from palmarosa, evening primrose, lavender and tuberose. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2009 Mar;71(2):134. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2839398/ 
  1. Nidiry ES, Babu CB. Antifungal activity of tuberose absolute and some of its constituents. Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives. 2005 May;19(5):447-9. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.1630 
  1. Ghorat F, Shahrestani S, Tagabadi Z, Bazghandi M. The effect of inhalation of essential oils of Polianthes Tuberosa on test anxiety in students: A clinical trial. Iranian journal of medical sciences. 2016 May;41(3 Suppl):S13. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5103518/pdf/IJMS-41-13.pdf 

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