Nagkesar – 20+ Uses, Benefits, Medicinal Qualities, and Side Effects

Nagkesar – 20+ Uses, Benefits, Medicinal Qualities, and Side Effects of Ceylon Ironwood / Mesua farrea


Different types of medicinal plants have been traditionally used in the treatment of various diseases since ancient times. Plants rich in these medicinal properties are also used exclusively in Ayurvedic medicine. Ceylon Ironwood tree is a plant rich in such medicinal properties.

What is Nagkesar / Mesua farrea?

Nagkesar is an evergreen type of large plant popularly used in Ayurvedic, Unani and Siddha medicines for various kinds of health problems. Nagkesar tree belongs to the family ‘Colophyllaceae’. The plant is called ‘Nogkesar’ in hindi. The scientific name of this tree is – ‘Mesua ferrea’. This tree is planted as ornamental trees in gardens and along roadsides. This slow-growing tree is named because of the hardness of its wood. It is widely cultivated for its beautiful shape, gray-green leafy incense and pinkish-red flush and large fragranced white flowers.

Nagkesar - 20+ Uses, Benefits, Medicinal Qualities, and Side Effects
Nagkesar Flower

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Nagkesar is a hardwood plant native to Sri Lanka, India, South Burma, Indo-china, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Sumatra. These plants thrive in the river valleys of the evergreen forests of the Himalayas and in the Western Ghats hills of the Malabar region. Ceylon Ironwood grows well in Tamil Nadu, Assam, Travascore, and parts of the Andaman Islands. Nagkesar tree is the regional tree of Tripura and the national tree of Sri Lanka.


Ceylon Ironwood tree is a medium to high evergreen annual tree that usually grows to a height of about 20-30 m. This plant prefers well drained fertile soil to grow. The branches are thin terrestrial and glabrous. A glue type thing is obtained from the stems of this plant. This tree has a really hard and red colored wood. The plant grows slowly. The leaves are straight, rectangular and placed opposite. The plant has bluish-grey to dark green leaves which are 8-15 cm long and 1.5-3.5 cm wide. Tender leaves are reddish to yellow, pinkish and dull. The arrangement of the Nagkesar leaves is dense. It has fragranced flowers. These flowers are bisexual and usually bloom during spring and monsoon season. The fruits of this plant are usually green in color and turn brown when ripe. These fruits have 1-4 seeds inside. The seeds are angularly smooth.

Medicinal Qualities

Nagkesar has many health benefits for its variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Nagkesar plant can prevent gastrointestinal diseases, cures respiratory diseases, has anti-inflammatory properties, cures excessive menstrual bleeding and helps in curing dysuria, cures leukemia.  According to Ayurveda, the medicinal properties of the leaves, seeds, stalks and fruits of this tree can cure the three ailment bases of the human body- Vatta, Pitta and Kapha. It has a hard and bitter and cooling power.

Chemical elements of Ceylon Ironwood / Nagkesar

  • Mensuol
  • Sitosterol
  • Fatty acid
  • Cyclohexadienyl
  • Mesuanic acid
  • A and B amyrin
  • Analgesic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antipyretic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-bacterial

Different regional names of Nagkesar / Ceylon Ironwood

  • English : Ceylon Ironwood
  • Hindi : Naghes, Nagkesar
  • Tamil : Irul, Karunangu
  • Telugu : Nag kesaralu
  • Kannada : Kanchana, Nagasampige 
  • Malayalam : Nagachampak, Veila
  • Marathi : Nagchafa
  • Punjabi : Naga Kesar
  • Bengali : Nagesar

Scientific Classification of Ceylon Ironwood / Nagkesar

  • Kingdom : Plantae
  • Clade : Angiosperms
  • Clade : Eudicots
  • Clade : Rosids
  • Order : Malpighiales
  • Family : Colophyllaceae
  • Genus : Mesua
  • Species : M. Ferrea
  • Scientific name : Mesua farrea

Benefits of Ceylon Ironwood / Nagkesar

1. Prevents Gastrointestinal Disease:

Various studies have shown that the flower of the Nagkesar plant is quite helpful in the treatment of stomach acidity, loss of appetite, vomiting, heart inflammation, gastritis, hematemesis, peptic ulcer and intestinal toxins. In addition, it is good for treating chronic diarrhea, liver disorders and hemorrhoids. Ceylon Ironwood flower stem is especially used in the treatment of chronic diarrhea and hemorrhoid diarrhea. Nagkesar flower paste helps to treat hemorrhoid bleeding. In this case, the benefits of Nagkesar cannot be underestimated.

2. Cures Respiratory Diseases: 

Studies have shown that the medicinal benefits of Ceylon Ironwood flower are quite effective in curing respiratory disorders like cough, bronchitis and asthma.

3. Contains anti-inflammatory properties:

Nagkesar plant contains essential oil, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-toxin properties, which are very good for our body to reduce inflammation and toxins. Studies have shown that regular consumption of tea plant can improve blood circulation and reduce the pressure on our blood vessels, leading to a variety of heart problems such as heart attack, stroke and so on. This plant helps in reducing various inflammatory related problems like asthma, chronic muscle strain and rheumatoid arthritis.

4. Cures Excessive Menstrual Bleeding:

A mixture of 1 teaspoon of Nagkesar flower powder with buttermilk is a good remedy to prevent excessive vaginal bleeding or any kind of bleeding.

5. Cures Dysuria:

Dysuria is a disease of the urinary tract infection such as pain while urinating, discomfort and burning sensation. Various studies have shown that a sweetened decoction made of sugar and Ceylon Ironwood plant is quite beneficial in the case of painful urination or urinary incontinence.

6. Helps in treating Leucorrhoea:

Abnormal secretion of white, sticky, putrid material from the vagina is called leucorrhoea. This basic problem can occur due to unhealthy condition, genital contamination or impaired ability of functions. In Ayurveda, Leucorrhoea is called ‘Shweta Pradar’, where ‘Shweta’ means white and ‘Pradar’ signifies liberation. This problem is common among almost all female human bodies. Various studies have shown that Nagkesar is quite helpful in preventing leucorrhoea. 

To prevent leucorrhoea, make a paste of the fruit of Ceylon Ironwood plant with curd and take two teaspoons of it twice a day until the discharge stops.

7. Cures Dysentery:

Dysentery is a disease of the digestive tract that causes diarrhea with mucus. Studies have shown that the plant has haemostatic properties and is very helpful in the treatment of diarrhea.

8. Prevents skin problems:

The benefits of Nagkesar seed oil are seen in cases of itching, reddening and blackening of the skin. As a good physical application it reduces and normalizes the skin. Therefore, Ceylon Ironwood plant is one of the main ingredients in many cosmetic preparations.

9. Helps in relieving fever:

Ceylon Ironwood plant has febrifuge properties which increase body temperature by reducing perspiration and helps in reducing inflammation caused by fever.

10. Cures Gout:

Various studies have shown that external application of Nagkesar seed oil is a wonderful toxin reliever as well as it reduces the associated pain and burning sensation.

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Traditional Uses and Benefits of Nagkesar / Ceylon Ironwood

  • Ceylon Ironwood is used for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, blood purifying, anthelmintic, cardio tonic, diuretic, expectorate, antipyretic, purgative, anti-asthmatic, anti-allergic and many other effective benefits.
  • This plant is an important ingredient of the formula used in ‘Brahma Rasayana’ and ‘Chyawanprash’ for its ability to improve immunity.
  • Nagkesar tree is good for warm dry digestion and fever, bad breath, sweating, itching, skin rash, small tumors, headache, heart problems, neck pain, cough, vomiting, excessive thirst, diarrhea.
  • Dried flower buds of Ceylon Ironwood are used for anti-dysenteric and treatment of diarrhea with mucus.
  • The leaves of the Nagkesar plant are used for headache in poultice form.
  • One of the benefits of Nagkesar is seen in the treatment of hemorrhoid piles and menstrual bleeding.
  • The poultice made of the leaves of Nagkesar tree is applied on the head and chest to treat colds and coughs.
  • Flowers of Ceylon Ironwood plant are used for treatment of Asthma.
  • Ceylon Ironwood seed oil is used to treat wounds, itching, and rheumatism.
  • The root of the Ceylon Ironwood plant is often used as an antidote to snake’s venom.

Uses of Ceylon Ironwood / Mesua farrea

All parts of the Nagkesar plant- leaves, roots, bark, flowers, stems, fruits and seeds are used for medicinal purposes. Powder and liquid extracted from the flowers and leaves, decoction, infusion and seed oil made from this plant are easily available in the markets worldwide as well as the other products. Different parts of the Ceylon Ironwood plant are used differently in the treatment of different diseases.

Side effects of Nagkesar

There are no known or proven side effects of Nagkesar plant. However, excessive use can lead to poor health. It is best to avoid using it for all breastfeeding women and infants. A doctor or specialist should be consulted before using in pregnancy.

Considering the side effects and benefits of Ceylon Ironwood, it should be used properly and regularly and with a doctor’s advice before using it for any treatments.


The above article lead you to a over view, uses, benefits and side effects of Ceylon Ironwood. We hope that the information carried by the article will help you in a various ways. Thank You!

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