It has been established that up to 25% of the drugs prescribed in conventional medicines are allied directly or indirectly to natural substances mostly of plant origin. Hence, during the last few decades there has been an increasing interest in the study of medicinal plants and their long-established use in different countries. However, today it is compulsory to afford scientific testimony as to whether it is reasonable to use a plant or its active principles. As far as contemporary drugs are concerned they must be further characterized after their pharmacological screening by studying the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties, including toxicity. Therefore the present communication constitutes a review on the medicinal properties, ethnomedicinal uses, phytochemistry, pharmacological activities, pharmacokinetic and toxicity of an Indian medicinal plant, Justicia adhatoda. A wide range of phytochemical constituents have been isolated from J. adhatoda which possesses activities like antitussive, abortifacient, antimicrobial, cardiovascular protection, anticholinesterase, anti-inflammatory and other important activities. Although the medicinal values of this plant is due to the presence of small doses of active compounds which produce physiological actions in the human and animal body. Some important bioactive compounds have been reported in various part of J. adhatoda are essential oil and quinazoline alkaloids. Hence, extract of J.adhatoda could form one of the best options for developing novel natural medicine.
Key words: Justicia adhatoda, pharmacological activities, pharmacokinetic, phytochemistry, toxicity.
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