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Dichrostachys cinerea - Virataru

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Virataru, Dichrostachys cinerea

Virataru, is a deciduous or semi-deciduous shrub or small tree with an open crown; it can grow from 1 - 8 metres tall, with occasional specimens to 12 metres. The plant is covered with spines and is sometimes suckering and thicket-forming. A true multi-purpose tree, providing food, medicines, fuel and various commodities.


Diarrhea, Excessive thirst, Kidney stones, Gynecological disorders, Urinary retention [1]

Parts Used

Bark, Root, Heartwood

Chemical Composition

Common names

Language Common name
Kannada edathari, oda thare, vaduvaarada gida, vaduvarada
Hindi goya-khair, kheri
Malayalam viravrksam, vitattal
Tamil karukavi, vadataram, vidattalai, vitattali
Telugu nalla venuturu, velthuru, veluthuru chettu,
Marathi NA
Gujarathi NA
Punjabi NA
Kashmiri NA
Sanskrit bahuvaraka, dirghamula, krichhari, kshudhakushalasandnaka, mahakapitha, vallataru, vellantaru, virataruh, viravriksha
English Sicklebush



Reference: Dravya - Substance, Rasa - Taste, Guna - Qualities, Veerya - Potency, Vipaka - Post-digesion effect, Karma - Pharmacological activity, Prabhava - Therepeutics.



Tikta (Bitter), Katu (Pungent)


Laghu (Light)


Ushna (Hot)


Katu (Pungent)


Vata and Kapha






Kind Shape Feature
Bipinnate alternate stipulate; stipules 2, minute, lateral; rachis 30-65 mm, slender, pulvinate, pubescent; pinnae 5-15 pairs, 1.5-2 cm, opposite, even pinnate, slender, pulvinate, pubescent, with a gland between each pairs; leaflets 24-50, opposite, sessile, estipellate; lamina 0.2-0.3 x 0.1 cm, oblong, base obtuse, apex acute, margin entire, ciliate, tomentose, chartaceous; nerves obscure.



Type Size Color and composition Stamen More information
Polygamous solitary or axillary spikes Pink and yellow 10 upper flowers bisexual, yellow; lower ones neutar, pink or purple; bracts oblong; calyx tube campanulate, lobes 5; petals 5, lanceolate connate below, pubescent, valvate; stamens 10, free, exserted, anthers ending in stalked glands; ovary 0.5 mm, subssessile, pubescent; style 3 mm; stigma terminal, truncate.


Type Size Mass Appearance Seeds More information
A Pod linear, flat, coiled, continuous within, indehiscent or opening from apex seeds 4-6, ovoid, compressed. {{{6}}}

Other features

List of Ayurvedic medicine in which the herb is used

Where to get the saplings

Mode of Propagation

Seeds, Cuttings.

How to plant/cultivate

Fruits should be collected from the shrub or tree as soon as they are mature, after which the seeds should be extracted. They can be sown directly into the field. Immersion of the seed in water for 24 hours improves the germination rate, as well as scarification. Pre-treatment with concentrated sulphuric acid for 25 minutes gives optimum results, with more than 75% germination of fresh seeds in 3–7 days. Propagation by root suckers and cuttings is easy. [4]

Commonly seen growing in areas

Tropical area.

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