Semecarpus Anacardium linn

Botanical Name: Semecarpus Anacardium linn

Sanskrit Name: Bhallataka

Family Name: Anacardaceae


Vernacular names :

  1. Hindi – Bhilava
  2. English –Marking nut
  3. Malayalam –Cheru
  4. Tamil –Senakottai


Aruskara, AgnimukhI, Viravriksa, ,sophakrit, AgnikaAgnimukha.

Ganas in classical texts:

Charaka: Dipaniya, Bhedaniya,Kusthaghna, Mutrasangrahana

Susruta: Nyagrodhadi, Mustadi

Vagbhata:Nyagrodhadi, Mustadi


Earliest references about Bhallataka (Semecarpus Anacardium linn) are found in the Panini sutra (Pa.Un.Bho.2/2/42). Charaka emphasized the Rasayana property of Bhallatakaand described 10 types of preparations with it. He considered Bhallataka as the best drug to cure the diseases related to kapha. Susruta mentioned it as the drug of choice in the management of ArsasalongwithKutaja. Vagbhata quoted Bhallataka as the best drug of suskaArgas (non-bleeding piles). Several RasayanaYogas are described with Bhallataka in the BrihatTrayitexts. Susruta identified its flowers, fruit and juice as the causative factors of “Agantukasotha” (inflammation).

BhallatakaAsthi shall be considered for Dipaniya purpose while BhallatakaPhalamajja (kernel) as Rasayana

Controversial Studies

We come across the description of ‘NadiBhallataka’ in SusrutaSamhita (Su.46/249 &Ut. 34/3). Thakurji is of the opinion that it may belong to Ficus genus. He also expresses his view that NadiBhallataka may be the ‘Nandi’ deliniated by Vagbhata (A.H.Su.15/41). However Nandi still remains to be controversial plant (C.S.Su.27/111; S.S.Su.46/249; S.S.Ut.34/3; A.H.Su.6/77 & 92; A.H.Su. 15/41).


Nighantu texts described Kajutaka or VrittaAruskara which is identified with Anacardiumoccidentale Linn. (Cashew Nut). In NighantuRatnakara another plant ‘NadiBhallataka’ is mentioned. According to this text Kajutaka is used as tonic and indicated for lucoderma, haemorrhoids, Graham etc. NadiBhallataka is known with synonyms like Vrisanka, Gojanaka and is sitavirya.

Botanical details

A moderate-sized, deciduous tree, exudating a dark juice.Young branches, infloresence, petioles and underside of leaves pubescent.Leaves– oblong-obovate, rounded at apex, cartilaginous at margin, very coriaceous.

Flowers– fasciculate, arranged in ereet, compound, terminal panicles, greenish yellow coloured.

Fruits– drupes, obliquely oval or oblong, smooth, shining, purplish-black when ripe, cup orange-red. (Flowering round the year, mostly during May-June, Fruits ripen from November to February).

Chemical constituents

Nuts– bioflavanoids A, B & C, tetrahydrobustaflavone, tetrahydromentoflavone, nallaflavone etc.

Nutshell– anacardic acid, bhilawanols, galluflavanone, jeediflavanone

Kernel oil– linoleic, myristic, oleic, palmitic& stearic acids.

Fruits– Nicotinic acid, riboflavine, thiamine and essential amino acids.

Leaves– Amentoflavone


Rasa –katu, tikta, kasaya

Guna –laghu, tiksna, snigdha

Virya – usna

Vipaka –madhura

Karma –kapha- vatahara, medhya, vrisya, dipana, bhedana


Kaphavikara, Arsas, Kustha, Krimi, Gulma, Grahani, Vatavyadhi,

Part used–Fruits seed seedkernal and bark.


Paste of seed kernal 3-6g; oil 10-20 drops

Therapeutic uses

Kustha&Arsas – Bhallataka(Semecarpus Anacardium linn) is given along with Tila

Romasatana- Bhallatakataila and Snuhiksira are applied locally

Snayuka – One black nut is pounded and taken with double quantity of jaggery

Urustambha – Bhallataka, Pippali&Pippalimula are made into paste and administered with honey


  1. Amrita Bhallatakilehya
  2. Bhallatakavati
  3. Sanjivanivati
  4. Cinchabhallataki


Bhallatakas are to be preserved in brick powder for 7-12 days for purification purpose.

Research works

Plant extract showed direct depressant effect on isolated frog heart and rabbit intestine and antagonisedspasmogenic effects of carbachol, histamine, barium chloride and pitocin. Trypan blue capillary permeability test was found to be positive. It produced delayed hypotension in dogs which remained unaltered after prior atropinisation (IJMR, 1967).

  1. Chloroform extract of nuts significantly increased life-span in ascites tumor systems (L-1210, P-388, advanced P-388 and sublines of P-388 resistant to adriamycin or vincristine) and solid tumor systems (B-16 melanoma and Glioma-26) (Ind. J. Exp. Biol., 1980).
  2. A resinous material from methanol extract and an orangecoloured oil from PE extract of the nuts have been found to possess antitumour properties against P-388 lymphocytic leukaemia in mice (Chitnis et al; 1980 &Indap et al; 1983).

A cytotoxic effect of the acetylated oil of the plant has also been reported (Pathak et al; 1983).