Herbs Profile

Bhallataka (Marking Nut)

bhallatakaBhallataka means ‘like a spear’, attesting to its ability to penetrate deeply into the tissues and rejuvenate the body. It benefits digestion, lung weakness and arthritis. It is a specific rejuvenating tonic for the reproductive system.

Common name Marking nut (E), Bhilawa (H) Sanskrit Bhalla-taka Latin Semecarpus anacardium–Semen (Umbelliferae)


  • Rasa (taste) Sweet, astringent
  • Vırya (energy) Hot
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect) Sweet
  • Guna (quality) Light, unctuous, penetrating
  • Dosa effect VK−, P+
  • Dhatu (tissue) All tissues
  • Srotas (channel) Digestive, urinary, mental, reproductive


  • Phenols Anacardic acids, anacardoside, bhilawanol
  • Flavonoids Semecarpetin
  • Fixed oil Palmitic, stearic, oleic (Williamson 2002)


  • Dıpana Enkindles the digestive fire
  • Pacana Digestive
  • Amapacana Clears toxins
  • Bhedanıya Breaks accumulations
  • Kusthaghna Alleviates skin conditions
  • Vajı-karan.a Aphrodisiac
  • Sukrala Increases semen
  • Arsoghna Cures piles
  • Kapharasa-yana Rejuvenates kapha
  • Krmighna Destroys worms
  • Mutrasangrahanıya Reduces the flow of urine


Digestive, aphrodisiac, vermifuge, tonic, expectorant, antihaemorrhoidal


Digestion It strongly increases the appetite and treats conditions caused by low digestive fire; piles, diarrhoea, worms and colitis. Its ability to clear ama helps to clear the srotas (Paranjpe 2002).

Piles Alleviates vata and kapha types of haemorrhoids. It goes directly to the root cause of the disease as it rectifies the digestive fire.

Lungs Helps to clear coughing and wheezing from high vata and kapha.

Arthritis As a specific medicine for vata it helps to treat nervous disorders and degeneration of the joints.

Reproduction It is a specific tonic to male fertility as it increases semen production. As it helps to treat premature ejaculation and seminal leakage it also treats incontinence and unrestrained urinary dribbles (Bhavapraka´sa).

Skin It is very beneficial for vitiligo and other skin diseases affecting pigmentation (Gogte  2001).


* Dry ginger, kutaja, chitraka, haritaki in piles

* Turmeric, frankincense, amalaki for arthritis

* Bakuchi, manjishtha and turmeric in skin diseases

* Amalaki, haritaki, guduchi, Piper longum for rejuvenation


Its extreme heat contraindicates its use in young children, the elderly, during pregnancy and in pitta aggravation.


No drug–herb interactions are known but it should only be used under the guidance of a qualified practitioner due to the allergenic nature of the anacardic acids.


Dosage must be strictly regulated, starting with a small dose, and gradually increasing as per the capacity of each individual’s digestive power; 250mg–6g per day taken with milk.


  • The tree grows throughout India.
  • Bhallataka refers to its penetrating sharpness and it is likened to a javelin.
  • It must only be used following purification by a specific process that includes being boiled in water, milk, ghee and mixing with jaggery, resulting in amrtabhalla-taka.
  • Prepared properly it is considered to be the king of all rasa-yana substances.
  • It can cause an allergic rash in pitta constitutions. Other signs of toxicity are itching, burning, excess thirst and a reduction in urine.
  • While following a bhallataka regime it is advised that the patient avoid all spices, heat and pittaaggravating activities.

About the author

Dr. Ram Mani Bhandari

Experienced holistic doctor, healer, teacher, and writer
Specialized in Ayurvedic detox (Panchakarma)
Trained in India and Nepal, the original lands of Ayurveda
Graduate in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S.) from the Institute of Medicine at Tribhuwan University in Kathmandu.
Professional member of Australasian Association of Ayurveda (AAA)
Owner of Sunshine Ayurveda

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