Oleander (Cascabela thevetia) description & medicinal value


The common name of Cascabela thevetia is Ashvaghna or lucky bean. It is a large evergreen shrub that belongs to the family Apocynaceae. This plant is native to Mexico, Central America, and Tropical South America (1). The following article is about Oleander (Cascabela thevetia) benefits.

Oleander (Cascabela thevetia) is a large evergreen poisonous shrub that grows at a height of 6 meters. The leaves of this plant are alternate, glabrous, simple, and narrow at both ends.

Botanical description

Oleander (Cascabela thevetia) flower



6 meters


Bright yellow or pinkish yellow, mildly scented, terminal cymes. Last only for less than one day.


Triangular and laterally compressed, fleshy with 2-4 seeds.

Plant type

Ornamental flowers and ornamental foliage.

Care and propagation

This plant Oleander (Cascabela thevetia) needs good sunlight with little water. The care of this plant is quite easy and propagation is mainly via stem cutting.

It requires dry soil mostly used for hedges and screening or flowerbeds.

Ethnobotanical uses

This plant is widely used as an ornamental garden plant. The roots of this plant are mainly used in many Ayurvedic drugs.

As this plant is poisonous in nature but can be used as a powerful cardiac tonic when used carefully.

Other medicinal properties of this plant are that it is bitter, astringent, carminative, and anthelmintic in nature. The extracts of Oleander (Cascabela thevetia) can be used as an external application for treating ailments like ulcers, leprosy, and skin diseases.

Seed bark is used for treating malaria fever, snake bite, intermittent fever, and sores. Seeds are abortifacients, as a purgative when treating rheumatism and dropsy.

Fruits are used as an ointment and liniments.

Roots are made into plaster and are applied to relieve tumors.

Leaves are used in treating jaundice, fever, intestinal worm, eye drops and nose drops, and colds (2).

The seed kernels act as a poison thus when mashed with soap can be used as an insecticide. The latex of the plant is used on wounds. Although the milky juice is poisonous thus be careful while using it.

Compounds present in Oleander

The seed kernels are rich in cardioactive glycosides like Thevetin and triosides like aglycone. The main component thevetin is a mixture of two trioside namely Thevetin A and Thevetin B (cereberoside).

Besides this, the seed also contains a small quantity of other important medicinal compounds like theveside, viridoside, and perusitin (2).

Oleander (Cascabela thevetia) benefits

1. Antimicrobial activity

The leaves and seeds of the plant Oleander possess antimicrobial activity against a wide array of microorganisms. The oil extract of this plant is used in paint to make an effective coating against E. coli and other disease-causing organisms (2).

2. Antidiabeic acivity

Studies on the animal models show the in vitro anti-diabetic activity of the bark extract of the plant Oleander.

3. Antifertility activity

Antifertility activity of the stem bark extract was observed in animal models. It was observed that 100 mg/day reduces not only the body weight of the animal model but also significantly reduces the sizes of the reproductive organs (3).

4. Antitumor activity

The fruits of the plant oleander show anti-tumor activity. It was proven that when the extracts were given to the albino mice with tumors, the weight and viable cell count drastically decrease (5).

Thus the plant Oleander (Cascabela thevetia) is not only a good plant that we can use as a garden plant for fencing and for ornamental purposes but also this plant is having potent medicinal value.

Pest issues

This plant is having no serious insect or disease problems. Sometimes may be attacked by mealybugs, aphids, and scales. Or a caterpillar can chew its foliage. Just cut or remove the affected portion.


The fruits and seeds and the sap of the plant Oleander (Cascabela thevetia) are poisonous. Thus keep it away from children and pets.


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