Raktchandan(Pterocarpus santalinus)

Botanical Name : Pterocarpus santalinus
Family Name: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Tribe: Dalbergieae
Genus: Pterocarpus
Species: P. santalinus

Synonyms:  Pterocarpi Lignum. Santalum rubrum. Lignum rubrum. Red Sandalwood. Rubywood. Rasura Santalum Ligni. Red Santal Wood. Sappan.

Vernacular Names:Erra Chandanam,  Sans: Hind: Raktachandana; Eng : Red sandalwood…..Bengali:Raktchandan

Habitat: Native to India. It is only found in south India in Cuddhpah and Chittoore on the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh border.

Description: Pterocarpus santalinus is a deciduous tree.It is a light-demanding small tree growing to 8 m tall with a trunk 50–150 cm diameter. It is fast-growing when young, reaching 5 m tall in three years even on degraded soils. It is not frost tolerant, being killed by temperatures of -1 °C. The leaves are alternate, 3–9 cm long, trifoliate with three leaflets. The flowers are produced in short racemes. The fruit is a pod 6–9 cm long containing one or two seeds


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Bark deeply cleft into rectangular plates, wood dark-red. Leaves 3-foliolate. Leaflets ovate, rounded at both ends, slightly emarginated, appressed.  Grey hairy below. Flowers yellow in axillary and terminal racemes.  Standard ovate. Pod suborbicular, style brought near to the basal corner, narrowly winged, 1-seeded. Blooms once in a year during dry season from late March to late May.

Uses
The wood has historically been valued in China, particularly during the Ming and Qing periods, referred to in Chinese as zitan  and spelt tzu-t’an by earlier western authors such Gustav Ecke, who introduced classical Chinese furniture to the west . It has been one of the most prized woods for millennia .King Solomon was given tribute logs of Almug in Sanskrit valgu, valgum by the Queen of Sheba Due to its slow growth and rarity, furniture made from zitan is difficult to find and can be expensive. Between the 17th and 19th centuries in China the rarity of this wood led to the reservation of zitan furniture for the Qing dynasty imperial household. Chandan, the Indian word for Red Sandalwood which is Tzu-t’an, are linked by etymology. The word tan in Chinese is a perfect homonym of “tan”, meaning cinnabar, vermillion and the cognition is suggested by the interchange of chan for oriflamme, the vermilion ensign of the ancients. Chinese traders would have been familiar with Chandan. Tzu-t’an then is the ancient Chinese interpretation for the Indian word chandan for red sandalwood.

The other form of zitan is from the species Dalbergia luovelii, Dalbergia maritima, and Dalbergia normandi, all similar species named in trade as bois de rose or violet rosewood which when cut are bright crimson purple changing to dark purple again. It has a fragrant scent when worked.

Chemical Compounds Identified:-

*The red wood yields a natural dye santalin.

*Ether, alkalis, and three other crystalline principles Santal, Pterocarpin, and Homopterocarpin, small quantity of tannin, probably kino-tannic acid, has also been found in the wood.

*Heart wood is known to possess isoflavone glucosidessavinin, calocedrin, triterpene, isoflavone glucosides1-3 , lignan viz., savinin and calocedrin4 & triterpene

Medicinal  Uses:-

*A decoction of the fruit is used as an astringent tonic in chronic dysentry. An infusion of the wood is used in the control of diabetes.6-8

*The wood of P. santalinus is considered astringent, tonic and diaphoretic.

*A paste of the wood is used to give cooling effect, applied externally for inflammations and head-ache.

*It is useful in bilious affections and skin diseases.

*The wood is bitter in taste with a flavour, anhelmintic,aphrodisiac, alexiteric useful in vomiting, thirst, eye diseases, cures diseases of the blood ,vata and kapha , mental aberrations and ulcers.

*The wood is in treating headache, skin diseases, fever, boils, scorpion sting and to improve sight.9

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*The wood and fruit is used in treating diaphoretics, bilious infections and chronic dysentry.6

*Heart wood is known to possess isoflavone glucosidessavinin, calocedrin and triterpene.

*The lignan isolated from the heartwood is known to inhibit tumor necrosis factor , alpha production and T-cell proliferation.

*The heart wood contains isoflavone glucosides1-3 and two anti-tumour lignans, viz., savinin and calocedrin.

*A triterpene is reported from the callus of stem cuttings.

*Ethanol extract of stem bark at 0.25 g/kg body weight was reported to possess anti-hyperglycaemic activity.

*The stem bark extract was shown to contain maximum activity against Enterobacter aerogenes, Alcaligenes faecalis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris, Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus.

*The leaf extract showed maximum activity against Escherichia coli, Alcaligenes faecalis, Enterobacter aerogenes and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

*The ethanol extract of Pterocarpus santalinus L.f. (Fabaceae) at dose of 50-250 mg/kg showed gastroprotective effect in reserpine-induced, pyloric-ligated experimental rats.

Parts used- heart wood, fruits.
It is extremely sheeta (sheelaveerya), tikta; beneficial in opthalmia, dyscrasia, mental diseases, deranged pilla, kapha, cough, fever, vertigo, worms, vomiting and thirst.

Therapeutic uses,
Wood as decoction, tonic, astringent, beneficial in fever, dysentery and haemorrhage, applied externally in the form of paste in headache, inflammations, boils, piles and in opthalmia.

The wood is bitter with a flavour; very cooling; antipyretic, anthelmintic, tonic, aphrodisiac, alexiteric; useful in vomiting, thirst, eye diseases; cures diseases of the blood, .. vata” and” kapha ” biliousness, mental aberrations, ulcers .

*The wood is bitter with a bad taste; inferior to white sandalwood; good for topical application only; if given by mouth causes coughing with expectoration; useful in fever, inflammation, trouble of the head and neck. toothache; cures hemicrania-

*The seeds stop haemorrhage of the urethra; useful in dysentery .

*Red sandalwood is considered astringent, tonic, and is used as a cooling external_ application for inflammation and headache.

*It is a home remedy, useful in bilious affections and skin diseases, also in fever, boils, and to strengthen the sight. It also acts as a diaphoretic, and is applied to the forehead in headache.

*The wood, rubbed up with water.is advantageously employed as a wash in superficial excoriation of the genital organs.

*A decoction of the legume is useful as an a:stringent tonic in
chronic dysentery, after separation of the slough.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterocarpus_santalinus

http://svimstpt.ap.nic.in/MedicinalPlants/pterocarpus%20santalinus.htm

http://www.ayurvedakalamandiram.com/herbs.htm#raktachandana

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