Cassia fistula

Botanical Name : Cassia fistula
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Cassia
Species: C. fistula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names :Cassia Poda,Golden shower tree

Habitat :Cassia fistula is native to southern Asia, from southern Pakistan east through India to Myanmar and south to Sri Lanka. It is associated with the Mullai region of Sangam landscape. It is the national tree of Thailand, and its flower is Thailand’s national flower. It is also state flower of Kerala in India and of immense importance amongst Malayali population.

Description:
The golden shower tree is a medium-sized tree, growing to 10–20 m (33–66 ft) tall with fast growth. The leaves are deciduous, 15–60 cm (6–24 in) long, pinnate with 3–8 pairs of leaflets, each leaflet 7–21 cm (3–8 inches) long and 4–9 cm (1.5–3.5 in) broad. The flowers are produced in pendulous racemes 20–40 cm (8–15 in) long, each flower 4–7 cm diameter with five yellow petals of equal size and shape. The fruit is a legume, 30–60 cm (12–23 in) long and 1.5–2.5 cm (0.5–1 in) broad, with a pungent odor and containing several seeds. The seeds are poisonous.  The tree has strong and very durable wood, and has been used to construct “Ahala Kanuwa”, a place at Adams Peak, Sri Lanka, which is made of Cassia fistula (“ahala”, “Ehela” or aehaela,  in Sinhala ) heartwood.

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Cultivation:
A flower in Chandigarh, IndiaCassia fistula is widely grown as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical areas. It blooms in late spring. Flowering is profuse, with trees being covered with yellow flowers, many times with almost no leaf being seen. It will grow well in dry climates. Growth for this tree is best in full sun on well-drained soil; it is relatively drought tolerant and slightly salt tolerant. It will tolerate light brief frost, but can get damaged if frost persists. It can be subject to mildew or leaf spot, especially during the second half of the growing season. The tree will bloom better where there is pronounced difference between summer and winter temperatures

Medicinal Uses:
In Ayurvedic medicine, golden shower tree is known as aragvadha, meaning “disease killer”. The root is considered a very strong purgative, and self-medication or any use without medical supervision is strongly advised against in Ayurvedic texts.

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Though its use in herbalism has been attested to for millennia, there has been rather little research in modern times. The purgative action is probably due to abundant 1,8-dihydroxyanthraquinone and derivatives thereof. Many Fabaceae are a source of potent entheogens and other psychoactive compounds, e.g. tryptamines; such plants are rarely found among the Caesalpinioideae. There is also a rare case of it being used for anal autoeroticism.

The plants are used in folk remedies for tumors of the abdomen, glands, liver, stomach, and throat, cancer, carcinomata, and impostumes of the uterus. Reported to be aperient, astringent, laxative, purgative, and vermifuge, Indian laburnum is a folk remedy for burns, cancer, constipation, convulsions, delirium, diarrhea, dysuria, epilepsy, gravel, hematuria, pimples, and glandular tumors. Yunani use the leaves for inflammation, the flowers for a purgative, the fruit as antiinflammatory, antipyretic, abortifacient, demulcent, purgative, refrigerant, good for chest complaints, eye ailments, flu, heart and liver ailments, and rheumatism, though suspected of inducing asthma. Seeds are considered emetic. Konkanese use the juice to alleviate ringworm and blisters caused by the marking nut, a relative of poison ivy. Leaf poultices are applied to chilblains and also used in facial massage for brain afflictions, and applied externally for paralysis and rheumatism, also for gout. Rhodesians use the pulp for anthrax, blood poisoning, blackwater fever, dysentery, and malaria. Gold Coast natives use the pulp from around the seed as a safe and useful purgative. Throughout the Far East, the uncooked pulp of the pods is a popular remedy for constipation, thought to be good for the kidneys “as those who use it much remain free of kidney stones.  A decoction of the root bark is recommended for cleansing wounds. In the West Indies, the pulp and/or leaves are poulticed onto inflamed viscera, e.g. the liver. The bark and leaves are used for skin diseases: flowers used for fever, root as a diuretic, febrifuge; for gout and rheumatism.

Ayurvedic medicine describes the fresh sweet pulp enclosing the labornum’s seed pods as an effective remedy for colic, while the matured pulp is used to make a gentle laxative, safe for children and pregnant women. The seed is recognized as antibilious, aperitif, carminative, and laxative.  Externally, the bark and leaves are ground into a paste for chronic skin infections.  Distillations from the flowers, and decoctions made from the powdered root are given for heart diseases to enlarge the capillaries in the circulatory system.  In clinical tests, its leaves, stem bark, and fruit pulp were all found to have antibacterial properties.  The root showed antifungal activity and used for adenopathy, burning sensations, leprosy, skin diseases, syphilis, and tubercular glands, The essential oils extracted from various parts of the tree showed antiviral properties.  The leaves were used for erysipelas, malaria, rheumatism, and ulcers, the buds for biliousness, constipation, fever, leprosy, and skin disease, the fruit for abdominal pain, constipation, fever, heart disease, and leprosy. It is used in a gentle, fruit-flavored laxative, usually put up with other laxatives as a compound

In 1998 researchers in India began to focus on the use of cassia pods to protect the liver.  In a study, rats given an extract of he leaf suffered less liver damage from a dose of carbon tetrachloride than rats that did not receive the extract.  The effect of cassia to reduce the damage was similar to what was observed I the use of commercially prepared drugs prescribed to treat liver problems, according to the study.

Other Uses:
It is a popular ornamental plant and is an herbal medicine.

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/Cassia_fistula
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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