Nag Champa

Botanical Name : Michelia champaca
Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia
Species: M. champaca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Magnoliales
Sanskrit Synonyms- Champeya, Champaka, Hemapushpa, Kanchana, Shat Pada, Latika, Phali, Gandhaphali, Gandhaphala, Deepapushpa, Sthirapushpa, Peetapushpa, Hemahva

Common  Names:

English: Plate of flowers and seeds of Magnoli...
English: Plate of flowers and seeds of Magnolia (Michelia) champaca from Flora de Filipinas, Atlas I (Photo credit: WikipediaCommon Names:

English name– Golden champa, Champak
Hindi name– Champa
Kannnada name – Sampige
Telugu name- Sampangi
Tamil name- Sembugam, Shenbagam
Malayalam name – Chenbagam
Bengali name – Sorno champa

Habitat :Cultivated as a sacred plant, the Champaca can be found throughout India, Viet Nam, parts of China, and other tropical lands of Asia.It is found in Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests ecoregions, at elevations of 200–1,600 metres (660–5,250 ft).  It is native to Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. In China it is native to southern Xizang and southern and southwestern Yunnan Provinces

Description:

In its native range Magnolia champaca grows to 50 metres (160 ft) or taller. Its trunk can be up to 1.9 metres (6.2 ft) in diameter. The tree has a narrow umbelliform crown.

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It has strongly fragrant flowers in varying shades of cream to yellow-orange, during June to September. The obovoid-ellipsoid carpels produce 2?4 seeds during September to October.
In India this beautiful and shady evergreen tree is revered, and often planted on the grounds of Hindu Temples or Ashrams. It is considered to be sacred to the Hindu god Vishnu and is traditionally burned for meditation ceremonies.

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Nag Champa has a strong individual smell that cannot be found in any other incense fragrances, generally starting with a potent smell that changes to a cool sweet smell as time passes.

Varieties—hybrids
Magnolia champaca varieties and hybrids include:

*Magnolia (Michelia) champaca var. champaca — Huang lan (yuan bian zhong), in Chinese. To 30 metres (98 ft) tall, documented in China.
*Magnolia (Michelia) champaca var. pubinervia — Mao ye mai huang lan in Chinese. To 50 metres (160 ft) tall or taller, documented in China.
*Magnolia × alba — white-flowered hybrid of Magnolia champaca and Magnolia montana.
*In Thailand, there are other purported hybrids cultivated with other species, including with Magnolia liliifera and Magnolia coco

Cultivation:
Magnolia champaca is cultivated by specialty plant nurseries as an ornamental plant, for its form as an ornamental tree, as a dense screening hedge, and for its fragrant flowers. It is planted in the ground in tropical and in subtropical climate gardens, such as in coastal Southern and Central California. It is planted in containers in cooler temperate climates. It requires full sun and regular watering.

The fragrant flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Its aril-covered seeds are highly attractive to birds.

Medicinal Uses:
Michelia champaca is indicated in
Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Mutrakrichra –Dysuria, urinary retention
Visha – Toxic conditions, poisoning
Krumi – worm infestation
Hrudya – acts as cardiac tonic, congenial for heart
Vatasra – Gout
Daha – Burning sensation
Vrana – Ulcers, wounds
Flower buds are used in treating diabetes

It is also used as purgative, treatment of inflammation, amenorrhoea, cough, dyspepsia.

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Other  different uses : 
Nag Champa Incense is probably the most popular hand rolled incense world-wide! The unique scent is derived primarily from the Champaca flower, (Magnolia Champaca tree), Halmaddi (Ailanthus Malabarica tree) and Sandalwood, along with other resins and herbs.

Nag Champa became popular in modern Western Culture in the 60’s and 70’s when burned at the performances of Dylan, The Grateful Dead, and others. The heady fragrance became part of the concert experience for millions of music fans.

Nag Champa Incense is made with the bright and intoxicating flowers of the Champaca and hand-rolled onto a small stick used as a base.

Fragrance:
The flowers are used in Southeast Asia for several purposes. Especially in India, they are primarily used for worship at temples whether at home or out, and more generally worn in hair by girls and women as a means of beauty ornament as well as a natural perfume. Flowers are used to be floated in bowls of water to scent the room, as a fragrant decoration for bridal beds, and for garlands.

“Magnolia champaca however is more rare and has a strong perfume, and is not that commonly or plentifully used – for example in hair it is worn singly or as a small corsage but rarely as a whole garland, and for bridal beds it is most often jasmine and roses while for bowls of water to be placed around rooms usually other, more colourful for visual decoration and less strongly perfumed flowers are used.”

The tree was traditionally used to make fragrant hair and massage oils. Jean Patou’s famous perfume, ‘Joy,’ the second best selling perfume in the world after Chanel No. 5, is derived in part from the essential oils of champaca flowers. The vernacular name Joy Perfume Tree comes from this. Many niche perfumers are now once again using Champaca Absolute as single note fragrances.

The scent similar to the scent of this plant is said to emit by a civet in Sri Lanka, Paradoxurus montanus. Because all the other civets are known to emit very unpleasant odours, this species is renowned to emit pleasant odour similar to this plant’s scent.

Timber:
In its native India and Southeast Asia, champaca is logged for its valuable timber. It has a finely textured, dark brown and olive-colored wood, which is used in furniture making, construction, and cabinetry.

The species is protected from logging in some provinces of India, especially in the Southwestern region, where certain groves are considered sacred by Hindus and Buddhists

History:
The history of Nag Champa is one rich in tradition. The distinctive and exotic fragrance of Nag Champa was originally manufactured in the Hindu and Buddhist monasteries of India and Nepal. Each monastery had its own secret formula that was revealed to no one outside of the order. When westerners became interested in spiritual enlightenment (in particular members of the ‘Hippie’ movement), many traveled to India where they found Nag Champa and began to spread it across the world. Now, many years later, it is considered one of the most popular incense fragrances. Many people burn Nag Champa for spiritual or meditation purposes. It’s a popular belief that the Nag Champa scent enhances the meditative state and helps create a sacred space. Many people simply burn it for its unique and attractive fragrance.

Research:
Antidiabetic activity of Flower buds – The ethanolic extract of Michelia champaca exhibited significant antihyperglycemic activity but did not produce hypoglycemia in fasted normal rats.
Phytochemical studies of stem bark – reveals presence of triterpinoids, steroids, fatty acid and absence of alkaloids, carbohydrates, Glycosides, Resins, Saponins and tanins.
Characterization of Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Anticancer of seed and flower extracts.

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

Resources:
http://www.sensia.com/nagchampa.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nag_Champa

http://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/michelia_champaca.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnolia_champaca

Michelia champaca Uses, Research, Side Effects

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