Herbs & Plants

Siuli/Shephali(Nyctonthes arbortristis)

Botanical name – Nyctonthes arbortristis
Family: Oleaceae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Nyctanthes
Species: N. arbor-tristis

Names and symbolism:
Nyctanthes arbor-tristis (sometimes incorrectly cited as Nyctanthes arbortristis or Nyctanthes arbor tristis) is commonly known as
Night-flowering Jasmine, Coral Jasmine Parijat (also spelled Paarijat or Paarijaata,Harsinghar, Shephali
Maramalli or Pavazha malli in Tamil (Also spelled pavaza malli or pavala malli)
Parts used : Flowers, Leaves, seeds,
Habitat : Cultivated in gardens in India,Bangla Desh, Burma, Sri Lanka,Nepal, Pakisthan & Thailand.

It is a shrub or a small tree growing to 10 m tall, with flaky grey bark. The leaves are opposite, simple, 6-12 cm long and 2-6.5 cm broad, with an entire margin. The flowers are fragrant, with a five- to eight-lobed white corolla with an orange-red centre; they are produced in clusters of two to seven together, with individual flowers opening at dusk and finishing at dawn. The fruit is a flat brown heart-shaped to round capsule 2 cm diameter, with two sections each containing a single .

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The tree is sometimes called the “tree of sorrow”, because the flowers lose their brightness during daytime; the scientific name arbor-tristis also means “sad tree”. The flowers can be used as a source of yellow dye for clothing. The flower is the official flower of the state of West Bengal, India, and for Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand.

Parijat appears in several Hindu myths. In one myth, Parijat appeared as the result of the Churning of the Milky Ocean. In another myth, Parijat was brought to earth by Krishna from Indra’s garden.

In Hindu mythology, there is a story involving Lord Krishna about a parijat and Krishna’s two wives, Satyabhama and Rukmini. Satyabhama wanted this “Parijat” tree from the Heaven to be planted in her garden. Rukmini too, took a fancy to the flower. Krishna, wanting to keep both his wives happy, planted this tree so that the flowers fell in Rukmini’s garden while the tree remained in Satyabhama’s garden.

The tree was planted in the garden of Indra, the Lord of Heavens. Even as Krishna stole a branch of the tree he was spotted by Indra. However Indra desisted from placing a curse on Krisha since he was an incarnation of Vishnu. Still, Indra put forth a curse on the stolen branch that it will never bear fruits even as the flowers may bloom on the tree. Since the day the tree planted at Barabanki does flower but can not reproduce meaning it does not have seeds and the branch also does not take root.

The seeds, flowers and leaves possesses immunostimulant, hepatoprotective, antileishmanial, antiviral and antifungal activities.

Immunostimulant activity of Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L.(Siuli ).Medicinal & other Uses
The leaves are antibacterial, antiinflammatory and anthelmintic. Further, a dye extracted from the corolla tube is used to lend colour to Tussore Silk. The flowers are bitter astringent, opthalmic, stomachic and carminative. It is an expectorant, bitter and tonic, febrifuge, and mild purgative. It is used in bilious and obstinate remittent fever, sciatica, and rheumatism. It is also very useful in constipation of children.Shiuli’s extracts are used in ayurvedic remedies for common cold and feverThe leaves have been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat sciatica, arthritis, fevers, various painful conditions and as laxative.These flowers bloom in the night, spreading their wonderful mild fragrance around and early in the morning you’ll find them strewn below the tree in thousands, like a carpet of flowers. It’s a scene to behold !! The stem of the flower give a lovely orange colour and as kids we used to dye our dolls’ clothes with these stems.
These flowers and it’s fragrance always makes me nostalgic.

Click to see :Ayurvedic medicines from Shiuli

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


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