Herbs & Plants

Crataeva religiosa

Botanical Name: Crataeva religiosa
Family: Capparaceae
Order: Brassicales
Genus: Crateva
Species: C. religiosa

Synonyms: Crataeva religiosa

Common Names:Sacred barma , Sacred garlic pear or Temple plant

Habitat: Crataeva religiosa is native to much of tropical Asia and several South Pacific islands. It is grown elsewhere for fruit, especially in parts of the African continent.

It grows in the E. Asia – China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, Australia, Pacific Isles.

Roadsides and fields at elevations below 200 metres in southern China. Found in periodically inundated forest, usually below 100 metres, but also occurring up to 700 metres. Humid river valleys, open monsoon fores.

Crataeva religiosa is a perennial slow-growing, briefly deciduous small tree, that can grow up to 15 m (49 ft), with a much-branched crown of glossy foliage. The nectar-filled flowers are attractive to a multitude of insects and birds. A pierid butterfly, Hebomoia glaucippe, is a frequent visitor to this plant.
The bark is much used as a medicine in India, the dried flowers in China.


Succeeds in the tropics and subtropics. Grows best in a rich, slightly acid soil. Prefers a position in full sun or light shade. Established plants are moderately drought tolerant. The flowers are curiously garlic-scented.

Through Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe.
Cuttings of half ripe wood.

Edible Uses:
Leaves and young shoots – cooked and eaten as a vegetable. A spinach substitute. The fruit is occasionally eaten, usually roasted.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark is laxative and also stimulates the appetite.
The juice from the bitter stem bark or root is used in decoction as a laxative against colic and as a febrifuge.
The bark and the leaves are pounded and applied as a poultice against rheumatism.
The leaves are heated and applied to treat earache.

The flower is considered to be astringent and cholagogue. The pickled flowers are stomachic.
The dried fruit is used medicinally.

Other Uses:
Often gathered from the wild for its various uses, the tree is also commonly grown near temples and graves in India, where it is considered to be a sacred tree.
The pulp of the fruit, mixed with mortar, has been used to make cement.

The fruit pulp is used as a mordant in dyeing.

The wood is yellowish-white, turning light brown when old. It is smooth and close-grained. It works easily, and is used in local villages to make drums and artefacts. Crataeva religiosa is also cultivated as an ornamental, being especially valued for its flowers.

Known Hazards: The fruit is said to be poisonous.

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.


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