Herbs & Plants

Pongamia pinnata

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Botanical Name : Pongamia pinnata
Family: Fabaceae/Leguminosae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Genus: Millettia
Species: M. pinnata
*Cytisus pinnatus L.
*Derris indica (Lam.) Bennet
*Galedupa indica Lam.
*Galedupa pinnata (L.) Taub.
*Pongamia glabra Vent.
*Pongamia mitis Kurz
*Millettia pinnata

Common Names: Pongam Tree, Indian beech, Pongam oiltree, karanj (Hindi), ‘Karach’ (Bengali), Honge (Kannada), Pungai (Tamil), Kanuga (Telugu), Naktamala (Sanskrit)

Habitat : Pongamia pinnata is native in tropical and temperate Asia including parts of India, China, Japan, Malesia, Pacific islands. This species has been introduced to humid tropical lowlands in the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, the Seychelles, the United States and Indonesia. It has also been naturalized in parts of eastern Africa, northern Australia and Florida

The natural distribution of Pongamia Pinnata is along coasts and river banks in India and Myanmar. It has a varied habitat distribution and can grow in a wide range of conditions. Typically it is found in coastal areas, along limestone and rock coral outcrops, along the edges of mangrove forests, tidal streams and rivers. It is hardy and can survive in temperatures from 5 to 50 °C and altitudes from 0 to 1200 m. Due to its deep roots it also has a tolerance for drought and is found in areas with rainfall from 200 to 2500 mm a year. It grows well in both full sun and partial shade and can grow in most soil types. Mature trees can withstand water logging and slight frost.

Pongamia pinnata is a legume tree that grows to about 15–25 metres (50–80 ft) in height with a large canopy which spreads equally wide. It may be deciduous for short periods. It has a straight or crooked trunk, 50–80 centimetres (20–30 in) in diameter, with grey-brown bark which is smooth or vertically fissured. Branches are glabrous with pale stipulate scars. The imparipinnate leaves of the tree alternate and are short-stalked, rounded or cuneate at the base, ovate or oblong along the length, obtuse-acuminate at the apex, and not toothed on the edges. They are a soft, shiny burgundy when young and mature to a glossy, deep green as the season progresses with prominent veins underneath.


Flowering generally starts after 3–4 years with small clusters of white, purple, and pink flowers blossoming throughout the year. The raceme-like inflorescence bear two to four flowers which are strongly fragrant and grow to be 15–18 millimetres (0.59–0.71 in) long. The calyx of the flowers is bell-shaped and truncate, while the corolla is a rounded ovate shape with basal auricles and often with a central blotch of green color.

Croppings of indehiscent pods can occur by 4–6 years. The brown seed pods appear immediately after flowering and mature in 10 to 11 months. The pods are thick-walled, smooth, somewhat flattened and elliptical, but slightly curved with a short, curved point. The pods contain within them one or two bean-like brownish-red seeds, but because they do not split open naturally the pods need to decompose before the seeds can germinate. The seeds are about 1.5–2.5 centimetres (0.59–0.98 in) long with a brittle, oily coat and are unpalatable to herbivores.

Cultivation : propagation:
By their nature Pongamia trees grow vigorously under adverse conditions and can seed prolifically. They are pioneers of degraded and disturbed land, and can proliferate freely in such conditions. The successful introduction and subsequent expansion of plantings of the new oil crop is reliant on the ability to develop simple and reliable methods for the propagation of large numbers of plants. Further, the long-term viability of tree crop species such as Pongamia is dependent on good management practices.

The productive plantation of Pongamia Pinnata needs to be scientifically managed for better growth and production. The growth and yield of the plant could be improved through effective management practices. The enhanced cultivation technology and improved inputs developed by CJP may provide about 4000 liters of biodiesel without displacing food crop and without utilizing prime food land in terms of sustainable farming techniques.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruits and sprouts are used in folk remedies for abdominal tumors in India, the seeds for keloid tumors in Sri Lanka, and a powder derived from the plant for tumors in Vietnam. In sanskritic India, seeds were used for skin ailments. Today the oil is used as a liniment for rheumatism. Leaves are active against Micrococcus; their juice is used for colds, coughs, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, gonorrhea, and leprosy. Roots are used for cleaning gums, teeth, and ulcers. Bark is used internally for bleeding piles. Juices from the plant, as well as the oil, are antiseptic. It is said to be an excellent remedy for itch, herpes, and pityriasis versicolor. Powdered seeds are valued as a febrifuge, tonic and in bronchitis and whooping cough. Flowers are used for diabetes. Bark has been used for beriberi. Juice of the root is used for cleansing foul ulcers and closing fistulous sores. Young shoots have been recommended for rheumatism. Ayurvedic medicine described the root and bark as alexipharmic, anthelmintic, and useful in abdominal enlargement, ascites, biliousness, diseases of the eye, skin, and vagina, itch, piles, splenomegaly, tumors, ulcers, and wounds; the sprouts, considered alexeteric, anthelmintic, apertif, and stomachic, for inflammation, piles and skin diseases; the leaves, anthelmintic, digestive, and laxative, for inflammations, piles and wounds; the flowers for biliousness and diabetes; the fruit and seed for keratitis, piles, urinary discharges, and diseases of the brain, eye, head, and skin, the oil for biliousness, eye ailments, itch, leucoderma, rheumatism, skin diseases, worms, and wounds. Yunani use the ash to strengthen the teeth, the seed, carminative and depurative, for chest complaints, chronic fevers, earache, hydrocele, and lumbago; the oil, styptic and vermifuge, for fever, hepatalgia, leprosy, lumbago, piles, scabies, and ulcers.

Other Uses:
Pongamia Pinnata is one of the few nitrogen fixing trees (NFTS)(The leaves are a good source of green manure and being leguminous, they enrich the soil with nitrogen.) The seeds contain around 30–40% of oil, which has been identified as a source of bio-fuel. The seed oil is an important asset of this tree having been used as lamp oil, in soap making, and as a lubricant for thousands of years. It is often planted as an ornamental and shade tree but CJP has honor to establish this untapped resource as alternative source for Bio- Diesel industry of future.

Juices from the plant, as well as the oil, are antiseptic and resistant to pests.
Known Hazards: All parts of the plant are toxic and will induce nausea and vomiting if eaten.

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.

Herbs & Plants

Gigartina stellata

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Botanical Name : Gigartina stellata

Family: Petrocelidaceae
Genus: Mastocarpus
Species: Mastocarpus stellatus
Domain: Eukaryota
Division: Rhodophyta
kingdom: Plantae
Class: Florideophyceae
Order: Gigartinales

Synonym: Mastocarpus stellatus

Common Names: Clúimhín Cait, Cats’ puff, False Irish moss, Carragheen, Chondrus crispus

Habitat: Chondrus crispus is common all around the shores of Ireland and Great Britain and can also be found along the coast of Europe including Iceland, the Faroe Islands western Baltic Sea to southern Spain. It is found on the Atlantic coasts of Canada and recorded from California in the United States to Japan. However, any distribution outside the Northern Atlantic needs to be verified. There are also other species of the same genus in the Pacific Ocean, for example, C. ocellatus Holmes, C. nipponicus Yendo, C. yendoi Yamada et Mikami, C. pinnulatus (Harvey) Okamura and C. armatus (Harvey) Yamada et Mikami

Chondrus crispus is a relatively small red alga, reaching up to a little over than 20 cm in length. It grows from a discoid holdfast and branches four or five times in a dichotomous, fan-like manner. The morphology is highly variable, especially the broadness of the thalli. The branches are 2–15 mm broad, firm in texture and dark reddish brown in color bleaching to yellowish in sunlight. The gametophytes (see below) often show a blue iridescence at the tip of the fronds and fertile sporophytes show a spotty pattern. Mastocarpus stellatus (Stackhouse) Guiry is a similar species which can be readily distinguished by its strongly channelled and often somewhat twisted thallus. The cystocarpic plants of Mastocarpus show reproductive papillae[clarification needed] quite distinctively different from Chondrus. When washed and sun-dried for preservation, it has a yellowish, translucent, horn-like aspect and consistency.


Medicinal Uses:
Because of its mucus forming properties, carrageenan has been used in lung diseases and to improve bitter drug taste. Carrageenan has also been used in cases of digestive tract irritations and in diarrhea and dysentery. In France and Great Britain, carrageenan has been used to treat stomach ulcers due to its mucous properties. When used against ulcers, the body has no necessity to gastrointestinally absorb carrageenan, so that carrageenan acts directly on the mucous surface. Codfish liver oil emulsions have been prepared with carrageenans. Cotton-wood soaked in carrageenan decoction has been used as cataplasm.

Medicinally it is useful in chest and bronchial infections, as well as in the treatment of stomach ulcers and diseases of the bladder and kidneys. A syrup to combat coughs and colds can be made by adding ? cup of rinsed carragheen moss and the thinly pared rind and juice of 2 lemons to 6 cups of water. Boil the mixture for 10 minutes, add a dessertspoonful of honey and simmer for a further 10 minutes before straining. Serve the syrup hot or cold.

It is collected in Ireland and Scotland, together with Chondrus crispus as Irish moss, dried, and sold for cooking and as the basis for a drink reputed to ward off colds and flu.

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.

Herbs & Plants

Cypripedium calceolus pubescens

Botanical Name: Cypripedium calceolus pubescens
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Cypripedioideae
Genus: Cypripedium
Species: C. calceolus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: C. flavescens. C. pubescens. Willd. C. parviflorum pubescens.

Common Names: Nerve Root , Lady’s-slipper orchid, Yellow lady’s slipper, Moccasin flower, or Hairy yellow ladyslipper

Habitat :Cypripedium calceolus pubescens occurs in N. America to E. Asia – Japan. It grows in rich woods and meadows. Mesic deciduous and coniferous forest, openings, thickets, prairies, meadows and fens at elevations of 0 – 2900 metres

Cypripedium calceolus pubescens is a perennial orchid plant. It is 1–2½’ tall and usually unbranched. The central stem is round in circumference, rather stout, and densely covered with hair. Three or more leaves alternate along this stem. These leaves are up to 6″ long and 4″ across; they are oval-ovate to ovate, smooth along their margins, and pubescent. Parallel veins are readily observable along the upper surface of each leaf. The base of each leaf clasps the stem. The color of the foliage can vary from dark green to yellowish green, depending on growing conditions and the maturity of the plant. The central stem terminates in 1 or 2 flowers. Each flower is held above the foliage on a long stalk that has a single leafy bract behind the flower. This bract resembles the leaves, but it is smaller in size and lanceolate in shape. Like other orchids, each flower has 3 petals and 3 sepals. However, because two of these sepals are fused together, there appears to be only 2 sepals.

The lower petal is in the shape of a slipper or a pouch with an opening on top; it is bright yellow, shiny, and 1½–2″ in length. Within the interior of this petal, there are frequently reddish brown dots. The 2 lateral petals are very narrow, more or less twisted, and 2–3½” in length. These 2 petals vary in color from greenish yellow to brownish purple and they have fine veins running from their bases to their tips. The sepals form an upper hood and a lower hood. They are broader and shorter than the lateral petals, otherwise their appearance is similar. Both the lateral petals and sepals are more or less pubescent. The reproductive organs are located toward the posterior of the slipper-like lower petal. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer and lasts about 3 weeks. There is usually no noticeable floral scent. If a flower is successfully pollinated by insects (often this doesn’t occur), it will form a seedpod. When this seedpod splits open, the fine seeds are easily carried aloft by the wind. The root system consists of a tuft of fleshy fibrous roots. When several plants occur together, they are often clonal offsets of the mother plant.
Succeeds in shade or full sun so long as there is adequate moisture. Grows well in a woodland garden. Plants are best grown on a north or north-west aspect in order to slow down early growth. Requires a humus rich soil with plenty of moisture in the growing season, it also succeeds in chalky soils. Must not be planted too deeply. A very ornamental plant it is long-lived when once established, though it is very difficult to establish a plant. The flowers have a soft, rose-like aroma. Plants are growing very well at the Savill Gardens in Windsor. This plant is becoming very rare in the wild due to overcollecting for medicinal usage. Reports that the plant is cultivated for its medicinal uses are largely spurious and, unless you can be certain that the root has come from a cultivated source, it is best not to use this plant medicinally but to use suitable substitutes such as Scutellaria laterifolia and Lavendula angustifolia. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid.
Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division with care in early spring, the plants resent disturbance. Remove part of the original rootball with the soil intact. Division is best carried out towards the end of the growing season, since food reserves are fairly evenly distributed through the rhizome. Small divisions of a lead and two buds, or divisions from the back (older) part of the rhizome without any developed buds, establish quickly using this method. Replant immediately in situ.

Medicinal Uses:

Antidiarrhoeal; Antispasmodic; Diaphoretic; Hypnotic; Nervine; Sedative; Tonic.

Nerve root has a high reputation for its sedative and relaxing effect on the nervous system. The root is a pungent bitter-sweet herb with an unpleasant odour. It was much used by the North American Indians who used it as a sedative and antispasmodic to ease menstrual and labour pains and to counter insomnia and nervous tension. The root is antispasmodic, diaphoretic, hypnotic, nervine, sedative, tonic. It is taken internally in the treatment of anxiety, nervous tension, insomnia, depression and tension headaches. The active ingredients are not water soluble and so the root is best taken in the form of a tincture. The plant is said to be the equivalent of Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) in its effect as a nervine and sedative, though it is less powerful. Another report says that its restorative effect appears to be more positive than that of valerian. The roots are harvested in the autumn and are dried for later use. In the interests of conservation, it is best not to use this herb unless you can be certain it was obtained from a cultivated source – see the notes above under cultivation details.

Lady’s slipper used to be a specific remedy to overcome depression, mental anxiety, and troubled sleep.  It was often recommended for women for both emotional and physical imbalances relating to menopause or menstruation, such as nervous tension, headaches, or cramps.  Lady’s slipper is said to increase nervous tone after a long disease and to relax nervous muscle twitches.  It is almost always given as an alcoholic tincture, since some constituents are not water-soluble.  Lady’s slipper is often compared to valerian, although valerian doesn’t create the uncomfortable side effects.

Known Hazards : Contact with the fresh plant can cause dermatitis in sensitive people. Large doses can cause hallucinations. Large doses may result in dizziness, restlessness, headaches, mental excitement and visual hallucinations. Avoid with allergies. Avoid during pregnancy.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Millingtonia hortensis

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Botanical Name :Millingtonia hortensis
Genus: MillingtoniaL.f.
Species: M. hortensis
Order: Lamiales

Common Names:Tree Jasmine or Indian Cork Tree.It is known as Akash Mallige in Kannada, Akash Malli or Mara Malli in Tamil, Kavuki in Telugu, Pip in Thai: and Mini Chameli in Hindi, Akash Mallee in Oriya and Akash Neem in bengal.

Habitat :Millingtonia hortensis is a tree native to South East Asia.

The tree grows to height of between 18 to 25 metres and has a spread of 7 to 11 metres. It reaches maturity between 6 to 8 years of age and lives for up to 40 years. It is a versatile tree which can grow in various soil types and climates with a preference for moist climates.

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Stem:The tree is evergreen and has an elongated pyramidal stem. The soft, yellowish-white wood is brittle and can break under strong gusts of wind.

Leaf: The leaf is imparipinnate and resembles that of the neem. Leaves are prone to attack by Acherontia styx and Hyblaea puera.

Flower: The tree flowers twice a year and the white flowers come as large panicles which emit a pleasant fragrance. They are bisexual and zygomorphic. The bell-shaped sepals of the flower have five small lobes. The flower has four stamens with parallel anthers unlike in most other plants of this family where the anthers are divergent. The corolla is a long tube with five lobes.

Fruit and seed : The fruit is a smooth flat capsule and is partitioned into two. It contains broad-winged seeds. The fruits are fed on by birds which aid in seed dispersal. In cultivation, the viability of seeds is low unless they are sown immediately after the fruit ripens, so the plant is generally propagated through cuttings.

Medicinal Uses:
Dried flower: smoke for treatment of asthma. Root: lung tonic, antiasthmatic; volatile active constitu­ent hispidulin, exhibits better bronchodilatic effect than aminophylline. No toxicity found.

Antifungal activities of different extracts of Millingtonia hortensis were investigated against various fungal pathogens. Methanol extract was found to have stronger activity than fluconazole against yeast like fungi: 4 fold against Candida krusei with 4 µg/ml minimal inhibitory concentration and 2 fold (MIC- 2 µg/ml) against Sacharomyces cerevisiae , though it showed the same activity as fluconazole against Candida glabrata . Aqueous extract also exhibited 4 fold stronger activity against Candida krusei (MIC- 4 µg/ml) and 4 fold (MIC; 2 µg/ml) against Sacharomyces cerevisiae . Chloroform and ethyl acetate extract showed lower activities against all fungal pathogens except for Candida krusei, compared with the standard. Against the filamentous fungus, Trichosporon cutaneum , all extracts showed less activity than the standard.

Other Uses:
The tree is considered ornamental and the pleasant fragrance of the flowers renders it ideal as a garden tree. The wood is also used as timber and the bark is used as an inferior substitute for cork. The leaves are also used as a cheap substitute for tobacco in cigarettes.Its flowers are used in the rituals. Its bark is used to produce yellow dye.

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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Herbs & Plants

Kanchanara(Bauhinia variegata)

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Botanical Name : Bauhinia variegata
Family : Caesalpiniaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Fabales
Tribe: Cercideae
Genus: Bauhinia
Species: B. variegata
Parts Used: Bark, root, leaves, flowers, seed, gum
Common names: Orchid tree and Mountain-ebony.

vernacular Name: Sans-kanchanara ,Hind – kancanar ,

Habitat: Bauhinia variegata is native to southeastern Asia, from southern China west to India. It grows  on  Open valleys with good loamy soil at elevations of 150 – 1800 metres

Description:Bauhinia variegata is a species of flowering plant.It is a small to medium-sized  deciduous tree growing to 10-12 m tall, deciduous in the dry season. The leaves are 10-20 cm long and broad, rounded, and bilobed at the base and apex. The flowers are conspicuous, bright pink or white, 8-12 cm diameter, with five petals. The fruit is a pod 15-30 cm long, containing several seeds.
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This is a very popular ornamental tree in subtropical and tropical climates, grown for its scented flowers. In the Neotropics, it can be used to attract hummingbirds – such as Sapphire-spangled Emerald (Amazilia lactea), Glittering-bellied Emerald (Chlorostilbon lucidus), or White-throated Hummingbird (Leucochloris albicollis) – into gardens and parks. On the other hand, in some areas it has become naturalised and invasive.

Prefers a fertile, moisture-retentive but well-drained soil, requiring a warm sheltered position in full sun. When grown in warm Temperate zones, this species can withstand short periods of temperatures as low as -5°c. In Britain, it is only likely to succeed outdoors in the very mildest parts of the country, and even then would probably require the protection of a south-facing wall. There are some cultivars, developed for their ornamental value. 243034

Propagation: Seeds germinate readily. Orchid tree also can be propagated from cuttings of semiripe wood taken in summer and rooted over bottom heat. Branches can be induced to grow roots if they are layered, either by burying a section in the ground, or scarring a small section and then wrapping it with damp sphagnum moss and enclosing in a plastic bag. The tree sometimes produces suckers which can be dug up and replanted.

Edible Uses:  The young leaves, flowers and fruits are boiled and eaten as a vegetable, or are pickled.

Medicinal  Uses:


Bark-alterative, tonic



Medicinally  it is used in :-
*bleeding hemorrhoids
*skin diseases
*sore throat
As per Ayurveda this plant is useful in haematuria and menorrhagia. Decoction of the roots prevents obesity. Bark preparations used in scrofuluous tumors.

The roots and bark are astringent, acrid, cooling, constipating, depurative, anthelmintic, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory and styptic. They are useful in vitiated conditions of pitta and kapha, diarrhoea, dysentery, skin diseases, leprosy, intestinal worms, tumours, wounds, ulcers, inflammations, scrofula, proctoptosis, hacmorrhoids, haemoptysis, cough, menorrhagia and diabetes.

These are two varieties red and white .The bark of both is tonic astringent

1.  The red flowered variety—the bark is acrid, cooling, laxative, appetising, astringent to bowels in some doses; cures biliousness, “kapha” and” vata “, ulcers, tuberculous glands, leprosy.-

The flowers are acrid, dry, sweet; cooling, astringent, galactagogue; cure diseases of the blood, bronchitis, consumption, vaginal discharges, biliousness, headache, “tridosha”.-

2. Whiteflowered variety:- The bark is acrid, sweet; appetising, cooling, astringent to the bowels; cures biliousness, “ka pha “, leucoderma, anal troubles, tuberculous glands, cough, asthma, diseases of the blood, ulcers, vaginal discharges; anthelmintic; used in strangury, thirst, burning sensation .

The bark is astringent to the bowels, tonic to the liver, cures bilousness, leucoderma, leprosy, dysmenorrhrea, menorrhagia impurities of the blood, tuberculous glands, asthma, wounds and ulcers; used as a gargle in stomatitis.-

The buds are acrid; indigestible; used in piles, cough, eye diseases, liver complaints; astringent to the bowels, styptic in hrematuria and menorrhagia

The juice of the fresh bark with the juice of the flowers of Strobilanthes citrata, 10 tolas of each, is given as an expectorant, and the bark ‘is used with ginger as an internal remedy for scrofula.

The root in decoction is given in dyspepsia and flatulency; the flowers with sugar as a gentle laxative; and the bark, flowers, root triturated in rice water as a cataplasm to promote suppuration.

The dried buds are used in piles and dysentery. They are considered cool and astringent, and are useful in diarrhoea and worms.

Other Uses: A popular ornamental in subtropical and tropical regions. Often seen as a street tree. The bark is a source of tannins. It is used for dyeing. Wood – used for house construction and making household implements.

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.


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