Botanical Name: Cedrus deodara
Species: C. deodara
Synonym(s): Cedrus libani Barrel, Pinus deodara Rxb.
Common Name: Deodar Cedar, Himalayan Cedar, or Deodar; Hindi, Sanskrit: devadaru; Chinese: xue song.
The specific epithet and English vernacular name derive from the Sanskrit devad?ru, “wood of the gods”, a compound of deva (god) and daru (wood).
Parts used: Heartwood, bark, leaves and oil.
Habitat: Native to the western Himalayas in eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, north-central India (Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand states,Kashmir, southwesternmost Tibet and western Nepal, occurring at 1500-3200 m altitude.
Cultural importance in the Indian subcontinent:
It is worshipped as a divine tree in the Indian subcontinent, particularly in Kashmir and Punjab villages, as the name deodar, a Sanskrit word, (Sanskrit: devdar), which means, “divine wood”. The first half of the word deva means the words divine, deity, deus, and Zeus and the second part connotes durum, druid, tree, and true. Several Hindu legends refer to this tree.
Forests full of Devadaru trees were the favorite abode or living place of ancient Indian sages and their families who were devoted to Hindu god Shiva for whom they performed very difficult tapasya (meditation) to please him.
It is the national tree of Pakistan.
It is a large evergreen coniferous tree reaching 40-50 m tall, exceptionally 60 m, with a trunk up to 3 m diameter. It has a conic crown with level branches and drooping branchlets.Dioecious trees are very rare.
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The leaves are needle-like, mostly 2.5-5 cm long, occasionally up to 7 cm long, slender (1 mm thick), borne singly on long shoots, and in dense clusters of 20-30 on short shoots; they vary from bright green to glaucous blue-green in colour. The female cones are barrel-shaped, 7-13 cm long and 5-9 cm broad, and disintegrate when mature (in 12 months) to release the winged seeds. The male cones are 4-6 cm long, and shed their pollen in autumn.
Cultivation and uses
It is widely grown as an ornamental tree, much planted in parks and large gardens for its drooping foliage. General cultivation is limited to areas with mild winters, with trees frequently killed by temperatures below about ?25 °C, limiting it to hardiness zones 8 and warmer for reliable growth. It is commonly grown in western Europe (north to Scotland), in the Mediterranean region, around the Black Sea, in southern and central China, on the west coast of North America as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia, and in the southeastern United States from Texas to Virginia.The most cold-tolerant trees originate in the northwest of the species’ range in Kashmir and Paktia Province, Afghanistan. Selected cultivars from this region are hardy to zone 7 or even zone 6, tolerating temperatures down to about ?30 °C. Named cultivars from this region include ‘Eisregen’, ‘Eiswinter’, ‘Karl Fuchs‘, ‘Kashmir’, ‘Polar Winter’, and ‘Shalimar’. Of these, ‘Eisregen’, ‘Eiswinter’, ‘Karl Fuchs’, and ‘Polar Winter’ were selected in Germany from seed collected in Paktia; ‘Kashmir’ was a selection of the nursery trade, whereas ‘Shalimar’ originated from seeds collected in 1964 from Shalimar Gardens, India (in the Kashmir region) and propagated at the Arnold Arboretum.
Use in Construction material:
Deodar is in great demand as building material because of its durability, rot-resistant character and fine close grain, which is capable of taking high polish. It’s historical use to construct religious temples and as landscape around temples is well recorded. In India, during the British colonial period, deodar wood was used extensively for construction of barracks, public buildings, bridges, canals and railway cars.
Major chemical constituents
The heartwood yields about 2.1 % of essential oil, consisting mainly of the sesquiterpene hydrocarbons a-himachalene 6-7%, p-himachalene around 91 % and other isomers including o-himachalene,2 with p-methyl acetophenone, p-methyl 3-tetrahydroacetophenone, atlantone and himachalo.
The petroleum ether extract of the bark oil yields saturated, straight chain and branched chain hydrocarbons (CI4-C2O)’
Stem bark contains deodarin (3′,4′,5,7-tetrahydroxy-8-C-methyl dihydroflavonol), taxifolin and quercetin.
The curative properties of Deodar are well recorded in Indian Ayurvedic medicines, which are indicated below:-
Antidote; Astringent; Carminative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Skin; TB.
The inner wood is aromatic and used to make incense. Inner wood is distilled into essential oil. As insects avoid this tree, the essential oil is used as insect repellant on the feet of horses, cattle and camels. It also has antifungal properties and has some potential for control of fungal deterioration of spices during storage. The outer bark and stem are astringent. Its Biomedical actions are reported to be Carminative, antispasmodic, creates sweating, urination and is aromatic. Deodar’s Ayurvedic actions are reported to be a) increasing digestive function, b) removal of toxins from the bowel, c) alleviating coughing, d) cures skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis. Cedar oil is often used for its aromatic properties, especially in aromatherapy and has characteristic woody odour which may change somewhat in the course of drying out. The crude oils are often yellowish or even darker in colour. Its applications cover soap perfumes, household sprays, floor polishes and insecticidesand also for microscope work as a clearing oil.
The heartwood is carminative, diaphoretic and diuretic. It is used in the treatment of fevers, flatulence, pulmonary and urinary disorders, rheumatism, piles, kidney stones, insomnia, diabetes etc. It has been used as an antidote to snake bites.
The plant yields a medicinal essential oil by distillation of the wood, it is used in the treatment of phthisis, bronchitis, blennorrhagia and skin eruptions.
The bark is astringent. It has proved useful in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea and dysentery.
In Ayurvedic medicine the leaves are used in the treatment of tuberculosis.
Anticancer activity: The ethanolic extract was found to have cytotoxicity against human epidermal carcinoma of the nasopharynx in tissue culture.
Rasa: Tikta (bitter)
Guna: Laghu (light),
Veerya: Ushna (hot)
Vipaka: Katu (pungent)
Dosha: Pacifies vata and kapha
A 15 % mixture of C. deodara oil in castor oil was subjected to acute toxicity tests in mice and found to be non-toxic. The formulation was non-irritant to the skin of rabbit and sheep and did not alter blood urea nitrogen and blood glucose levels. The LDso was 500 mgiii in adult albino mice. Applied topically to rabbits, it was found to have no adverse effects on skin or any other vital organ.
Powdered wood: 3-6 g Decoction: 28-56 ml
Oil: 0.5-3 ml
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.