Botanical name- “Nyctanthes arbor-tristis” (Locally known as Harsingar / Har /Kuri/ Saherwa)
A small deciduous tree with drooping four – angle branchlets. Bark pale or dark grey in colour , sometimes greenish, rough and wrinkled. Leaves in opposite pairs, dark green, very rough on upper surface, paler and hairy below, margins of ten large with distant teeth and pointed apex. Flowers are white in colour with 5 to 8 petals at the end of bright orange tubes in clusters and are highly fragmented. Fruits are flat, with round capsules bright green at first and later turning brown. Leaves sheds in February and March and renew in June and July. Flowering occurs in August with peaking in September, October. Fruits ripped in April and May.
Historical and Mythological Aspects:
Parijat, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, appears in several Hindu myths and is often related to the Kalpavriksha. In one myth, which appears in Bhagavata Purana, the Mahabharata and the Vishnu Purana, Parijat appeared as the result of the Samudra manthan (Churning of the Milky Ocean).
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 called Gangaseuli and some where Jharaasephali in Odisha, India. In the Borok Tipruri culture of Tripura, it is associated with the cycle of life i.e. birth and dying. It is popularly used as a garland for the dead.
Parijat appears in several Hindu religious stories and is often related to the Kalpavriksha. In one story, which appears in Bhagavata Purana, the Mahabharata and the Vishnu Purana, Parijat appeared as the result of the Samudra manthan (Churning of the Milky Ocean) and Lord Krishna battled with Indra to win Parijat. Further on, his wife Satyabhama demanded the tree be planted in the backyard of her palace.
It so happened that in spite of having the tree in her backyard, the flowers used to fall in the adjacent backyard of the other queen, Rukmini, who was favourite of Lord Krishna, because of her superior devotion and humility. It is the subject of a prabandha named Parijatapaharanamu in Telugu literature written by Nandi Thimmana, the court-poet of Krishnadevaraya.
Distinguishing features of Nyctanthes Arbor-Tristis:
Extracts of the seeds, flowers and leaves possess immunostimulant, hepatoprotective, antileishmanial, antiviral and antifungal activities in vitro. The leaves have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for sciatica, arthritis, fevers, and various painful conditions and as laxative(wiki.org)
⮚ Natural History: Nyctanthes is a small tree of the Jasmine family, having brilliant, highly fragrant flowers, white and yellow, which do not expand till evening and which fall off about sunrise. This during the day the tree loses all its brightness, and hence is called “The Sad Tree” (Arbor tristis). “Nyctanthes” means “Night-flowering.” S. C. Ghose has given an account of the medicinal properties of this plant (H. W., xxxvi. 24).
⮚ It is “bitter, tonic, and expectorant, and a mild purgative.” In the fever there is thirst before and during chills, and bitter vomiting at close of chill.
⮚ Traditional Medicine
“The leaves have been used in Ayurvedic medicine and Homoeopathy for sciatica, arthritis, and fevers, and as a laxative.”
Botanical name- “Ficus religiosa (sacred fig)”
(Locally known as Peepal /Peepli)
A large tall deciduous tree. Trunk is short, thick, often fluted and exudes milky latex. Bark is yellowish or grey brown, smooth and becomes scaly with age. Leaves are large with wavy margins and long stalks, heart shaped at the base with very long pointed tips. Figs are in pairs, grow out from leaf axils, reddish at first and eventually turn deep purple when ripened. Leaves start to fall in January and new leaves start growing in late March to late April. Figs ripen around mid-April. Sometimes a second flush of figs ripen in October. The juice of the bark is used as mouthwash, for curing toothache and weakening gums.
Historical and Mythological Aspects:
Ficus religiosa or sacred fig is a species of fig native to the Indian subcontinent] and Indochina that belongs to the Moraceae, the fig or mulberry family. It is also known as the bodhi tree, pippala tree, peepal tree, Peepal tree or Ashwatthama tree (in India and Nepal). The sacred fig is considered to have a religious significance in three major religions that originated on the Indian subcontinent, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Hindu and Jain ascetics consider the tree to be sacred and often meditate under them and this is the tree under which Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment. Sacred fig is designated as the state tree of the Indian state of Odisha.
Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment (bodhi) while meditating underneath a Ficus religiosa. The site is in present-day Bodh Gaya in Bihar, India. The original tree was destroyed, and has been replaced several times. A branch of the original tree was rooted in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka in 288 BCE and is known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi; it is the oldest living human-planted flowering plant (angiosperm) in the world.
In Theravada Buddhist Southeast Asia, the tree’s massive trunk is often the site of Buddhist or animist shrines. Not all Ficus religiosa can be called a Bodhi Tree. A Bodhi Tree must be able to trace its parent to another Bodhi Tree and the line goes on until the first Bodhi Tree under which Gautama is said to have gained enlightenment.
Sadhus (Hindu ascetics) still meditate beneath sacred fig trees, and Hindus do pradakshina (circumambulation, or meditative pacing) around the sacred fig tree as a mark of worship. Usually seven pradakshinas are done around the tree in the morning time chanting “vriksha rajaya namah“, meaning “salutation to the king of trees.” It claimed that the 27 stars (constellations) constituting 12 houses (rasis) and 9 planets are specifically represented precisely by 27 trees—one for each star. The Bodhi Tree is said to represent Pushya (Western star name γ, δ and θ Cancri in the Cancer constellation).
Plaksa is a Sanskrit term for Ficus religiosa. However, according to Macdonell and Keith (1912), it denotes the wavy-leaved fig tree (Ficus infectoria) instead. In Hindu texts, the Plaksa tree is associated with the source of the Sarasvati River. The Skanda Purana states that the Sarasvati originates from the water pot of Brahma flowing from Plaksa on the Himalayas. According to Vamana Purana , the Sarasvati was rising from the Plaksa tree (Pipal tree). Plaksa Pra-sravana denotes the place where the Sarasvati appears. In the Rigveda Sutras, Plaksa Pra-sravana refers to the source of the Sarasvati.
Distinguishing features of Ficus Religiosa (Sacred Fig) :
Ficus religiosa is used in traditional medicine for about 50 types of disorders including asthma, diabetes, diarrhoea, epilepsy, gastric problems, inflammatory disorders, infectious and sexual disorders.
Prayer beads are made from the seeds of Ficus religiosa, considered sacred because of the closeness to Buddha himself and his enlightenment.
Farmers in North India also cultivate it for its fig fruit.
Botanical name-“Ficus Virens”
(Locally known as Ramanjeer/Pakad /Palakh)
A fairly common large deciduous tree with an immense, spreading canopy that displays wonderful changing tints during foliage renewal in Spring season. Bark is greyish with a slivery tinge having milky sap. It has long aerial roots which tend to wrap themselves around the top of the trunk unlike Banyan trees. Leaves begin to drop in mid-February and new leaves start coming up in early March with colour changing from dusty purple to red, from bronze to pale green. Figs ripen usually during July to September.
Historical and Mythological Aspects:
It is a medium-sized tree which grows to a height of 24–27 metres (79–89 ft) In dry areas and up to 32 metres (105 ft) tall in wetter areas. It is a fig tree belonging to the group of trees known as strangler figs, which is because its seeds can germinate on other trees and grow to strangle and eventually kill the host tree.
It has two marked growth periods in its Indian environment: in spring (February to early May), and in the time of the monsoon rains (i.e. June to early September). The new leaves are a beautiful shade of reddish pink and very pleasing to the eye.
Ficus virens is a plant of the genus Ficus found in India, southeast Asia, through Malaysia and into Northern Australia. Its common name is white fig; it is locally known as pilkhan and in the Kunwinjku language it is called manborde . Like many figs, its fruits are edible. One of the most famous specimens of this tree is the Curtain Fig Tree of the Atherton Tableland, near Cairns, a popular tourist attraction.
Use as food : The leaves are known in Thai cuisine as phak lueat (Thai). They are eaten boiled as a vegetable in Northern Thai curries, referred to in the Northern dialect as phak hueat .
Botanical name- “Toona ciliata”
(Locally known as Toon / Tun/Tuni)
Toona Ciliata is a large deciduous tree with a spreading crown. Bark dark grey or reddish-brown, with shallow reticulate cracks exfoliating in irregular woody scales. Leaves usually glabrous, margin entire or wavy, base oblique. Flowers are white, small, honey scented, cream coloured, in drooping or sub-erect terminal panicles, usually shorter than the leaves. Capsule dark brown, oblong, usually smooth outside. Seeds pale brown, very light, winged at both ends. Flowering by mid-March and lasts till early April. Fruiting is in May-June.
It is commonly known as the red cedar, toon or toona, Australian red cedar, Burma cedar, Indian cedar, Moulmein cedar or the Queensland red cedar. It is also known as Indian mahogany.
In the western sub-Himalayan tract of India, T. ciliata is found chiefly in moist localities, in sheltered ravines, along streams and even in swamp forest (Troup, 1921), while in the Western Ghats, it is found mostly in wet evergreen forests; there are also scattered occurrences in moist deciduous forests (Rai, 1985).
Toona ciliata is an important timber tree. It provides a valuable hardwood used for furniture, ornamental panelling, shipbuilding, and musical instruments like the sitar, rudra veena, and drums. Due to the restrictions in recent years on the use of natively-grown American mahogany, it has become one of the common mahogany replacements in electric guitar manufacturing.
Botanical name- “Bombax ceiba”
(Locally known as Sema / Semur / Shembal)
A towering deciduous tree capable of reaching even 60 m. Large trees are supported at base by thin, spreading flanges. Its branches grow in tiers radiating from the trunk like the ribs of an umbrella. Leaves are palmately compound with 5-7 leaflets. Flowers are large, deep red, coral or yellow with 5 waxy petals. Fruit is a long capsule with white silky cotton inside. Flowering in February, lasts up to mid-March. Fruit ripen and split open in May releasing microfibers in the air. Semal bark and roots are used as a tonic and a stimulant.
This tree is commonly known as Semal (Hindi), Shimul (Bengali) or Ximolu (Assamese) in India. It is widely planted in parks and on roadsides there because of its beautiful red flowers which bloom in March/April. This tree is quite common in new Delhi although it does reach its full size of 69m there because of the semi-arid climate. The cotton fibers of this tree can be seen floating in the wind around the time of early May. This tree shows two marked growth sprints in India: in spring and during the monsoon months. Perhaps due to subtropical climate and heavy rainfalls, it’s found in dense populations throughout Northeast India.
The tree is widely planted in south-eastern Asian countries (such as in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Southern China, and Taiwan, etc.) According to Chinese historical records, the king of Nam Yuet (located in Southern China and northern Vietnam nowadays), Zhao Tuo, gave a tree to the emperor of the Han dynasty in the 2nd century BC.Distinguishing features of Bombax Ceiba (Semur):
1. The cotton which comes from the tree is used to make pillows, quilts, sofas, etc.
2. The wood part is used in making match sticks.
3. Also for making canoes and light duty boats and or other structures required under water.
Botanical name- “ber – Ziziphus mauritiana”
(Locally known as Lam)
Ziziphus Mauritiana is a spiny, evergreen shrub or small tree up to 15 m high, with trunk 40 cm or more in diameter; spreading crown; stipular spines and many drooping branches. The fruit is of variable shape and size. It can be oval, obovate, oblong or round, and can be 1-2.5 in (2.5-6.25 cm) long, depending on the variety. The flesh is white and crisp. When slightly underripe, this fruit is a bit juicy and has a pleasant aroma. The fruit’s skin is smooth, glossy, thin but tight.
The species is believed to have originated in Indo-Malaysian region of South-East Asia. It is now widely naturalised throughout the Old World tropics from Southern Africa through the Middle East to the Indian Subcontinent and China, Indomalaya, and into Australasia and the Pacific Islands. It can form dense stands and become invasive in some areas, including Fiji and Australia and has become a serious environmental weed in Northern Australia. It is a fast-growing tree with a medium lifespan, that can quickly reach up to 10–40 ft (3 to12 m) tall.
Images of Ber-Zizipushttps://etree.pk/Plant/ziziphus
The fruits are applied on cuts and ulcers; are employed in pulmonary ailments and fevers; and, mixed with salt and chili peppers, are given in indigestion and biliousness. The dried ripe fruit is a mild laxative. The seeds are sedative and are taken, sometimes with buttermilk, to halt nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pains in pregnancy. They check diarrhoea, and are poulticated on wounds. Mixed with oil, they are rubbed on rheumatic areas. The leaves are applied as poultices and are helpful in liver troubles, asthma and fever and, together with catechu, are administered when an astringent is needed, as on wounds. The bitter, astringent bark decoction is taken to halt diarrhoea and dysentery and relieve gingivitis. The bark paste is applied on sores. The root is purgative. A root decoction is given as a febrifuge, taenicide and emmenagogue, and the powdered root is dusted on wounds. Juice of the root bark is said to alleviate gout and rheumatism. Strong doses of the bark or root may be toxic. An infusion of the flowers serves as an eye lotion.
Botanical name- “Drypetes roxburghii”
(Locally known as Joti / Joti /Putranjiva / Putranjiva)
A handsome evergreen tree with long, drooping branchlets bearing dark, glossy leaves. Bark is corky, grey or yellowish with white dots. Leaves are glossy on top, narrowed at both the ends with finely toothed edges. Flowers are greenish yellow in colour, tiny in size and male and female flowers on separate trees. Flowering is in early April. Fruit are small, nearly round and dun coloured when ripe and form very quickly after the flowers but do not ripen till February or March of the following year. The leaves and fruits are used to treat the cold, fever and rheumatism.
PutranjivaRoxburghii is an evergreen tree growing up to 12 metres tall. The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of beads, oil and wood. An attractive tree with pendant branches, it is grown as an ornamental in gardens, especially in India.
Botanical name- “Polyalthia longifolia”
(Locally known as Ashok / Devdaru)
A tall, erect and nearly evergreen tree with dark grey-brown bark which becomes darker, scabby and cracked with age. Leaves are slim, glossy and long with wavy edges and extended pointed tips. Flowers are in clusters 6 long, narrow with pale-green petals. Fruit are of grape-size, present in clusters growing from a common stalk and dark purple when ripe. Flowers during late March or early April and last for a short time. Fruit ripen between late June and early August. The bark is used medicinally to allay fevers.
Botanical name- “Terminalia arjuna”
(Locally known as Arjun / Arjan)
A large massive deciduous tree with a broad, oval crown with smooth bark and a buttressed trunk. Leaves are opposite, rounded or slightly pointy tip with faintly heart-shaped at base. Flowers are tiny, creamy, yellow, crowded in long spikes, no petals, flower-cup with long prominent stamens. Fruits are ovoid, woody with flat wings running along its length. Leaves shed towards mid-April, renewed in late April or May. Flowers in late April and last through most of May. Fruit ripen nearly a year after flowering, dropping sometime between February and June. The bark is highly valued medicinally as a cure for cancer, heart, skin, urinary and gynaecological disorders.
Historical and Mythological Aspects:
The arjuna grows to about 20–25 metres tall; usually has a buttressed trunk, and forms a wide canopy at the crown, from which branches drop downwards. It has oblong, conical leaves which are green on the top and brown below; smooth, grey bark; it has pale yellow flowers which appear between March and June; its glabrous, 2.5 to 5 cm fibrous woody fruit, divided into five wings, appears between September and November.
The tree does not suffer from any major diseases or pests, but it is susceptible to PhyllactiniaTerminale and rot due to PolystictusAffinis.
The arjuna is seen across the Indian Subcontinent, and usually found growing on river banks or near dry river beds in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and south and central India, along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It is known as matthimara in Kannada, neermaruthu in Malayalam, ‘marutha maram‘ (maruthampattai) in Tamil, thellamaddi in Telugu and kohda in Rajasthan, Kumbuk in Sinhala.
Uses of Terminalia Arjuna:
Terminalia arjuna (Roxb.), commonly known as Arjun in India, is an evergreen tree. It belongs to the family Combretaceae and is a large tree attaining a height of 20–30 m. In ancient Indian literature, Ayurveda (traditional medical practice of India), T. arjuna has been mentioned for cardiac disease; it has also been mentioned by Charaka in his treatise Charak Samhita and practiced by the descendent Ayurvedic practitioners like Chakradatta and Bhava-Mishra (Kirtikar et al., 1935).
The stem bark of the plant, which is generally used for medicinal purposes, is described in Ayurvedic terms as being acrid, sweet, cooling, styptic, tonic, antidysenteric, and febrifuge in nature. It has been proposed to be used as powder, decoction, hydroalcoholic extract, bark powder with Ghrita (fat), or bark powder boiled in milk (kshir pak), according to the pathophysiological condition. Different formulations having T. arjuna bark have been reviewed earlier by Kumar and Prabhakar, 1987.
In recent years, T. arjuna has been screened for its various pharmacological properties, in particular cardioprotective, and has been found to be effective in both experimental and clinical studies (Dwivedi, 2007; Maulik and Katiyar, 2010). In preclinical studies, the bark extract of T. arjuna produced a fall in blood pressure (Singh et al., 1982). In studies by Gauthaman et al. (2001, 2005), the bark powder of T. arjuna augmented the endogenous antioxidants in the heart. Moreover, in clinical studies, it has been shown to have antioxidant properties comparable to that of vitamin E, and there is also encouraging evidence of its beneficial effects in patients of refractory heart failure as well as coronary artery disease (Bharani et al., 1995; Dwivedi and Jauhari, 1997; Gupta et al., 2001). However, there have been only three reports mentioning the effect of T. arjuna on heart weight (a measure of cardiac hypertrophy), and, out of three studies, only one provides details about its effect on cardiac hypertrophy. Here, the general findings regarding the use of T. arjuna in cardiovascular disorder are summarized as a special reference to its effect on cardiac hypertrophy.
The first study on the effect of T. arjuna on the heart weight, a small clinical trial (number of patients = 10) conducted in patients with coronary artery disease having myocardial infarction and angina, was reported by Dwivedi and Jauhari (1997). Patients were prescribed bark powder of T. arjuna along with the standard treatment protocol of nitrates, aspirin, and/or calcium channel blocker. A significant reduction in the left ventricular mass was noted along with an increase in ejection fraction in patients receiving T. arjuna. In another more recent study byParveen et al. (2011), administration of hydroalcoholic extract of T. arjuna prevented the increase in heart weight due to isoproterenol-induced cardiac failure. However, none of these studies specifically targeted cardiac hypertrophy, which is a direct risk factor toward myocardial dysfunction.
The study by Kumar et al. (2009) is the only one investigating the effect of T. arjuna on cardiac hypertrophy. A standardized aqueous extract of the bark powder of T. arjuna was evaluated against the isoproterenol-induced cardiac hypertrophy in rats. Apart from assessing the key hypertrophic markers, changes in heart weight/body weight and cardiomyocyte diameter, the study also focused on other characteristic pathologies associated with isoproterenol-induced cardiac hypertrophy such as myocardial fibrosis, decrease in myocardial endogenous antioxidant, and switching of alpha to beta myosin heavy chain (MHC).
Botanical name- “Neolamarckia cadamba”
(Locally known as Kadamb / Kadam)
A quick growing deciduous tree with a long, clean bole and spreading branches. Branches are stiff diverging at right angles to the trunk. Bark of old trees dark, rough with vertical fissures. Leaves are large in opposite pairs, shiny on top with arching parallel secondary nerves. Flowers are deep yellow in colour, tiny, clustered in round heads. Fruits are yellow in round heads. Leaves start shedding in March and renew by June. Flowering is for a short duration mostly in August- September. Fruit ripen and fall in January- February.
Historical and Mythological Aspects:
Kadamba trees and flowers are also a universal favourite among the Gods. Krishna loved to sport in Kadamba forests, and the Mother Goddess Durga resides in a Kadamba forest (Kadambavanavāsinī).
A fully mature tree can reach up to 45 m (148 ft) in height.It is a large tree with a broad crown and straight cylindrical bole. It is quick growing, with broad spreading branches and grows rapidly in the first 6–8 years. The trunk has a diameter of 100–160 cm, but typically less than that. Leaves are 13–32 cm (5.1–12.6 in) long.Flowering usually begins when the tree is 4–5 years old.
Kadamba is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana. InNorth India, it is associated withKrishnawhile in the south it is known as “Parvati’s tree”.Radhaand Krishna are supposed to have conducted their love play in the hospitable and sweet-scented shade of the kadamba tree.In theSangam period TamilNadu,Murugan Thiruparankundram Hill ofMaduraiwas referred to as a centre of nature worship. He was in the form of a spear under a kadamba tree.
An episode from the life of Krishna narrates of when he stole the garments of gopis when they were bathing in a pond nearVrindavan.Varuna, the sea-god, had forbidden nude bathing in rivers, ponds and other public places, but gopis often resorted to it. One day, to teach them a lesson, Krishna reached the bank of the pond where they were taking a bath and took away their garments and spread them on the branches of a nearby kadamba tree. He himself climbed the tree and hid there behind a branch. After the gopis had bathed, they looked for their garments but found them missing. Suddenly their attention was drawn to the nearby kadamba tree by the stirring of its branches. When they looked up, they saw Krishna hiding there and their garments scattered all over the branches of the tree. Krishna insisted that they come out naked to receive their garments. This episode is portrayed in song, story, painting and artifacts, in the backdrop of the kadamba tree.
Botanical name- “Morus alba”
(Locally known as Shahtoot / Toot)
A modest deciduous tree with a spreading and irregular crown. Bark is brown, rough with vertical furrows. Leaves are variable, mostly oval, often lobed, heart-shaped bases with toothed margins. Flowers are tiny, greenish and in spikes. Male and female flowers are separate but on the same tree. Fruits are succulent berries crowded together on short spikes, ripe fruit can be white, red or deep violet.
Historical and Mythological Aspects:
White Mulberry cultivation has a long and rich history dating back thousands of years ago as a requirement for silkworm rearing. They were beloved by Persians, Romans and Greeks and moved throughout Europe along with the spread of culture from these places. A fast-growing, small to medium-sized tree growing to 10 –20 m tall, Mulberry produces delicious fruit, useful fodder for animals and wood used in craft making. Mulberries are also excellent plants for use in polycultures. They are tolerant of partial shade so suitable in the edges of an understory of a larger tree and are not very nutrient demanding or competitive.
Distinguishing features of Morus alba:
On young, vigorous shoots, the leaves may be up to 30 cm (12 in) long, and deeply and intricately lobed, with the lobes rounded. On older trees, the leaves are generally 5–15 cm (2.0–5.9 in) long, unlobed, cordate at the base and rounded to acuminate at the tip, and serrated on the margins. The trees are generally deciduous and temperate regions, but trees grown in tropical regions can be evergreen. Theflowersare single-sexcatkins; male catkins are 2–3.5 cm (0.8–1.4 in) long, and female catkins 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in) long. Male and female flowers are usually on separate trees although they may occur on the same tree. Thefruitis 1–1.5 cm (0.4–0.6 in) long; in the species in the wild it is deep purple, but in many cultivated plants it varies from white to pink; it is sweet but bland, unlike the more intense flavour of the red mulberryandblack mulberry. The seeds are widely dispersed in the droppings of birds that eat the fruit.
The white mulberry is scientifically notable for the rapid plant movement involved in pollen release from its catkins. Thestamensact as catapults, releasing stored elastic energy in just 25 µs. The resulting movement is approximately 380 miles per hour (610 km/h), about half the speed of sound, making it the fastest known movement in the plant kingdom.
Botanical Name- “Madhuca longifolia var latifolia”
(Locally known as Mahula/Mahua)
A large deciduous shapely, long lived tree with a twisted trunk and wide, spreading crown. Bark is grey-brown, rough, lightly fissured with milky sap. Leaves are firm; long, broadly oval, pointy-tipped, prominently clustered near the ends of branchlets. Flowers creamy white, in dense clusters near the ends of twigs. Fruit olive shaped, fleshy and orange when ripe. Leaves start turning yellow in late March, most trees are bare by late April. New leaves appear early in May. Flowers through most of April. Fruit ripen in July or August.
Madhuca longifolia(M. longifolia) is also known as Mahua belonging to the sapotaceae family. M. longifolia is used in traditional and folklore systems of medicine widely across India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka for its various pharmacological properties as in snake bites and in diabetes. The pharmacological studies proved that it possesses a wide range of biological activities such as antiulcer, antiinflammatory, antioxidant and antidiabetic activities. The toxicity studies reveal its non-toxic effect even at larger doses. Thus M. longifolia can be considered as a therapeutic agent for specific diseases. Scientific investigation on various isolated bioactive components and its efficacy on diseases proved the future usefulness of different species of Madhuca. This review summarizes the phytochemical, pharmacological, medicinal and non-medicinal uses of M. longifolia. Further exploration on M. longifolia for its therapeutic potential is however required for in- depth traditional knowledge.
Distinguishing features of Madhuca Longifolia:
Mohwa is one of the most important of Indian forest trees, not because it may possess valuable timber – and it is hardly ever cut for this purpose – but because of its delicious and nutritive flowers. It is a tree of abundant growth and, to the people of Central India, it provides their most important article of food as the flowers can be stored almost indefinitely. It is large and deciduous with a thick, grey bark, vertically cracked and wrinkled. Most of the leaves fall from February to April, and during that time the musky-scented flowers appear. They hang in close bunches of a dozen or so from the end of the gnarled, grey branchlets. Actually the word ‘hang’ is incorrect because, when a bunch is inverted, the flower stalks are sufficiently rigid to maintain their position. A couple of months after the flowering period the fruit opens. They are fleshy, green berries, quite large and containing from one to four shiny, brown seeds.
Botanical name- “Tectona grandis”
(Locally known as Teak / Sagwan / Sagaun)
Teak is a tall evergreen tree. The bark is pale yellowish to brown in colour. It is generally grown straight with the uneven texture, medium lustre and the oily feel. The fruit is a drupe. It has bluish to white flowers present in very large terminal clusters. The fruit is enclosed by the bladder like calyx, which is light brown, ribbed and papery. The bark is bitter tonic and is considered useful in fever.
Historical and Mythological Aspects:
Tectona Grandis was first formally described byCarl Linnaeus the Younger in his 1782 work Supplementum Plantarum. In 1975, Harold Norman Moldenke published new descriptions of four forms of this species in the journal Phytologia.
According to Ayurveda, wood is acrid, cooling, laxative, sedative to gravid uterus and useful in treatment of piles, leucoderma and dysentery. Flowers are acrid, bitter and dry and useful in bronchitis, biliousness, urinary discharges etc. Roots are useful in treatment of urinary system related troubles. According to the Unani system of medicine, the oil from flowers is hair promoter and useful in scabies. Wood is good for headache, biliousness, burning sensation and pain and liver related troubles. It always thirst and possess anthelmintic and expectorant properties.
Botanical Name- “Albizia lebbeck”
(Locally known as Tantia / Sirar)
A middle-sized deciduous tree with a shortish bole and thin, spreading crown. Bark is rough and brownish in colour. Leaves twice-feathered with only a few pairs of side-stalks, each side stalk has 3-10 pairs of leaflets. It bears long “powder puff” fragrant flowers with long, greenish-yellow stamens and is festooned for many months with straw coloured pods. Leaves start dropping in January, bare till March, when new leaves begin. Flowering is in early April; new flushes are triggered by showers in June and July. Fruit pods start turning yellow in November and last till March. It is useful as a medicine for leprosy.
Historical and Mythological Aspects:
The Taxonomic History of A. Lebbeck is somewhat convoluted. It was originally described byCarl Linnaeus’s Mimosa lebbeck.George Bentham Place the species in its present genus, but other authors believed that the plant described by Linnaeus was the relatedAlbizia kalkora as described by Prain (based on the Mimosa kalkora ofWilliamRoxburgh), and erroneously referred to this species as Albizia lebbeck.
About the blogger
Sudipa Basu is pursuing B.Sc. in Botany from University of Calcutta and has the ability to accept the challenges in various multi-tasking works and fulfill the organizational goals and to contribute her creativity by climbing the ladder through continuous learning.