Shalmali, Silk Cotton Tree: Ayurveda Use, Medicines, Home Remedies

Shalmali is one of the very useful Ayurvedic herb, used since thousands of years. Its botanical name is Salmalia malabarica.
Bombax ceiba  and bombax malabaricum are also its synonyms.
It belongs to bombocaceae family.


Sanskrit Synonyms: Kantakadya (has thorns), Picchila, Mocha, Moharasa (Gum), Raktapushpa (red flower), Sthirayu.

English name: Silk Cotton tree
Hindi: Semal

Classical categorization, History

Pureesha Virajaniya – Group of herbs that imparts natural color to feces
Shonitasthapana – Group of herbs that check bleeding, improves blood quality and quantity.
Vedanasthapana –  Analgesic group of herbs.
Kashayaskanda ­– Astringent group of herbs.
Sushruta – Priyangvadi

History: In Rigveda, Shalmali wood was used to prepare chariots during marriage rituals.

Part used

Part used: Flower, gum, stem bark, petiole, peduncle and prickles / thorns

Thorns are pounded with milk and the paste is applied over pimples.
Its gum exudate is called Mocharasa, which is used in many Ayurveda formulations. It is styptic and hemostatic.

Bombax malabaricum is a large deciduous tree with prickles.

Major chemical constituents

Gum exudates contains gallic and tannic acids.
Bark, root bark, seed contains lupeol.  Flowers contain hentriacontane and gossypol.

Medicinal properties

Rasa – kashaya – astringent taste
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (light to digest), Snigdha (unctuous, oiliness)
Vipaka – taste conversion after digestion – Madhura (sweet)
Veerya  – sheeta – Cold potency

Root, bark, flowers

1. Shalmali root, bark and flower are –
Sheetala – coolant, snigdha (unctuous),
Shukravardhini – improves sperm / semen
Shleshmavardhini – increases kapha.
Its flowers and exudates (Mocharasa) are grahi – absorbents and styptic.
Flower of Shalmali is Grahi (absorbent, useful in diarrhea) and used in treating Raktapitta – bleeding disorders (Charaka Sutrasthana 27)

Root and stem bark

2. Shalmali root and stem bark are –
sheetala (coolant),
svadu (sweet in taste and after digestion),
shleshmala – increases Kapha,
brihmani – improves nourishment of the body,
vrushya – aphrodisiac,
snigdha – unctuous,
pittasranashani – relieves Pitta and bleeding disorders.


Shalmali flower is
Svadu – sweet
Ruksha – dry
Tikta – bitter
Hima – coolant,
Guru – heavy to digest
Kashaya – astringent
Vatala – Increases Vata
Grahi – absorbant
Kaphapittasrajit – decreases Kapha and bleeding disorders. The curry made with shalmali flowers and added with ghee and rock salt helps to cure pradra.

Shalmali Niryasa – Sarjarasa

Sheetala – coolant
Snigdha (unctuous, oiliness)
Grahi – absorbent
Vrushya – aphrodisiac
Kashaya – Astringent
Pravahikahara – relieves diarrhea
Atisarahara – Relieves dysentery and diarrhea
Amanut – Relieves ‘Ama” – a state of indigestion at stomach and tissue level
Kaphahara – balances kapha
Pittasranut – Relieves bleeding disorders
Dahanut – relieves burning sensation

Another herb called Kootashalmali is mentioned as the lower variant of the plant Shalmali.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Research, Ayurvedic medicines

Research:  Phytochemical investigations,

Important preparations: Shalmali Ghrita, Chandanasava, Himasagara Tailam

1 thought on “Shalmali, Silk Cotton Tree: Ayurveda Use, Medicines, Home Remedies”

Write Your Comment Below

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.