Silhaka Altingia excelsa: Uses, Research, Side Effects

Silhaka  Altingia excelsa Noronha, is an herb which is used to treat skin diseases, fever, retention of urine, burning sensation. 
Botanical name– Altingia excelsa Noronha
Family– Hamamelidaceae

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
English Name – Oriental sweet gum
Hindi Name – Sila rasa
Telugu Name – Sila rasam
Malayalam Name – Rasamalla

Sanskrit synonyms

Turushka, Kapi Taila, Dhumravarna, Pindeeta, Pindita, Kapisha
It is a medium size growing tree up to a height of 7-10 m. Resin is available if a cut is made in the trunk of the tree, which quickly turns to thick consistency like honey. The resin is blackish or brownish in color. The tree is a native of Myanmar and Arab countries.

Classical categorization

Sushruta- Eladi Gana
Vagbhata- Eladi gana
Kaiyyadeva  Nighantu- Oushadi varga
Shodala Nighantu- Chandanadi varga

Properties, part used, dosage

Guna- Snigdha (Unctuous), Laghu (Light for digestion)
Rasa-Tikta (Bitter), Katu (Pungent), Madhura (Sweet)
Vipaka- Katu (Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion)
Veerya- Ushna (Hot)
Effect on Tridosha: Kaphavatahara (Decreases Kapha and Vata Dosha), Vrshya (Increases potency), Kanthya (Good for the throat), Sukrala (Help in the sperm production)

Part Used- Gum/ Gum Resin
Dosage– Powder 0.5 g-1g (usually given along with powder of Yastimadhu- Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Sanskrit verse

Silhaka - Altingia excelsa

Chemical composition, uses

Chemical composition:
The plant contains volatile oil, 5-15% of cinamic acid, benzoic acid, gum resin (35-40%) Liquid ambronal and Altingin.

Uses of Silhaka:

  • The resin of the plant Silhaka is dissolved in hot water or added with honey in a dose of 500 mg and given in patients suffering from cough, dyspnea (difficulty in breathing).
  • The resin is dissolved in water and given in retention of urine, burning micturition.
  • The resin of the plant Altingia excels Noronha is a good aphrodisiac.
  • The paste from the resin of the plant is applied externally to treat skin diseases.
  • The resin of the plant is applied over the fresh wounds.
  • The resin is mixed with luke warm oil and applied externally to treat pain in the joints, weakness of the muscles and other diseases arising due to vitiation of Vata dosha.
  • The decoction using the resin is prepared and given in patients suffering from dysmenorrhea.

Traditional Ayurvedic uses of Altingia excelsa:
Kantida – improves skin lustre
Varnada – improves complexion
Vrushya – aphrodisiac
Indicated in –
Kandu – itching
Kushta – skin diseases
Graharoga – psychological disorders
Jvara – fever
Daurgandhya – foul smell, bad odor.

Research, Adverse effects

Research articles and formulations of Altingia excels Noronha:
There is no research article published regarding the experimental or clinical study related to the above said plant. No known Ayurvedic pharmaceutical manufacturer use the plant Silhaka for the manufacturing of any of the Ayurvedic formulations.

Adverse reactions: No adverse reactions have been so far reported after using the plant for therapeutic benefit.

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.

Author: Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E-mail: [email protected]

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