Indian Oak Tree: Barringtonia acutangula Uses, Research, Side Effects

Hijjala- Barringtonia acutangula Gaertn. is an Ayurvedic herb used for the treatment of fever, diarrhea, intestinal worm, cough, dyspnea, and cases of poisoning.
Botanical name – Barringtonia acutangula Gaertn.
Family– Lecythidaceae

Barringtonia acutangula

Vernacular names

Hijjala – Names in different languages:
English name- Indian oak tree, Mango-pine, Barringtonia, Freshwater Mangrove, Indian Oak, Indian Putat
Hindi name- Samudraphal
Kannada name – Samudraphala
Bengali name- Hijala
Gujarati name- Samudraphala
Telugu name- Kanagi
Tamil name- Samutrapallam, ram, Kadambu, Kadappai, samudra pazham
Oriya name – Nijhira
Marathi name – Tiwar, Newar, Sathaphala, Samudraphala

Indian Oak, Freshwater Mangrove, Barringtonia acutangula

Sanskrit synonyms

Sanskrit Synonyms of Freshwater Mangrove:
Samudraphala (Found along the sea coast), Nichula, Vidula
Hijjala is a medium sized tree growing to a height of 10-12 m and up to 2 m in diameter. It is found all over India, Srilanka and other south east Asian countries. The bark of the tree is dark brown in color. The fruit of the tree resembles wild cardamom pods.

Indian Oak, Freshwater Mangrove, Barringtonia acutangula
Indian Oak, Freshwater Mangrove, Barringtonia acutangula

Classical categorization

Charaka- Vamanopaga, virechaneeya
Sushruta- Urdhwabaghahara gana
Bhavaprakasha- Guduchyadi varga
Raja Nighantu- Shalmalyadi varga

Systemic classification

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Lecythidaceae
Genus: Barringtonia
Species: B. acutangula

Properties, part used, dosage

Medicinal properties of Hijjala:
Guna (Qualities)-Laghu (light to digest), Ruksha (Dry in nature)
Rasa (Taste) – Tikta (Bitter), Katu (Pungent)
Vipaka- Katu (Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion)
Veerya (Potency)-Usna (Hot)
Karma-Vata hara (Subsides the vitiated Vata dosha), Vishaghna (controls the visha in the body)
Part used: Fruit, Leaf, Steam bark, Root
Dosage of Indian Oak Tree:
Fruit powder 0.5-1 g
Fresh juice 10-20 ml (3-6 g for emesis – Vamana Panchakarma therapy)

Indian Oak tree

Chemical composition

Chemical composition of Barringtonia acutangula :
The bark of Barringtonia acutangula contains about 16% tannins and opoid painkillers. It also contains 3,3′-dimethoxy ellagic acid, dihydromyticetin, gallic acid, bartogenic acid and stigmasterol, triterpenoids.
The fruits contain triterpenoid sapogenins which are haemolytic in nature. It also contains glucoside, barringtonic acid and barringtogenol.

Samudraphala leaves

Uses of Hijjala

  • The powder of the bark is used as ‘Nasya’ (Nasal errhine) in the treatment of headache.
  • The seeds of Barringtonia acutangula is made into paste and used as collyrium in the diseases of eye.
  • The plant is used for emesis and purgation in the treatment of vitiated Kapha and Pitta dosha respectively.
  • The fresh juice of the leaves of Barringtonia acutangula is given with honey in a dose of 10-12 ml to treat diarrhea.
  • The powder of the bark of Hijjala is given with sugar candy in a dose of 8-10 g to treat retention of urine.
  • The root of Barringtonia acutangula is given in a dose of 8-10 g in divided dose to treat fever, splenomegaly.
  • The root of the plant is given in dose of 5-6 g to treat cases of spider poisoning and insect bites.
  • The decoction of the bark of Barringtonia acutangula is given in a dose of 40-50 ml in divided dose to purify blood and treat skin diseases.
  • The paste of the seeds is applied to treat pain and localized swelling.
  • The cold infusion of the leaves is used to treat intestinal worm in a dose of 25-30 ml.
  • The seed extract is anti- tumor in nature.
    Barringtonia acutangula Uses

Ayurvedic formulations

Formulations containing Hijjala:
Katakakhadiradi Kashayam: Katakakhadiradi Kashayam is an Ayurvedic medicine, in the form of decoction, used in treating diabetes. It is also available in capsule form.

Maha Panchagavya Ghritam: It is an Ayurvedic medicated Ghee which is useful for the treatment of anemia, piles, jaundice and in mental disorders like epilepsy, insanity. The formulation is used commonly for oleation before undergoing purgation therapy (Virechana).

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, Side effects

Research articles on Hijjala:
Apoptic induction: Barringtonia acutangula L. was selected based on its medicinal properties, which is well documented. The plant was subjected to a series of assays to evaluate its anti-cancer potentials. The preliminary screening by NO assay and MTT assay indicated the free radical scavenging and anti-cancer activity of the plant in the methanol and ethyl acetate extracts of S. colais and ethyl acetate extract of B. acutangula against Colon cancer cell lines Colo320. Further, DNA fragmentation assay attributed the cytotoxicity of the plant extracts to apoptosis.

Cure for many diseases: This plant is traditionally used for the cure and treatment of many ailments like hemolytic disease (various diseases of blood), abdominal colic, lumbar pain, malaria, syphilis.

Side effects: There are no known side effects with this herb.

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

2 thoughts on “Indian Oak Tree: Barringtonia acutangula Uses, Research, Side Effects”

  1. Dear Sir,
    “The seed extract is anti- tumor in nature.”
    Which type of tumor normal or critical disease tumor
    Could you more about the quoted line or any helpful article reference
    Thanx

    Reply
    • The ethanolic leaf extract of Barringtonia acutangula has
      anticancer activity as it inhibited the HepG2 cell growth. – Source –

      The cytotoxic effect of fungal endophyte isolated from
      Barringtonia acutangula was tested by the MTT assay
      which showed the effect of its secondary metabolites on
      the cell viability in HT29, human colon cancer cell line. –
      The fungal extract from endophytic fungi EFB01 & EFB02
      showed 52% and 40% cyto-toxicity respectively when
      compared to the metabolite from EFB01 – Lakshmi PJ, Selvi KV, Anticancer potentials of secondary
      metabolites from endophytes of Barringtonia acutangula
      and its molecular characterization, Int. J. Curr .Microbiol.
      App. Sci 2(2), 2013, 44-45.

      Reply

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