By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD
Pongamia pinnata (L. ) Pierre is popularly known as Karanja, Indian beech, Pongamia tree, Indian pongamia. The plant Karanja is wide spread in India, Japan, Australia, Malaysia etc.
It is one of the widely available and cultivated trees. The seed contains 3336% oil, 2028% protein and it is characterized by the presence of minor constituents such as flavonoids.
Scientists have identified its anti-ulcerative property due to karanjin, isolated from karanja seeds.
The karanja seed oil contains good amount of omega 9 fatty acids that quickly absorbs through the skin, making it a noteworthy remedy for dry skin.
In ayurvedic classical literature also the seed and seed oil is appreciated in different contexts in the treatment of varieties of neuro- muscular disorders and in skin diseases. The barks as well as leaves are also quoted for the treatment of blood borne diseases as well as to take out the excess morbidity from the body. It is the reason why it is used in several chronic disorders, especially in vatic disorders and in hemorrhoids, fistula and sinus conditions. The wound healing ability of the bark is appreciated hundreds together years back itself.
Read related: Karanja Pongamia pinnata:Uses, Side Effects, Research
In recent days bitter principles of this plant have created a lot of hope in giving significant benefit in Type II Diabetes Mallitus cases too.
In traditional practice as well as in folklore practice Karanja is used in different cases and conditions and few important ones are explained here below-
1. Karanja bark decoction to wash the wounds:
20-30 gram of stem bark of Karanja is taken and crushed well. This is boiled with water and reduced to ¼. This decoction is used to wash the chronic ulcers and wounds. For sitz bath also this is used, especially after the anorectal surgeries and kshara therapies.
2. Fresh juice of the leaf in insect and wasp bite :
The fresh leaf juice of the plant is applied over the lesions of wasp bite or insect bite. This reduces the swelling and pain instantly.
3. Turmeric and pongamia seed paste in eczema:
Equal amount of fresh rhizomes of turmeric and pongamia seeds are taken and fine paste is made.
This is applied over the skin lesions like eczema, scabies etc and good results are observed.
4. Pongamia young leaf shoots decoction in conjunctivitis:
The young shoots of the leaves are taken and decoction is made or else soaked in water and macerated to obtain cold infusion. This is used to instill to the eyes or to wash the eyes. This relieves pain, discoloration and gritty feeling caused during the conjunctivitis.
5. Pongamia bark and Triphala powder in haemorrhoids (internal and external usage):
Pongamia dry bark powder and Triphala coarse powder are taken in 1:1 ratio and decoction is made. This decoction is used to administer internally (in the dose of 20-30 ml) and externally, for sitz bath in case of post operative care of ano-rectal alkaline therapies (Kshara therapy).
Karanja plant is an ever green plant that adds beauty to the nature. It is the reason why it is planted in both the sides of the roads. Also due to its dense leaflets and wide spread branches it is giving considerable shade to the walking tracks. The flowering of the plant is also makes the nature beautiful and the huge medicinal values made it so appreciable among the people.
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