By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD
Palash tree has significant importance across various domains such as religion, medicine, tantric practices, furniture, decoration (gorgeous red colored flowers) and so on.
The plant is appreciated for its best alkali yielding nature. It is termed as Kshara shreshta – superior among the natural alkalis. The leaves are used as plates to serve food and especially to prepare Panavali in temples where prasadam is served. The flowers are used to make Holi water to play in Holi festivals which is natural and safe; also does not cause irritation (allergic) and is believed to be a very good disinfectant too.
Botanical name – Butea monosperma Lam-Kutze
English name is Bustard teak.
Leguminaceae family and papilionaceae sub family.
Ayurveda explains it as a drug possessing Ushna veerya (hot in potency)-bark and root and sheeta veerya (cold in potency)-flowers and leaves. It is used in Kapha vataja disorders.
Its bark, leaves, flowers, stem and seeds are used as medicines.
Bark and stem of the plant contains kino and tannic acid. Gallic acid is also found in significant amount. The seeds contain kino oil which is a potent wormicide.
Palasha kshara, Palasha kshara ghrita, Palashabedeja choorna, Palasha beeja kajjali are the few important formulations of this drug.
Read related: Palasha – Butea monosperma Uses, Dose, Research
Few of the important simple remedies and their health benefits are explained here below-
1. Palash bark decoction in menstrual irregularities:
10-15 gram of Palasha bark is taken and decoction is made. This is taken twice daily for 12-14 days prior to expected date of menstruation. This should be carried till the date of menstruation. The medication is continued for three consecutive cycles. This helps to induce menstruation on time, useful in cases of delayed periods.
General method of decoction preparation is –
1 tablespoon (10 grams) of coarse powder of the herb is added with 2 cups of water. Boiled in open air till the total content is reduced to 1 cup. This is filtered and used.
2. Palasha seed powder in intestinal worms:
Mature seeds are collected and dried under sun shade. This is made into fine powder and taken in the dose of 1-2 gram for children and 4-5 gram for adults along with warm water. This helps to check the repeated episodes of intestinal worms.
Read related: Ayurvedic Treatment For Worm Infestation
3. Palasha stem resin for haemorrhoids:
The resin oozed out from the stem of the tree is taken 2-3 gram and mixed with warm water and administered, especially to the children. This pacifies haemorrhoids quite effectively.
4. Flower paste in skin discoloration:
Fresh flowers are taken and fine paste is made. This is applied over the discolored area of the skin regularly, twice or thrice a day. This helps to restore the original skin color.
5. Bark decoction with rock salt in breathlessness:
In case of nasal congestion and breathlessness bark decoction is administered along with a pinch of salt. This relieves the complaint significantly.
Much of the nature, characters and utilities of the herbs are already explained in the texts of Ayurveda. Still more are existing in the folklore and traditional practices. The intelligence and memory enhancing property of the flowers of white variety of Palasha is one such example.
Its fresh juice, fine paste and even the curries are used with this intention even today in the areas like Shimoga, Sagar, Kumta, Sirsi, Koppa, Bhadravati (Karnataka state) etc. This suggests that there is enough scope for further research, validation and documentation in such fields.
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