Ironwood Tree – Memecylon edule: Uses, Research, Remedies

Anjani – Memecylon edule is an Ayurvedic herb used in the treatment of skin diseases, menstrual disorders, burning sensation of the body, burning urination, bruises and conjunctivitis. 


The herb is not mentioned in the Ayurveda texts like, Charaka samhita, Sushrutha Samhitha and Astanga Sangraha, Nighantus etc. We can find the references about this plant in contemporary texts like Indian material medica, Indian medicinal plants and Wealth of India etc.

Latin name- Memecylon edule Roxb.
Family- Melastomataceae

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name – Anjani, Kakajambu, Alli
English name – Iron wood tree, Ironwood Tree
Bengali name – Anjana
Kannada name – Ollekodi
Malayalam name – Dalekayer, Dalai, Kannavu
Marathi name – Limba, Anjani
Tamil name – Vachi, Anjani, Kurikkaya
Telugu name – Allichettu

Memecylon amlexicaule (Roxb)
Tamil  – Kaikkathetti
Canarese  – Bandikya, Gandukepala
Coorg   – Naymaru
Malayalam – Kannana
Tulu  – Ollekodi
Kadis   – Kayavu
Tamil  – Perungacha, Vachi

Memecylon angustifolium, Wight
Sanskrit  – Kakajembu
Tamil – Attunjasei
Canarese – Belavakana
Malayalam  – Attukanila

Memecylon edule, Roxb
Sanskrit  – Anjani
English   – Iron wood tree
Bombay – Lokhandi
Maharashtra – Limba
Bengal – Anjana
Malayalam – Kashoa
Telugu – Allichettu
Lasery – Chedi, Kachamaram
Canarese  – Limbatoli
Sinh – Were- Kava, Serokaya

Memecylon umbellatum – BURM
Andamans  – Pitanig
Bombay – Angun, Anguni, Anjana, Anjuna karpa, kurpa
Yalki – Burma
Konkani – Ronzoni
Malayalam – Dalekayer, Dalai, Putin
Marathi – Anjani, Anjun, Kurpa, Limba
Sanskrit – Anjani, Saora
Tamil – Alli, Anjani, Kara, Kasai, Kaya, Perungaya, Pungali, Puvai
Tagalog – Coles, Cules, Culis
Korrenyi – Sinhalese, Dedekaha, Kaian, Korakaha Vellikaha
Malayalam – Anakkayavu, Kalayam, Kanila, Kannavu, Karavu, Kayavu, Nejunjetti
English – Iron wood tree
Icocano – Lacha, Candon
Canarese – myenphaetenyet, Alamaru, Alle Archeti, Gandukepala, Harchari, Lakhonde, Neymaru, Nibidalle,Udballi, Udidalle.
Ceylon – Kaya, Kurrekaya, Pandikaya.

The herb Memecylon has 4 species namely Memecylon Edule, Memecylon Amplexicaule, Memecylon Angnetifolium, Memecylon umbellatum.


Morphology of Memecylon edule:
Anjani is a large shrub or small tree, growing up to 8-14m tall with bright blue flowers. Flowers are seen in clusters of tiny purple flowers, about 1cm each. The trees bloom once or twice a year. The fruits are small (about 1cm) and are green, turning red and later black as they ripen. The tree has a thin bark, so it is sometimes also called ‘Nipis kulit’ or ‘thin-skinned’ in Malay. The plant is found in south India and the coastal regions of eastern India.

Properties, part used, dosage

Medicinal Properties of Ironwood tree:
Rasa (Taste) – Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Ruksha (Dry in nature)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Cold)
Karma (Actions) – Pitta shamaka (reduces vitiated pitta dosha)

Part used- Tender leaf, Root
Decoction- 50 to 60 ml
Juice- 15 to 20 ml

Chemical composition

Chemical composition of Memecylon edule:
Leaves contain a yellow glucoside besides chlorophylls, resins, coloring matter, gum starch, malic acid, crude fiber and inorganic matter containing silica.


Uses of Anjani (Iron Wood Tree):

  • The decoction of the root of anjani is given in a dose of 50-60 ml to treat menorrhagia and leucorrhea.
  • The paste of the leaf of Memecylon edule is applied over bruises and localized inflammation as part of treatment.
  • The cold infusion of the tender leaf of anjani is used as eye drops or collyrium to treat conjunctivitis and burning sensation of the eyes.
  • The bark of Memecylon edule with equal proportions of coconut kernel, ajwain seeds, and black pepper, all in powder and tied up in a cloth forms a nice fomentation or applied as a lepa to bruises.
  • The decoction of the leaf of anjani is given in a dose of 50-60 ml to treat leucorrhea and to treat scanty bleeding during menstruation or irregular menstruation.
  • The decoction prepared from the root or leaf of Memecylon species is given in various skin diseases, as it acts like a blood purifier.
  • The paste prepared from the leaves of anjanai is applied over the area affected with herpes.

Adverse effect

No adverse effect is known or reported after the normal use of Anjani.

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 articles related to Memecylon species:
Anti- oxidant activity: Different dry extracts of Memecylon umbellatum Burm leaf obtained by various solvents such as petroleum ether, chloroform, ethyl acetate, acetone, methanol and chloroform water (IP) was screened to reap the benefits of its antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties using ascorbic acid as standard antioxidants. Among the all extracts, Methanol leaf extract has showed higher Antioxidant activity (84.65 ± 0.064 %) having IC50 Value 11.81 ± 0.033 μg/ml at 20 μg/ml. While, IC50 value for ascorbic acid was found to be 8.91 ± 0.084 μg/ml. The results clearly indicate that Methanol leaf extract of Memecylon umbellatum is effective in free radical scavenging.

Anti- inflammatory action: The aim of the study was to determine the anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant activities of the leaves of Memecylon edule Roxb. Hexane, (Hex), ethyl acetate (EtOAc), methanol (MeOH) and 50% methanol (MeOH50) fractions of the dry leaves were tested in vitro for their interleukin-10 production; the most active fraction was further studied in vivo for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities using the ethylphenylpropiolate (EPP)-induced mouse ear edema and the writhing test with mice. The EtOAc showed the highest stimulation for interleukin-10 production. In the EPP test, this fraction was significantly active 30 min after topical application at all doses used (0.5, 1.0, 2.0mg/ear); after 4h and at 1.0mg/ear EtOAc was slightly less active (inhibition 47.8%) than the reference, indomethacin, at the same dose (62.4%). At 200mg/kg orally, the EtOAc caused a significant inhibition of the writhing response by 56.6% which was like indomethacin at 10mg/kg. EtOAc, MeOH and MeOH50 exhibited radical scavenging activity.

Wound healing action: The present study was aimed to evaluate the wound healing activity of alcoholic leaf extract of Memecylon umbellatum Burm (Melastomataceae). An alcoholic leaf extract of Memecylon umbellatum Burm was examined for its wound healing activity in the form of ointment (0.5, 1.0 and 2% w/w) in two types of wound models in rats the excision and the incision wound model. The extract ointments showed significant response (p<0.001) in both the wound models as comparable to those of a standard drug nitrofurazone (NFZ) ointment (0.2% w/w) in terms of wound contracting ability, wound closure time and tensile strength.

Anti- microbial action: The petroleum ether, chloroform and methanol extracts of Memecylon malabaricum leaves were tested for antimicrobial activity. Only methanol extract has shown activity against bacteria both Gram (+) and Gram (-), and fungi.

Memecylon umbellatum, commonly known as Ironwood’, Anjani (Tamil),’ (Malayalam) or Alli (Hindi), is a small tree found in India, the Andaman islands and the coastal region of the Deccan. It is also found in Sri Lanka, where it is called Blue MistKora-Kaha (Sinhala language) and Kurrikaya (Tamil). The leaves contain a yellow dye, a glucoside, which is used for dyeing the robes of Buddhist monks and for colouring reed mats.

Anti- diabetic action: The methanolic extract of Memecylon malabaricum leaves is subjected to antidiabetic activity using experimental model of alloxan induced diabetes. The results showed that the methanolic extract significantly decrease the raised blood glucose level, comparable to reference standard, gliclazide. The results of this study explicate justification of the use of this plant in the treatment of diabetes.

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

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