Health Benefits of Ashoka Tree

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Ashoka Tree Quick Facts
Name: Ashoka Tree
Scientific Name: Saraca asoca
Origin India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka
Colors Black
Shapes Flat, leather
Taste Astringent and sweet (Bark)
Saraca asoca is an indigenous plant commonly known as Ashoka Tree belongs to Caesalpinaceae family. It is mentioned in the oldest Indian text apart from Ayurveda. Ashoka tree is regarded as sacred and apart from Ramayana, it is also mentioned in Jainism and Buddhism. Stem bark is used in medicines as it contains chemicals such as flavonoids, glycoside, saponins, tannins, esters, alkanes and primary alcohols. It is used as traditional medicine for women associated problems such as leucorrhoea, menorrhagia, dysfunctional uterine bleeding and bleeding hemorrhoids.

This rainforest tree is found all over India especially Kerala, Himalaya, Bengal and whole south region. It was originally distributed in central areas of Deccan plateau and middle section of the Western Ghats in western coastal zone of Indian subcontinent. Ashoka tree is recognized for its attractive foliage and fragrant flowers. It is a small and erect evergreen tree with deep green leaves that grows in clusters. The tree blooms flowers from February to April.

All parts of the plant have medicinal properties. Its leaves contain steroids, glycosides, carbohydrates, saponins and tannins. Barks have steroids, glycosides, carbohydrates, saponins and tannins. Flowers are medicinally used to treat cancer, diabetes and hemorrhagic dysentery, menorrhagia and other uterine disorders.

Plant description

Saraca asoca is an evergreen herb measuring 7-10 cm high which occurs to the altitude of 750 meters. Leaves are parpinnate, oblong, narrowly lanceolate and completely united. Bark is almost black or dark brown with warty surface. Stem bark is rough, uneven due to rounded or projecting lenticles. Leaves are narrowly lanceolate. Flowers are deciduous, corymbose, yellowish orange and apetalous. The tree starts flowering from February to April. Fruit is  a  pod which is flat, oblong and apiculate. Seeds are compressed and ellipsoid to oblong.

Leaves

Leaves are stipulate, alternate, paripinnate compounds that spread horizontally. Rachis is stout, thickened, flexible, corky and 15 to 22.5 cm long. There are 8 to 12 leaflets and the lowest pair is close to the base on very stout, short and flexible stalks about 10-22.5 cm long, 3.1-3.7 cm broad and the middle ones are longest, linear which tapers to very acute apex. Stipules are large, intrapetiolar, stiff, ovate, deciduous, brown and about 1.2 cm long. There are 7 stamens with very long purple filaments which are inserted on fleshy lobed ring at mouth of calyx tube. Anthers are purple to black and ovary is superior, stalked, unilocular and unicarpellary.

Fruit

Fruit is a legume about 12.5-22.5 cm long and 5 cm wide which tapers to both ends, compressed, glabrous, rigidly leathery and veiny. It consists of 3.7-4.3 cm seeds which are ovoid and slightly compressed.

Traditional uses

  • In Indian medicine, Saraca asoca is used for treating genital, uterine and other reproductive disorders in pain, fever, women and inflammation.
  • In Ayurveda, it is used to clear congestion from Mamsa and Medas Dhatus especially when there is endometriosis, leucorrhoea, fibroids, cysts from excess kapha and ama in Artava Srotas.
  • The herb is effective for cardiac weakness and arrhythmia.
  • It encourages the flow of urine and helps to treat conditions such as painful urination.
  • It is a tonic for irregular menstrual cycles and miscarriage.
  • To prevent gynecological disorders, boil Ashoka bark in cow’s milk with sugar and consume it once a day for 3 days.
  • Use the decoction made by boiling the bark in water for menorrhagia.
  • The herb also improves the skin complexion.
  • It also purifies the blood and prevents skin allergies.
  • Ashoka is used for treating wounds, diarrhea, poisoning, tumors, burning sensation, worm infestations, abdomen swelling and excessive menstrual bleeding.
  • It is used in dermatitis, anorexia, animal bite, indigestion and as a hair tonic.
  • Stem bark is helpful for treating disorders related to menstrual cycle.
  • Bark decoction is used to treat uterine infections as well as gynaecological problems.
  • Flowers are useful in treating dysentery.
  • Take dried flower powder (Saraca indica) with milk or honey and Saraca asoca bark decoction twice a day for treating diabetes.
  • For stomachache, mix the leaves juice with cumin seeds.
  • Saraca asoca seed powder helps to cure kidney stones.
  • Ash of Ashok tree is useful to cure joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dosage

Syrup: 10-15ml

Powder: 1-3gm

Seed powder: 1-3 g

Flower powder: 1-3 gm

Medicinal applications

  1. Dysmenorrhea

Dysmenorrhea is the cramps or pain during / before menstrual period. It is known as kasht-aartava in Ayurveda. Menstruation is managed by Vata dosha. It is essential that Vata should be under control in a women to manage dysmenorrhea.

Tips:

  1. Boil the Ashoka tree bark in water till the volume of water reduces to one-fourth.
  2. Strain liquid and store it in a bottle.
  3. Take 8-10 teaspoons of this Ashoka kwatha.
  4. Drink it after adding the same quantity of water after lunch and dinner to manage pain during menstruation.

 

  1. Menorrhagia

Menorrhagia is a heavy menstrual bleeding which is due to aggravated Pitta dosha. This helps to balance aggravated Pitta and controls heavy menstrual bleeding.

Tips:

  1. Boil the Ashoka tree bark in water till the volume of water reduces to one-fourth.
  2. Strain liquid and store it in bottle.
  3. Take 8-10 teaspoons of this Ashoka kwatha.
  4. Drink it after adding the same quantity of water after lunch and dinner to manage pain during menstruation.


3. Piles

Piles are caused due to sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet leading to impairment of three doshas mainly Vata. An aggravated Vata leads to constipation causing low digestive fire. It causes swelling in veins in rectum area leading to pile mass. As it has cold nature, it lowers burning sensation and discomfort in piles. It provides cooling effects and lowers burning sensation in anus.

Tips:

  1. Take ¼ to ½ teaspoon of Saraca asoca powder.
  2. Add honey or water.
  3. Take it after meals.
  4. Leucorrhea

It is the thick, whitish discharge from the female genitals. Saraca asoca is caused due to imbalance of Kapha dosha. Saraca asoca controls aggravated Kapha and lowers leucorrhea symptoms.

Tips:

  1. Boil the Ashoka tree bark in water till the volume of water reduces to one-fourth.
  2. Strain liquid and store it in middle.
  3. Take 8-10 teaspoons of this Ashoka kwatha.
  4. Add the same quantity of water and drink preferably after lunch and dinner to manage leucorrhea.
  5. Prevention of diarrhea

Flowers of Ashoka tree helps to manage blood loss in stools and treats diarrhea without any side effects. Bark, flowers and leaves are used as tonic to provide relief from painful condition.

  1. Gynecological problems

Boil 6 gm of Saraca asoca powder in 500 ml cow milk and 500 ml water until it lowers to half. For normal menses, drink it daily for 3 days.

  1. Improve intellect

The daily intake of products made with Ashoka tree improves intellect. Mix equal quantities of Ashoka Tree bark and brahmi powder and consume one teaspoon of this mixture twice a day with a cup of milk.

  1. Menorrhagia

Make a decoction by boiling bark in water. Take this decoction in empty stomach to patients. Or boil it in milk.

  1. Internal bleeding

Drink few drops of water combined with crushed flowers of Ashoka Tree for preventing internal bleeding. This helps to prevent hemorrhagic dysentery.

  1. Skin Diseases

Boil Saraca asoca in water and use this water to cleanse wounds and skin conditions.

Rub the crushed leaves and flowers on the skin.

  1. Fungal infections

Apply the infusion prepared with Saraca asoca flowers and leaves of Henna in coconut oil.

  1. Scabies and itching

Apply the flowers boiled in coconut oil.

  1. Fractured bones

Apply the bark paste on affected area.    

  1. Intestinal parasites

Leaves are used for eliminating intestinal parasites.

Side-effects

  • When used in large doses, it causes constipation.
  • Consult the health practitioner for use.

References:

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Saraca+asoca

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304173094_Saraca_asoca_Roxb_De_Wild_An_overview

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237840510_Phytoconstituents_and_HPTLC_analysis_in_Saraca_asoca_RoxbWilde

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285333987_Phytomedicinal_Importance_of_Saraca_asoca_Ashoka_An_Exciting_Past_an_Emerging_Present_and_a_Promising_Future

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308375772_Ethnobotanical_phytochemical_and_pharmacological_properties_of_Saraca_asoca_bark_A_Review

http://www.tropicalplantresearch.com/archives/2017/vol4issue1/22.pdf

https://www.academia.edu/29791438/Phytomedicinal_importance_of_Saraca_asoca_Ashoka_an_exciting_past_an_emerging_present_and_a_promising_future

http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Saraca+asoca

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5125291/

https://www.homeremediess.com/ashok-medicinal-plant-uses-and-pictures/

https://www.1mg.com/ayurveda/ashoka-101

https://www.bimbima.com/ayurveda/ashokasaraca-asoca-home-remedies/1515/

https://www.lybrate.com/topic/ashoka-tree-uses-benefits-and-side-effects

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