Health benefits of Khirni

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Khirni Quick Facts
Name: Khirni
Scientific Name: Manilkara hexandra
Origin South Asia (China: Hainan and southern Guangxi provinces
Colors Initially green turning to reddish-yellow as they mature
Shapes One seeded berry, obovoid-oblong or ellipsoid, 1.5 mm long and 8 mm wide
Taste Sweet, pungent
Health benefits Cures Fevers and Jaundice, Augments Kidney Function, Heals Skin Infections, Alleviates Stomach Ulcers, Enhances Immunity
Manilkara hexandra popularly known as Ceylon Iron Wood or Khirni is a tree species in the tribe Sapoteae, in the family Sapotaceae. The plant is native to much of south Asia (China: Hainan and southern Guangxi provinces; the Indian Subcontinent: Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka; Indo-China: Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Its vernacular names differ regionally; for example Palu, Palai (பாலை) in Tamil or Rayan (පලු) in Sinhalese. It is locally known as the Khirni tree in parts of Bangladesh and India. In the Tamil language it is called Ulakkaippaalai or Kanuppaalai. Some of the popular common names of the plant are Ceylon Iron Wood, milk tree, wedge-leaved ape flower, Rayan and khirni. The wood of the plant is hard, durable, and heavy and is used for heavy structural work, gate posts, and big beams. It is used for turning and carpentry in spite of the difficulties of working with such dense wood. The plant is also used as rootstock for Manilkara zapota, and its own fruit is edible.

Khirni Facts

Name Khirni
Scientific Name Manilkara hexandra
Native South Asia (China: Hainan and southern Guangxi provinces; the Indian Subcontinent: Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka; Indo-China: Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam
Common Names Ceylon Iron Wood, milk tree, wedge-leaved ape flower, Rayan, khirni
Name in Other Languages Bengali : Krikhiyur, Khirani (খিরনি)
Chinese:  Tie xian zi (铁线子), Tie se
English :  Ceylon iron wood, Milky tree
Gujarati: Khirani (ખિર્ની), Rayana (રાયન)
Hindi: Drirh (दृढ़), Khirni (खिरनी), Kshiri (क्षीरी), Rayan (रायन), Kshiri
Irula: Palai maram
Kannada : Bakula, hale hannu, khiranee, kiraale, kiraanimara, kirani hannina mara, kirani mara, kirhaale, ksheera vriksha, ksheerini, mukula, pete, nn, pakkalada, pakkila
Konkani: Karni (कर्णी), Ranjana (रांजण)
Malayalam: Krini (കൃണി), paḻamunpāla (പഴമുന്പാല)  Pazhamunpaala, Pazhamunpaala, Mullupala, Khirni, khrini, Pazhamunppala, Krini (കൃണി), manilakkara, palamunnippala, palamunpala, elengi, pala, pali
Marathi: Karani (करणी), Khirni (खिरणी), Rajana (राजण ), Ranjana (रांजण), Rayan (रायण), Rayani (रायणी), khiranee (खिरणी), kirni, raajana, raini, ranjana, rayan, rajana
Nepalese:  Khirni (खिरणी)
Persian: خیز نی
Sanskrit:  Kshirini (क्षीरिणी), Nimbabija (निम्बबिज), Rajadana (राजादन), rajadana, rajadanah, dhupeshtha, drdhaskandha, dridhaskandha, guchhaphala, jara, kapishtha, kshirashukla, kshiravriksha, kshiri, kshirika, kshirini, ksiri, ksirika, ksirini, madhavodbhava, madhuphala, nimbabija, nripadruma, phaladhyaksha, rajadani, rajahvam, rajanya, rajaphala, shriphala
Sindhi: کيرڻي(وڻ)
Tamil:  Ulakkaippalai (உலக்கைப்பாலை), palai (பாலை), Kanupala,Kannupala,Ulakkaipaalai,  kannupalalai, kanupala, karupala, kirni, palla, patla, pola, ullakai-palai, attukkompuppalai, attukkottuppalai, civa, mesakkotu, metakkotu, pala, palai 1, palai mukil, sivandi, sivani, sukkilam, ulakkaipalai, ulakkaippalai, ulakkaippali, vatuvati
Telegu: Ankalu (అంకాలు),  Nandivriqshamu (నందివృక్షము), Palachettu  (పాలచెట్టు), Ankalu (అంకాలు), kirni, manchipala, manjipaala, nemmi, nunni paala, pala, palapandu chettu, patla, pola, puttapala, mancipala, manjipala, nienni, nunni, pal, pale, palla, pallapandu, palle, pallepaulo
Tibetan: Ra dza da na (d), ra dze da na
Thai: Ked (เกด)
Urdu: Tukhm khirini
Plant Growth Habit Small to medium sized, slow-growing but fairly large glabrous evergreen tree
Soil Prefers a well-drained soil and a pH in the range 6 – 7
Plant Size About 12 to 25 meters tall and one to three meters in trunk circumference
Bark Bark blackish-grey, longitudinally fissured and cracked, rough; blaze crimson red; exudation milky
Wood Hard, heavy, and durable, weighing 70 pounds per cubic foot
Leaf Simple, alternate, often closely clustered towards the end of branchlets, with conspicuous scars. Petiole is 8-20 mm, slender, slightly grooved above and glabrous
Flowering season August-December
Flower Bisexual, 7 mm across, white, 1 or 2 axillary. Pedicel is thick about 3.5 cm long. Sepals are ovate- triangular, 3-4 mm, yellowish gray velvety. Flowers are white or light yellow, about 4 mm
Fruit Shape & Size One seeded berry, obovoid-oblong or ellipsoid, 1.5 mm long and 8 mm wide
Fruit Color Initially green turning to reddish-yellow as they mature
Seed Ovoid, reddish brown with shining testa
Propagation By seeds
Taste Sweet, pungent
Plant Parts Used Bark, fruits
Health Benefits
  • Cures Fevers and Jaundice
  • Augments Kidney Function
  • Heals Skin Infections
  • Alleviates Stomach Ulcers
  • Enhances Immunity
Culinary Uses
  • The ripe fruit tastes similar to sapota. It is eaten either fresh or dried.
  • A pale yellow oil, known as rayan oil, is obtained from the seed kernels.
  • The bark is added to palm sugar to inhibit fermentation.

Plant Description

Khirni is a small to medium sized, slow-growing but fairly large glabrous evergreen tree that normally grows about 12 to 25 meters tall and one to three meters in trunk circumference. It grows in tropical and temperate forests. Bark is blackish-grey, longitudinally fissured and cracked and rough. The wood is hard, durable, and heavy; the density is variously reported as ranging from about 0.83 to 1.08 tons per cubic meter, partly depending on the degree of drying. It is used for heavy structural work, gate posts, and big beams.

Leaves

Leaves are simple, alternate, often closely clustered towards the end of branchlets, with conspicuous scars. Petiole is 8-20 mm, slender, slightly grooved above and glabrous. Leaf blade is 5-10 cm long and 3-4.5 cm wide, elliptic, elliptic-obovate, obovate or ovate-oblong. Both surfaces are smooth, base broadly wedge shaped to obtuse. Margin is entire, glabrous and coriaceous. Lateral nerves 10-20 pairs are closely pinnate, slender, midrib raised below; intercostae reticulate.

Flower

Flowers are bisexual, 7 mm across, white, 1 or 2 axillary. Pedicel is thick about 3.5 cm long. Sepals are ovate- triangular, 3-4 mm, yellowish gray velvety. Flowers are white or light yellow, about 4 mm. Petals are oblong, about 3 mm. Stamen 6-8, alternating with staminodes, bifid; staminodes shorter than stamen, filaments glabrous, lanceolate; ovary pubescent, 12-celled, superior; style 4-5 mm, subulate; stigma simple. Flowering normally takes place in between August-December.

Fruits

Fertile flowers are followed by one seeded berry, obovoid-oblong or ellipsoid, 1.5 mm long and 8 mm wide. They are initially green turning to reddish-yellow as they mature. Seeds are ovoid and about 1 cm long, reddish brown with shining testa.

Ethno medical uses of Khirni in India

Place, Country Parts Used Ethno Medical Use Preparation (s)
Maharashtra  Fruit Arthritis, Blood purifier, Heat Burning, Jaundice  Mashed
West Bengal  Bark, Fruits Jaundice, Biliousness  Decoction
Andra Pradesh Leaves Asthma Decoction or Infusion
Andra Pradesh  Stem Bark  Galactagauge Infusion
Maharashtra     Fruit     Digestive disorder  Mashed
Tamil Nadu Stem Bark, Leaves  Infertility, Veterinary  Infusion
Rajasthan  Stem Bark, Fruit Fever, jaundice,  Decoction, Mashed
Madhya Pradesh  Stem Bark, Fruit  Bronchitis, Dysentery   Decoction, Mashed
Maharashtra and Gujarat Stem Bark, Fruit  Alimentary Disorders  Decoction, Mashed
Tamil Nadu Stem Bark, Fruit  Fever, Hallucination Decoction, Mashed
Andra Pradesh  Root Headache Infusion or Decoction
Kodiakarai Latex Toothache Applied Directly
Andra Pradesh Stem Bark Dysentery and Diarrhea Decoction
Madhya Pradesh Stem Bark Tonic Decoction or Infusion
Madhya Pradesh Stem Bark  Body ache Boiled

 

Health Benefits of Khirni

Listed below are some of the popular health benefits of Khirni

1. Cures Fevers and Jaundice

Juice derived from the pulp of khirni fruit is bestowed with valuable antioxidants – myricetin and quercetin, which supply significant antipyretic i.e. body temperature lowering traits. Drinking a glass of fresh khirni juice is a well-known remedy for fever and jaundice, vastly diminishing the symptoms of body pain and discomfort.

2. Augments Kidney Function

Khirni fruit is endowed with proteins, which aside from building strong muscles and promoting metabolism, also possess diuretic properties. This fosters normal excretory processes and helps to get rid of toxins, waste matter and undigested food accumulated in the system, by means of optimal kidney activity, thereby preventing kidney disorders.

3. Heals Skin Infections

Vast array of the triterpenoid plant chemicals in khirni make it a superb natural solution to treat skin infections. Additionally, khirni also possesses powerful antimicrobial properties. Applying the paste from fruit extract directly on the skin provides instant relief from rashes, itching and psoriasis, thus enriching its texture and restoring suppleness and radiance to the skin.

4. Alleviates Stomach Ulcers

Khirni fruits encompass noteworthy levels of tannins and saponins – valuable plant compounds that remarkably mend gastrointestinal ulcers. Adding a few slices of khirni fruit to breakfast or having it as a snack in the evening soothes the tummy, by regulating gastric acid volumes and stimulating protective mucosal secretions by the walls of the stomach.

5. Enhances Immunity

Immense quantities of vitamin C are found in khirni fruit, making it an advantageous food for improving the body’s defense mechanism. Antioxidant nature of vitamin C also aids in flushing out harmful free radicals from the system. Moreover, khirni fruit holds considerable antimicrobial potential, shielding the body from bacteria and viruses that trigger diseases.

Traditional uses and benefits of Khirni

  • It is a medicinal tree used in the treatment of excess thirst, emaciation, bleeding disorders, ulcer, bronchitis, jaundice, fever, arthritis etc.
  • It is used in  medicinal  herbal drugs to  cure various  diseases  such as jaundice,  ulitis,  odontopathy,  fever,  colic  dyspepsia, helminthiasis, hyper dyspepsia and burning sensation.
  • It is beneficial in swelling, abdominal colic, gout, rheumatism and toxicosis.
  • Traditionally Bark is used to treat a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders.
  • It improves taste, promotes physical strength and aphrodisiac in nature.
  • Stem bark decoction is used as effective remedy in dysentery and diarrhea.
  • Mashed fruits are taken to cure diseases like arthritis and jaundice, also used for heat burning, wormicide, and to purify blood by local population of Nawargaon village.
  • It purifies blood.
  • Leaf extract is used in the treatment of Asthma.
  • In toothache, latex of the tree is applied on teeth and gums.
  • Root extract is used in treatment of headache.
  • To relieve body ache, water boiled with stem bark is used for bathing.
  • Extract of stem bark is used as tonic.
  • Stem bark infusion is used to promote and increase breast milk.
  • Decoction of bark and mashed fruits is used in fever and hallucinations.
  • Decoction of bark  and mashed  fruits  are  used  in  sacred  groves  in  Pudukottai district  Tamil  Nadu  for  fever  and 
  • It is especially useful in treating gum problems and dental disorders such as bleeding gums, gum inflammation, sudden discharge of blood from gums, odontopathy etc.
  • Bark and seed coat are used for strengthening the gum.
  • They are useful in hallucinations, loss of consciousness, anorexia, bronchitis, leprosy and vitiated conditions of pitta.
  • Seeds are useful in ulcers and the opacity of the cornea.

Other Facts

  • Wood is used for heavy structural work, gate posts, and big beams.
  • It is also used for turning and carpentry in spite of the difficulties of working with such dense wood.
  • This species is often used as a rootstock for the sapodilla (M. zapota) in India.
  • Its tender parts are used as tooth brush.

References:

https://en.wikipedia-on-ipfs.org/wiki/Manilkara_hexandra.html

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/record/kew-120170

https://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/31542

http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Ceylon%20Iron%20Wood.html

https://uses.plantnet-project.org/en/Manilkara_hexandra_(PROSEA)

http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Manilkara+hexandra

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