Health benefits of Tree Cotton

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Tree Cotton Quick Facts
Name: Tree Cotton
Scientific Name: Gossypium arboreum
Origin India, Pakistan and other tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World
Colors Initially green in color and turns to brown as they mature
Shapes Three- or four-celled ovoid or oblong shaped capsule measuring 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters (0.59 to 0.98 in) across
Taste Astringent, bitter, sweet, acrid
Health benefits Treats respiratory diseases, For Mumps, For Blood and Sticky Motions, Cure for Rat bite, For Eye Pains, For curing Puss in the Ears, For removing Bacteria in Teeth, Treats skin problems, For Scorpion Bite, For Joint Pains, Treat wounds or inflamed mucus membrane, For Swollen Legs, Beneficial for breastfeeding mothers,
Cotton, also referred to as tree cotton, Ceylon cotton, is much-branched shrub related to the common mallow, marsh mallows, hollyhocks, hibiscus, okra, musk mallow, Indian or country mallow, the kapok tree, the red silk cotton tree, the dinner plate tree and the fruit, durian, among others. The plant belongs to the Mallow family Malvaceae. Known scientifically as Gossypium arboreum, the plant goes by several other common names including Bluntleaf cotton, Tree cotton, Ceylon cotton, Ceylon tree cotton, Cotton tree, Indian cotton tree, Red-flowered cotton tree, Tree cotton and Asiatic cotton.  The plant is native to India, Pakistan and other tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World. There is evidence of its cultivation as long ago as the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley for the production of cotton textiles. This species of cotton was also introduced into East Africa and was grown by the Meroe civilization in Nubia.

Plant Description

Cotton is a much-branched shrub that grows about 2-6 feet (0.61-1.8 m) high with wide with extremely variable, most parts densely covered with minute stellate hairs and patent simple hairs, nearly all parts irregularly dotted with black oil glands. The plant prefers a very sunny position in a light, fertile, well-drained soil. Plants can tolerate a range of soils, including moderate levels of salt.


Tree cotton branches are covered with pubescence and are purple in color. Stipules are present at the leaf base and they are linear to lanceolate in shape and sometimes falcate (i.e. sickle-shaped). Leaves are attached to the stem by a 1.5 to 10 cm petiole. Blades are ovate to orbicular in shape and have five to seven lobes, making them superficially resemble a maple leaf. Lobes are linear to lanceolate, and often a tooth is present in the sinus. Glands are present along the midrib or occasionally on the adjacent nerves. Leaves are glabrescent, meaning the pubescence is lost with age, but when it is present on young leaves, it is both stellate (i.e. star-shaped) and simple.


Flowers are set on short pedicels (i.e. flower stalks). An epicalyx is present, which is a series of subtending bracts that look like sepals. Its large, ovate segments are dentate (i.e. toothed along the margins), though occasionally only very slightly so. They are cordate (i.e. heart-shaped) at the base and acute at the apex. True calyx is small, measuring only about 5 millimeters (0.20 in) long. Its shape is cupular, and five subtle dentations are present. The corolla is a pale yellow on color, sometimes with a purple center, and occasionally entirely purple. It measures 3 to 4 centimeters (1.2 to 1.6 in) long. The staminal tube bears the anthers and is 1.5 to 2 cm in length.


The fruit is a three- or four-celled capsule measuring 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters (0.59 to 0.98 in) across. It is ovoid or oblong in shape and glabrous (i.e. hairless). The surface is pitted and a beak is present at the terminal end. Fruits are initially green in color and turns to brown as they mature. The seeds within are globular and are covered in long white cotton.

Health benefits of Tree Cotton

Tree Cotton leaves consist of mucus, tannins, flavonoids, essential oil, and other substances. Listed here are some interesting health benefits of cotton herbs:

1. Treats respiratory diseases

Cotton leaves have been used as a traditional herbal medicine for respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, coughing, throat infections, and emphysema. It is a widespread herbal medicine for respiratory diseases because it has healing features that may help mucosa of the upper respiratory tract. One of those healing attributes is the mucus substances that protect or recover the tissue from inflammation.

Tea made from the cotton leaves may be used as a medicine for a cough and similar illness. Be aware that you should allow the leaves to be soaked for a few hours in slightly warm water before use. To keep the medical attributes from fading away, do not boil the leaves.

2. Treats skin problems

This medicinal herb can be used as an alternative treatment for your skin problems like wounds, boils, skin rashes, insect bites, pimples, eczema, acne, and swelling. It is due to the astringent, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory attributes of the leaves. It seems like an effective remedy for inflammation.

3. Treat wounds or inflamed mucus membrane in the respiratory organs

Mucus substances contained in, cotton leaves can heal wounds or treat inflammation of mucosa in the upper respiratory organs such as mouth and throat, and also in the stomach and intestines.

4. Beneficial for breastfeeding mothers

If consumed as tea, it has been said that cotton leaves may help in producing breast milk.

5. Cure for Rat bite

Drinking 50 grams Juice of cotton tree leaves mixed with 100 grams of rice socked water cures poison spread by rat bite.

6. For Scorpion Bite

Finely Grind together cotton tree leaves and mustard seeds. Apply this mix immediately on the area bitten by scorpion. This cures soon.

7. For Joint Pains

Boil the crushed baby cotton leaves in castor oil or with cow ghee. Apply this on joints and bandage it. This gradually removes joint pains.

8. For Swollen Legs

Crush cotton leaves and extract its juice. Apply this on the swollen area of the leg to cure.

9. For Eye Pains

Boil cotton leaves in butter milk. Apply these leaves on the eyes and bandage them to get relief from eye pains.

10. For removing Bacteria in Teeth

Deep Fry some cotton seeds in a vessel till they turn black. This can be used to massage the teeth to get rid of bacteria and give healthy teeth.

11. For Mumps

Crush cotton tree leaves and extract juice from them. Apply this on mumps to cure.

12. For curing Puss in the Ears

Make juice from cotton “boll” and filter it. Add some guggilam and honey to the juice. Put 2 to 3 drops to remove puss from the ear.

13. For Blood and Sticky Motions

Crush cotton leaves and obtain 30 grams of juice. Add 30 grams of candy sugar powder to this. Drink this twice a day to cure.

14. Alternative medicine for various diseases

Beside respiratory and skin problems, cotton leaves may also be used as an alternative herbal medicine for other diseases such as gallstones, kidney stones, kidney inflammation, headache, constipation, gastritis, toothaches and insomnia.

Traditional uses and benefits of Tree Cotton

  • Juice of the root is used in the treatment of fevers.
  • Root bark is used as an Abortifacient.
  • Root decoction is used to prevent Abortion.
  • Powdered root bark is used to treat Lymphatic swellings.
  • Fresh leaves of tree cotton are used to treat Ulcers.
  • Macerated leaf is taken against Vomiting.
  • It is used for wound dressing and curbing infection.
  • It is applied on forehead to relieve headache.
  • It cures digestive disorders.
  • It encourages proper Bile secretion in the Liver.
  • It helps in uterine contraction.
  • It helps in Breast enlargement.
  • It supports healthy immune system.
  • Chewing the root bark of the cotton plant is thought to stimulate the sex organs and it has a reputation for being an aphrodisiac.
  • Seeds and leaves are used in South East Asia and the subcontinent to treat a variety of health problems, and are used both internally and externally for skin problems and injuries.
  • Powdered cotton seeds mixed with milk are given to those with headaches.
  • An infusion of the seeds and leaves is said to be useful for cases of dysentery.
  • Cotton seeds or the expressed juice from the leaves are used to treat skin problems.
  • Leaves can be made into a poultice for sprains or painful areas of the limbs.
  • Seeds are ground and made into a paste with water and ginger for burns.
  • An infusion, a mixture of the seeds and leaves and perhaps also mustard seeds is used for snake bites and scorpion stings.

Ayurvedic Health benefits of Tree Cotton

  • Diarrhea: Make a decoction with dried leaves of Tree Cotton. Have 2 tsp. of it thrice a day.
  • Maturant: Apply leaf paste of Tree Cotton on the Ulcer. Use it for 1 week.
  • Leucorrhoea: Add 35 ml leaf juice of Tree Cotton in a 300 ml of Milk. Drink it once a day.
  • Ear Discharge: Crush fruit of Tree Cotton to obtain juice. Use it as an Ear drop.
  • Galactagogue: Grind roots of Tree Cotton using warm water. Have quarter tsp. of it once a day.
  • Emacitation: Powder the dried seeds of Tree Cotton. Take half tsp. of it with 1 glass warm Milk.
  • Epilepsy: Take the leaves of Jequirity. Grind them with the roots of Tree Cotton. Apply this paste on the whole body.
  • Menstrual Pain: Collect juice from equal quantities of cotton flower petals, cotton leaves, bamboo leaves and boil them along with water to make syrup. Consuming 1 small cup of this juice thrice a day during menstruation, will remove pains.
  • Curing Hysteria and Fear: Extract 10 ml of cotton flowers juice and mix 2 gm. of Saffron along with 1 tablespoon of honey. Consuming this quantity everyday will cure all mind related fears, weaknesses and phobias.
  • Burn Skin Mark Removal and Healing: Grind and make a thick paste from cotton flowers. Apply it as a cream on first degree burns to heal the wounds. This helps in quick recovery of skin’s original color by removing burn marks too

Other Facts

  • Floss contained in the seedpods is used for making cloth and for the wicks of oil lamps.
  • Cotton fibers have a wide range of used including making clothes; rubber-tyre fabrics; stuffing material for pillows, cushions etc.; surgical dressings; making twine and ropes; carpets etc.
  • The 1000-seed weight of Gossypium arboreum is 46–91 g.


  • Large doses of cotton leaves may have laxative effects and cause diarrhea.
  • It is suggested that pregnant women should avoid consuming this herb as a safety measure.






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