Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Alstonia scholaris (R. BR.)

English Name : Devil’s Tree

Family : Apocynaceae

Evergreen tree which can reach a height of 80 feet and 2.4 m in girth. Bark is rough, grey-white, yellowish inside.The leaves are petioled, oblong, 15cm long, glossy, dark green on the upper surface, with a whitish undersurface, occurring in whorls of 4 or 6. The flowers are greenish white, tubular and sessile, occurring in dense terminal clusters and appearing in spring. The fruits are long cylindrical follicles.

Found in a variety of climates in India,up to an altitude of 600 m, such as the drier and sub-alpine, as well as in deciduous and evergreen forests in the tropical region of Western Himalayas, through the sub-Himalayan tract, in Eastern India, on the West Coast and in other moist parts, and in the Andamans.

Parts Used : Bark, leaf and plant

Herb Effects
Laxative (bark decoction); anticancer and hypotensive (stem bark); anthelmintic (bark); hypothermic and aphrodisiac (prolongs erection in males); astringent and galactogogue, antibacterial activity.

Active Ingredients
Lupeol, amyrin acetates and numerous alkaloids (including ditamine and ditain) (bark); indole alkaloids (plant); betulin, ursolic acid and beta-sitosterol (leaf); betulinic acid (stem bark).

Medicinal Use
In tuberculosis and as a tonic and laxative (bark decoction); in skin disorders, in dysentery, chronic diarrhea and fever, in heart diseases, asthma and to stop bleeding of wounds; for deafness (bark); in leprosy and dyspepsia (fresh bark juice); for beri-beri and liver congestion (decoction of young leaf); to ulcers, sores, tumours and in rheumatic pain, and is used for curing toothache, an antidote for Antiaris- poisoning (the milky juice or latex).

Powder: 2 to 6 grams.
Extract: 2 to 10 drops
Infusion of Alstonia: (5 parts to 100 parts water) 1 fluid ounce.
Powdered bark: 2 to 4 grains.


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