Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pongamia pinnata (L.) Pierre

English Name : Indian Beach

Family : Fabaceae

Origin : Western Ghats of India

A medium-sized, semi-evergreen up to 18 m tall with a short bole and spreading crown; bark greyish green or brown, smooth or covered with tubercles. Leaves alternate, imparipinnate, 5 to 9 foliate, dark green, shining; leaflets opposite, ovate to elliptic, shortly acuminate, glabrous, to 15 cm long and 8 cm broad. Flowers small, lilac or white tinged with pink or violet, fragrant, borne in fascicles of 2 to 4 flowers in axillary racemes to 15 cm long; calyx campanulate, truncate; corolla much exserted, standard suborbicular with curved folds above the claw, wings obliquely oblong, Fruit (pod) compressed, woody, glabrous, indehiscent, yellowish-grey when mature, varying in size and shape, elliptic to obliquely oblong, to 7.5 cm long and 3.5 cm wide, with a curved beak, usually 1 seeded; seed elliptical or kidney-shaped, to 2 cm long and 1.8 cm wide, wrinkled, reddish-brown.

Forests and along the roadsides of India.

Parts Used : Leaf, seed (and their oils) and bark

Herb Effects
Carminative (leaf), antifungal and antibacterial (essential leaf oil), kills roaches (seed oil), insects (seed and leaf) and nematodes (leaf).

Active Ingredients
Pongapin and pongamol (seed and its oil), glabrachromenes I and II (leaf), karanjin and kanjone (leaf, seed and its oil); betulinic acid (stem bark)

Medicinal Use
As a tonic (seed) and in hemorrhoids (stem bark); chronic fevers, rheumatism, lumbago, herpes, scabies, leucoderma and other skin diseases, flatulence, dyspepsia, diarrhoea, cough, leprosy and gonorrhoea (plant); on the head to heal ulcers and cure dandruff (leaf paste); used for cleaning sores, as well as for cleaning teeth and strengthening gums (root juice).


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