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Saraca asoca (Roxb.) Willd., Saraca indica, Jonesia asoka

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Ashoka is one of the sacred trees of Hindus, and is usually associated with Kamadeva, the Hindu God of love. The founder of Buddhism, Gautama Siddhartha was said to have been born under this tree.

Vernacular name: State flower of Odisha

Assamese: Ashoka

Bengali: Oshok, Ashoka

English: Sita Ashok, Sorrowless tree

Gujarati: Ashopalava, Ashoka

Hindi: Sita Ashok, Ashok, Vand Ichitrah, Vanjulam

Kannada: Achenge, Ashokadamara, Akshth, Ashanke, Kenkalimara

Kashmiri: Ashok

Malayalam: Hemapushpam, Asokam

Marathi: Jasundi, Ashok

Odiya: Ashoka

Punjabi: Ashok

Sanskrit: Anganapriya, Ashoka, Ashopalava, Sita-Ashoka, Kankeli

Tamil: Asogam

Telugu: Asokamu, Vanjulamu

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Kingdom: Plantae – plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants

Subkingdom: Viridiplantae

Infrakingdom: Streptophyta – land plants

Superdivision: Embryophyta

Division: Tracheophyta – vascular plants, tracheophytes

Subdivision: Spermatophytina – spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames

Class: Magnoliopsida

Superorder: Rosanae

Order: Fabales

Family: Fabaceae – peas, legumes

Species: Saraca asoca (Roxb.) Willd., Sita Ashok, Sorrowless tree (Syn. Saraca indica, Jonesia asoka)

Phytogeography: India (Western Ghats, Northeast India, and often cultivated throughout the country), Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaya and Sri Lanka.

Plant description: Small evergreen tree, to 10 meter tall. Leaves paripinnate, up to 30 cm long; stipules intrapetiolar.

Leaves: Leaflets 4-6 pairs, oblong, oblong-lanceolate, 10-20 × 11.5 cm, subcoriaceous, glabrous, dark purple when young, turning brown and finally green.

Flowers: Flowers in dense corymbs, very fragrant; bracts and bracteoles coloured. Calyx situated at the top of tubular hypanthium, 12-17 mm; sepals 4, ovate, petaloid, changing colour from yellow to orange and finally scarlet. Petals absent. Stamens 4-8, exserted. Ovary stipitate; style curved into a ring, nearly as long as stamens.

Fruits or seeds: Pods elongated, 10-25 x 3-5 cm, flat, leathery, dehiscent, 4-8-seeded; seeds ellipsoid-oblong, compressed.

Flowering season: Throughout the year.

Propagation: Seeds

Parts used: Bark, leaves, aerial parts, Seeds, roots

Phytochemical Constituents: (-)epicatechin; (−)-epicatechin; (+)catechin; (24, £)-24-methyl-cholesta-5-en-3p-ol (22 E, 21£)-24-ethycholesta-5; 11'-deoxyprocyanidin B; 22 dien-33-ol,(24 £)-24-ethylcholesta-5-en-3-p-ol; 5-methoxy-9-β-xylopyranosyl-(−)-isolariciresinol; apigenin- 7-0-p-D-glucoside; Catechol; Cyanidin-3, 5-diglucoside; Epiafzelechin-(4β→8)-epicatechin; Flavonoids; Gallic acid; Icariside E3; Kaempferol- 3-0-P-D-glucoside; Leucocyanidin; leucopelargonidin-3-O-p-Dglucoside; leucopelargonidin; Lignan glycosides; Linoleic acid; Linolenic acid; Lyoniside; Nudiposide; Oleic acid; p sitosterols; Palmitic acid; Palmitic acid; Pelargonidin- 3, 5- diglucoside; Procyanidin B2; Procyanidin p2; P-sitosterol; Quercetin- 3-0-P-D-glucoside; Quercetin; Schizandriside; Stearic acid; y sitosterols; β-sitosterol glucoside;

Pharmacological actions: Analgesic; Anthelminthic; Antibacterial; Anticancer; Antidepressant; Antidiabetic; Antihyperglycemic; Anti-inflammatory; Antimenorrhagic; Antimicrobial; Antimutagenic; Antioxidant; Antioxytocic; Antipyretic; Antivirus; Chemopreventive; Genoprotective; Hypoglycemic; Hypolipidemic; Larvicidal; Molluscicide; Rejuvenator; Skin tonic; Uterine tonic; Vulnerary;

Medicinal uses: Ammenorhea; Calcium deficiency; Congested uterus; Delayed bone consolidation; Delirium; Dermatitis; Diabetes mellitus; Dysentery; Eczema; Endometriosis; External inflammations; Freckles; Haemorrhagic dysentery; Hemiplegia; Herpes virus; Infertility; Painful periods; Paralysis; Pruritis; Psoriasis; Rickets; Scabies; Skin diseases; Tinea pedis; Ulcers; Uterine disorders; Uterine pain; Visceral numbness;

All parts of the tree are used in medicine. The bark is reported to have a stimulating effect on the endometrial and ovarian tissues, and is useful in all cases of uterine bleeding, irregular menstrual cycles and infertility.

As one would expect from a tree of the country it has many useful medicinal properties. The juice obtained from boiling the bark is a cure for some ailments of women, and a pulp of the blossoms is one of the remedies used for dysentery.

Other uses: Wood used for plough and shafts. Pods make good forage.

Dosage and administration: Flower extract is taken in the doses of 15 to 60 drops, to treat hemorrhagic dysentery. Decoction of bark is used in dysentery.


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