The plant ASHOKA is the one that is said to be useful in the treatment of many Gynecological disorders. The plant has reference in the book RAMAYANA where the Goddess Sita is made to dwell in ASHOKA VANA after being abducted by King RAVANA. It is a tree of Indian subcontinent and can be seen growing naturally in the region especially in the Western Ghats at an altitude of 750 meters. It is also said that the birth of Lord Buddha was under this tree also. It is most revered for its flowers and the look that it gets when it is in full bloom. The botanical name of the plant is Saraca asoca (Roxb) Willd belonging to the family Caesalpinaceae. The flower of this plant is the state flower of Odisha state in India. The name Saraca is derived from the Sanskrit word “Sara” which means coloured or spotted while the word asoca is also derived from the Sanskrit name of the plant which means that “the one which relieves sorrow”.  

PLANT DETAILS

BOTANICAL NAME

Saraca asoca (Roxb) Willd or Saraca indica L

FAMILY

Caesalpinaceae

NOMENCLATURE

VERNACULAR NAMES
  • Kannada – Ashoka
  • Malayalam – Asokam
  • Tamil – Asogam
  • Telugu – Vanjulamu
  • Hindi – Ashoka
  • English – Ashoka
SANSKRIT SYNONYMS
  • अशोक (Ashoka), शोकनाश (Shokanasha), अपशोक (Apashoka) – That which removes sorrow or pain.
  • मधुपुष्प (Madhupushpa) – A sweet taste flower
  • हेमपुष्प (Hemapushpa) – Golden coloured flower
  • ताम्रपल्लव (Tamrapallava), रक्तपल्लव (Raktapallava) – The leaves coppery red coloured.
  • पिण्डपुष्प (Pindapushpa) – The flower is dense and grouped into a ball like shape
  • गन्धपुष्प (Gandhapushpa) – The flowers are sweet scented.
  • नट (Nata) – Grows well in moist areas with plenty of water.
PLANT IMAGE
ASHOKA
Click image to enlarge
SAMHITA CLASSIFICATION
  • Charaka Samhita – वेदनस्थापन (Vedanasthapana) & कषायस्कन्ध (Kashayaskanda)
  • Sushruta Samhita – रोध्रादि (Rodhradi)
NIGHANTU CLASSIFICATION
  • Dhanvantari Nighantu – Guduchyadi Varga
  • Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Pushpavarga
  • Raja Nighantu – Karaveeradi Varga
  • Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadhi Varga
BRIEF MORPHOLOGY

A evergreen tree that grows around 18 to 25 feet height with glabrous branches. The bark is dark brown or grey or almost black with warty surface marked by bluish and ash-white patches. The leaves are compound, paripinnate, alternate, narrowly lanceolate, coppery red when young, green when mature, with 6-12 leaflets. The inflorescence are dense axillary corymbs with numerous fragrant orange or orange-yellow coloured flowers. Fruit are pods, flat oblong, leathery, coppery-red and turns black colour on maturity with 4-8 compressed seeds.

PHARMACOGNOSY OF OFFICIAL PART
MACROSCOPY

YET TO BE COMPILED

MICROSCOPY

YET TO BE COMPILED

PART USED AND POSOLOGY
PART USED
त्वक (Bark), बीज (Seed) & पुष्प (Flower)
DOSE

चूर्ण (Powder) – 1 to 3gms, क्वाथार्थ (For Decoction) – 12 to 24gms

PHYTOCHEMISTRY

Flower: Oleic, linoleic, palmitic and stearic acidssitosterol, quercetin, kaempferol, quercetin, apigenin- 7-0-p-D-glucoside, Pelargonidin- 3, 5- diglucoside, cyanidin-3, 5- diglucoside, palmitic, stearic, linolenic, leucocyanidin and gallic acid. Bark: Procyanidin, epicatechin, 11′- deoxyprocyanidin B, catechin, leucopelargonidin and leucocyanidin. Dried bark: Glycosides, lyoniside, nudiposide, 5-methoxy- 9-β-xylopyranosyl, isolariciresinol, and schizandriside, and three flavonoids, epicatechin, epiafzelechin-(4β→8)-epicatechin and procyanidin B2, together with β-sitosterol glucoside. Other than this the bark also contains tannin, catechin and ferrous compounds. Seed and Pod: Oleic, linoleic, palmitic and stearic acids, catechol, (-) epicatechol and leucocyanid. 

रसपञ्चक कर्म PROPERTIES AND USES AS PER AYURVEDA
गुण (Properties)
  • रस (Rasa) – कषाय (Kashaya), तिक्त (Tikta)
  • गुण (Guna) – लघु (Laghu), रूक्ष (Ruksha)
  • वीर्य (Veerya) – शीत (Sheeta)
  • विपाक (Vipaka) – कटु (Katu)
  • प्रभाव – None
कर्म & प्रयोग (Action & Indications)
  • दोषकर्म (Doshakarma) – कफपित्तशामक (Kaphapittashamaka)
  • धातुकर्म & मलकर्म (Dhatukarma and Malakarma)  – Main actions – ग्राहि, वर्ण्य, दाहप्रशमन, विषघ्न, रक्तशोधक & क्रिमिघ्न (Grahi, Varnya, Dahaprashamana, Vishaghna, Rakshodhaka & Krimighna) 
  • Other Actions – स्थम्भन, मूत्रल, वेदनास्थापन, शोथहर & अश्मरिघ्न (Sthambhana, Mutrala, Vedanasthapana, Shothahara & Ashmarighna)
  • प्रयोग (Prayoga)  – Mainly अपची, तृष, दाह, क्रिमि, शोष, विष & रक्तविकार (Apachi, Trisha, Daha, Krimi, Shosha, Visha & Raktavikara), also useful in  प्रदर, गर्भाशयशैथिल्य, मूत्रकृच्छ्र, अश्मरी, श्रम, वेदन, अतिसार, प्रवाहिक, etc (Pradara, Garbhashayashaithilya, Mutrakricchra, Ashmari, Shrama, Vedana, Atisara, Pravahika, etc)
AYURVEDIC FORMULATIONS
CLASSICAL
  1. अशोकारिष्ट
  2. अशोकघृत
  3. अशोकक्षीरपाक
PROPRIETARY
  1. Ashol-M
  2.  
AGRONOMY
ENVIRONMENT

The plant grows well in the moist tropical and sub-tropical regions with well distributed rainfall. It also prefers a soil that is well drained and with good irrigation. It also prefers to have a partially shaded areas for having optimum growth. 

CULTIVATION

The plant requires slightly acidic soil with a medium or well drained fertile soils. The propagation is done through seeds or stem cutting. The seeds need 15 days to germinate. It is advised to soak the seed for 12 hours in water before sowing it. The seedlings are transplanted into the pits during the monsoon season. It needs frequent irrigation during the dry seasons especially the first 2 years. Around 440 seedlings can be planted in one acre of land. Intercropping with other crops like Coconut is also possible with this plant.

HARVESTING

The main crop is bark. Actually the lifetime of the tree is 50 years but it is usually cut down for bark at 20 years. When it is cut leaving the stump, the tree regenerates itself. The bark can be collected without cutting the tree from 10th year onwards where the same will be available after 2 years. It yields around 400kgs of dry bark per acre with every harvest.

STORAGE

The bark which is harvested is dried in shade, packed airtight and stored in containers. 

VARIETIES AND SUBSTITUTES OR ADULTERANTS
VARIETIES

NONE MENTIONED

ADULTERANTS

NONE MENTIONED

SUBSTITUTES

YET TO BE COMPILED

TOXICITY
TOXIC SYMPTOMS
  • YET TO BE COMPILED
ANTIDOTE
  • YET TO BE COMPILED
शोधन or PURIFICATION METHOD
  • YET TO BE COMPILED
CONTROVERSY (IF PRESENT)

YET TO BE COMPILED

THERAPEUTIC USES

EXTERNAL USES –

The paste of the bark is applied locally to treat pain and even poisons. 

INTERNAL USES – 

The juice prepared from leaves is given internally after mixing it with the seeds of cumin (Ajaji) to treat stomach ache. The flowers act against the disease diabetes when one drinks the water early morning empty stomach in which it is soaked overnight. A milk decoction (Ksheerapaka) is given internally to treat menorrhagia and other uterine problems. The powder of the flowers are mixed with water and given internally to treat dysentery. The decoction of the bark is given internally to treat haemorrhoids. The powder of the seeds is given internally to treat scanty urine, urinary calculi and other related disorders.

LIST OF RESEARCH STUDIES
  1. BHALERAO*, Satish A. et al. Saraca asoca (Roxb.), De. Wild: An overview. Annals of Plant Sciences, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 07, p. 770-775, july 2014. ISSN 2287-688X. Available at: <https://www.annalsofplantsciences.com/index.php/aps/article/view/120>.
  2. [S.S Yadav, Ashwini A. Woo. and Kamlesh Choure. (2019); REVIEW OF MEDICINALLY IMPORTANT PLANT SPECIES SARACA ASOCA (ROXB.) Int. J. of Adv. Res. 7 (Sep). 154-166] (ISSN 2320-5407). www.journalijar.com
  3. P Pradhan et.al. Saraca asoca (Ashoka): A Review. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, 2009, 1 (1):62-71.

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