Characteristics of the Medicinal Amaltas or Cassia Fistula Plant
About Amaltas or Cassia fistula Tree
Latin name : Cassia fistula.
Indian name : Amaltas, Aragvadha (meaning, remover of disease).
Common names : Indian Laburnum tree, golden shower tree, pudding pipe tree, purging cassia, lantern tree(in Thailand).
Amaltas is native to India and Pakistan, in fact, to the tropical countries of Southeast Asia. It is the national tree of Thailand and its flower is the national flower of Thailand.
Amaltas is a tree of religious significance in the Kerala state of India and its flower is the state flower of Kerala state. The flowers of Amaltas are used for rituals during the Vishu festival, the Kerala new year.
Amaltas Tree And FlowersClick thumbnail to view full-size
Amaltas Tree And Flowers
The Amaltas medium sized tree is a show stopper when in bloom. It grows to about 30-40 feet tall. Counted among the most beautiful of the tropical ornamental trees, it drops almost all its leaves and bursts forth with grape like bunches of bright yellow flowers.
The 12-18 inches long showy flower racemes give the tree a very elegant look as they sway majestically in the spring breeze. The colorful and fragrant flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies that frequent it for its nectar and aid in its pollination.
The tree grows best in full sun and a well drained soil. It blooms well where there is a marked temperature difference in summer and winter. It blooms in late spring.
Amaltas Fruits And SeedsClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Amaltas/Cassia Fistula Fruit and Seeds
The fruits are green when immature and turn dark brown when mature. They are about 2 feet long, flat and about an inch broad, carrying between 40-100 seeds,each.
The seeds are held in a sticky brown pulp in compartments in the pods, a seed to each cell. The fruits have a pungent odor. The seeds are poisonous.
Uses of the Amaltas Tree
The wood is hard, durable and heavy. It is used for making cabinets, inlay work, temple drums, fence posts, agricultural implements and also in construction of houses, bridges etc.
The pulp from the fruit pods is used to flavor tobacco. The flowers are used to decorate hair.
All parts of the tree are used in traditional medicine and also in Ayurvedic medicine.
Nutrients in Amaltas
- The fruit is low in sodium.
- 100 grams of fresh fruit provides 100% of the daily Vitamin K requirement.
- 100 grams of dried fruit provides 800 mg calcium which is almost 100% of the daily need.
- It is a good source of the minerals iron and manganese. The concentration of these minerals are much higher than is present in apples, pears, oranges, peaches or apricots on a weight to weight basis.
- It is high in energy.
Health Benefits of Cassia Fistula or Amaltas
The various parts of the tree like the bark, root, flowers, leaves, fruit pulp are used medicinally and have several health benefits.
The tree has anti diabetic, anti fertility, anti tumor, hepato protective, cholesterol lowering,astringent, febrifugal, purgative, anti inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, analgesic, tonic, anti dysenteric properties.
According to Ayurveda, Amaltas pacifies the 3 doshas of vaat, pitta and kapha. It expels the pitta and kapha from the body.
Some health benefits are given below.
Amaltas reduces fever, cold, swelling of throat, asthma symptoms.
Is benefits in constipation where there is drying of the fluids in the intestine due to the high pitta on the intestine. It has a gentle laxative action and can be used in children and elderly alike.
Amaltas subsides gas, flatulence,acidity. It reduces colic pain. It eases the discomfort of piles, stops bleeding from different parts of the body and benefits in heart disease.
It cleanses the blood and eradicates skin problems like itching, inflammation and suppuration.
It also alleviates symptoms and pain of arthritis, gout, nervous system diseases, eczema, ringworm, leucoderma, leprosy etc.
Some Ayurvedic Remedies With Amaltas
- For acidity or gas, massage a slightly warmed up fruit pulp around the navel area in a circular motion in multiples of seven for about 10 minutes. doing this daily for a month cures.
- For skin eruptions due to impure blood, soak amaltas fruit pulp and some tamarind in a cup of water overnight. Next morning mash them well, strain out the pulp and drink the water. Do it for a month to get complete relief. It also makes the skin glow.
- For constipation, soak 10 to 20 grams of fruit pulp in a glass of water overnight. Filter the water in the morning and drink it. This is a very gentle laxative.
- For alopecia areata or baldness, apply a paste made by mixing ash of amaltas leaves with some goat's milk. This is very effective for loss of hairs from the scalp, eyebrows and beard.
- To treat piles, boil 10 grams each of amaltas fruit pulp, harad and munakka and drink this decoction at bedtime for some days.
- In rheumatoid arthritis, a decoction of the pulp be taken with 2 grams each of dry ginger, harad and giloy powders.
- A paste of the leaves is used for treating amenorrhea while a plaster of leaves is used for treating chilblain.
- Leaf poultices are also used for facial massage in afflictions of the brain and applied externally in paralysis, rheumatism and gout.
Self medication with amaltas is not advised in Ayurvedic texts.
It should be used with caution in pregnancy.
Medicinal importance of Amaltas/ (Cassia fistula)
Cassia fistula - Golden Shower, Yellow Shower,Indian Laburnum
© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly
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