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Mesua ferrea L.

Synonyms: Mesua nagessarium (Burm.) Kost.

Growth: Dicot
Family: Clusiaceae
Duration: Perennial
Growth Habit: Tree

Bangla/Vernacular Name: Nageswar, Nagkesar, Muralia (Sylhet).

Tribal Name: Naksawi (Chakma), Khimdi (Garo),Seutump (Khumi), Siprun (Marma), Kaingo (Mogh), Tumpao (Murang), Gango (Rakhaing).

English Name: Ceylon Ironwood.

Description of the Plant:

A medium-sized to large evergreen tree with a dense conical crown. Leaves oblong-lanceolate, acute or acuminate, red when young. Flowers white with 4 petals, fragrant, in axillary or terminal, solitary or in pairs. Fruit ovoid with a conical point.

Chemical Constituents:

A number of interesting biogenetically related constituents, viz., coumarins, xanthones, flavonoids, a few terpenoids and steroids have been isolated from various parts of the plant and its seed oil. Young fruits contain an oleoresin from which a very fragrant (similar to the flowers) essential oil is obtained. Seeds contain a fixed oil consisting of esters of palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids. Seeds are also rich in protein and amino acids. A coumarin, named mesuarin, has been isolated from the seed oil. Flowers contain essential oil and bitter principles, mesuol and mesuone. Stamens contain essential oil and bitter principles, mesuol and mesuone; a carboxylic acid, mesuanic acid, ß-amyrin, ß-sitosterol and a cyclohexadione compound, mesuaferrol.

A novel flavanone glycoside, mesuein, has been isolated from the leaves. Stem bark contains betulinic acid, (-)-epicatechin, 1, 6-dihydroxyxanthone, pyrano-jacareeubin and two novel bis-xanthones (Ghani, 2003). Two new pigments -mesuaxanthone A and masuaxanthone B and euxanthone have been isolated from heartwood and a new 4-alkylcoumaron-ferruol A has been isolated from trunk bark (Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1990 & 93).

Mode of Uses:

  • Extract prepared from root is taken twice a day for the cure of fever and also used as blood purifier (Khumi).
  • Sap prepared from root mixed with green coconut water and taken one or two tea spoonful thrice daily for two days as a cure for diarrhea (Marma).
  • Paste of flower bud and green leaves are used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery. Seed paste applied in skin disease. Flower are offered in worship of Buddha. Flower is fragrant so the tree planted besides pagoda (temple) as a symbol of purity (Murang).
  • Powder prepared from dry flower mixed with the extract of root applied in prickly heat and for coldness of body (Rakhaing).


Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts and Sylhet, rather rare in occurrence in natural forests. Also planted as ornamental plant in gardens and parks.

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