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Saraca asoca (Roxb.) De Wilde

Synonyms:
Jonesia asoca Roxb.
Saraca indica non L. sensu Baker

Group: Dicot
Family: Fabaceae
Duration: Perennial
Growth Habit: Tree

Bangla/Vernacular Name: Asok, Asoka, Anganapriya.

Tribal Name: Moma gaas, Paillangmoma (Chakma), Pluck (Murong), Changlengturpaug (Bawm), Pingal (Chakma), Prajok (Marma), Paying (Mogh).

English Name: Ashoka.

Description of the Plant:

A medium sized tree. Leaves with (1-)4-6 pairs of leaflets; leaflets subcoriaceous, oblong to lanceolate. Inflorescence corymbose. Flowers fragrant yellowish to red. Pods elliptic to oblong.

Chemical Constituents:

Bark contains haematoxylin, tannins, catechol, catechin, epicatechin, a crystalline galactoside, a ketosterol, a saponin, an organic calcium salt, an organic substance containing iron and a large number of minerals. It also contains a powerful oxytocic principle (Ghani, 2003). Flowers contain ß-sitosterol, quercetin, kaempferol-3-O-ß-D-glucoside, quercetin-3-O-D-glucoside and apigenin-7-O-ß-D-glucoside. Wax obtained from bark contains n-alkanes (C20-C35), esters (C34-C60) and primary alcohols (C20-C30); n-octacosanol (Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1993).

Mode of Uses:

  • The crushed stem is taken with sugar for the treatment of diarrhoea and a paste of the leaves is applied to affected areas (in addition to root extract being taken) for the treatment of rheumatism (Chakma).
  • A paste of the leaves is applied to the stomach for the relief of flatulence (Murong).
  • Extract prepared from leaves and flowers is taken for the treatment of epilepsy and paralysis (Bawm).
  • Paste prepared from flower is taken three-four tea spoonfuls twice daily until cured for the treatment of excessive menstruation (Menorrhaegia) [Rakhaing].

Distribution:

Wild in Chittagong Hill Tracts; cultivated elsewhere in the country.

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