Karanj

Karanj:

Botanical name: Millettia pinnata

It is a legume tree that grows to about 15–25 metres (50–80 ft) in height with a large canopy which spreads equally wide. It may be deciduous for short periods.

Flowering generally starts after 3–4 years with small clusters of white, purple, and pink flowers blossoming throughout the year. The calyx of the flowers is bell-shaped and truncate, while the corolla is a rounded ovate shape with basal auricles and often with a central blotch of green color.

The tree is well suited to intense heat and sunlight and its dense network of lateral roots and its thick, long taproot make it drought-tolerant. The dense shade it provides slows the evaporation of surface water and its root nodules promote nitrogen fixation, a symbiotic process by which gaseous nitrogen (N2) from the air is converted into ammonium (NH4+, a form of nitrogen available to the plant).

M. pinnata is also a fresh water flooded forest species as it can survive total submergence in sweet water for few months continuously.

Ayurvedic uses: Vrana, Krimi, Kushta,krimiroga, prameha, dushta vrana, yoni roga, antravidradhi.


The bark oil is applied in scabies, herpes, leucoderma and other cutaneous diseases; over chest in pneumonia and cold; also used internally as cholagogue in sluggish liver. Stem bark is also given internally in bleeding piles.

Leaves juice is prescribed in flatulence, dyspepsia, diarrhoea and cough. An infusion is given for leprosy and gonorrhoea.

Root paste is used in scrofulous enlargements; juice is used for cleaning foul ulcers and closing fistulous sores.

Rind of pod and seed isprescribed in bronchitis and whooping cough.

The tree is rich in flavonoids and related compounds. These include simple flavones, furanoflavonoids, chromenoflavones, chromenochalcones, coumarones, flavone glucosides, sterols, triterpenes and amodified phenylalanine dipeptide. Seeds and seed oil gave karanjin, pongamol, pongapin and kanjone. The aqueous extract of stem bark shows significant sedative and antipyretic effects in rats, and antispasmodic effect in vitro on smooth muscles. In Indonesia, a decoction of the bark is drunk after child birth. The aqueous extract of seeds showed significant antiviral activity against herpes simplex viruses HSV- and  cell lines experimentally. Albino rats, treated with the aqueous extract of seeds, recovered faster from induced infection and skin-burn than the untreated ones.