Butea (Palash) is native to India and is found throughout the country. Palash tree is also known as ‘flame of the forest’ because of its red coloured flowers. It is a medicinal tree and its different parts are used to cure various clinical disorders.
Palash is used as tonic and anthelmintic in Ayurveda. In Ayurvedic treatise Acharya Charak and Sushruta mentioned the medicinal use of seeds and bark. Chakradatta described its gum as astringent and seeds as anti-parasitic. Palash is considered anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anthelmintic, anti-diabetic, diuretic, analgesic, antitumor and astringent. Its leaves are astringent, diuretic and anti-ovulatory properties. Its flowers are tonic and nutritive. Its roots are used to treat night blindness.
Palash root bark contains beta-sitosterol, leucoanthocyanidin, amyrin, betulinic acid, stigma sterol and en active principal palasonin. Gum and bark contain tetramers of leucocyanidin.
Palash flowers contain seven flavonoid glucosides, butrin, isobutrin, three glucosides (coreopsin, isocoreopsin and sulphurein), monospermoside and isomonospermoside.
Palash leaves contain glucosides. Seeds contain proteolytic and lypolytic enzymes, Palasonin, monospermoside and somonospermoside.
Palasonin from seeds has anthelmintic activity. Seeds administered as crude powder at doses of 1, 2 and 3 g/kg to sheep naturally infected with mixed species of gastrointestinal nematodes exhibited a dose and a time dependent anthelmintic effect. The seeds are effective against Ascaridia galli, ascaris lumbricoides, earthworms, toxocara canis, oxyurids, dipylidium caninum and taenia.
Medicinal uses of Palash/Dhak
Various part of Palash tree are used in traditional medicine system, Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani, for treatment of variety of diseases. The seeds of tree have purgative, diuretic/stimulates production of urine and anthelmintic/ anti-parasitic properties. The seeds powder is used in case of intestinal parasites. The seeds when ground with lemon juice have powerful rubefacient (causing dilation of the capillaries and an increase in blood circulation) action and are used for treating Dhobi’s itch. Flowers and leaves are diuretic, aphrodisiac, astringent and increase flow of blood in pelvic region. In diarrhoea flower infusion is given.
Palash tree bark yields a gum which is known as Bengal Kino. It has astringent action and is useful in case of haemorrhage.
Many Ayurvedic medicines such as Krimikuthar rasa, Mahanarayana taila, Janma ghutti, Palasabeejadi Churna contain Palash as an ingredient.