Its botanical name is Nyctanthes arbor-tristis. Harshringar is also known by many names such as night jasmine, parijat.
It is a sacred tree mentioned in Hindu mythology. Mythology says Bhagwan Shri Krishna brought this tree from heaven for his beloved wife Satyabhama. It is one of the five tree that exist in heaven. It is mentioned as Kalpavriksh or wishing tree, which came out of ocean during Samudra manthan. It is a divine tree with numerous medicinal uses. Parijata is native to India.
Harshringar flowers are very aromatic and used for making garlands that are used in puja. They are white and orange in colour. The orange coloured corolla tubes are separated from flower and dried. This is used for dyeing silk and cotton.
The leaves are used for treating chronic fever, rheumatism, arthritis, joint pain, obstinate sciatica.
The leaves and seeds contain iridoid glycosides. The other constituents reported from the leaves are mannitol, beta-amyrin, beta-sitosterol, hentriacontane, benzoic acid, astragalin, nicotiflorin, oleanolic acid, nyctanthic acid friedelin and lupeol. The seeds containa polysaccharide glucomannan.
Scientifically proven therapeutic activities
Nyctanthes arbor-tristis or Night jasmine leaves possess anti-arthritic properties. In addition, decoction of the leaves also possess liver protecting, anti-viral, anti-fungal, analgesic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, hypotensive and respiratory stimulant activities. The leaves also has anti-leishmanial (Acting against Leishmania parasites) activity.
In Ayurveda, Parijaat is used for treatment of many ailments. For medicinal purpose leaves, stem, flowers and seeds are used. The leaves are given for treating chronic fever, rheumatism, arthritis, joint pain, obstinate sciatica. For chronic fever, the fresh leaves juice with honey is administered orally.
Leaves decoction or Kadha is recommended to treat sciatica, , rheumatism, parasitic worms, constipation etc.
The paste prepared from leaves is useful in fever, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Leaf juice with honey, three times a day, is useful in treatment of fever, cough. Fever which occurs at irregular intervals and is not continuous or steady, the leaves juice in dose of 10 ml, twice a day for five days is given.
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White-orange aromatic flowers on oral administration tones stomach, prevents gas formation, astringent to bowel, prevents excess bile secretion by liver, cures cough. The corolla tube is bright orange in colour due to nyctanthin, which is similar to colouring substance of saffron.
The powder of stem bark is useful in treatment of rheumatic joint pain and malaria. In Orissa, stem bark of Parijata is boiled with dry ginger power and pippali or long pepper. This is taken orally for two days to cure malaria.