Adanethera pavonina is a plant which produces red color seeds called “red lucky seeds”. The plant itself is cooked and consumed in many parts of the world. It is also used in preparation of drinks and traditional medicines. The raw seeds however are toxic and poisonous which can be consumed only in cooked form unlike the plant that can be used in raw as well as cooked form.
The plant is known by different names in different regions. It is known as Manjadi in Kerala (south India) where it is abundant. It is a tropical plant grown in Asia, (native of India and China), Brazil and United States, Coast Arica, Cuba , Jamaica etc.,
The tree is easily propagated through its seeds and also through planting the cuttings. It provides edible, medicinal, agroforestry and other uses. Coffee and nutmeg growers plant these trees as shade trees. Since the leaves of the tree decompose quickly it is used as natural manure.
The plant is also known as red sandal wood, coral wood, red bead tree, saga tree etc., In Tamil, it is known as aanai kundrimani and used in siddha practices of Indian medicine. The plant is cultivated as forage (food for horses and other cattle), as ornamental plants and for medicinal values.
Adenanthera pavonina is widely cultivated since it is a good source of natural aliphatic as well as aromatic products, carbohydrate, steroids, amino acids, peptides, flavonoids and alkaloids.
The seeds are bright red and provide both edible and non-edible uses. The seeds have 25% oil content and 39% protein content and tastes like soya beans.
Health benefits of Adenanthera pavonina
Antiseptic: A red powder made from the wood is also used as an antiseptic paste. In Ancient Indian medicine, the ground seeds are used to treat boils and inflammations. A decoction of the leaves is used to treat gout and rheumatism. The bark is used to wash hair.
Antibacterial: The plant is used as an herbal medicine for it is antibacterial and haemaglutinin.
Gout and rheumatism: Different parts of the plant are used for treating different disorders in particular. While the leaves are used to treat gout and rheumatism, the bark is used to treat leprosy.
However, the decoction of bark and leaves are used to cure dysentery, diarrhea and also tonsillitis. In addition, the decoction of the leaves can be consumed to cure chronic gastric disorders and rheumatic pain. The extract from the wood is used as a general tonic.
Cures migraine and headache: The wood powder is mixed with water and consumed to cure migraines and ordinary headaches. The seeds are made into a paste with water and applied externally to cure boils and swellings. With its rich saponins content the plant is used in preparation of soaps and shampoo. The red dye stuff obtained from the plant is used by Hindus as mark in their forehead.
The broader uses of the plant are:
– used as emergent food during famines by humans
– fodder, forage and animal feed
– development of agroforestry, improvement of soil quality and windbreak to protect the environment.
– used as fuel wood
– the wood is used to make beams, bridges, flooring, body of vehicles and such other uses.
The seeds can be kept in clean containers for many years at room temperature and can be used as and when required in appropriate forms.