Cassia fistula is a flowering plant from the family of Fabaceae. The tree is popularly known as golden rain tree. It is a native of India and is widely used in south India where it is called Kondrai.
It is seen as an ornamental plant but has many medicinal values. It is the state flower of Indian state Kerala and the local people place great importance for the flowers and the tree.
The tree is popularly known as Amaltas. It is a beautiful tree with dark green compounded leaves with bright hanging flowers. The fruits are cylindrical, shining brown in color and grow lengthy, say about 50 cm.
Many parts of the tree are found to be useful in herbal medicine. The parts used are leaf, flower, fruit, bark of the stem, bark of the root and seed. Some parts are astringent and some are bitter barring the fruit which is both sour and sweet.
Some of the medicinal contents in cassia fistula are;
- Anthraquinone derivatives and relatively smaller portions of tannin in the leaves
- Anthraquinone, tannin and phlobaphanes in the root bark
- Volatile oil in the pulp of the fruit.
- Waxlike substances
The uses of different parts for various health issues are briefly summarized here.
Leaves of Cassia fistula
Tender leaves are picked and boiled and mixed with sugar or honey to cure constipation. The leaves are soaked in honey and kept for some time and then consumed to enable easy bowel movements. By using the leaves in this form ring worms in the stomach are excreted with stools easily. Leaf paste also can be consumed for the said benefits. The paste of the leaves is also used as an ointment to cure freckle, fish skin and herpes. The leaf is boiled with milk and consumed to strengthen the internal organs particularly in weak bodies.
The flowers also provide immense benefits on appropriate usage. The flower or the flower and the tender leaves together is consumed by grinding with milk to cure white vaginal discharge in women, jaundice, anemia and dropsy. It also cures all types of cutaneous diseases like rashes, eruptions, fish skin etc. The flower soaked in water and kept overnight in closed vessel and consumed to cure stomach ache and disorders in the intestines. The flower paste in fruit juice is used as bath soap to cure skin disorders.
Fruit of Cassia fistula
Like the leaf and flower, the fruit also provides many significant benefits. It cures impurities in the intestines, constipation, pain in the intestines, lecucorrhoea in women. It is more beneficial in the case of young children and pregnant women making them stronger. The dosage has to be in small quantities only since it has the tendency to loosen feces and may lead to dysentery. The fruit is made into a paste with water and applied to cure rheumatic pain. The paste is also applied on the naval of infants to cure bloating and to facilitate easy excretion of feces. The fruit pulp is a natural and effective laxative for both children and adults. The pulp is soaked in clean water overnight and stained and the extract consumed for quick and best results.
The fruit cures venereal diseases and other disorders due to impurities in the blood besides strengthening the body. For this particular remedy cassia fistula fruit is added to tamarind fruit or added to black pepper and boiled in water and then the extract is consumed during bed time which causes feces excretion in the morning besides removing excess bile flow.
Seeds of Cassia fistula
Seeds cures leprosy, arthritis, indigestion and kills the germs in the stomach. The seeds have the potential to remove contraction or stiffness in the nerves and the muscles. Siddha system of medicine prescribe the seeds for curing the disorders caused by all the three evils in the body.
Bark extract in water is consumed to cure tastelessness and fever. Tastelessness also known as Ageusia which is caused due to addiction to opium or cocaine or other similar substances. Care must be taken to ensure that only small quantity is taken as large quantity consumption may lead to dysentery. The extract fights infections and reduce the temperature due to fever and eventually cures fever or flu.
Bark and leaf are made into a paste with water and applied externally to cure chronic skin disorders, swellings and insect bites. The paste also come in handy as a remedy for facial paralysis.
Smoking the burnt root clears the nasal block due to cold, fever or sinus. The smoke controls the running nose immediately.
All parts of the tree plant can be sourced in raw form directly from the gardens and stored for use as and when required. Medicinal products prepared from the parts are also readily available in the market.