Ashoka (Saraca Asoca) - Medicinal Plant
Botanical Name - Saraka asoca (Roxb.) Dc. Wilde (S. indica auct. non-L.)(Jonesia ashoka)
Family - CAESALPINOIDEA
Names in different language
Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi - Ashoka; Telugu - AshokaChettu; Tamil - Ashogam
We can see a clear description from Atharvavedaparisita. It shows very much action in the female reproductive system.
Varieties & adulterants
- It is being adulterated with the barks Polyalthia longifolia, Shorea robusta, Bauhinia variegate
- It is a small evergreen tree
- Bark - with warty surface, dark-brown to grey or almost black
- Leaves - leaflets 6-12
- Flowers - in dense axillary corymbs, fragrant, orange or orange-yellow, finally turning vermillion-red.
- Fruits - pods, flat, oblong, woody, seeds - 4-8, ellipsoid-oblong, compressed (Flowers in March - April and fruits in August - September).
Habitat & Distribution
Grown in shady evergreen forests up to 900 m, in central and eastern Himalayas; abundant in South India.
The bark contains an active component, haematoxylin. It also contains tannin and catechin in a substantial amount and ferrous compounds in a smaller quantity. Bark - alkanes (C20-C35), esters (C34-C60) and primary alcohols (C22-C30), n-octacosanol, tannin, catechin, (+) catechol, epicatechin etc.
- Rasa – astringent bitter
- Guna – light dry
- Virya – cool
- Vipãka - pungent
- Karma-pitta reducing, good for heart, improves complexion, constipative
The bark has analgesic and antidotal properties. Hence its paste is used in pains and poisoning for local application.
- Nervous system: It has an effect on the nerves and therefore is used in painful vata disorders.
- Digestive system: Due to its astringent, anthelmintic and antidyspeptic prospectives, it is useful in diarrhoea, dysentery, helminthiasis
- Circulatory system: It has haemostatic, blood purifying and anti-oedematous effects Hence it is used in diseases of the blood and oedema, its flowers are used in internal bleeding.
- Reproductive system: It strengthens the muscles of the uterus and reduces uterine discharge and pain in the uterus and so it is useful in menorrhagia, leucorrhoea, and dysmenorrhoea. Since the decoction of the bark acts as a tonic for the endometrium of the uterus, it is useful in many diseases of the uterus.
- Urinary system: By virtue of its diuretic property, it is useful in dysuria and calculi. It prevents the formation of a calculus.
- Temperature: It reduces the burning sensation frequently associated with pyrexia.
- Organ: Uterus. Ashoka is ‘specifically used for rakta-pradara (uterine hemorrhage), is called a friend of women
Thirst, burning sensation, worms, poisoning, heart disease, menorrhagia, urinary calculi
Stem bark, seeds, flowers
Decoction 50-100 ml; seed powder 3-6 g.
Important Yogas or Formulations
Asokaghrtam, Ashokarishta, Ashokakshirpak
- RaktaPradara - Cold milk boiled with the decoction of Asoka bark is useful (V.M.)
- Asmari-Seed powder of Asoka is administered with water (C.D.)
- Dysentery - flower paste mixed with water