Cassia scientific name is Cassia Fistula, some other common names are amaltas, sonhali, Indian laburnum, purging cassia, golden shower tree, pudding-pipe tree, and aragvadha. The tree of cassia is popularly knon as Indian Laburnum owing to its resemblance in color and profucion of flowers with the European Laburnum. The specific name fistula meaning a “shepherd’s pipe” refers to the shape of its fruits. In Ayurvedic medicine, Golden Shower Tree is known as a "disease killer" and it pacifies the 3 doshas of vaat, pitta, and kapha.
Morphology and Chemical Constituents of Cassia Fistula
Cassia or purging cassia is one of the most beautiful and decorative trees in India, it is a small to medium-sized tree with compound leaves and large, shining, dark green leaflets. It has bright yellow flowers in large, hanging branches and yields black or shining dark brown 50 to 60-cm long almost cylindrical fruit.
The leaves of the tree contain anthraquinone derivatives and very little tannin, the root bark, besides tannin contains phlobaphenes and oxy-anthraquinone derivatives, a small amount of volatile oil, three waxy substances, and a resinous substance. The flowers are bright yellow in color, with widely spaced petals, about 2 inches wide with 10 stamens. The plant has a rich source of tannins, flavonoids, and glycosides and it is rich in carbohydrates, Linoleic, Oleic, and Stearic.
The cassia tree is indigenous to India and commonly grows in moist or evergreen forests, Amazon, and Sri Lanka and diffused in various countries including Mexico, China, Mauritius, East Africa, South Africa, and West Indies. Cassia fistula plants are used as ornamental and shade trees around the houses and used in the event ‘Vishukkani’ on the day of Vishnu (The first day of the zodiac calendar), which literally means that "the first thing seen on the day of Vishnu after waking up".
Health Benefits and Uses of Cassia Fistula
Nearly all parts of the tree have medicinal properties, the fruits are, however, most important and are included in the Indian Pharmaceutical Codex. Medicinally it has various pharmacological activities like antifungal, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, hepatoprotective, and hypoglycemic properties. It is used to treat jaundice, gout, fatty liver, liver disorder, bronchitis, and skin diseases. According to Ayurveda, it helps to expel the pitta and Kapha from the body, the fruit pulp is used as a mild laxative, and the bark and leaves are used for skin diseases.
The leaves of the Cassia Fistula are used for erysipelas, malaria, rheumatism, and ulcers, the buds are used for biliousness, constipation, fever, leprosy, skin disease, and the fruit for abdominal pain, constipation, fever, heart disease, leprosy.
Here are some health benefits and uses
The pulp of cassia is very useful in Ageusia or loss of sense of taste caused by excessive use of opium or cocaine. About 24 grams of the pulp mixed with a quarter liter of hot milk is used as a mouthwash to treat this syndrome.
The root of the tree is useful in the common cold, in case of a runny nose, smoke inhaled from the burning root encourages copious nasal discharge and provides relief.
The pulp from the fruits, called cassia pulp is a well-known laxative and is often used in the treatment of constipation. It can be safely taken even by children and expectant mothers. About 50 grams of pulp soaked in water overnight, strained the next morning, and taken with 25 grams of sugar relieves constipation.
Approximately four grams of the pulp is taken with an equal quantity of sugar or tamarind, as a purgative, 30 to 60 grams are required, but this quantity may cause colic, nausea, and flatulence. It is therefore generally used in combination with other drugs, preferably in a mixture with the leaves of senna, botanically known as Cassia Angustifolia.
The root of the tree is a tonic and useful in reducing fever, an alcoholic extract of the root bark is used for black water fever.
For children suffering from flatulence, cassia pulp is applied around the navel to ensure evacuation, mixed with linseed or almond oil, it can be massaged on the stomach for ease bowel movements.
The leaves of the tree are useful in relieving irritation of the skin and in alleviating swellings and pain, their juice or paste served as a useful dressing for ringworm and inflammation of the hands or feet caused by exposure to cold. They also relieve dropsical swellings due to excessive accumulation of fluid in the body tissue. Its leaves can be rubbed beneficially on affected parts for relief from rheumatism and facial paralysis.
Side Effects of the Cassia Fistula
All Ayurveda herbs are plant-based, and they don’t have any side effects, but they may react with some allopathy or homeopathy medicine. It is better to consult the doctor if you are on any medications or have unique health issues.
Overdose or wrong dose may cause nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, dysentery, and heavy purgation, it is not recommended in infants and pregnant women.
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