CANAFISTULA, Cassia fistula


Latin name:         Cassia fistula

English names:  Indian laburnum, Purging fistula, Golden shower tree

Sanskrit name: Aragvadha, Kritamala, Rajavriksha, Chaturangulam

Indian name: Amaltas, Girimala

Medicinal Parts used: Fruit, Leaves, Bark

Canafistula is a fast-growing, medium-sized, deciduous tree which grows to about 9 meters in height. Leaves are compound, with 4-8 pairs of opposite leaflets. It produces flowers which are golden yellow and hang in showering bunches of up to 40 cm long earning its common name of “golden shower tree.” The flowers appear when the branches are bare, just before the new leaves emerge and are a favourite of bees and butterflies. The blooms are followed by the production of two-foot-long, dark brown, cylindrical, woody seed pods which persist on the tree throughout the winter before falling to litter the ground.

Canafistula is native to India, the Amazon and Sri Lanka, and is now widely cultivated worldwide as an ornamental tree for its beautiful showy yellow flowers.

Therapeutic use:

  • Canafistula is employed as a remedy for tumours of the abdomen, glands, liver, stomach, and throat, for burns, cancer, constipation, convulsions, delirium, diarrhea, dysuria, epilepsy, gravel, hematuria, pimples, and glandular tumours.
  • In Ayurvedic medicine systems, the seeds are attributed with antibilious, aperitif, carminative, and laxative properties while the root is used for adenopathy, burning sensations, leprosy, skin diseases, syphilis, and tubercular glands.
  • The leaves are employed there for erysipelas, malaria, rheumatism, and ulcers.
  • In Brazilian herbal medicine, the seeds are used as a laxative and the leaves and/or bark is used for pain and inflammation.
  • Canafistula has evidenced antioxidant, hypoglycemic, Acetyl cholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor, antibacterial, antiviral, laxative, liver protective, mild estrogenic, antitumorous, cholesterol lowering, pain relieving, and fever reducing actions.

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