KARANJA, Pongamia glabra


Latin name:  Pongamia glabra

English name: Pongam Oil Tree, Indian Beech

Sanskrit/Indian name: Karanja

Medicinal parts used: Roots, Leaf, Flower, Seed, Fruit

Karanja plant is found throughout India up to 1300 meters altitude, along the streams and river, mainly in Andhra and Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

It is an evergreen, medium-sized glabrous tree. It reaches 15-18 meters in height, with a short bole and spreading crown. The leaves are compound, 20-40 cm long and leaflets 5-10 cm in length, 5 to 7 in number. The flowers, pinkish white or lilac colored, stamen 17, fragrant and are axillary racemes. The pods are thick, oval or reniform, 1.7-2 cm long and 1.2-1.8 cm broad, with reddish, oily, single seed within.

Therapeutic use:

  • The roots are god for cleansing foul ulcers, cleaning teeth and for strengthening the gums.
  • The poultice or the paste of its leaves is applied on the wounds and swellings for relief.
  • The seed powder is effective as nasal therapy to relieve the phlegm in chronic sinusitis and kapha diseases.
  • The bath of its leaves boiled in water, is benevolent for the patients of arthritis.
  • The paste of its seeds alleviates the glandular and scrotal swellings.
  • The bark skin juice is a keen stimulant for digestive system and is beneficial in anorexia, piles, worm infestations, and flatulence and liver diseases.
  • In children, the seed powder is given in whooping cough for quick relief.
  • Karanja is a good blood purifier and also destroys ama, hence is salutary in blood disorders as an adjunct.
  • The ghrta prepared from its bark skin is salubrious in venereal diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea.
  • Karanja is one of the best herbs in various skin affections, with other herbs like nimba, nirgundi and aristaka.


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