Ayurveda Health Benefits of Ashoka Tree Saraca Asoca or Saraca Indica

Ayurvedic herb Ashoka or Saraca Asoca is recommended by ayurveda to treat female infertility, pcos or pcod, peri menopause etc

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Ayurveda medicinal properties of Ashoka (Saraca Asoca or Saraca Indica)

Ayurveda Health Benefits of Herb Ashoka

Ashoka Plant Uses in In PCOS , Menopause and Other Gynecological conditions

Side effects of Ashoka Tree

Ayurveda medicinal properties of Ashoka (Saraca Asoca or Saraca Indica)

Description of Ashoka Plant

Ashoka tree or Ashoka plant has a botanical name Saraca Asoca. It is also popular as Saraca Indica and belongs to Legume family and Caesalpinoidae sub family. This plant is known by several names in India like Ashoka in hindi, Marathi, Bengali and gujarathi. In tamil it is Ashogam and in Telagu it is ashokamu. Plant Ashoka is abundantly found in South India, Central and eastern Himalayas.

Ayurveda acharyas have coined various names in Sanskrit for this tree based on its health benefits and appearance. It is known as Ashoka as this help women to get rid of their ‘shoka’ or grief. Parts of this plant are mainly used in gynaecological disorders like dysmenorrhea or pain during menstruation, heavy bleeding during menstrual cycle etc. It is also known as Hemapushpa, as this tree has golden colored flowers. The leaves of Ashoka are of copper color when they are tender, hence the name Tamrapallava.

Texts of ayurveda describe medicinal and pharmacological properties of this herb as follows

Ayurveda Health Benefits of Ashoka Tree Saraca Asoca or Saraca Indica

The stem, bark , flower and seeds of this plant are used for medicinal purpose. Based on principals of Ayurveda this herb is light to digest (laghu) and dries up body tissues or absorb more moisture (rooksha).This herb acts as body coolant (sheeta veerya). It is bitter to taste (tikta rasa) and also has kashaya rasa or astringent taste. After digestion it tastes pungent (Katu rasa). Bark of Ashoka contracts body tissues (grahi) when used in medications. It improves fairness and glow of skin. It also helps in skin rashes, abdominal parasites and inflammatory conditions.

It has astringent (Kashaya Rasa) and bitter (Tikta Rasa) tastes.  This herb acts as body coolant (sheeta Veerya) and balances Kapha Dosha and Pitta Dosha

Ayurveda Health Benefits of Herb Ashoka

Texts of Ayurveda praise the health benefits of this herb. Here is the list of medicinal uses of ashoka plant.

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Ashoka Plant Uses in In PCOS , Menopause and Other Gynecological conditions :

This herb is eulogized in texts of Ayurveda as ‘asrajit’. This means it helps to reduce excess bleeding which usually occur in PCOS or PCOD and during menopause. It is the best herb for PCOS. It also reduces incidences of tumors like fibroids in uterus (gulmahara). Ashoka tree parts help to reduce uterine pain during menstruation (shulahara). It is useful in all gynecological problems which occur during puberty, menorrhagia, dysmenorrhagia, premenstrual syndrome, abnormal bleeding and threatened abortion. This herb is recommended to strengthen the uterus (when uterus is weak and prolapsed) and to reduce white discharge. Ksheerapaka of this herb or the milk prepared by boiling bark of this plant in milk is recommended in excess bleeding during menstruation, puberty, and menorrhagia, Dysmenorrhagia, premenstrual syndrome, abnormal bleeding and threatened abortion. Hence this herb is used in ayurvedic capsules for PCOS and ayurvedic capsules for female infertility.

As a Body Coolant :

This plant helps to reduce the body heat or acts as body coolant. When pitta is imbalanced and increased, it produces more heat in body. The herb Ashoka helps to balance pitta and reduce body heat.

In diarrhoea and dysentery:

The decoction of this herb helps to absorb more water from intestines and reduce intestinal motility. Hence it is known as Grahi. This medicinal property is useful to control diarrhoea , dysentery and IBS .

Improves Skin Glow:

It is praised as ‘varnya’. That means it enhances glow and complexion of skin. Chemical constituents of this plant have shown antibacterial effect and this helps in acne and pimple. Extract of this plant is usually used in ayurvedic cosmetics to improve skin texture. The decoction of asoca bark can be applied externally to reduce skin irritation and burning sensation

A detox agent:

It balances kapha dosha and pitta dosha. But increases vata dosha.  This herb acts as a detox and cleanse the body by eliminating toxins (vishahara). This can be used as best ayurvedic skin detox herb. This herb also reduces body fatigue and tiredness (shramahara).

In Problems of Digestive system:

It relieves thirst, bloating and reduces burning sensation. Flower extract of this plant can help to heal peptic ulcer. This plant is known for its anti-parasitic activity (krimighna). This prevents emaciation.

Best heart tonic:

It acts as a heart tonic (hrudya) and useful in cardiac disorders.

In Cystitis and UTI:

As it is a body coolant herb and has anti-inflammatory properties, it soothe inflamed inner layers of bladder and relieves cystitis. It also reduces burning sensation while passing urine in UTI. It is the best ayurvedic treatment for cystitis.

Enhances Sleep Quality:

Studies have shown that the leaves of this tree help to improve sleep quality. It can be used as an ayurvedic remedy for insomnia.

In Diabetes :

The decoction made from this bark helps to control blood sugar level and useful in diabetes. Hence ayurvedic doctors recommend this natural ayurvedic remedy for diabetes.

Side effects of Ashoka Tree:

This herb tends to worsen amenorrhoea. Pregnant women and people with cardiac disorders should seek medical consultation before taking this herb. Some herbs may trigger allergic reactions. Hence consult a qualified ayurvedic doctor before using this herb.

Chemical composition of Ashoka tree

The Bark contains procyanidin, epicatechin, 11′-deoxyprocyanidin B, catechin, leucopelargonidin and leucocyanidin. Flowers contain Oleic, linoleic, palmitic and stearic acidssitosterol, quercetin, kaempferol, quercetin, apigenin- 7-0-p-D-glucoside, Pelargonidin- 3, 5- diglucoside, cyanidin-3, 5- diglucoside, palmitic, stearic, linolenic, leucocyanidin and gallic acid. Seeds and Pod contain oleic, linoleic, palmitic and stearic acids, catechol, (-) epicatechol and leucocyanidin. Five lignin glycosides, lyoniside, nudiposide, 5-methoxy9-β-xylopyranosyl, isolariciresinol, and schizandriside, and three flavonoids, epicatechin, epiafzelechin-(4β→8)-epicatechin and procyanidin B2, together with β-sitosterol glucoside, were isolated from dried bark. ( Ref- ‘ www.ijpcsonline.com/files/73-533.pdf )

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Author: Dr.Savitha Suri , Consultant Ayurvedic Physician

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