Nagkesar or Mesua ferrea is a tree with ash colored bark. It grows to approximately 98 feet height. The diameter of this tree can be almost six and a half feet wide. The bark tends to peel off. In older trees, the bark acquires a darker shade of gray with the brownish red blaze. The wood is hard as well as heavy.
Its leaves are dark green to grey-blue in colour. They are simple narrow oblong leaves linked to central rachis on either side by petioles. The average size of these leaves may be anywhere between three inches to five inches. The upper side of these leaves is smooth and dark green. The lower side, however, is blue-gray. New leaves, however, are reddish.
The flowers of this tree have four heart shaped petals. They also have numerous stamens, which are yellow in colour, arranged within a square at the centre. These flowers are white in colour with a diameter of about four to seven and a half cm. They can be terminal or axillary flowers.
The fruits of this tree are about 2.5 cm to 5 cm in length. They have a persistent calyx and are oblong shaped.
Each fruit may have one to four dark brown seeds the cotyledons of which are oily as well as fleshy. These seeds are angular.
Flowers, fruits, stamens, and seeds of this tree are used in Ayurvedic medicinal preparations as well as treatments.
Phytochemicals found in Nagkesar tree include:
- Mesuabixanthone A (R=H);
- Mesuabixanthone B (R=Me);
- Mesuaxanthone A (R 1= HandR2 = OMe)
- Mesuaxanthone B (R1 = OH and R2 = H)
- Messianic acid
- Mesuaferrone A
- Mesuaferrone B
The name, literally, translates to Cobra’s saffron. But it is also known as “Indian Rose Chestnut” or “Sri Lankan Ironwood” in different parts of the world. “Ironwood of Assam” or “Ceylon ironwood” are other names for this tree in English.
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Nagkesar tree has different names in different Indian languages.
Hindi: it is known as Naghas or Nagkesar.
Marathi: it is Nagachampa.
Kannada: it is Kanchana or Nagasampinge.
Bengali : Nagesar.
Malayalam: This tree is known as Naga chempakam or Veluttachempakam in Malayalam.
Oriya: it is known as Nagesvar.
Telugu: it is Nagkesarlu.
Tamil: it is Karunangu or Irul.
Botanical name and family
Botanical name of Nagkesar is Mesua ferrea. It belongs to Callophyllaceae family under Malpighiales order.
Geological areas where Mesua ferrea plant grow
In India, this tree is found in Assam, Bengal, Eastern Himalayas, Andaman island, and both Eastern as well as the Western Ghats. Outside India, it grows in Sri Lanka, Burma, Nepal, Malaysia, Sumatra, Philippines, and Indochina. It requires altitudes of approximately 3300 ft. to 4900 ft. above sea levels.
Nagkesar medicinal uses
In Ayurveda, the various parts of this tree are used to treat blood-related disorders, though there are other medical benefits as well. Following medical benefits are attributable to this tree.
Extracts from this tree are used for treating blood disorders such as Epistaxis, Menorrhagia, Piles, and Metrorrhagia.
Basically, the tree offers compounds which are haemostatic and anti-inflammatory in nature. Therefore, extracts from this tree are able to stop bleeding by affecting relevant blood capillaries.
It also has soothing as well as astringent like effect. Some of the phytochemicals found in it have an antiseptic effect and there are other phytochemicals that can be used as cardiotonic agents.
Fresh flowers of this tree are used for treating piles. These flowers not only reduce the piles swelling but also restore normalcy by shrinking them. The bleeding associated with piles is also controlled with the extracts from Nagkesar.
When women bleed excessively during their regular menstruation, they become weak and tired. This condition is known as Menorrhagia. Products containing Nagkesar are used to prevent excessive loss of blood during such period.
Such products are also used to prevent a white discharge (vaginal moniliasis) in women. When there is any abnormal uterine bleeding, the condition is referred to as Metrorrhagia. This condition can also be treated by using specific extracts from Nagkesar parts.
Apart from blood disorders, extracts from this plant are also used to treat cardiac conditions.
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Extracts from this tree and its parts are used to treat hysteria and debility of the brain.
So far, the reproductive system is concerned, it exhibits some aphrodisiac properties.
Extracts from this tree are effective diuretics. Therefore, it increases the production and expulsion of urine from the system. In general, it helps to gain better control over urination.
Extracts from this tree can be used to reduce flatulence, i.e., such extracts are carminative.
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Extracts from this tree are used in Ayurveda to treat ailments such as leprosy.
In general, extracts from this tree can be used in many ways to treat patients arriving with different complaints. These extracts also exhibit other properties such as these can be used to control fever.
There are different ways of using the extracts from this tree be it as antiseptic or as antipyretic. But the primary benefit associated with Mesua ferrea tree is the reduction in bleeding. It is also combined with the other Ayurvedic treatments and extracts, for more versatile usage.
Contemporary researchers have from time to time studied the properties of extracts from this tree and confirmed the benefits mentioned in Ayurveda, to a great extent.
Even though extracts are from nagkesar tree, they can be quite potent. The exact potency of any such medication needs to be taken to prevent adverse reactions. But such potency requirement differs from person to person as patients differ in their constitutions. Therefore, consulting an Ayurvedic physician is necessary before resorting to self-medication.
Mesua ferrea ayurvedic qualities
Rasa – Kashaya Tikta – Astringent, bitter
Guna (qualities) – Rooksha (dryness), Teekshna (piercing), Laghu (light to digest)
Vipaka – taste conversion after digestion – Katu – pungent
Veerya – Ushna – Hot
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha.
How to use Nagkesar
Take 5 Gm Nagkesar Powder with water 1-2 hrs after meals 2 times a day. Take first dose after breakfast. If you are mixing it with other herbs, consult your healthcare provider first.
Pregnant or Lactating women, children or any with Known pre-existing condition should take under the advice of health care provider. Keep away from the reach of children.
Nagkesar medicinal uses and health benefits are countless. Use as per your requirement.