The Ashoka plant is one of the oldest trees that were cultivated in India and was also known as Ashok Brikish. Usually cultivated in the Asian sub-region of India, it not only has a plethora of uses in Ayurveda as well as traditional medicine. It is also a tree that is revered and considered sacred by Indians all over the country.
Ashoka is typically considered to be a rain-forest tree. It is vastly distributed in the central areas of India and especially native to the Central region of Deccan plateau. It is also easily cultivated in mid-region of the Western Ghats in the western coastal zone of the Indian subcontinent. Borrowing its lineage from the Fabaceae family of the Plantae kingdom, it is often called Saraca Indica as well. It has varied uses in both Ayurveda and Unani Medicine. The plant is used in its entirety and it is cultivated for its stem, bark, seed, leaves and flowers.
Detailed Overview & Properties
The Ashoka tree is primarily identified by the fact that it bears vibrant orange and yellow flowers in bunches. These flowers momentarily turn a bright red before they ultimately fall. This tree is considered one of the most sacred and worshipped trees in Indian customs. If folklore is to be believed, it states that this holy tree was dedicated to love god – Kama. Even today, it still has strong religious associations, with not Hindus alone but even Buddhists. These religious groups have included the tree in the majority of cultural traditions making it hallowed. Ashoka tree finds prominence in ancient Hindu mythology, art, sculpture and even the holy scripture of Ramayana.
Apart from the mythological value that it provides in India, the Ashoka has also been a huge part of Ayurveda, Unani and even traditional medicine. The Ashoka tree contains a great many essential nutrients like tannins, glycoside, calcium and essential oils. It also contains carbonic compounds of carbon and iron while the bark of the tree contains ketosteroid. The bark of Ashoka contains tannins, glycosides, flavonoids, saponins, catechol, sterols and also some vital minerals. The Ashoka plant as herbal medicine is a boom for the female reproductive system as it acts as a tonic for the endometrium and uterine muscles, thereby relieving abdominal pain and spasms. The bark of the Ashoka tree can be consumed orally.
The plant is also used to treat menstrual disorders, dysmenorrhea, irregular menstrual cycles, cysts, fibroids, and other reproductive disorders naturally. A lot of women prefer treating their menstrual disorders naturally and this plant is the perfect unadulterated formula for doing the same. A review of existing literature on the effects of Ashoka reveals that the tree has been used for treating genito-urinary conditions since as early as the 9th century CE and it has continued to been used in the 21st century with the same vigour.
- Usually small, erect evergreen tree native to rainforests.
- Deep green leaves that grow in dense and varied clusters.
- Similarly, the Ashoka flowers also come in heavy and lush bunches.
- The Ashoka flowers are usually yellow and orange. When they are about to fall, they turn red. They almost always turn red as soon as they wilt.
- The flowering season of the Ashoka tree is around February to April
- The Ashoka tree is considered pure and is very closely believed to be associated with the Yakshi mythological beings of Buddhism and Hinduism. They are often one of the recurring elements in Indian art, and are also often found at gates of Buddhist and Hindu temples, is the sculpture of a Yakshini with her foot on the trunk and her hands holding the branch of a flowering Ashoka tree.
- Yakshis under the Ashoka tree were also essential in early Buddhist monuments as an aesthetic element. It is widely found in many ancient Buddhist archaeological sites.
- It is worshipped in Chaitra which is a holy month of the Hindu calendar.
- Ashoka tree is also associated with Kamadeva, who is believed to be the Hindu god of love. He has included an Ashoka blossom among the five flowers in his quiver, where the Ashoka flower represent seductive hypnosis.
- In Mahākāvya, which can be literally translated to Indian epic poetry, the Ashoka tree is mentioned in the great epic Ramayana with reference to the Ashoka Vatika which is a garden of Ashoka trees where Lord Hanuman first met Lady Sita.
- The classical Ayurvedic text “Charak Samhita” depicts the effectiveness of Ashoka as an analgesic and astringent, as well for skin diseases including leprosy.
Uses Of Ashoka Tree
- Boosts Female Reproductive Health
- Supports a healthy transition to menopause and controls hormonal imbalance during the same.
- Effective deterrent for female reproductive health.
- Consists of Anti-Inflammatory properties.
- Acts as a sleeping aid.
- Helps in the treatment of skin conditions.
- Improves intellectual prowess.
- Highly effective in treating diabetes and piles.
- Helps remove kidney stones and also proven to treat asthma
- Removes the hindrance of stomach swelling and inflammation
- Prevents diarrhoea
- Prevents internal bleeding
- Improves complexion and helps clear complexion.
- Diminishes joint pains and helps in pain relief
- The wonder plant can help treat worms as well
- Helps treat Leucorrhoea.
- Helps treat Endometriosis.
- Ashoka can be used as a tonic for reproductive health.
- Seed: 3-6 gms per day
- Leaf juice: 15-20 ml per day
- Root: 5-8 gms per day
- Ashoka Churna/ Powder: ¼ – ½ teaspoon twice a day.
- Ashoka Bark Juice: 5-10 teaspoon twice a day.
- Ashoka Capsule: 1-2 capsules twice a day.
Benefits Of Ashoka Herb
Relieves Menstrual Disorders
Almost all women suffer from menstrual disorders on a regular basis and take the help harmful chemical medicines to deal with these issues. Heavy bleeding, early and painful menstruation, fatigue and pain during menstrual cycles are very common. Dried bark and flowers of the Ashoka tree are highly effective as a natural remedy for these disorders.
Regular consumption of the Ashoka bark can also help regularise menstrual disorders. It is also used to stop the irregular bleeding between two menstrual cycles. Fresh juice extracted from Ashoka leaves can help relieve the issues.
Ashoka is also very effective in curing the problem of dysmenorrhea.
Suggested Remedy: For this treatment, the bark of the tree is boiled in water to form a thick syrup. 10 ml of this syrup, when taken thrice daily, can cure dysmenorrhea to a great deal. The syrup can also be mixed in a glass of water and consumed as a drink.
As an alternative, 200 gm of the Ashoka tree bark can be boiled in 250 ml of water and boiled until half or 1/4th of the solution is left in the pan. Cool this decoction and store in a bottle. Have a teaspoon of this solution daily once for a speedy recovery.
Leucorrhoea is a yellow vaginal discharge which occurs due to an infection and has a foul smell. Ashoka is very useful in treating this problem.
Suggested Remedy: Mix some Ashoka root powder in some warm milk and drink once in a week. Alternatively, mix some Ashoka root powder with some honey well. Consume this paste once a day.
All gynaecological problems mentioned above and more serious issues like cysts & fibroids can also be dealt with a very famous decoction Ashokarishta mentioned in the Ayurvedic system. You can simply use that for relieving such issues.
Acne Face Pack And Improves Skin Complexion
Consumption of the bark of Ashoka assists in removing the harmful toxins from our bloodstream and provides tremendous value for the skin. It not only controls acne but also prevents the onset of allergies and other skin disorders. The extract of Ashoka bark has been used as a natural anti-oxidant since ages and still used extensively as a natural remedy for acne as well as to improve the complexion of your skin.
Burns and skin irritations that arise out of extreme heat or allergies can also be treated by using extracts from Ashoka bark.
Suggested Remedy: Boil the bark to form a thick decoction and simmer it once it starts boiling. Apply mustard oil after it gets cold and mix well. This solution, when applied to boils and acne, clears the skin making it beautiful and healthy.
Prevents Internal Bleeding
The extracts of Ashoka flower help in preventing internal bleeding in the body.
Suggested Remedy: A few drops of water mixed with crushed flowers of the Ashoka plant helps in preventing internal bleeding. Consumption of this tonic twice a day will foil internal bleeding of any kind. Ingestion of Ashoka flowers on a regular basis also helps to prevent haemorrhagic dysentery.
Improves Brain Prowess
Regular consumption of products made from Ashoka bark helps to vastly improve your intellect. Ashoka bark is a natural brain stimulant.
Suggested Remedy: To make some brain juice mix equal quantities of Ashoka’s bark and Brahmi powder. Consume one teaspoon of this mixture twice daily with a cup of milk. Get big brain power with one small teaspoon of Ashoka root powder.
This herb is also known to have pain-relieving and analgesic properties. Intake of Ashoka capsules is highly effective in relieving joint pain, muscle pain, and back pain. A study published in the journal Annals of Plant Sciences shows that Ashoka leaf extracts have an analgesic effect that could be explained by the presence of petroleum ether, chloroform, and methanol.
Suggested Remedy: In case of a headache, make a paste using the bark or leaves of the tree and apply it on the affected areas to get instant relief.
Relieves Stomach Inflammation & Worm Infestation
Barks or leaves of the Ashoka, when ingested, helps to remove worms and parasitic infestation in the stomach resulting in relief from pain, swelling and bloating. The bark also has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and pain-relieving properties. These three pillars of strength of Ashoka helps lay the foundation of an excellent remedy for stomach swelling. It’s anti-inflammatory and cooling properties helps to combat both internal and external inflammation and provides relief from the burning sensation.
Make Your Own Ashoka Stem Bark Decoction!
- To make your own decoction, boil the bark in four times more water as the quantity of the bark.
- When the water starts boiling, your decoction is ready. Let it cool down and pour it into a container.
- Make sure the decoction is consumed fresh
Prepare Ashoka Ksheer Pakh At Home!
- Wash the stem of the Ashoka and dry it in the sunlight. Grind it in a mixer and make sure to grind it well.
- Mix 6 gms of this powder in 500 ml of milk and 500 ml of water. Stir well.
- Start boiling this tonic until the volume is reduced in half.
- Add a teaspoon of sugar and consumed it daily on an empty stomach.
Side Effects and Precautions
- Ashoka is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
- If you are taking prescription medication, please consult your healthcare professional before using Ashoka.
- People who are sensitive to certain types of food should consult a doctor before consuming products of this tree.