Kamarkas (Palas / Dhaak Gond): Uses, Benefits and Side effects

The word Kamarkas is actually a Hindi nomenclature for “tightening of waist”: Kamar- waist, kas- tightening. It is not a herb in itself but a resinous gum extracted from the stem of a tree called by various names in India i.e. Palash tree/ Tesu tree / Dhaak tree or Kinshuk tree. Other names of this same tree are Brihamavriksham, Kakracha, Kamata, Pang-gong, Indian Coral flower tree, Flame of the forest, Bastard teak, Butea monosperma or Butea frondosa.

Plant has bright red flowers that give it an illusion of a flame far in the forest when looking from a distant view. Likewise, when the bark of the tree is cut, reddish coloured fluid oozes out. This is then dried to form bright red glistening crystals called Kamarkas Gond or gum/ Lal Gond. Gum is astringent in nature. In Ayurveda, this tree owns a reputation of being one of the most beneficial trees for human health and has been termed as Brahmavriksha (The Divine Tree). Its Gum is no less in proving it further.

 

Kamarkas Dhaak Gond
Lal Gond

Origin Of Red Gum/ Kamarkas:

Dhaak tree or Butea Monosperma is found natively in India, Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Nutritional Profile Of Kamarkas Gond:

  • Rich source of Vit A and K.
  • Contains magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, sodium and folate.
  • Beta-carotene, phenolics, gallic acid, tannic acid and flavonoids potentiates antioxidant property in Red gum or Dhaak Gond.
  • Contains Kinotannic acid, anthraquinones and alkaloids.

Taste And Properties Of Kamarkas/ Dhaak Gond:

  • Taste is pungent and bitter.
  • Property is astringent.

Interestingly, there is a known variety of Palash tree which bears whitish flowers. These flowers were sometimes taken as food by Sadhus and Yogis in past to develop unlimited awareness, knowledge and becoming omniscient. It is also said that intake of these flowers in pregnancy lends great awareness and wisdom to the unborn foetus.

Uses And Benefits Of Kamarkas Gond

It is also sometimes called Lal Gond. However some other trees also produce reddish gum and so one should always make sure they are buying the right gum of Dhaak or Palash tree and not any other tree for the benefits as told below:

Pregnancy & Post Delivery

This is one such use which is known in about each and every household of India. Traditionally this gum has been used for mothers during pregnancy and after delivery of baby to tighten and strengthen muscles of waist. It also tones pelvic muscles which have lost tone during delivery of the baby. Also helps to strengthen spinal cord. Especially delicate women are usually given this gum with milk at night or in the form of laddus (round Indian sweets) or panjiri (sweet powder dish). It helps to ameliorate weakness, pain associated with weak waist muscles.

Lactation

Kamarkas gum (also called Chuniya gond) is used to increase milk production in post-delivery period. Thus it is beneficial for women who have scanty milk production. We all are aware with the utmost importance of mother’s milk in appropriate amounts for baby’s health and immunity. Though there is not enough scientific proof for its effectiveness, it has been used successfully as a part of old Indian traditions from times immortal.

Benefits For Arthritis And Back Pain

It provides nourishment to the bone tissues and helps lubricate the joints. Plus its anti-inflammatory effect is found beneficial for various types of arthritis and it directly strengthens bones.

Digestive Health

  • Lal Gond has been used to treat mouth diseases like ulcers and infections.
  • It helps to relieve constipation and keep digestive tract healthy.
  • It is termed as Sagrahani in Ayurvedic texts which mean it is beneficial to control diarrhoeas.
  • Its intake prevents stomach cancer.
  • In case of dysentery try adding a quarter teaspoon of powdered red gum to cinnamon powder. Take this mixture with lukewarm water once daily till dysentery lasts.  Or you may simply steep 3-5 grams of Kamarkas in warm water to form a tea and take it regularly.
  • Red gum is also beneficial in eliminating intestinal parasites/ worms.
  • Helps treat haemorrhoids.

Skin And Hair Health

  • A reddish tea made from steeping kamarkas crystals in water for a few minutes. This can be used to rinse hair for beautiful healthy lustre and also treats dandruff.
  • Rich profile of antioxidants in Kamarkas helps to rejuvenate skin and impart youthful glow.
  • Skin eczema, ringworms and tinea infections are treatable with Red gum due to its anti-fungal nature. For this, a paste is made from crushing red gum with equal amount of water is applied to skin or affected areas for few minutes and then washed with water.

Mental Health

Kamarkas tea is used to ward of depressive thoughts and to elevate mood. It is a natural remedy for depression as it is rich in diosmetin, apigenin and lutiolin all of which are potent antioxidants.

Cholecystitis And Gall Stones

  • Kamarkas swelled with water overnight when applied to gall bladder area locally, helps to reduce swelling in gall bladder in cases of Cholecystitis.
  • Intake of kamarkas helps to fight gall stones.

Sweating

It is useful to overcome excessive sweat problem.

Cough

Anti-tussive or anti-cough property of Kamarkas makes it helpful in treatment of all cough related diseases. It was also used to treat Tuberculosis in olden times.

Chronic Fevers

Lal Gond is used for long standing fevers or known or unknown origin too.

Liver Health

  • Kamarkas intake is great for maintaining good liver health.
  • Thus it is found beneficial in diabetic individuals too. 

Strengthens Blood Clotting System

Our blood has a unique mechanism which helps to arrest bleeding from wounds and do self-repair. This is called Blood clotting system. Kamarkas strengthens this system and helps in various issues related to bleeding like Haemorrhage of stomach and bladder, rectal hemorroids, menorrhagia, nasal bleeding in summers due to excess heat.

Urinary System

Issues of Burning and painful micturition are resolved with kamarkas tea. Plus it has a diuretic action too.

Female Reproductive System

  • Itching and Infections of female genital tract like Whitish Discharge/ Leucorrhoea is treatable with Chuniya Gond. For vaginal problems it can be taken as half teaspoon of the powder made from crystals added to warm milk at night daily.
  • Dysmenorrhoea or pain while having periods can be benefitted by intake of Kamarkas tea.
  • Menorrhagia, a condition of excessive menstrual bleeding, is treatable with Kamarkas.
  • Genital infections like gonorrhoea are also benefitted.

Benefits For Male Reproductive System

  • In issues of male infertility, Kamarkas helps increases semen and mature sperm production thereby tackling seminal debility. 
  • Also helpful in problems like premature ejaculation and Nocturnal emission. 1-3 grams of Gond can be added to milk with misri (crystal sugar) and amla juice (Indian gooseberry) dissolved in it and taken at night daily for these male problems.
  • Some texts also refer to it as being used as an Aphrodisiac for men.

Anti Cancer

It has an anti-cancer potential and studies are still undergoing to exploit its benefits.

Treats Wounds

The anti-inflammatory and anti-sceptic properties of Dhaak Gond help to treat wounds and ulcers.

Combats Poison

Maharshi Charak and Sushruta have mentioned use of seeds from the tree in combating snake poison. Likewise, a concoction made from Bark of Palash tree with sonth (dried Ginger powder), can be used to fight poison of snake. It is also derived from the bark and so it may also be helpful in poisoning to some extent.

Caution And Side effects

  • It can be the cause of constipation in some individuals or if taken in excess due to its mal-rodhak (stool-forming) property.
  • Taking of excess amount of the gond in food can lead to abdominal discomfort.
  • Make sure to take enough amount of water while you are taking this gum to avoid tummy issues.
  • Those taking it for treatment of Diabetes should consult an expert first. If taken with other allopathic anti-diabetic drugs, it may lower blood sugar levels. So always monitor levels regularly.
  • No major side-effects are noted or documented with its use yet.

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Dr. Surabhi Rawat

Dr Surabhi Rawat is a Medical Physician based in New Delhi, India. After completing her MBBS in 2009, she has gathered experience in the field of Medicine and Gynaecology for over 10 years in both Government based and private hospital setups including Apollo Hospital Delhi. She shares her passion for connecting with and educating people via this health blog and believes in a holistic approach to lead a balanced and healthy way. She is engaged in relaying well-founded and ayurvedic practical information after careful research and analysis by writing and reviewing health articles thus enabling people to make informed health decisions and achieve optimal wellness through natural, nutritional and lifestyle changes for long term benefit.

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