To welcome the fall in North India are the Alstonia trees lined along the lanes. The flowers have a fragrant and distinctive aroma.
This medicinal tree Alstonia scholaris , is called by the name Saptaparni in sanskrit and chitvan in Hindi. The name scholaris is because the wood from this tree is used for making slates and pencils. It is also called as the ‘devil trees' because tribal people do not sit under this tree believing that is houses the ghosts. It belongs to the family Apocynanceae.
The name saptaparni is given because there are 7 whorls of leaves present in a stalk. The fully grown tree is about 40m tall. The flowering season is in between the months of October and December i.e. Sharad rtu. The sharad rtu is a time where there is a normally an increase in pitta dosha.
It is a herb that has a combination of lightness (laghu) and unctuousness (snigdha). Usually the drugs which are unctous are not light in nature. It has a bitter and astringent taste and is hot in potency. It balances all the three doshas namely the vata, pitta and kapha.
Parts used: Stem bark, flowers and leaves
Medicinal Uses of saptaparni:
- The leaf extract helps to reduce cholesterol and prevents heart diseases.
- The bark decoction is known to cure skin diseases with secretions and allergic skin infections.
- The leaf juice improves digestion , cures constipation, bloating, abdominal tumour, intestinal worms and abdominal colic.
- In Lactating women it is known to improve the production of breast milk.
- It is used in treating Vishamajwara – chronic recurrent fever.
- It is an anti diabetic drug.
Some formulations which contains this drug are Mahatiktakam kashayam, Mahapanchagavya ghritam, Amritavrisha patoladi kashayam, Aragwadhadi kashayam