Karanja is a medium-sized evergreen or briefly deciduous tree, usually about 8 m high but that can grow to 15-25 m. The trunk is straight or crooked, 50 cm in diameter, covered with grey to greyish brown bark, smooth or vertically fissured. The branches are spreading or dropping, and form a broad hemispherical crown of dark green leaves.The inflorescence is a 6-27 cm long raceme of typically papilionaceous, very fragrant flowers. The flowers are lavender, pink white in colour and 15-18 mm long. Fruits are numerous, elliptical, 3-6 cm long x 2-3 cm broad, hard and woody indehiscent pods. Pods contain 1-2 seeds.
Seeds are bean-like, 1.5-2.5 cm long x 1.2-2.0 cm wide, dark brown in colour. They are oily, containing about 30-40% oil. The tree sheds its pods which produce long lasting ground litter.
It’s botanical name is Millettia pinnata which belongs to Fabaceae family.
Parts Used –
Karanja is predominantly used in the form of leaf extracts, stems, fruits, roots, and seeds in medicinal preparation.
The precise therapeutic dosage of karanja varies from individual to individual and is dependent on the age, health, gender besides severity of the disease.
• Karanja powder: 1 to 3 gm per day
• Karanja capsule: 1-2 capsules twice a day
• Karanja Juice: 10 to 20 ml twice a day
• Ointment: Externally as required
• Cures Indigestion
Karanja is helpful in treating indigestion due to aggravated kapha which causes weak digestive fire. This plant helps to promote digestive fire due to its hot potency and supports proper digestion of food thus curing all digestive anomalies.
• Improves Appetite
Loss of appetite is caused by a weak digestive system. Due to aggravation of vata, pitta, and kapha dosha, incomplete food digestion results in insufficient secretion of gastric juice in the stomach which reduces the body’s appetite. Karanja tonic helps to promote appetite thus enhancing smooth digestion and gut function.
• Treats Osteoarthritis
According to ayurvedic sciences, aggravation of vata dosha, causes swelling, pain, and difficulty in moving.
Karanja oil is useful in arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory activity. Karanja possesses vata balancing property that provides relief from symptoms of various forms of arthritis and swelling in joints. Regular application of karanja infusion, ointment, or oil helps to manage chronic joint inflammation.
• Clears Skin Anomalies
Owing to its potential antiseptic and healing properties, karanja oil is used for treating skin disorders such as infection, abscess, boils, and eczema. Its antimicrobial property helps to heal all chronic skin problems and provides normal skin texture. The paste of its leaves can also be applied to cuts and wounds to help promote quick healing.
• Improves Hair Health
Karanja oil is rich in antioxidants and essential compounds that boost overall hair health, besides preventing premature greying of hair. It also acts as an astringent and protects the scalp from infections. The anti-fungal properties of this oil can help treat scalp irritation, dryness, and dandruff.
• Treats Ulcers
The antioxidant properties of karanja have the power to prevent cell damage and heal ulcers. Karanja juice is used to treat internal gastrointestinal ulcers. External ulcers can also be reduced by the application of this oil. The topical application of a few drops of karanja oil mixed with coconut oil is an effective home remedy to soothe ulcers.
• Cures Leprosy
Oil made from the seeds of karanja plant has anthelmintic properties which makes it extremely beneficial in leprosy. Karanja oil consists bactericidal properties, which is not very easily found in many plants. This is very effective to treat diseases like leprosy- a chronic infectious disease that mainly affects the skin, peripheral nerves, and mucosa of the body’s upper respiratory tract.
Side Effects –
While no side effects are noticed by using karanja plant extracts, sometimes when taken in pure form, it can be a bit dense on the body, skin, and hair. It can also cause rashes on the body due to its hot potency, therefore, it is recommended that instead of using raw and pure karanja extract, products formulated with the ingredient are safer to use.
Pregnant ladies and lactating women should completely avoid using this plant.
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