Adansonia digitata Linn

Family ► Bombacaceae.

Habitat ► Native to tropical Africa; common along the west coast of India.

English ► Baobab, Monkey Bread tree, African calabash.

Ayurvedic ► Sheet-phala, Ravanaam-likaa, Gorakshi, Panchparni.

Siddha/Tamil ► Papparapuli.

Folk ► Gorakh Imli; Gorakh Chinchaa.

Action ► Cooling, refrigerant (allays burning sensation). Leaves— diaphoretic (used as a prophylactic against fevers). Fruit—antidysen-teric, antiseptic, antihistaminic.

The fruit pulp is a source of vitamin C (175.0-445.4 mg/100 g); dried pulp contains calcium and vitamin B1. Furfural (9.6%) is obtained after distillation of the fruit. In Africa, dried leaves provide much of the dietary calcium. Aqueous extract of the bark is used for treating sickle cell anaemia.

An infusion of the leaves and flowers is given in respiratory disorders. (Powdered leaves prevented crisis in asthma induced by histamine in guinea pigs.) Dried fruit pulp also gives relief in bronchial asthma, allergic dermatitis and urticaria.

Family ► Leguminosae; Mimosaceae.

Habitat ► The western Ghats, the Andamans and sub-Himalayan tract; also cultivated.

Ayurvedic ► Rakta Kanchana, Rakta Kambala.

Siddha/Tamil ► Anai-gundumani.

Action ► Astringent and styptic (used in diarrhoea, haemorrhage from the stomach, haematuria), anti-inflammatory (in rheumatic affections, gout). Seeds— anticephalgic; also used for the treatment of paralysis. A decoction is given in pulmonary affections.

The seed contains an anti-inflammatory active principle, O-acetyletha-nolamine. The leaves contain octa-cosanol, dulcitol, glucosides of beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol. The bark contains sitgmasterol glucoside.

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