Bassia longifolia Koen

Synonym ► Madhuca longifolia (Linn.) Macbride.

Family ► Sapotaceae.

Habitat ► South India; common in the monsoon forests of Western Ghats.

English ► Mowra Butter tree, South Indian Mahua.

Siddha/Tamil ► Illupei, Elupa, Naatu, Iluppei, Iruppei.

Action ► Flowers—laxative, bechic (used in coughs, colds and bronchitis), stimulant and nervine tonic. Seed oil—galactogenic, anticephalalgic, laxative in cases of habitual constipation and piles; used externally in rheumatism and skin affections. Bark, seed oil and gum—antirheumatic.

The herb contains 17% tannins and is used for bleeding and spongy gums, tonsillitis, ulcers, rheumatism and diabetes mellitus. Roots are applied to ulcers.

Seed kernel gave protobassic acid (a sapogenol) and two major saponins— Mi-saponins A and B. Mi-saponins (bisdesmosides of protobassic acid) exhibit anti-inflammatory activity in rheumatism.

The carollas are a rich source of sugars and contain an appreciable amount of vitamins and calcium (total sugars 72.9%, calcium 140 mg/100 g). Sugars are identified as sucrose, maltose, glucose, fructose, arabinose and rham-nose. Flowers are largely used in the preparation of distilled liquors. They constitute the most important raw material for fermentative production of alcohol.

Bauhinia racemosa Lamk 85

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