Butea, also known as "flame of the forest", is a medium-sized tree, with compounds leaves. The leaves fall in winter and flowers bloom in Feb-March in small but dense clusters generally on leafless branches. The fruits are flat pods, with a single seed in each fruit. The butea gum, the seeds and leaves of the tree have medical properties.
The butea gum is rich in gallic and tannic acids. The seeds contain a yellow fixed oil called moodooga oil or kino-tree oil, small quantities of resin and large quantities of a water soluble albuminoid. Fresh seeds contain proteolytic and lipolytic enzymes. The flowers contain glucosides, butrin, butin and neteroside. A number of fatty acids have been isolated from the oil.
Botanical Name- Butea monosperma
Indian Name- Palas
Below are some of the medicinal properties of butea:
- The gum of the tree is beneficial in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery. Its action is however mild, particularly suitable for children and women of delicate disposition. It is given in doses of 3 decigrams to 2 grams, with a few decigrams of aromatics. The leaves can be chewed orally during the ailment. Infusion or decoction of the gum as a rectal enema would yield instant relief. Fresh juice of the leaves is also useful in these diseases.
- The seeds are beneficial in the treatment of certain skin disease. The seeds, ground and mixed with lemon juice, can be daubed on dhobi’s itch, an eczema-type of skin disorder, characterized by itching. They can also be applied with gratifying results on ringworms. A hot poultice of the leaves can be applied to resolve boils, pimples, tumorous piles, ulcer and swellings. The crushed seeds can be used for killing maggots in wounds and sores.
- The leaves of butea are useful in diabetes. They reduce blood sugar and are useful in glycosuria-that is, the presence of a large amount of glucose in urine.
- The leaves are also beneficial in the treatment of leucorrhea. Decoction or infusion of leaves should be used as a vaginal douche for this purpose.
- The seeds are administered internally, either in the form of powder or made into a paste with honey as an anthelmintic to kill intestinal worms. They are especially useful in the treatment of roundworms and tapeworms. Recent experiments have confirmed their effectiveness in eliminating round worms. About a gram of the seeds mixed with a honey can be given thrice a day for three days to treat intestinal worms. On the fourth day, a dose of castor oil may be administered to evacuate the bowels.
- The butea leaves are useful in treating the difficulty of retention of urine. The public region should be fomented with the leaves in this disorder.
- The leaves of butea are useful in congested and septic throat. A decoction of the leaves obtained by boiling them in water should be used as a mouth-wash in the treatment of this disorder.