Benefits of Asoka
Herbs a to z
Asoka is a small, spreading, evergreen tree, with smooth brownish bark and compound leaves forming a dense crown. It has bright orange flowers in small dense branches and flat fruits with several smooth grey seeds. This tree has to be distinguished from the Indian fir or mast tree, botanically known as polyalthia long folia. Asoka is one of the sacred trees of the Hindus.
The dried bark of the tree constitutes the drug. The bark contains tannins and catechol. B.N. Ghosh of the School of Tropical Medicine, Calcutta, investigated the powdered bark ash of Asoka and found presence of silica, sodium, potassium, phosphate, magnesium, iron, calcium, strontium and aluminum. A crystalline glucosidal substance has been isolated from the bark, with galactose as the constituent sugar.
The bark is prescribed in Ayurvedic medicine for arresting bleeding or secretion and as a uterine sedative. It is said to have a stimulating effect on the endometrium that is, the mucous membrane lining the uterus and on the ovarian tissues.
The bark of the tree is effective for excessive blood loss during menstruation due to the presence of uterine fibroids, leucorrhoea and other causes. It can be used as a substitute for ergot, a kind of dried fungus used in medicine in the treatment of uterine hemorrhages. It is taken as a decoction.
About 90 grams of the bark is boiled in 30 ml of milk and 360 ml of water till the total quantity is reduced to about 90. grams. This is divided in 2 or 3 doses to be given in a day. The treatment should commence from the fourth day of the menstruation and continue till the bleeding is checked. Fresh decoction is to be made every day.
The bark is also effective for internal piles. A decoction prepared in the same manner as in case of uterine disorders is taken in this condition.
The decoction is also useful in dysentery. A fluid extract of the flowers can be taken with beneficial results in hemorrhagic dysentery. This extract is prepared by grinding the flowers with water. It is taken in doses of 15 to 60 drops.
The dried flowers of Asoka tree are useful in diabetes. The bark of the tree is also useful in treating scorpion-sting.