Pongamia Pinnata

Pongamia Pinnata

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Common name: Pongam Tree, Indian Beech Tree, Pongame Oil Tree
Hindi: Karanj करंज
Tamil: புங்கை Pungai
Malayalam: Ponnu, Unnu
Oriya: Koranjo
Kannada: Honge
Marathi: करंज Karanj
Telugu: Pungu
Gujarati: કરંજ Karanja
Bengali: করংজ Karanj
Assamese: Karchaw
Sanskrit: करंजः Karanjah
Nepali: करेङ्गी Karengi, कद्जा Kadzaa
Botanical name: Pongamia pinnata     
Family: Fabaceae (pea family)
Synonyms: Millettia pinnata, Pongamia glabra, Derris indica, Cytisus pinnatus

Treasures of Nature (Prakriti Ka Khazana) – Karana

Karanj (Latinname - Millettia pinnata), a native tree of India which is extensively found throughout the country is an important bio-fuel crop. The oil from this tree is not edible but can produce bio-gas which is extensively used in villages as a substitute for diesel and to run power grid systems to run water pumps. Karanja is a herbal medicine used in Ayurveda which predominantly is used in treating skin diseases. From ancient times, the twigs from this tree is used as a tooth brush.

Karanj is bitter, pungent, astringent in taste, easy to digest, has piercing and hot potency qualities. The fruits, leaves, stem bark, root bark, seeds and twigs are used in medicinal preparation.

Medicinal uses of Karanja:

  • It is very useful in treating skin diseases.

  • It has properties which can detoxify the vagina and treat uterine disorders.

  • Used in treating piles and haemorrhoids.

  • It can relieve bloating, flatulence and stomach ailments.

  • It can relieve worm infestation and aids quick wound healing.

  • The leaves of Karanja can relieve inflammation, diarrhea and constipation.

  • The fruits of Karanja is used to treat diabetes.

  • The fruits are also used to treat psoriasis and skin infections.

  • The oil of Karanja is used as a bio diesel.

  • It helps to reduce boils, abscess and eczema.

  • It relives pain and inflammation caused due to open wounds and burns.

  • Traditionally it is used to treat scorpion bites, fever and poisoning.

  • Used to treat gout and syphilis.

Apart from these medicinal uses, Karanja is used in therapeutic use called as ‘Blood letting therapy’ to cure skin diseases. In conditions where the skin lesions turn numb and there is no pain or itching, they are rubbed with Karanja stem to initiate bleeding. This lets off the impure blood to cure the skin lesions.

Medicinal Uses
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The seed oil is given as a stomachic and cholagogue in the treatment of dyspepsia and cases of sluggish liver . It is used externally as a liniment for rubbing on skin diseases and rheumatic joints . It has been shown to be effective in enhancing the pigmentation of skin affected by leucoderma or scabies . The powdered seed is given as an expectorant in the treatment of bronchitis and whooping cough, and is also prescribed as a febrifuge and tonic . A paste made from the powdered seed is spread on sores and rheumatic joints . An infusion of the leaves is used to relieve rheumatism . A decoction is used as a cough remedy . The leaves are crushed and applied as a poultice for the treatment of parasitic skin diseases and to relieve bleeding haemorrhoids .The expressed juice is used on herpes and itches . The flowers are claimed to have anti-diabetic action . The fresh stem bark is astringent and is taken internally to relieve bleeding haemorrhoids . It is also applied to reduce the enlargement of the spleen . The root bark contains a bitter alkaloid and is used as an abortifacient . The antiseptic root juice is put on sores and ulcers and used to clean teeth .