Alstonia Scholaris

Alstonia Scholaris

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Indian Name:  Satvin tree

Botanical Name:  Alstonia Scholaris

Other Names:  Dita bark, Vishamacchada, Devil tree


Synonyms used for Alstonia Scholaris are Saitankajat or Chattiyan in Hindi and Sarada, Saptaparna, Suktiparna, Sapthachada, Chatraparna, and Visalatvak in Sanskrit. It is an evergreen tree and tropical climate suits it well. It is known commonly as Pulai, Indian Devil Tree, White Cheesewood, Ditabark And Milkwood Pine. EzhilamPaala is the term used for it in Malayalam a language in southern India, meaning the Paala tree that has 7 leaves.

In many of the subtropical and tropical climates the tree grows naturally. Scholaris is native to the South East Asia and the Indian Subcontinent regions. It is also native to Australia and China.  Flowers, fruit and leaves of the tree are used as medicine in India. The tree is grows up to 40 m and hence is a glabrous small tree.

It has copiously lenticellate branchlets and a grey colored bark. Leaves on the upper side have a glossy appearance while they are grey underneath.  In the month of October the fragrant flowers start blooming. Cilated margins are present in the seeds in oblong shape and have tufts of hair. Bark of the tree is bitter, has milky sap and has no odor.

The evergreen tree with flowers in funnel shape and milky sap is used mainly for the purpose of making medicine. Asthma, malaria, conditions of the skin, malaria and epilepsy are treated with Alstonia Scholaris extract. This is an astringent medicinal herb used in Ayurveda to also treat chronic dysentery, snake bites, diarrhoea, and Panchkarma purification process. Ulcers are best treated with the milky sap of the tree.

Echitamine, alkaloids, echitenine and ditamine is contained in the bark which serves a great quinine alternative. Malaria and diarrhoea was treated with the bark’s decoction at one time besides as a vulnerary tonic, anticholeric, febrifuge and emmenagogue. To treat beriberi a decoction of the leaves is used. It is recommended to treat complaints of the bowels in Ayurveda. Wood of the tree is light and hence used in the making of coffins in Sri Lanka. Net floats, trenchers, utensils, cork are made from the wood which is closer to the root of the tree, in Borneo. Extracts obtained from it are known to possess activity of cytotoxic nature.

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