Indian Name: Chakunda
Botanical Name: Cassia Occidentalis
Other Names: Badikasondi, Negro Coffee, Stinking weed, Kasamarda
Cassia Occidentalis is a variable plant which grows erect to a height of 1.8m. Cassia Occidentalis Linn is its botanical name. Leaves are bluish green to a pale green, pinnate pubescent, elliptic or lanceolate and grow up to three to nine pairs on the same plant. Flowers in a brilliant yellow color grow on this plant. When young the pods are in light green color and when mature they turn oblong pubescent, thin, flat, black or brown. Seeds are obovate and oblong in shape and in dark brown color.
The crop is highly resistant to droughts and grows most suitably in desert areas. On marginal lands also it is cultivated both as an irrigated as well as a rain crop in Tamil Nadu, India. In Ramanathapuram, Madurai, Tiruchchirappalli and in Tirunelveli districts it is grown now as a cash crop in Tamil Nadu. In Salem district it is grown to lesser extents. In Andhra Pradesh it grows in Cuddapah district in the wild. Besides this it is cultivated in Maharashtra and Karnataka, Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan and Jammu to some extents.
For better growth it needs some rain, warm climate and sunshine that are bright. 10 to 42 degree C is the temperatures it can grow well in besides which it needs sufficient rainfall. Leaves of the plant are picked and immediately dried which retain the green color. The freeze method of drying is considered the best. Sennoside is contained in considerable quantities in the flowers. Sennasoides G, D, C, B and A, isorhein, rhein, kaempferein and aloe amine are contained in the pods and leaves in compounds and free forms. The root is also useful in making medicines.
In Unani and Ayurvedic medicine the pods and leaves are used as great tonic as an infusion. Women who nurse develop milk in copious quantities after consuming extracts of this plant. Besides this it is used to treat colitis and constipation.
Cloves and ginger is added to mask the odor that is disagreeable. It is effective in treating vomiting, hiccups, cholera, gout, biliousness, jaundice leprosy, bronchitis, anaemia, tumors, treating liver and dysentery. To dye the hair black it is used with henna leaves. In allopathic, Unani and Ayurvedic medicine it is a popular drug and used as medicine in the household as well.
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