Gmelina Arborea

Gmelina Arborea ( gamhar )

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Indian Name:  Gamhar

Botanical Name:  Gmelina Arborea

Other Names:  khumbhari, Gmelina, Bhadraparni


Wood of the Gmelina Arborea tree is popular as the best tropical timber. It is known as Kashmir tree, Beechwood, Malay beechwood, Gmelina Vemane, Goomar teak and white teak in English. It can be grown in avenues and gardens and is a fast growing tree. The tree is deciduous which grows to a 12 to 30 cm in height. Its bark is thin, grey or greyish yellow and rough. All the parts of the tree are used for medicinal purposes.

It is native to moist forests in tropical region in Sri Lanka, India, Burma and South China. It has also been introduced to Sierra Leone, Brazil, Philippines, Gambia, Panama, Ivory, Nigeria, Malaysia and Malawi. Dry season is tolerated well by this tree and can grow in soils of different kinds like poor or thin soil, calcareous loams, dry, acidic or basic alluviums that are drained well.


Humans, at one time consumed the bitter fruit of the tree. It is used as folk medicine. A decoction of the root helps treating disorders in the abdomen. Reports state that it is a great, tonic, anodyne, demulcent, refrigerant and lactagogue. Headaches, disorders in blood, haemorrhage, fever, convulsions, intoxication, epilepsy, smallpox, sore throat, delirium, intoxication, cholera, rheumatism etc. are best treated with the extract of this tree. 

Fruit of the tree has tonic, alterative, diuretic, aphrodisiac and astringent properties and hence are prescribed by Ayurveda for treating vaginal discharges, alopecia, etc. Flowers are effective in treating disorders in the blood and leprosy. Extract of the root is effective as an anthelminthic, laxative and aperitif for treating pain in the abdomen, hallucinations, and discharges in the urinary tract, fever, sensations of burning, piles, etc.

It is used in light construction, making core stock for plywood, particle board, matches, furniture, packing, pit props, etc. Besides this it is used in ornamental work, carriages, instruments for playing music and carvings. If it is not treated it can last for fifteen years in the soil as well as per graveyard tests. It has great pulping properties and hence planted in abundance.  Silkworms and animals feed on the leaves and it is for this reason it is popularly harvested.

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