Origin & Types
Ashoka Tree belongs to the genus Saraca and is a sacred plant throughout the Indian subcontinent. The tree has many religious and literary associations. It is also closely related to mythological beings.
Ashoka Tree-Fact Sheet
|Scientific Name||Saraca Asoca|
|Country of Origin||South America and Asia|
|Plant Height||15 to 20 meters high|
|Length of Leaves||15 cm long|
|Years Nurtured before Harvesting||5 to 10 years|
|Years of Mature||6 to 7 years|
|Parts of the Plant Used||Leaves, Bark, flowers, and seeds|
|Best Time to Grow||Monsoon|
It is a rain-forest tree and was found initially in central regions of Deccan plateau and the Western Ghats. Ashoka is widely available in the east and central parts of Himalayas and also in the hills of Garo, Khasi and Lushaj. It is also grown in Kerala, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
It is an evergreen tree measuring 15 to 20 meters in height. The yellowish-orange flowers emit a sweet smell all the year round and have four to eight black colored seeds. The pod is woody and tapering at both ends while the seeds are oblong and compressed.
The leaves turn copper-red when young and become green when they mature. It is 30 to 60 cm long and is paripinnate as well as an alternate. The bark of old stem is dark green and have bluish as well as patches of ash white on lichens.
Medicinal Uses & Health Benefits
Treats Gynecological disorders
It is a helpful remedy for treating menstrual disorders and gynecological issues in women. It acts as a tonic for endometrium and uterine muscles besides reducing abdominal pain and spasms. The herb alleviates various symptoms like Dysmenorrhea, leucorrhoea, irregular menstrual cycles, cysts, and fibroids.
Improve the complex of the skin
It is helpful for purification of the blood and prevents skin allergies. It clears the complexion by removing the toxins. The tree extract soothes skin irritations and burns.
Cures internal bleeding
It treats hemorrhages and internal bleeding efficiently. Its extract is used for healing hemorrhagic dysentery. Crush the flower and add some water and then drink it.
The dry flowers have anti-diabetic property. It acts as a tonic and used as decoction at regular intervals to control the blood sugar levels.
Treatment of piles
It is helpful for curing internal piles and bleeding. The supplements made from bark are used as decoctions.
It cures worm infections by clearing the stomach or worm infestations. Consume the leaves and the bark to get relief from pain and reduce bloating.
Control kidney stones
Consume the seed powder with water for reducing the risk of painful stone extraction.
The bark is rich in ketosterol which helps in treating uterine and other internal fibroids. Use bark powder for proper toning of the mucosa of the uterus. Boil 2 tablespoons of bark powder in 2 glass of water. Filter it and consume 30 ml of the mixture twice a day.
Other Health Benefits
- The methanol and chloroform properties are helpful to cure fungal and bacterial infections.
- Ashok tree is a boon for women as it is helpful in reducing excess and painful bleeding, treats headache and leucorrhea.
- One can cure dysentery by consuming the juice from flower extract.
- Make some ash from the tree to get relief from joint pain and arthritis.
- The ground seeds boost the memory and the seed paste is used for urine retention.
Possible Side Effects
- The pregnant and lactating mother should avoid this herb
- Consult a physician before using any of the health supplements
Cultivation & Propagation
- Prepare the pits of size 35 by 45 by 45 cm with a spacing of 3m by 3 m. Fill each pit with topsoil and 10 kilograms of farmyard manure. Fill extra 10 kilograms of manure in the pits during October to November. Transplant the two-month-old seedlings in the pits during monsoons in June and July.
- For yielding pure crop, one requires 1100 seedlings per hectare with a spacing of 3m by 3m. The crop grows well when we plant perennial trees like coconut as they provide partial shade. Raise the crop over high rainfall tracts. The seedlings require irrigation at frequent intervals when there is no rainfall. Moreover, water the grown-up tree by making a ring channel around the tree’s base for fast growth.
- The best method for propagation is through seeds. Collect the mature seeds from 5 to 6-year-old plants during December to January. Sow the seeds in polybags or mother beds measuring 25 cm by 20 cm. Soak the seeds in water for a half day before sowing which the percentage rate of germination. Germination takes about two weeks.
It grows well in moist tropical areas with an even distribution of rainfall. The plant thrives well in partially shaded regions.
Health & Security
No need to apply chemical fertilizers. Perform the first weeding after one month of the plantation and the third weeding in December. Keep the interspaces free from weeds by spraying herbicides like 0.8% paraquat and 0.4% glyphosate. Irrigate the field at frequent intervals with partial shade for the first two years from December till May.
Harvesting & Storage of Ashoka Tree
- The flowering period takes place during the initial growth stage. Flowers blossom after six to eight years and produces fruits during July till October. After 20 years, collect the bark of the plant and cut the tree at a height of 15 cm from the soil level. New coppice shoots emerge with proper irrigation and fertilizers and one can again harvest after ten years. Collect the bark without chopping the tree and peel off the bark in vertical strips with a spacing of 6 cm between each piece.
- Dry the bark under the shade. Pack and store the bark in the containers. A yield of one tonne of dry stem bark is available from a single crop. When the plant is grown alongside coconut trees, the return is 0.6 tonne per hectare.
Marketing of Ashoka Tree
Due to its immense medicinal value, it has high economic value. As the tree takes time to mature, there are strict laws for harvesting and cultivation to benefit the farmers and the manufacturing firms.