Know the Medicinal Importance, Benefits and Precautions of Karanja
Karanja is an important ayurvedic herb and its scientific name is Millettia pinnata.It is a medium-sized glabrous tree with a short trunk and a spreading crown. The stem is curved with a diameter of 50-80 cm and the bark is grayish brown which is smooth or vertically slit. Karanja flowering usually begins after 3-4 years in small clusters of white, pink and purple.
Karanja tree is very flexible, every part of the tree (roots, flowers, leaves, bark and seeds) have healing properties. In India, Karanja has many different names like Indian beech, Pongamia pinnata, Pongam oil tree, Karajata and Karach.
Importance of Karanja
Karanja is well known for its medicinal and ayurvedic properties like astringent, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and laxative properties used to treat constipation, arthritis, piles, wounds, eczema and inflammation.
Flavones and their derivatives are the most frequently isolated compounds found in karanja. Methylenedioxy flavones, furano flavones, chromeno flavones, glycosylated flavonoids, isofurano flavones and prenylated isoflavones are present in karanja.
Benefits of Karanja
Karanja helps in improving digestion. The main cause of indigestion is the increase in the level of kapha dosha, which causes Agnimandya (weak digestive fire)due to its Snigdha and Sheetal guna (moist and cold properties) whereasKaranja helps in increasing Agni (digestive fire) due to its Ushna (hot) potency.
Helpful in Loss of appetite-
Karanja helps in increasing appetite as it increases the Agni (digestive power). Loss of appetite occurs mainly due to Agnimandya (weak digestion), whichis caused by the vitiated levels of Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha, resulting in incomplete digestion of food. Karanja stimulates digestion and increases appetite due to its Deepan (appetizer) properties.
Osteoarthritis causes pain, joint swelling and difficulty in moving. This problem is caused by an imbalance in the Vata dosha. Karanja acts as aVata balancer that helps to treat osteoarthritis and relieves joint pain and swelling.
Cures cough and cold-
Karanja is useful in treating cough and cold due to its Kapha balancing properties. Karanja powder helps to remove mucus due to Ushna (hot) potency.
Treats skin diseases-
Karanja is often used to treat skin diseases such as boils, abscess and eczema. This is because of its ropan (healing) and antiseptic properties.
Useful in piles-
Karanja helps control swelling and inflammation in piles due to its ropan (healing) properties.
Karanja is very effective in wound healing due to its astringent properties. The content of hydroxyproline and hexosamine in Karanja acts as an anti-inflammatory agent to heal wounds quickly.
Reduces joint pain-
Joint pain is mainly caused by Vata imbalance. Use of Karanja helps relieve joint pain due to its Vata balancing properties.Karanja helps relieve bone and joint pain when applied to the affected area.
Karanja is a natural laxative which is very useful for constipation. It helps in facilitating smooth bowel movements as it has Deepan (Appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties that improves digestion and reduces constipation.
Precautions while using Karanja
- Karanja is ushna (hot) in nature, it can cause bad effects when one has acidity or gastric problems. Therefore, the use of karanja is recommended in small amounts in these situations.
- It is recommended to consult a doctor before using Karanja during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- Karanja can cause skin problems and acidity due to its ushna properties.
Where is it found?
Karanja is found in Eastern and Tropical Asia, Australia and Pacific Island. In India, it is largely found in north-eastern part of Maharashtra.