Orchid tree (Kachnar)- Benefits, Uses & Side effects
Orchid tree or Mountain ebony is also known as Kachnar in Hindi. It is an embellishing plant that has beautifully scented flowers. The trees of Kachnar are about 15-20 ft. tall and bear soft branches. These branches bend downwards and the bark is one inch thick, rough, brown and white in color. Its scientific name is Bauhinia Variegata.
This plant has more importance than just being an ornamental plant. It is used for a variety of purposes such as medicinal purposes, beautification, and food. The plant is used for curing several illnesses and diseases as it has a great nutritional value. We will know these benefits and uses later in this article.
Types of Kachnar
Though there are many varieties of these scented flowers. It is mainly divided into three types. These are-
- Purple rose(Bauhinia purpurea)
- White((Bauhinia racemosa)
- Yellow-flowered(Bauhinia tomentosa)
Nutritional Values in Kachnar
Kachnar is rich in vital essential nutrients of vitamin C, B vitamins, key minerals of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, besides requisite macronutrients of reducing-sugar carbohydrates, dietary fibers, proteins and healthy unsaturated fats. In many regions of India, curries and pickles are prepared, by cooking, frying kachnar buds, seasoned with onions and spices, as a customary food, which is then eaten as vegetables or side dishes as part of the regular diet.
Besides containing ample amounts of several pivotal vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbs, fats, kachnar also showcases an impressive profile of bioactive phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antihyperglycemic, anti-arthritic and cytotoxic i.e. cancer-reducing properties. These potent components are very useful in the prevention, management and treatment of a host of disorders, including hypothyroidism, irregular periods and amenorrhea, high blood sugar levels in diabetes, mouth ulcers and digestive complications.
Benefits of Kachnar
Helps in relieving headache-
Kachnar has pain relieving properties therefore decoction made from leaves of kachnar is used to relieve headache. Grinding the bark of kachnar and applying it on the forehead helps to relieve headache.
Kachnar has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which cures pain in the teeth. Burning dry twigs of red kachnar and brushing the teeth with this ash cures the toothache.
Make a decoction of the bark of Kachnar tree and pomegranate flower. Gargling with it is beneficial for mouth ulcers. Boil 50 grams of bark from the Kachnar tree in half a liter of water. When half the water remains, rinse the mouth with this water.
Kachnar helps to improve the functioning of the liver and maintain proper metabolism. Therefore it proves to be beneficial in jaundice. Make a paste of kachnar leaves and mix it with milk of Vyaghra Rand (Purging nut) and consume it. It is beneficial in jaundice disease as it helps to
For Increasing appetite-
Consumption of kachnar helps in loss of appetite as it contains healing properties for liver cells which helps to cure liver disorder and increase appetite.
The bark of Kachnar contains flavonoids that have antioxidants. These antioxidants have anti-diabetic activity that helps to prevent the pancreatic cells damage and also stimulate insulin secretion and therefore helps in lowering the blood sugar levels.
For menstrual problems-
Kachnar helps to stimulate the hormonal balance in the body which further helps in the regulation of the menstrual cycle.
Kachnar has anti-obesity properties which helps to release serotonin in the brain. This hormone serotonin works to suppress appetite and controls excessive weight gain or obesity. It also helps to improve body metabolism.
Kachnar proves beneficial for hyperlipidemia as it helps in lowering lipid levels due to its antihyperlipidemic and antioxidant properties. It helps lower low-density lipoprotein or LDL and triglycerides and increases the levels of good cholesterol. Apart from this. It also reduces the fat deposition in the arteries and prevents blockage in the arteries.
Uses of Kachnar
- The flower buds are used as a vegetable.
- The bark of kachnar is used to treat skin diseases, scrofula, ulcers and diarrhea.
- The buds of kachnar are dried and are used in the treatment of piles, dysentery, diarrhea and stomach worms.
- The root is used as an antidote for snake poison.
- Kachnar is also used for manufacturing purposes. It is used to manufacture wood wool boards, gums and fibers.
- The kadha (decoction) made from the roots of the plant are used for dyspepsia.
- The powdered bark is used as a tonic, for strains, ulcers, skin disease. Its bark extract is also used for treatment of cancer.
- In some parts of India, bark of this plant is used to extract fresh juice which is used as an expectorant.
- In southern India, the decoction made from leaves is used to relieve headaches in malarial fever.
Precautions & Side effects of Kachnar
Kachnar is usually beneficial when consumed in moderate amounts. However, there are certain conditions in which it is not advised.
- People with kidney or liver problems or those undergone recent surgery should not consume it as it may lead to internal tissue damage.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised not to consume kachnar or talk to a doctor before using it.
- Consumption of Kachnar in excess might cause constipation.