SALMALI (Bombax malabaricum)
Dirrerent parts of salmali, particularly the gum mocarasa has been utilized for medicinal purpose in Ayurveda for many centuries. Vagbhata has placed it as a drug of choice for body aches and stiffness, and recommended its use through nasal route for administration. Maharishi Charka has categorized mocarasa as sandhaniya – healing herb, purisa sangrahaniya – gives form to the faeces, sonata sthapaniya – arresting bleeding or haemostatic (styptic), vedana sthapana – relieves the pains, and the skin of salmali as purisa virahaniya – gives proper colour to faeces. Susruta has cited it as stambhana – astringent
The plant grows throughout the warmer parts of India, up to an elevation of about 1500 meters. The tree grows 25-35 meters in height, with a straight trunk and bark dark grey, covered with hard, sharp, conical prickles. The leaves are large, 10-15 cm long, glabrous, digitate and leaflets 3-7, entire, lanceolate. The flowers are red and numerous, blooming in early summer. The fruits are capsules, 12-18 cm long, dehiscing by 5 woody valves. The seeds are smooth, black and embedded in white wool. Gummy exudates, grayish in color, is obtained from the bark and dried. It is available in the market as semul-gum or mocarasa.
The botanical name of salami is bombax malabaricum and it belongs to family Bombacaceae. The root, stem and leaf show the presence of glycosides and tannins. The isolation of lupeol and sitosterol from the petroleum ether extract of the stem bark has been reported. From the root bark three naphthalene derivatives have been isolated. The 6- methyl ether of semigossypol and 1,4- quinine of semigosypol and its quinine have been isolated. The flowers have D- glucoside of sitosterol, free sitosterol hentriacontane, hentriacontanol, traces of essential oil, kaempferol and quercetin. Seeds yield nondrying oil. Gum called as micharasa, contains tannic and gallic acids. Hydrolysis of gum yielded arabinose, galactose, galaturonic acid and traces of rhamnose. Calyx contained moisture (85.66) crude protein (1.38), carbohydrate (11.95) and ash (1.09 %, Ca, P and Mg contents of ash determined. Lupeol, sitosterol, a naphthoquinone and potassium nitrate isolated from root bark and stem bark. Four new aromatic sesquiterpenes II, III, IV and V isolated from bark and their structures elucidated
Salmali is sweet in taste sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates vata and pitta doshas. It possesses light unctulous and slimy attributes. Mocarasa is astringent in taste. Sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency . It possesses similar attributes, to those of salmali. Salmali has rejuvenative property, pacifies pitta and alleviates uterine bleeding disorders. It is used in raktapitta with great benefit. Mocarasa has an aphrodisiac and anti diarrhoeal activity and is used in the burning sensation of the body, diarrhea, dysentery, blood disorders and diseases caused by ama.
Almost all the parts of the tree are used for different medicinal purposes. The gum, seeds, fruit or its capsule, bark, taproot, cotton and flowers are commonly used. The plant is useful, both, internally as well as externally. The skin of bark, in a paste form, is applied on the swollen parts to reduce the swelling and burning sensation. The powder of its dried flowers or their fresh juice is applied externally, to arrest the bleeding. The gargles with the decoction of mocarasa are beneficial for healing the ulcers of the oral cavity and to mitigate bleeding of the gums. As mocarasa cleanses and heals the wounds, it is often used as one of the ingredients in tooth powders. The prickles mashed with water, are valuable in a paste form, to treat acne and dispigmentation of the skin. It cleanses the face and imparts fair complexion to the skin. Mocarasa is also useful for giving enemas (piccha basti).
Internally, mocarasa is excellent panacea for arresting gastro-intestinal bleeding conditions like piles, raktapitta, dysentery, diarrhea and colitis. For this purpose, mocarasa powder or the flowers are given with honey, rock candy and rice water. The raw fruit of salmali is benevolent in cough. The roots are valuable as an aphrodisiac and to prevent premature ejaculation. In general debility, the roots are also useful as a tonic and rejuvenative. As a tonic, the roots mashed in the milk are given with rock candy. In menorrhagia, the powder of bark – skin is recommended with milk. The mashed roots with nutmeg powder are an effective adjuvant in diabetes. The skin of salmali given with buttermilk promptly controls diarrhea. The burning sensation of the body is relieved with the decoction of its skin, mixed with the milk. The decoction of mocarasa is beneficial to alleviate menorrhagia as well as leucorrhea. The medicated ghee – mocarasa siddha ghrta is commonly used in menorrhagia.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
- Salmali ghrta
- Mocarasa siddha ghrta.