RAKTA CHANDANA (Pterocarpus santalinus) )
Samhitas of Ayurveda. The two types of chandana are shweta chandana, which is commonly mentioned as chandana alone, is the white variety (sandal wood) as the other, Rakta chandana, which is the red variety (Red sandal wood). Various properties and uses of this plant have been mentioned in Nighantus, like Bhavaprakasa Nighantu, Raja Nighantu etc. Raktacandana has numerous synonyms in Sanskrit; with imply the red color of the bark, viz. raktasara, tamrasara, rakta, arakta, lohita, surakta etc. In ancient tests of Ayurveda, the heartwood of this plant has been described as useful in diverse clinical conditions.
The plant grows in hilly areas of Southern and Western India, especially in Andhra Pradesh, up to 800-900 meters height. A small tree about 5-8 meters high, trunk 0.5-1.5 meter in circumference, blackish grey in color. The leaves alternate, always trifoliate, 3-9 cm ling, leaflets articulated, coriaceous, slightly silky below, veins numerous, not prominent. The flowers are few, in short axillary or terminal racemes. The fruit, pod 6-9 cm long, oblique and seeds 2 or solitary, smooth, reddish black in colour.
The botanical name of Rakta chandana is Pterocarpus santalinus and it belongs to family Leguminosae, Fabaceae. Coumarin, salicylic acid, ferulic acid, vanillic acid, cis-p-coumaric acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid have been shown in all parts of the plant by paper chromatographic techniques Sinapic and caffeic acids were absent in roots, whereas, chlorgenic, gentisic and cissinapic acids and quercetin were present in all parts of the plant. Isoloation and structure elucidation of santalin A. Structure of santalin B, isolated from wood. Pterocarpol from heartwood isolated a new triterpene – lupendiol- isolated from bark and its structure determined.
Rakta chandana is bitter and sweet in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has cold potency; it alleviates kapha and pitta doshas. It possesses heavy and dry attributes. It is believed to be bhutapidanasaka – averts the evil powers. It is cool, fragrant, beneficial to the eyes and sukra dhatu, and alleviates the toxins and purifies the blood. It is used in diseases like cough, vomiting, fever, hyperdipsia, helminthiasis, diseases of the blood and eye, wounds etc.
The heartwood and fruits of Rakta chandana have great medicinal value. It reduces the burning sensation, arrests bleeding, alleviates edema and ameliorates various skin disorders, hence, is an effective external application as a paste, in burning sensation, headache, dermatoses and ophthalcopathies. It is extremely beneficial, especially in vitiated conditions of pitta. Externally, the mixture of Rakta chandana, guduci, vamsalocana and gairika (Hematite or Red lumbar); mixed with ghee, is applied on burns and scalds. The decoction of its heartwood promotes the wound healing.
Internally, it is salutary in burning sensation of the body when given along with rice water. In hiccup, it is recommended with saindhava – rock salt. It effectively alleviates menorrhagia, when combined with vamsalocana and ghee. The decoction prepared of raktacandana, guduci, padmakastha, minba and dhanyaka, is a valuable panacea for vomiting. Raktacandana is also beneficial in diarrhea, hyperdipsia (excessive thirst), fever, blood and skin disorders etc. The fruits are tonic, astringent and are useful in chronic dysentery. The oil of Rakta chandana is useful orally, in gonorrhea.
Rakta chandana choorna
Rakta chandana taila.
Rakta chandana is one of the herbs mentioned in all ancient