Alstonia scholaris / Saptaparna is a famous bitter-astringent tasting Ayurvedic herb used in skin diseases, intestinal worm infestation etc. It is named so, because its leaf occurs in a bunch of 7 whorls (7 – 10 small leaflets forming a bunch).
Botanical Name – Alstonia scholaries R.Br.
Family – APOCYANACEAE (Kutaja Kula)
Vernacular Names –
Hindi Name – Satouna, Chitvan, Chitavan
Telugu Name – Edakula Ponna, Edakulariti
English Name – Dita, Milkwood Pine, White cheesewood, Blackboard tree, Indian devil tree
Bengali Name – Chatim
Punjabi Name – Satouna
Marathi Name – Satvina, Satveena
Gujrati Name – Satvana, Saatavan
Kannada Name – Maddale
Tamil & Malayalam Name -Pala
Vishala, Vishalatwak – its barks are widely spread and it is the used part of the plant.
Visamacchada – bark has uneven rough surface
Sharada – The plant flowers during Sharat Rutu (autumn))
Salmali Patraka – The leaves resemble to those of Shalmali (Bombax malabaricum),
Saptacchada – bark is the used part.
Suparnaka – leaf bunches form beautiful design.
Kusthaghna – group of herbs used in skin diseases
Udarda prashamana – group of herbs that are used allergic skin conditions and ring worm infestation
Kashaya Skandha – group of astringent tasting herbs
Tikta Skandha – group of herbs with bitter taste
Sushruta – Aragvadhadi, Lakshadi group of herbs.
Vagbhata – Aragvadhadi group of herbs.
Different varieties – Alstonia macrosperma is used as its substitute.
Distribution –It is naturally found in Sub- Himalayan tract, West Bengal, Bihar, Peninsular India and Andamans. It is also found in moderately dry places of Karnataka like Shimoga district.
Major Chemical Constituents – Ditamine, echitenine and echitamine are used as alternative to famous medicine – quinine. Akuammidine (rhazine); picrinine; strictamine, tetrahydroalstonine; angustilobine B, 6,7-seco-6-norangustilobine B (losbanine, alschomine, isolschomine, alstonamine; echitamine, tubotaiwine, alstonamine scholaricine etc.
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna VIjnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)
Medicinal Properties of Alstonia scholaris –
Rasa (taste) -Tikta (bitter) , Kashaya (astringent)
Guna (qualities) -Laghu (lightness), Snigdha (unctuousness, oilyness)
Virya -Ushna – hot potency
Vipaka -Katu – undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion.
Usually herbs with lightness quality have dryness (Example – Lodhra). The substances that are oily are usually heavy (hard to digest), example – sesame oil. But this is a rare herb having combination of oilyness and lightness.
Effect on Tridosha - it balances all the three doshas.
Part used – Stem bark, latex, flower
Dosage – bark Decoction 20 – 80 ml based on disease and patient in divided doses in a day.
Therapeutic uses of Alstonia scholaris –
For heart - Hrudya – acts as a cardiac tonic, good for heart, useful to relieve cholesterol deposits inside blood pipes (arteries). It also helps to lower cholesterol.
It detoxifies and cleanses blood. Hence used in wide variety of skin diseases.
Deepana – improves digestion strength
Sara – promotes movement of content inside body channels,
Shulanut – relieves constipation, abdominal colic
Gulmanut – useful in abdominal tumor, bloating
Kruminut – useful in treating intestinal worms
Kushtam hanti – useful in skin diseases with secretions, allergic skin diseases
Vranahara – heals wound quickly
Asrahara – useful in bleeding disorders like bleeding hemorrhoids, menorrhagia
Shvasaghna – useful in asthma, COPD
It is used in the treatment of diabetes.
It increases breast milk production (lactation)
It is used in treating Vishamajwara – chronic recurrent fever.
After-delivery care – It is one of the ingredients in making Kashaya (water decoction) which is given to women after delivery. It boosts immunity and helps the new mother to avoid cold and fever.
Ayurvedic medicine with Saptaparna ingredient –
Mahatiktam Kashayam – useful in sinusitis, non healing wounds
Aragwadhadi kashayam – useful in skin diseases
Maha Pacnhagavya Ghritham - useful in epilepsy, fever, piles, fistula etc.