Sarala: Chir Pine: Uses, Research articles and Medicines

Sarala- Pinus longifolia / Pinus roxburghii is an Ayurvedic plant for the treatment of digestive disorder, intestinal worms, fever, localized swelling, gynecological disorders and skin diseases. 

Latin name- Pinus longifolia Roxb., Syn. Pinus roxburghii
Family- Pinaceae, Sarala Kula

Sarala – Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Chida, Saral
English name- Chir Pine or Long leaved pine
In most of the Indian languages, the plant is known as Sarala.
Morphology of Pinus longifolia / Pinus roxburghii:
Pinus longifolia is tall tree attaining a height of 40-60 meters and diameter about 2-3 meters. The bark of the tree is 3-6 cm thick with brownish red color sap wood is white to creamy white. Heartwood is red in color & turn reddish brown on exposure. Annual rings & dark streaks denoting longitudinal resin canals are very conspicuous. The fresh wood has a resinous odor. Bark is rough. Leaves are needle like, pointed 15-30 inches long, bent towards ground and are bright green in color. The flowers are yellow or rarely purple in color, 1-5 cm long. The male cones are about 13cm long & female cones 10-20 cm long, ovoid in shape. The seeds are 2 to 3cm long which is winged wings membranous.
Sarala – medicinal properties:
Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Bitter), Tikta (Bitter), Kashaya (Astringent)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Snigdha (Slimy in nature), Teekshna (Strong)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphavata shamaka (reduces vitiated kapha and vata dosha)

Part used-
Stem powder, Oil, Bark, resin,

Stem powder- 2 to 3 g
Oil- 1 to 3 drops
Niryasa- 1-2 g

Himalaya, Kashmir to Bhutan hills, Ooty, Kodaikanal, Assam, Punjab, U.P
Afghanisthan to Bhutan, Myanmar.

Chemical composition – Pinus roxburghii:
Major chemical constituent is Turpentine from the bark (20%), pinene,   pinene, abietic acid. The essential oil from oleoresin contains chie?y alpha-and beta-pinene, carene and longifoline.

Wood is aromatic antiseptic, stimulant diaphoretic.
It stimulates liver, used in digestive disorder, gall stones, helminthiasis especially tape worms, peptic ulcer, typhoid fever & intestinal obstruction, chronic bronchitis, gangrene of lungs etc.

Medicinal Uses of Sarala – Pinus longifolia: 

  • The oil extracted from the tree of Sarala is used for cleaning the wound and applied over the area affected with localized inflammation.
  • Powder of the stem of Pinus longofolia in a dose of 2-3 g is used to treat fever and intestinal worms.
  • The powder of the bark of Sarala is applied as paste to treat skin diseases like ringworm, eczema etc.
  • The powder of the bark or the cold infusion prepared using the bark of the plant is used to treat cough and asthma.
  • Oil extracted from the plant is administered 1-2 drops in the ear canal to treat pain and inflammation of the area.
  • Cold infusion prepared from the bark of the Pinus longofolia is given in a dose of 25-30 ml to treat diarrhea and leucorrhea.
  • In condition of indigestion, 2-3 g of Sarala bark powder is given with 2-3g of pepper powder as part of treatment.
  • In condition of sciatica, the oil of Sarala is applied with Sesame oil and any vata hara herbs like Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata).

Snigdha – unctuous, oily
Ushna – hot
Raksha – protects against evel forces
Alaksmhihara – auspicious

Sarala Indications as per traditional Ayurveda:
Karna roga – ear disorders
Kantha roga –throat disorders
Akshi roga – eye disorders
Vrana – Ulcers, wounds
Sweda – excess sweating
Kasa – cough, cold
Srava – excess discharge from ear, eyes, nose
Svara bhramsha – voice problems, hoarse voice
Tvak Dosha – skin disorders
Kandu – itching, pruritis

External use:
It is antibacterial and anticoagulant.
Local application of terpentine oil removes maggots from wound
Terpentine oil mixed with camphor is useful in chest pain
Gandhabijora mixed with castor oil is applied on abscess.

Adverse effects: No adverse effect is known or reported after the use of the plant in normal dose.
Medicines containing Sarala:
Vishatinduka taila: It is an Ayurvedic herbal oil used in treatment of diseases due to Vata imbalance, Gout, numbness, and skin diseases. It is used for external application.
Panchaguna taila: It is a herbal oil, used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, ear ache, non-healing wounds, etc.

Asana eladi taila: It is a traditional herbal oil, used in the Ayurvedic treatment of headache, skin disease, ear and eye diseases.
Nisosiradi tailam: It is an effective Ayurvedic herbal oil used to treat diabetes carbuncles and abscesses.

Arnopen liniment: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation of the muscles etc.
Jointcare gel: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine used for arthritis, spondylitis and musculoskeletal disorders.

Research articles related to Pinus longifolia:
Analgesic action: The present study was undertaken to assess analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of its bark extract. Dried and crushed leaves of Pinus roxburghii Sarg. were defatted with petroleum ether and then extracted with alcohol. The alcoholic extract at the doses of 100?mg/kg, 300?mg/kg, and 500?mg/kg body weight was subjected to evaluation of analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities in experimental animal models. In the present study, the alcoholic bark extract of Pinus roxburghii Sarg. demonstrated significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities in the tested models.

Anti- cancer property: Anticancer activity of different extracts of Pinus roxburgii Sarg. was performed on IMR-32 Human Neuroblastoma cancer cell line by the Advanced Centre for Treatment Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) Mumbai, India. Out of the four extracts petroleum ether and chloroform extract have showed anticancer activity on IMR-32 Human Neuroblastoma cancer cell line.

Anti- diabetic potential: In the present study we investigated the possible anti-diabetic potential of Pinus roxburghii Sarg. in alloxan induced diabetic rat. The acute effect of ethanol extract was evaluated by administering 100, 300, 500 mg/kg body weight p.o. to normoglycemic rats. In the chronic model, the ethanol extract was administered to normal and alloxan-induced-diabetic rats at dose of 100, 300, 500 mg/kg body weight p.o. per day for 21 days. The statistical data indicated the significant (p<0.01) increase in the body weight and decrease in the blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin levels, total cholesterol and serum triglycerides. HDL cholesterol level was significantly (p<0.01) increased when treated with the extract.
Classical categorization:
Charaka Samhita- Pureesha virajaneeya gana – group of herbs that colour feces
Sushruta Samhita- Eladi gana
Vagbhata- Eladi gana, Rodhradi Gana
Bhavaprakasha- Karpooradi varga
Dhanvantari Nighantu- Chandanadi varga
Kaiyyadeva Nighantu- Oushadhi varga
Raja Nighantu- Chandanadi varga

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
Subgenus: Pinus subg. Pinus
Species: P. roxburghii

Sanskrit Synonyms:
Pita vruksha- The heart wood is yellow in color
Peetadaru, Siddadaru, Maricha patraka, Deepa vruksha
Uchrita, Cheeda, Maarichapatraka, Kalidruma, Nameru, Nandana, Suradaru, Sudaru
Surabhi daruka, Pootidaru, Pooti Kashta, Snigdha Daru  – stem has peculiar odour.


Therapeutic uses:
In Urusthambha  paste of pippali pippalimula sarala, devadaru, given with honey. C.Chi.27
In krimi : oil prepared with sarala will be useful.   A.H.20
In wounds: wound should be fumigated with Shrivestaka, Sarjavasa sarala devadaru other heart woods.  S.S. Su.37/21.

Disease of ear: Deepika Taila ( by extraction) should be obtained from the wood of Devadaru, Kusta sarala which removes ear ache. S.S.V-21/27.
In Ama – decoction of Pippalyadi gana sarala vacha daru mixed with Hingu kshava given internally- ka.

In Atisara- sarala Devadaru etc. drugs levigated with like warm water should be given for drinking. Ka. Sa . khi.
In Purperal fever –    oil prepared with Sarala, daru, devapuspa etc, drug  give massage.- Ka. Sa. Khi.

In Shotha- paste of Musta sarala, Devadaru kusta- Ka. Sa. Khi
In vata rakta condition-    Bilva, tagara, devadaru sarala rasna made into kalka & along with Tilataila lepa is applied. Su. S.Chi.
In Adhmana-    Anuvasana Basti By decoction of Sarala Devadaru.-Ca.siddhi.

Author: Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
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