Pongamia is an important Ayurvedic medicine, used predominantly in skin diseases. Karanja twigs were used as tooth brush in ancient times.
Its botanical name is Pongamia. Synonym: Millettia pinnata. It belongs to Fabaceae family.
Karanja known for its quality of checking skin diseases and diabetes is a plant whose wood’s use is contradicted in various rituals by Rigveda and atharva veda but described as best for its use in tooth brush. Sushruta Samhita has described its utility in fever, diabetes, skin diseases and various types of head diseases. It has been described a karanjika by some texts.
Known botanically as Pongamia glabra Karanja is a plant of leguminosae family. Karanja tree found throughout India at a height of 1300 meters altitude, along streams and rivers mainly in Andhra and Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra and Tamil nadu.
Properties of Karanja
Pungent in taste, penetrating and hot in potency and capable of curing disorders of vaginal tissues, skin diseases, disturbed peristalsis, intestinal growth, hemorrhoids , ulcers, worm infestation and aggravate kapha.
Karanja leaves pacify aggravated vata and kapha, hemorrhoids, worm infestation and edema. It helps to soften the hard feces, pungent in post digestion effect Karanja is a plant whose leaves, flowers, seeds and seed oils are used for medicinal purposes. Karanja is used both externally and internally. Its roots are good for cleansing foul ulcers, cleaning teeth and strengthening gums.
Uses of Pongamia oil
Seed oil is applied externally for itching and is used as an antiseptic and anti fungal.
Kernel is grinded with black pepper and given malarial fever. Root juice is applied in sinus ulcers and non healing ulcers.
Flowers are used in diabetes internally and externally in alopecia.
Karanja seeds used with camphor help to check diseases like scabies, eczema, ringworm infestation etc. Poultice paste of leaves applied on wounds helps to relieve pain and swelling of the wounds. In chronic sinusitis powder of leaves of karanja plant taken through nose gives relief. Applying mash of pulp of karanja flowers on head helps to check alopecia. Ghee prepared with bark of karanja is useful in diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea. Used with neem, guduchi and arishtak ,karanja helps to check skin diseases. Bath with leaves boiled in water is useful in arthritis. Its use is indicated in piles, tumors, worm and wounds. It helps in breaking the accumulation of fecal matter and acts a purgative. Its use has also been indicated in checking obesity.
The essential oil from the leaves of karanja has shown anti bacterial activity. It has shown mild fungal activity. Hypoglycemic activity is reported to have been shown by it.