Harsingar is also known by many names such as night jasmine, paarijat. Its botanical name is Nyctanthes arbor-tristis. Parijaat or Harsingar is small ornamental tree with fragrant white flowers. The leaves are given for treating chronic fever, rheumatism, arthritis, joint pain, obstinate sciatica. It is a sacred tree mentioned in Hindu mythology. Mythology says Bhagwan Shri Krishna brought this tree from heaven for his beloved wife Satyabhama. It is one of the five tree that exist in heaven. It is mentioned as Kalpavriksh or wishing tree, which came out of ocean during Samudra manthan. It is a divine tree with numerous medicinal uses.
Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Lamiales Family: Oleaceae Genus: Nyctanthes Species: arbor-tristis
Botanical name: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
Sanskrit: Parijata, Shephali, Shephalika, Mandara Hindi: Harsingar Bengali: Harsingar, Shephalika, Siuli Malayalam: Parijatakam Marathi: Parijathak Gujarati: Jayaparvati Oriya: Gangasiuli Kannada: Parijatha Tamil: Parijata, Paghala Siddha: Pavazha mattigai.
Constituents:The leaves and seeds contain iridoid glycosides. The other constituents reported from the leaves are mannitol, beta-amyrin, beta-sitosterol, hentriacontane, benzoic acid, astragalin, nicotiflorin, oleanolic acid, nyctanthic acid friedelin and lupeol. The seeds containa polysaccharide glucomannan.
Distribution of Nyctanthes arbor-tristis or Harsingar
Parijata is native to India. It is distributed widely in sub-Himalayan regions and southward to Godavari. It is also found in Bangladesh, Indo-Pak subcontinent and South-East Asia, tropical and sub-tropical South East Asia. Night jasmine flowers during August to November and the tree bears fruits in cold season. Parts used for medicinal purpose: Leaves, flowers, seeds and bark.
Scientifically proven therapeutic activities
Nyctanthes arbor-tristis or Night jasmine leaves possess anti-arthritic properties. In addition, decoction of the leaves also possess liver protecting, anti-viral, anti-fungal, analgesic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, hypotensive and respiratory stimulant activities. The leaves also has anti-leishmanial (Acting against Leishmania parasites) activity.
Medicinal Uses of Various Night jasmine plant parts
Harsingar flowers are very aromatic and used for making garlands that are used in puja. Harsingar flowers are white and orange in colour. The orange coloured corolla tubes are separated from flower by local people and dried. This is used for dyeing silk and cotton.
In Ayurveda, Parijaat is used for treatment of many ailments. For medicinal purpose leaves, stem, flowers and seeds are used. The leaves are given for treating chronic fever, rheumatism, arthritis, joint pain, obstinate sciatica. For chronic fever, the fresh leaves juice with honey is administered orally. Leaves decoction or Kadha is recommended to treat sciatica.
In Ayurveda Parijata leaves are extensively used for treatment of variety of diseases such as chronic fever, cough, sciatica, rheumatism, parasitic worms, constipation etc. The leaves juice is bitter in taste and works as a tonic.
- The paste prepared from leaves is useful in fever, high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Leaf juice is given in cough as it has expectorant action.
- Leaf juice with honey, three times a day, is useful in treatment of fever, cough. Fever which occurs at irregular intervals and is not continuous or steady, the leaves juice in dose of 10 ml, twice a day for five days is given.
- Leaves juice is given with sugar for intestinal ailments.
- The decoction or Kadha of leaves is extensively used by Ayurvedic physicians for the treatment of arthritis, obstinate sciatica, malaria, intestinal worms and as a tonic, cholagogue and laxative.
White-orange aromatic flowers on oral administration tones stomach, prevents gas formation, astringent to bowel, prevents excess bile secretion by liver, cures cough. The corolla tube is bright orange in colour due to nyctanthin, which is similar to colouring substance of saffron.
The powder of stem bark is useful in treatment of rheumatic joint pain and malaria. In Orissa, stem bark of Parijata is boiled with dry ginger power and pippali or long pepper. This is taken orally for two days to cure malaria.
Direction for uses
For sciatica:Take 3-4 leaves and grind them and boil with water and drain and drink twice in day.
For swelling and pain: Boil leaves in water to make decoction and drink.
For arthritis: Take leaves, bark, flower about 5 gm and make decoction with 200 gm of water. Decoction is said to be formed when water reduces to ¼ of initial quantity.
For dry cough: Grind leaves in mortar and pestle to extract juice and take it with honey.
For intestinal parasites: Grind leaves in mortar and pestle to extract 2 tbs of juice and take it with misri and water.
For ring worm: Apply paste of leaves on affected area.
For fever: Take 3 gm bark and 2 gm leaves with 2-3 leaves of tulsi and boil in water and drink 2 times a day.