Medicinal Tree Shisham/Sissoo (Dalbergia Sissoo)

Sissoo tree is known by many names such as Sisu, Sheesham, Agaru, Tali etc. It is native to Himalayan foothills in Northern India and is distributed in many countries viz. India, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and Mauritius. It is introduced in many other countries of tropics and subtropics and now naturalise in Africa and America. Sissoo is an important timber tree of India. It has nut-brown heartwood which is very hard, heavy, strong and elastic. The wood is used for making doors, window frames, flooring, furniture, boats, cabinets etc. The pulp of wood is also used for making papers.

Dalbergia Sissoo medicinal uses

Sissoo tree is grown as shade tree along the roads. It enriches soil due to presence of nitrogen fixing bacteria in roots. The leaves falling from the tree further improves soil quality.

Sissoo is also a medicinal tree. In Ayurveda, it is used for treatment of variety of diseases. The wood and bark of Sissoo have abortifacient, anthelmintic, antipyretic, aphrodisiac, expectorant and refrigerant properties. Even in Africa, this tree is used for treatment of wounds and gonorrhoea.


The botanical name of Sissoo is Dalbergia sissoo Roxb. ex DC. and it belongs to the family Fabaceae/ Papilionoideae.

  1. Kingdom - Plantae
  2. Unranked - Angiosperma
  3. Unraked - Ecidicots
  4. Unranked - Rosids
  5. Order - Fabales
  6. Family - Fabaceae
  7. Sub Family - Faboideae
  8. Tribe - Dalbergia
  9. Genus - Dalbergia
  10. Species - Sissoo

Vernacular names

  1. SANSKRIT: Aguru, Shinshapa
  2. BENGALI: Shisu, Shishu, Sisu
  3. ENGLISH: Bombay Blackwood, Sissoo, Indian Rosewood, Sisso
  4. HINDI: Agaru, Biridi, Tali, Gette, Kara, Shisham, Sisam, Sissai, Sissu, Sissoo
  5. TAMIL: Sisuitti, Sisso, Nukkukattai, Yette, Gette Thai: Du-Khaek, Pradu-Khaek
  6. ARABIC: Dalbergia, Sissoo
  7. INDONESIAN: Pradu-Khaek, Du-Khaek
  8. JAVANESE: Sonowaseso Nepali: Sissau, Sisham
  9. SPANISH: Sisu
  10. TRADE NAME: Sissoo, Shisham


Medium to large-sized deciduous tree, reaches height up to 30 m;Crown wide spreading and thin;Bark thin, grey, longitudinally furrowed, exfoliating in narrow strips;leaves imparipinate, leaflets 3-5, alternate, 2.5-3.6 cm in diameter, broad ovate, acuminate, glabrescent, petiolules 3-5 mm long;Flowers 5-8 mm long, pale white to dull yellow, racemes 2.5-3.7 cm long in short axillary panicles;Pods 5-7.5 cm x 8-13 mm, narrowed at the base, indehiscent, glabrous, with 1-4 seeds;Seeds 6-8 x 4-5 mm, kidney shaped, thin and flat, light brown;


Tropical to subtropical climates in natural and planted forests; very widely distributed in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Persia, Iraq, Kenya and Tanzania.


Following chemicals are isolated from various tree parts.

LEAVES: Isoflavone-O-glycoside FLOWERS: Biochenin A, tectorigenin, 7, 4 dimethyle tectorigenin and 7-O- methyle tectorigenin GREEN PODS: Mesoinisitol, 7-O- methyle tectorigenin and 4’-rhamnoglucoside MATURE PODS: Isocaviumin, tectorigenin, dalbergin, caviunin and tannins STEM BARK: Dalberginone, dalbergin, methyl dalbergin and dalbergichromene HEARTWOOD: Dalbergin, nordalberginones, dalbergichromene, fixid oil and essential oils.


In Ayurveda, various parts of Shisam tree are used for treating variety of diseases. The leaves are used for eye pain, swelling, painful urination, gynaecological disorders etc. Leaves and bark are used as astringent in bleeding disorders. The paste of leaves mixed with sweet oil is used topically in skin excoriation (scrapping, abrading of skin).

Many scientific studies done of various parts of Sissoo tree supported the traditional therapeutic uses. Such studies confirmed the tree is anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive/ reducing sensitivity to painful stimuli property, anti-diabetic, analgesic and antioxidant.

Following is given some common medicinal uses of Sissoo tree. These remedies are time-tested and taken form reliable sources.

Seminal weakness, Oligospermia, Weak Semen, Low sperm count (Kam Shukranu / Alpashukranu in Hindi)

The paste of 5 grams of tender leaves of shisham is taken with a cup of milk for 15-30 days. 

Sexual impotency in men 

The paste of 5 grams of tender leaves of Shisham is taken with a cup of milk for 15-30 days. 

Piles (Bawaseer in Hindi)

The leaves of Sisam should be chewed twice a day for 2 weeks. 

General debility

Take the fresh leaf juice orally along with sugar


Apply the leaf paste topically.

Vomiting, piles, obesity / overweightness

1-2 spoonful of leaf juice are taken with cow milk for 2-3 days. 

Pain in eyes

Sissoo leaves juice is mixed with honey and used as eye drop for eye pain.

Pain in body

Dried bark powder is given in dose of 3-6 grams, with one cup milk/water at night for 2-3 weeks.


Take about 100 grams fresh clean leaves of sissoo and boil in 500 ml water for fifteen minutes. Filter and collect the filtrate. This should be given in dose 100 ml (for adult) or 10-15ml (for children), three times a day, for 3-4 days.

Breast swelling

The leaves are warmed and tied at affected area for reducing swelling.

Pain in abdomen

Wash and extract 10-15 ml juice of leaves and take twice a day.


The bark powder in dose of 3-6gm Or decoction of the leaves is given.

Jaundice, pus in urine

The leaves juice is given in dose of 10-15 ml, thrice a day.

Painful urination, boils, pimples, blood purification

Prepare decoction of leaves and drink 50-100 ml of it, twice a day.


Take 10gm sissoo bark and boil in 500gm of water and till the volume reduces to half. Mix the juice of the bark and consume for forty days every morning.

Abnormal bleeding in females

The leaves juice is given in dose of 10-15 ml, twice a day.

Heavy bleeding in period, leucorrhoea

Prepare paste of leaves (8- 10) and add 25gm of palm candy/misri and take two times a day.

Skin diseases

Topically apply Shisham oil at affected body area.


For sciatica, bark of tree is used. Bark powder 1 kg is cooked in 2 litre water, till volume reduces to 1/8th. Then water is filtered and the paste is again cooked till it thickens. This thick bark preparation should be taken in dose of ten grams, with milk for 3 weeks, thrice a day.

Herbs are not always safe. They may negatively affect body in certain conditions. Sissoo tree leaves wood and bark have abortifacient property, which means abortion causing. Therefore it must not be used during pregnancy. The leaves and bark are ant-diabetic in action so they may lower the blood sugar level.

Dosage of Sissoo 

  • Decoction 50-100 ml
  • Leaf powder / Bark powder: 3-6 gram
  • Fresh leaf paste: 5 grams
  • Fresh leaves juice 10-15 ml

Always use herbs cautiously.

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