Putrajivaka, Sutajva, Putrakamanjari are few common names of tree Putranjiva roxburghii. It is known as Karupali or Irukolli in Siddha system of medicine. It is native to India and found wild or cultivated in almost all parts of country. In Delhi, Putrajivaka tree can be seen at Race course Road and many other roads of Lutyens' Delhi.
By Hatem Moushir (Own work)[CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Putrajiva tree is especially used for treating female infertility. It improves female fertility and helps in conception. As the seeds of tree are especially used for treating female infertility this could be reason why this tree is called Putrajiva or Child life tree.
The botanical name of Putrajivaka is Putranjiva roxburghii and it belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family). The synonyms of species are Drypetes roxburghii. Its taxonomical classification is as given below:-
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Tracheophyta
- Class: Magnoliopsida
- Order: Malpighiales
- Family: Euphorbiaceae
- Genus: Putranjiva
- Species: Putranjiva roxburghii
- Sanskrit: Putrajivah, Putranjivah
- Hindi: Jivaputrak, Jiyopota
- Kannada: Aman, Putranjiva
- Malayalam: Ponkalam, Puttilanni
- English: Lucky bean tree, child life tree
- Uttarakhand: Pittamar
Moderate sized evergreen tree;height is up to 12m with pendent branches and dark grey bark having horizontal lenticels, Leaves simple, alternate, distichous;stipule triangular, acute, caducous;petiole 0.4-1 cm long, nearly glabrous, planoconvex in cross section;lamina 5- 9.5 x 1.5-3.5 cm,
elliptic-oblong to elliptic-ovate, apex acute or slightly acuminate with blunt tip, base asymmetric, margin serrate, chartaceous, dark green and shining, glabrous, midrib nearly flat above, secondary nerves 9-12 pairs, slender, tertiary nerves reticulate, Flower unisexual, male flowers inaxillary clusters, female flowers axillary, solitary, Drupe, ellipsoid, with persistent style, seeds.
Tree is generally grows on alluvial soil along the rivers, swamp, or evergreen forests. The tree prefers moist evergreen forests. In drier places, tree has stunted growth. The germination of seeds takes place during rainy season.
Flowering and fruiting: March-August
Parts used for medicinal purpose: Leaves, seeds and fruits
Constituents: Seeds contain fatty oil and kernel contains an essential oil with mustard smell, isothiocyanate yieldingglycosides, glucoputranjivin, glucocochlearin, glucojiaputin and glucocleomin. The essential oil contains isopropyl and 2-butyl isothiocyanates as the main constituents and 2-methylbutyl isothiocyanate as a minor component.
Medicinal Uses of Putrajiva
- Putra jivak tree is a medicinal tree. Its leaves, fruits and stone/seeds are used for medicinal purpose.
- The leaves of tree are refrigerant, analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory and used to treat fever, catarrh and sterility.
- The leaves are also used to treat allergic red pimples on the body.
- Decoction of leaves is used for treating cold, fever, and rheumatism. For swollen and inflamed joints, the leaves of tree are used externally.
- The crushed leaves are applied to swollen throat of animals.
- The seeds are sweet, acrid, refrigerant, laxative, anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac, and diuretic.
- The seed paste is useful against headache and powdered seed used for knee pain.
- The seeds are also known as Putrajivak beej and are procreant. These are used to treat sterility, azoospermia, and habitual abortions.
- The other conditions in which seeds are useful are diseases due to vitiation of Vata and Pitta, burning sensation, constipation, inflammations, and infertility.
- Necklace prepared from stones/nuts of fruit are wore to prevent harm. Religiously, it is believed it ward of evil forces. Fruits as neckless are also used by pregnant women to prevent miscarriage.