Himalayan Cedar Tree(Devdar) Information and Medicinal Uses

Deodar/Devdar is know as Himalayan Cedar tree. It is a very tall evergreen coniferous tree of Himalaya. It bears cone with brown seeds. It is a very important medicinal and timber tree. Its wood is strong and durable and used for house building, beams, floorboards, door, window frames, furniture, general carpentry and building railway sleepers, carriage and railway wagon work. The wood of tree contains aromatic essential oil. This oil is extracted by steam distillation and known as Himalayan Cedar wood oil. Devdar is a very useful and important medicinal tree of Ayurveda. It is considered tree of Gods and worshipped. The wood of tree is used for treatment of inflammations and rheumatoid arthritis. The oil of wood has significant disinfectant and anti-fungal properties.

Here are some Important Ayurvedic formulations containing Devdaru wood like Khadirarishtha, Dashamularishtha, Devadarvarishtha, Mritasanjivanisura, Karpuradyarka, Pramehamihira Taila, Chandanadi Curna, Sudarshana Churna, Narayana Taila, Pradarantaka Lauha, Vataraktanaka Lauha, Mahavishagarbha Taila.

Etymology: The botanical name of tree is derived from the Sanskrit devadaru (Dev=Gods, Dar=wood), which means wood of the gods.

Devdar Tree medicinal uses
"Cedrus deodara Manali 2" by Paul Evans from London, United Kingdom. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Scientific Classification

The botanical name of Deodaar/Himalayan Cedar is Cedrus deodara (Roxb.) Loud. and it belongs to the family Pinaceae. The synonyms of species are C. libani Barrel. var. deodara Hook. f.. Its taxonomic classification is as given below:-

KINGDOM: Plantae DIVISION: Pinophyta CLASS: Pinopsida ORDER: Pinales FAMILY: Pinaceae Genus: Cedrus SPECIES: deodara SYNONYM: Cedrus deodora f. aurea (J. Nelson) Rehder, Pinus deodara Roxb. ex D. Don

Botanical Description

Large evergreen, dioecious tree, to 65 m tall;bark greyish brown, dark, almost black, with vertical and diagonal cracks dividing into irregular oblong scales;Leaves solitary, acicular, stiff, sharp-pointed, 25-37 mm long, silvery or silvery-blue, on the normal long shoots spirally arranged, and on the short arrested shoots in pseudowhorls;Male flowers solitary and erect or catkins, pale green to yellowish green with purplish tinge, oblong, ovoid, and 2.5 to 4.6 cm long by 1 to 1.5 cm in

diameter;On opening they elongate rapidly to 5-7.5 cm in length and become yellow with pollen;Female flowers are solitary and erect at the end of arrested branchlets;flowers, at the time of pollination, are oblong, ovoid, 1.2 to 2.0 cm long and 0.6 cm in diameter, pale glaucous green;Cones solitary or in pairs, erect, ovoid or ellipsoidal, 7.5-12 cm long and 5-8.7 cm in diameter with numerous fan-shaped scales arranged in spiral of 8 x 5 on persistent woody central axis, rounded at the apex, bluish when young, reddish-brown when ripe. On each scale rests a pair of winged seeds;Seed triangular, winged, 2.5 to 3.7 cm long;wings with rounded corners, 2-2.5 cm broad.

Native to: India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan

Exotic to: Argentina, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain.

Habitat: North-western Himalayas from Kashmir to Garhwal, from 1000-3500 m.

Part Used: Wood, bark, oil

Vernacular Names

  • Ayurvedic: Devadaru, Suradruma, Suradaru, Devakashtha, Devadruma, Saptapatrika, Daru, Bhadradaaru, Amarataru, Amaradaru, Daruka, Devahvaa, Surataru, Surabhuruha
  • Unani: Deodaar
  • Siddha: Thevathaaram
  • Hindi: diar, deodar, devdaar
  • English: himalayan cedar, deodar cedar
  • French: Cedre del'himalaya German: himalaja- zeder
  • Italian: Cedro dell'Himalaia
  • Spanish: Cedro del himalaya, cedro de la India
  • Trade name: diar, deodar

Medicinal Activities of Deodar

  • Devdar possess following pharmacological activities.
  • Antifertility: Reduces fertility
  • Anti-inflammatory: Reduce inflammation
  • Antiseptic: prevents the growth of disease-causing microorganisms.
  • Antispasmodic: Relieves spasm of involuntary muscle
  • Antiviral: Effective against viruses
  • Astringent: Constricts soft organic tissue
  • Carminative: Relieves gas in the alimentary tract (colic or flatulence or griping)
  • Diaphoretic: Induces perspiration
  • Diuretic: Causes increased passing of urine
  • Insecticide: Kills insects

Ayurvedic Properties and Action on body

The heart wood of Devdaru contains Terpenoids, Flavonoids and Glycosides as main constituents. Its properties and action as described in Ayurveda is given below.

Rasa (Taste): Tikta/Bitter

Guna (Characteristics): Laghu/Light, Snigdha/Unctuous

Virya (Potency): Ushna/Hot

Vipaka (Post Digestive Effect): Katu/Pungent

Action on body: Kapha-har, Vata-har, Purifier

Dosage of Deodar Heart wood

The recommended dose of heartwood of Deodar in powder form is 3-6 grams.

Medicinal Uses of Cedrus deodara

Deodar is used in Ayurveda for treatment of inflammation, paralysis, kidney stones, fevers, external injuries, low appetite, cramps, diabetes, fever, fungus, bacteria, infections, water retention etc. It has antispasmodic, anti-poison, and anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic activity of Deodar is due to presence of many compounds such as allohimacholol, centdarol, himachalol, himadarol spasmolytic etc. The wood oil is anti-inflammatory as it stabilize mast cell and inhibits synthesis of leukotriene.

In inflammation, filarial, glandular diseases, a paste of deodar is made with mustard oil and applied on affected areas.

The decoction of wood is given for treating fever and painful urination. The decoction promotes urination.

The decoction of bark is used in diarrhea and dysentery.

Wood oil is extracted from the heartwood. This oil is antiseptic and is used in skin diseases. Internally, this oil purifies the blood.

In breathlessness and hiccups, decoction of deodar wood pieces is made and taken twice a day.

The paste of Devdaru is mixed with turmeric and Guggulu and applied on indolent swellings. The tar is alterative and given in chronic skin diseases and leprosy. The tar is also applied topically on ulcers.

Devdarwadi Kwath, which is compound formulation of devdaru is used to treat digestive ailments, gonorrhea, syphilis, gout and rheumatism. This medicine is powerful alterative (alterative gradually restores healthy body functions).

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