Amra (Jangli aam) Medicinal Tree

Spondias pinnata is commonly known as Amra/Amda in India. It is native to Southeast Asia and found in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, China, Malaysia and Thailand. The fruits of Spondias pinnata tree are sour and tasty. Mainly they are used for making pickles, jams and chutney. Amra tree is also a medicinal tree. Its various parts are used in the treatment of diarrhea, ear aches, wounds, and hyperacidity.

amola fruit

In Ayurveda, it is known as Amrataka अम्रातकः. Its stem bark is rich in Tannin and Starch. The bark increases kapha and Pitta and decreases vata.

The leaves of the tree are astringent. They are used to prepare decoction which is used as an eye lotion. The unripe fruits are sour, astringent, and aphrodisiac in nature. The ripe fruits are sweet, astringent, cooling, emollient, tonic and constipating. The ripe fruits are used in diarrhea and burning sensation. The juice of fruit is used for treating fever and as a diuretic.

The bark of the tree is used in joint swelling and leprosy.


Scientific Classification

The botanical name of Amda/Amra is Spondias pinnata (Linn. f.) Kurz SYNONYM Spondias mangifera Willd., Spondias acuminata Roxb. non Gamble.

It belongs to plant family Anacardiaceae (cashew family). The genus Spondias consists of 17 described species, seven of which are native to the Neotropics and about ten are native to tropical Asia. They are commonly named hog plums/Spanish plums. About ten species of this genus bear edible fruits and have been domesticated for fruit production. The fruits of genus are edible and tastes like mango.

Below is given taxonomical classification of Spondias mangifera.

  • KINGDOM-Plantae
  • SUBKINGDOM -Tracheobionta
  • SUPERDIVISION -Spermatophyta
  • DIVISION -Magnoliophyta
  • CLASS -Magnoliopsida
  • SUBCLASS- Rosidae
  • ORDER- Sapindales
  • FAMILY -Anacardiaceae
  • GENUS- Spondias L.
  • SPECIES- Spondias pinnata (L.f.) Kurz

Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Stem, bark, leaf and fruits.

Plant type: Tree.

Distribution: found throughout the India, ascending up to an altitude of 1500 m in the Himalayas, and also distributed in Andamans.

Habitat: Occurring wild or grown throughout the country for edible fruits.

Vernacular names

  • SANSKRIT: Amrataka अम्रातकः, Amratakah, आम्रातक, पीतन, कपितन, अम्बाड़ा, आमड़ा Kapitana
  • ENGLISH: Hog-Plum, Wild Mango.
  • AYURVEDIC: Aamrataka, Aamrata, Aamada, Madhuparni, Kundalini, Kapitana, Markataamra
  • SIDDHA: Mambulichi, Kattuma
  • FOLK: Jangali Aam, Amda
  • ASSAMESE: Amda
  • BENGALI: Amda
  • GUJARATI: Jangali Ambo, Ambeda
  • HINDI: Ambada, Amra, Jangli Aam जंगली आम, अमरा Amra, अम्बाड़ी Ambaraअम्बाड़ा
  • KANNADA: Ambate, Amatemara
  • MALAYALAM: Mampusli, Ambalam, Ambazham, Mampuiti, Ampozham Njettikuzhiyan mavu
  • MARATHI: Ambada अमडा
  • ORIYA: Aabada
  • TAMIL: Mampulecci, Mampulicci, Pulicha kaai, Narimangai
  • TELUGU: Ambalamu
  • OTHER COMMON NAMES: Amaro अमारो, Ambado आंबाडो, अमडा, आंबाडे

Tree Description

Aromatic deciduous tree up to 27 m tall;Bark smooth;Sap white, rapidly turning black;

Leaves compound, imparipinnate, alternate and spiral, leaflets elliptic, and apex acuminate, base acute, often asymmetrical, with distinct marginal vein, margin entire. Midrib flat above, secondary veins obtuse, widely parallel, tertiary veins reticulate. Stipules are absent. Leaves 30-40 cm long, compound with 5-11 opposite leaflets. Leaflets stalked, ovate-oblong to elliptic-oblong, 7-12 cm long, 4-5 cm wide, papery. Leaf base is wedge- shaped to rounded, often oblique, margin toothed or entire, with a tapering tip.

Inflorescences or flowers: Polygamous tiny white to cream flowers are borne in panicles at the end of branches, 25-35 cm long. Flowers are stalkless, white. Sepals are triangular, about 0.5 mm. Petals are ovate-oblong, about 2.5 × 1.5 mm, pointed.

Fruits: Ellipsoid to elliptic-ovoid, yellowish orange at maturity, 3.5-5 × 2.5-3.5 cm. Inner part of endocarp is woody and grooved, outer part is fibrous. Ripen fruits have pleasant fragrance. Seeds are stony.

Constituents of Spondias pinnata or Amda

Aerial parts contain lignoceric acid, 24-methylenecycloartanone, stigmast-4-en-3-one, beta-sitosterol and its glucoside.The fruit contains beta-amyrin, oleanolic acid, amino acids—glycine, cystine, serine, alanine, leucine and polysaccharides.

Nutritive and mineral potential of ripe fruits of Amra or Spondias pinnata (Purohit, V.K et al., 2010)

Energy189–203 kcal/g
Crude fat12.23–12.54%
Crude fiber3.13–4.03%
Total carbohydrate16.30–23.54%

Medicinal Properties

The various scientific studies done Spondias pinnata show its significant antioxidant, antimicrobial and thrombolytic (breakdown/lysis of blood clots) activities. It also possess good to moderate antioxidant, cytotoxic and antibacterial activities.

It also possess several other medicinal properties.

  • Astringent (Leaf, Fruit, Bark): Constrict tissues;styptic.
  • Antimicrobial: Prevents the growth of microorganisms.
  • Anti-dysenteric (Leaf, Fruit, Bark): Relieving or preventing dysentery.
  • Antiseptic: Capable of preventing infection by inhibiting the growth of infectious agents.
  • Antiscorbutic (fruits): Curing or preventing scurvy.
  • Pustulant: Causing the formation of pustules.
  • Tonic (fruits): Restore or improve health or well-being.

Ayurvedic Properties and Action

Ayurvedic Properties and Action of dried stem of Spondias pinnata

  • Rasa (taste on the tongue): Kasaya (Astringent), Amla (Sour)
  • Guna (Pharmacological Action): Guru (Heavy)
  • Virya: Ushna (Heating)
  • Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)

Therapeutic Uses of stem powder:Burning sensation, vitiation of blood, diarrhea, and dysentery.

The Dose of stem powder: 1-3 gram of powder.

Ayurvedic Properties and Action of dried Stem Bark of Spondias pinnata

  • Rasa (taste on the tongue): Kasaya (Astringent), Amla (Sour)
  • Guna (Pharmacological Action): Guru (Heavy), Sara (Unstable)
  • Virya: Ushna (Heating)
  • Vipaka (transformed state after digestion):(Pungent)
  • Action: Kapha-kara, Vata-har, Pitta-kara, Kanthya, Amadoshhar.

The Dosage of stem bark for medicinal purpose: Stem bark 5-10 g powder for decoction;1-3 g powder.

Uses of Spondias mangifera/Amra/Amda

Spondias mangifera is a tree with variety of uses. The leaves of the tree are aromatic, acidic and astringent. They are edible and used in flavoring of dishes. The flowers are sour and used in curry as a flavoring and also eaten raw. All parts of Amra tree are of medicinal importance. Leaves, bark, stem, fruits and roots are used for the treatment of a variety of diseases. The fruits are very nutritious and rich in vitamin C, minerals and iron content. The ripe fruits are sweet and tasty. Unripe fruits are used to make chutney, jam and pickle. The timber is used for making furniture.

  • The leaves juice is put in the ears and applied externally for earache.
  • In diarrhea and dysentery, the powder of dried leaves is used. The decoction of the stem bark is also used for same purpose.
  • The juice of fresh, tender leaves is given for stomach troubles.
  • In hyperacidity, the tender fresh leaves are given with misri/raw sugar candy.
  • For wounds the paste of fruit is applied externally.
  • The bark paste is applied topically in sprain and rheumatism.
  • The decoction of the bark is given in gonorrhea.
  • The root is considered useful in regulating menstruation.
  • The young leaves and flowers are used in preparation of curries.

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