Ashoka Tree (saraca asoca) Medicinal Usage and Home Remedies

Know about Ashoka Tree botanical description, medicinal properties, medicinal uses in Ayurveda, It’s health benefits, dosage, contraindications and side-effect of different parts of this plant.

Ashok tree is a very well-known tree. It is a sacred tree in Hinduism. Ashok is worshipped in Chaitra month of the Hindu calendar. Kamdev the Hindu God of love and sexuality, carries five arrows decorated with five kinds of flower in his quiver. Ashok blossom is one of them.

ashoka tree

Ashok tree is also a medicinal tree and used in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani or treatment of a variety of diseases related to bleeding and urinary problems. In Ayurveda, it is used since time immemorial as a medicine. Charak and Sushruta used the flowering buds, seeds and bark in internal prescriptions for arthritis, sciatica, neuralgia, neurological affections, hemorrhages and gynecological disorders.

Ashok tree is one of the main herb for gynecological disorders and for uterus health. Ashok is effective in treating menstrual disorders associated with excess bleeding (rakta pradar), pain and congestion.

Ashoka tree bark is a uterine tonic and gives relief in uterine spasms, dysmenorrhea, prolapse, miscarriage and irregular menstrual cycles. The bark has diuretic properties and indicated in scanty urine, calculus and also for other urinary disorders. Ashok works because it has stimulatory effect on the ovarian tissue, and exhibit an estrogen like activity that enhances ovulation and repair of the endometrium. Its intake boosts fertility and increases the chances of conception.

General Information

Ashok tree is evergreen, small, much branched, spreading, erect, and slow growing tree.

Leaves are alternate, stipulate, paripinnate compound, large, spreading horizontally. Rachis 15—22.5 cm long, stout, much thickened, corky and flexible at base. Leaflets 8—12, distant, the lowest pair close to the base on short, very stout, flexible stalks, 10—22.5 cm long, 3.1—3.7 cm broad, the middle ones the longest, linear, tapering to a very acute apex, glabrous, rather stiff, venation conspicuous beneath. Stipules are large, 1.2 cm long, intrapetiolar, ovate, stiff, brown and deciduous.

Aromatic flowers are regular, bisexual numerous and in large bunch. Each bunch consists of a lot of small flowers that are shaped like long-tubes which open out into four oval lobes. Flowering takes place throughout the year. The flowers are yellow initially and then changes to orange to crimson.

Stamens are 7 with very long purple filaments, much exserted, spreading, inserted on a fleshy lobed ring at the mouth of calyx-tube. Anthers are purple to black in color. Ovary is superior, stalked, unicarpellary, unilocular with marginal ovules, occupying the position of the uppermost eighth stamen, pubescent, style strongly curved into a ring.

Fruit is a large legume, 12.5—22.5 cm long, 5 cm wide, tapering to both ends, much compressed, rigidly leathery, glabrous, veiny. Seed is 3.7—4.3 cm, ovoid and slightly compressed.

Bark is channeled, externally dark green to greenish grey in color. It is smooth with circular lenticels and transversely ridged. Sometimes the bark cab be cracked. Internally, it is reddish-brown with fine longitudinal strands and fibers. A thin whitish continuous layer is seen beneath the cork layer. The bark tastes astringent.

There is another very common ornamental tree which people recognized as Ashok. But Sita Ashok or Real Ashok is completely different from this tree. The Latin name of false Ashok is Polyalthia longifolia.

Scientific Classification

The botanical name of Ashoka / Ashok, is Saraca asoca. It belongs to plant family Caesalpiniaceae. Below is given taxonomical classification of the plant.

  • Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
  • Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
  • Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
  • Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
  • Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
  • Subclass: Rosidae
  • Order: Fabales
  • Family: Fabaceae ∕ Leguminosae – Pea family (Leguminosae is further divided into three subfamilies viz. Papilionoideae, Caesalpinioideae and Mimosoideae)
  • Genus: Saraca
  • Species: Asoca


  1. Saraca indica auct. non L.
  2. Jonesia asoca Roxb.
  • Significance of name: Ashok is a Sanskrit word. The literal meaning of this name is, one without Shok or grief (Shok means Sorrow, Grief) or that which gives no grief. So, Ashoka is Remover of sorrow.
  • Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Bark, seed, flowers
  • Plant type: Tree
  • Distribution: The tree originated in Deccan plateau and Western Ghats. Found up to an altitude of 750 m in the Central and Eastern Himalayas and Khasi, Garo and Lushai hills. Also in the Andaman Islands.
  • Habitat: Tropical and subtropical areas, found throughout India
  • Soil: Medium to deep well drained fertile soil
  • Flowering: February – August
  • Status: Vulnerable

Vernacular names / Synonyms

Latin: Saraca asoca (Rose.) De. Willd

  1. Sanskrit: Anganapriya, Apashoka, Ashoka, Chakraguchha, Chira, Dohali, Doshahari, Gandhapushpa, Hemapushpa, Kankali, Kankelli, Kantacharandohada, Kantanghridohada, Karnapura, Karnapuraka, Kelika, Krimikaraka, Madhupushpa, Nata, Palladru, Pindapushpa, Prapallava, Raktapallava, Rama, Rogitaru, Shhaya, Shokaharta, Shokanasha, Smaradhivasa, Strinirikshanadohada, Subhaga, Tamrapallava, Vamanghrighataka, Vamankayatana, Vanjula, Vanjuldruma, Vichitra, Vishoka, Vitashoka
  2. Assamese: Ashoka
  3. Assamese: Ashoka
  4. Bengali: Ashoka
  5. English: Asoka Tree
  6. Gujrati: Ashoka, Ashopalava
  7. Hindi: Ashoka, Sita Ashok, Ashok
  8. Kannada: Ashokadamara, Ashokamara, Kankalimara, Achenge
  9. Kashmiri: Ashok
  10. Malayalam: Asokam, Hemapushpam
  11. Marathi: Ashok, Jasundi
  12. Oriya: Ashoka
  13. Punjabi: Asok
  14. Tamil: Asogam, Asogu, Asokam, Asogam, Anagam, Malaikkarunai, Sasubam
  15. Telugu: Ashokapatta, Asokamu
  16. Sinhalese: Asoka, Diyaratambala, Diyaratmal
  17. Siddha: Asoku

Main Indications

  1. Uterine affections
  2. Menorrhagia (from Latin Meno=of mestruation and -Rrhag=to burst)
  3. Metrorrhagia (from Latin Metro=womb and -Rrhag=to burst)
  4. Bleeding piles or Raktpradar
  5. Dysmenorrhea
  6. Cardiac weakness, arrhythmia
  7. Leucorrhoea / white Discharge (safed paani ki samasya or Shvet pradar)
  8. Depression in women
  9. Dropsical swellings

Famous Ayurvedic Medicines


Ashoka Ghrita

Combinations of Ashoka tree

Ashok is combined with many other supporting herbs for specific diseases.

Regulate menstrual cycle: Haldi + Shatavari + Gulab

Strengthen the uterine muscles: Ashwagandha + Daruchini

Endometriosis and fibroids: Guggulu + Manjishtha + Haldi

Piles: Amalki + Mulethi + Shatavari

Constituents of Saraca asoca

  1. Ashok bark is mainly used for medicinal purpose. Bark contains catechol and sterols, a wax containing n-alkalines, esters, free primary alcohols, Phenolic glycoside and non-phenolic glycoside.
  2. Phytosterols β-sitosterol
  3. Tannins
  4. Flavonoids Quercetin,
  5. Kaempferol
  6. Flowers give β-sitosterol,flavonoids and flavones glycosidesquercetin, kaempferol,quercetin, glucoside. The anthocyanins present are pelargonidin and cyanadin-3, 5- diglucoside. Bark yields catechol and sterols.

Important Medicinal Properties of Ashoka tree

Saraca asoca is rich in medicinal properties. The understanding of these properties will help us to better utilize this herb. These also indicate the conditions in which we should avoid it.

Saraca indica, is anti-estrogenic. It reduces the estrogen level in the body. High level of estrogen in women is responsible for bloating, breast tenderness, low libido, irregularity of periods, headaches, mood swings and increase of weight.

Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.

  1. Anti-menorrhagia: Prevents abnormally heavy flow in periods.
  2. Anticancer: Used in the prevention or treatment of cancer
  3. Antioxytocic: Prevents premature childbirth.
  4. Antimicrobial: Active against microbes.
  5. Antitoxin: Neutralizes toxins.
  6. Antiseptic: Capable of preventing infection by inhibiting the growth of infectious agents.
  7. Astringents: Constrict tissues; styptic.
  8. Analgesic: Gives relief in pain.
  9. Anti-urolithiatic: Preventing formation of the urinary calculi
  10. Anti-menorrhagic: Against menorrhagia.
  11. Anti-estrogenic: Blocks the production or utilization of estrogens, or inhibits their effects.
  12. Cardiac tonic: Tonic for the heart.
  13. Constipative: Causes constipation.
  14. Diuretic: Promoting excretion of urine/agent that increases the amount of urine excreted.
  15. Uterine styptic: Checks bleeding from uterus.

Ayurvedic Properties and Action of Asoka tree

Ashok bark is astringent, bitter in taste (Rasa), pungent after digestion (Vipaka), and is cool in effect (Virya). It is a Sheet Virya herb. Sheet Virya or Cool potency herb and subdues Pitta (Bile). Sheet Virya herb gives nourishment to the body and steadiness. It supports the building of the body fluids.

  1. Rasa (taste on the tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Tikta (Bitter), Madhura (Sweet)
  2. Guna (Pharmacological Action): Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Drying)
  3. Virya (Action): Shita (Cooling)
  4. Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
  5. Dhatu: Muscles, fat, reproductive system
  6. Srotas: Circulatory and reproductive


  1. Asrigdara nashanam: Management of excessive bleeding during menstruation
  2. Grahi: Inspissants; stomachic, digestive and heating qualities dry the fluids of the body
  3. Garbhashaya: Affinity for the uterus
  4. Garbhashaya Rasayana: Uterine tonic
  5. Hridya: Good for the heart
  6. Prajasthapana: Prevent miscarriage
  7. Shothahar: Gives relief in swelling.
  8. Stri-rogajit: Treats gynecological conditions
  9. Stambhan: Alleviates fluid leakage and diarrhea
  10. Vedanasthapana: Gives relief in pain
  11. Vishaghna: Poison-destroying
  12. Varnya: Heals wounds

Ashoka tree Uses in Ayurveda

  1. Sotha (swelling)
  2. Daha (Burning sensation in the body)
  3. Apachi (inflammation of lymph nodes)
  4. Raktadosha (Disorders of blood)
  5. Stri Roga (diseases of women)
  6. Raktapitta (bleeding disorders)
  7. Shveta pradara (leucorrhoea)
  8. Mutrakricchra (painful urination)
  9. Rakta yoni, Asrgdara (Menorrhagia)
  10. Menorrhagia also is known as Rakta yoni and Asrgdara in Ayurveda.

Health Benefits of Ashoka tree

Ashok tree bark is especially useful in the treatment of gynecological conditions such as endometriosis, cyst, fibroids, leucorrhoea, lower back pain, excess heat in the body, etc. It is very helpful in menorrhagia.

Menorrhagia (from Latin Meno=of mestruation and -Rrhag=to burst) is the medical condition of abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding at menstruation. Menorrhagia also is known as Rakta yoni and Asrgdara in Ayurveda. Ashokarishta, which is decoction of Ashok bark along with many supporting herbs, is given to treat the same. This medicine is effective in curing infections of the uterus.

Ashok helps in abnormal vaginal bleeding due to its astringent action. It is an effective uterine tonic and strengthens the muscles of the uterus. It corrects the irregularity of periods and prevents miscarriage. Ashoka Ghrita is given after second trimester to prevent miscarriage.

If a woman has weak uterus muscles due to which she is suffering from miscarriage, she should take it regularly.

Ashoka does not causes contractions. The bark is stimulant to the endometrium and ovarian tissue.

Ashoka gives relief in swelling and is therefore given in gout, arthritis and rheumatism. It gives relief in pain and aggravated Vata.

It clears congestion and calms the nerves. It is a cold potency herb and pacifies excess pitta inside the body and hence gives relief in burning sensation in the body.

Ashok bark, detoxifies the body and improves the skin complexion.

Ashoka Home remedies

Ashoka is highly regarded medicinal tree universally. This plant is the source of various types of compounds effective in the treatment of various diseases. Ashoka is being used since ancient time as medicine and proven in modern era.

Here I am writing some simple home remedies of Saraca asoca tree. Mainly Ashoka tree bark, flowers, roots and seeds are used in treatment. You can get these directly from tree (flowers and seeds in season) and bark any time. You can also get Ashoka products in (like bark, flower, seeds in powdered form) market.

Gynecological Problems:

Regulate menstrual cycle and other gynecological disorders, Pradar Rog of females, abnormal discharges per vagina

Make Ksheerapaka (Ksheerapak means pak / cooking in Ksheer or milk) of Ashoka bark. Boil 6 gm ashoka bark powder in 500 ml cow milk and 500 ml water till it reduces to half. Add some sugar and filter it. Drink this regularly, it is suggested to drink it daily for 3 days in every three months for normal menses.

Pain in uterus, uterus spasm, Stones in urinary system, painful urination

Ashok Ksheerpak should be taken.


Boil the bark in water and prepare a decoction. In this decoction many other herbs are added. This decoction is given every morning (empty stomach) to the patients. Many healers boil the bark in milk also.

Safed Pani (Leucorrhoea)

  1. Ashok Ksheepak should be taken.
  2. Ashok bark powder + Mishri are mixed in equal quantities and taken in a dose of 3 gms with cow milk in the morning and in the evening.
  3. Ashok bark tea should be taken in a dose of 15-25 ml.

Kukshishool, Katishool, pain in vagina, problem in digestion, lack of appetite, Jaundice, leucorrhoea, cough and respiratory problems

Take Ashoka Ghritam in recommended doses.

Hormonal imbalance, Periods related various problems, Painful periods, improving fertility

Take Ashokarishta in recommended doses.

Skin Diseases:

All kind of the skin infections

Boil Ashoka bark in water and use this water to clean skin conditions and wounds.

Skin diseases

Crushed flowers and leaves are rubbed on the skin.

Eczema, atopic dermatitis and scabies

Coconut oil in which flowers are boiled is applied topically.

Tinea/ringworm, fungal infections

The infusion of flowers of Ashok and leaves of Henna in coconut oil is applied.

Freckles and external inflammations, ulcers and skin diseases

Make paste of Ashoka roots and apply on the affected body areas.

Scabies and itching

Flowers boiled in coconut oil is applied.

Other Diseases:


Take 1-2 gm of Ashok seeds and make its paste in water. Take 2 spoon of this.

Fever, raktapitt, bleeding piles, problem in digestion, lack of appetite, swelling

Drink Ashokarishta in recommended doses.

Bleeding piles

The tea prepared from Ashoka bark is given in a dose of 15-25ml.

Fractured bones

Make paste of bark by soaking it in water for whole night and apply on the affected area. This will really help in recovery and provide relief from all kind of pain.

Take 6 gm Ashok bark powder twice a day with milk.

High blood sugar

Grind dried ashoka flower by adding some water. Extract 20­60 drops and consume it twice daily.

Intestinal parasites

The leaves can be used to treat intestinal parasites.

The Dosage of Saraca asoca

  1. Ashokarishta: 15 – 30 ml twice a day with an equal amount of water.
  2. Ashok kwath / decoction: 15 – 30 ml twice a day.
  3. Seed powder: 1 – 3 gm twice a day.
  4. Flower powder: 1 – 3 gm twice a day.
  5. Ashok Ghrita: 5 gm twice a day.

Contraindications, Interactions, Side-effects, and Warnings Saraca asoca

  1. This herb is constipating in a larger doses.
  2. It increases Vata, and reduces Pitta, and Kapha.
  3. No drug–herb interactions are known.
  4. No serious side-effects are known when taken in proper doses.

One Comment

  1. Good explanation and full of information thank you ?.
    Is there any books to read and prepare medicine.

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