Cassia tora or Senna tora occurs throughout the tropics, including India Sri Lanka and Philippines. It mainly grows as a weed on road sides and waste ground in the dry regions and is commonly known as Panwarh, Chakunda, Chakramard, Reli, Elwan, Edagaja, Dadrughna, Sickle senna, Sickle pod, Tora, Tovara, chakvad, Thakara, foetid cassia or Ringworm plant.
Cassia tora is an important medicinal plant of Ayurveda. It is known as Chakramarda and Dadrughna due is due to its therapeutic efficacy to treat ringworm. Seeds are purgative, tonic and febrifuge. The roasted seeds are excellent diuretic. A decoction of the powdered seeds is a mild purgative.Chakramarda is nutritive and toxin remover. It is indicated in skin diseases and respiratory allergy. The leaves of plant are used in the treatment of Malaria, ring worm, chronic inflammation of the skin and other skin diseases.
A small weed, subshrub, upto 75-100 cm; branchlets glabrous.
Leaf: Paripinnate, with subulate glands between the leaflets of the 2 lower pairs; leaflets obovate, glabrous above, pubescent beneath upto 4 cm long, 3 pairs, thin, coriaceous.
Flowers: Racemes terminal, corymbose; Sepals 5, oblong to rounded. Petals 5, yellow. Perfect stamens 6–7.
Fruit: Linear, subtetragonous, puberulous, short, stipitate, flat, compressed.
Seed: Hard, 1 cm long, 3-4 mm thick, oblong or rhombohedral, both ends appear as if cut off obliquely, greenish-brown to brownish-black, smooth and shiny. Seed coat consists of longitudinally elongated cells, covered with thick, smooth cuticle. Odourless; Taste: bitter.
Seed Powder: Light brown; Starch grains measuring 8-12 μ in diameter, and a few rosette crystals of calcium oxalate upto 49 μ in diameter are also present.
Flowering & Fruiting: August-November
Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Seeds, leaves, whole plant
Plant type / Growth Habit: Herb
Distribution: Sparsely distributed from plains to the hills; often found in association with Cassia obtusifolia.
Habitat: Weed in wastelands.
Dosha effect: Vata-Kaphahar
Chief Action: Antiseptic, Anthelmintic, Carminative, Purgative
- Abdominal disorders
- Blood disorders
- Inflammations, glandular swellings
- Skin diseases
- Veneral diseases
Vernacular Names / Synonyms
- Scientific name: Cassia tora
- Sanskrit: Edagaja, Dadrughna, Chakramarda, Chakramardah
- Assamese: Kulb
- Bengali: Chavuka, Chakunda, Panevar, Chakunda/ Chakoda beeja
- English: Ring Worm Plant, Fetid Cassia, Fetid Senna, Sickle Senna, Wild Senna
- Gujrati: Kovaraya
- Hindi: Pavand, Punwad, Punwadia, Chakavar, Chakunda, Pamad, Panevar
- Kannada: Tagache, Thagache, Thagatthe
- Malayalam: Tagaa, Thakara, Ponthakara
- Marathi: Tankala
- Punjabi: Panwal, Chakunda, Chakwad
- Tamil: Vshittgarai, Senavu, Tagarai
- Telugu: Tagiris
- Urdu: Panwar
- Chinese Name: Jue ming zi (Semen cassia refers to the seeds of two species of plant used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Senna obtusifolia. Senna tora)
All plants are scientifically classified into main 7 levels. These levels are Kingdom, Division, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. A genus comprise of many species and botanical name consists of Genus (uppercase) followed by Species (lowercase). Genus consists of many species which are closely related and have lots of similarities. Species is the lowest level and represents the group of same plant.
The botanical name of Chakramarda is Cassia tora. It belongs to plant family Leguminosae. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.
Kingdom: Plantae (comprising all living or extinct plants)
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta (have lignified tissues or xylem for conducting water and minerals)
Superdivision: Spermatophyta (produce seeds)
Class: Magnoliopsida (flowering plant producing an embryo with paired cotyledons)
Family: Fabaceae ⁄ Leguminosae – Pea family
Genus: Cassia Mill. – senna
Species: Cassia tora
- Senna tora Roxb.
- Senna tortoides Roxb.
- Cassia obtusifolia
- Cassia foetida Salisb
- Cassia humilis Collad.
- Cassia gallineria Collad.
- Cassia tortoides Roxb.
Constituents of Cassia tora
The seeds contain a glucosidal substance similar to emodin in composition, phytosterine and glucosenine. The leaves contain a principle similar to cathartin.
Important Medicinal Properties
Cassia tora 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.
Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.
- Anthelmintic: Used to destroy parasitic worms.
- Antioxidant: Neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
- Antiparasitic: expel parasitic worms (helminths) and other internal parasites from the body.
- Antiperiodic: Preventing regular recurrence of the symptoms of a disease, as in malaria.
- Antiseptic: Capable of preventing infection by inhibiting the growth of infectious agents.
- Depurative: Purifying agent.
- Hepatoprotective: Prevent damage to the liver.
- Laxative: Tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels.
- Purgative: Strongly laxative in effect.
- Stomachic: Stimulates gastric activity.
- Vermifuge: Anthelmintic medicine.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action
The dried seed of Cassia tora Linn. is known as Edagaja, Dadamandam, Dadamari, Dadrughna, Prapunnada in Ayurveda.
Prapunnada is pungent in taste (Rasa), pungent after digestion (Vipaka), and is hot in effect (Virya).
It is an Ushna Virya herb. Ushna Virya or hot potency herb, subdues Vata (Wind) and Kapha (Mucus) and increases Pitta (Bile). It has property of digestion, vomiting and purging, and gives feeling of lightness. It is considered bad for sperms and fetus.
- Rasa (taste on tongue): Katu (Pungent)
- Guna (Action): Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Dry)
- Virya (Action): Ushna (Heating)
- Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
It is pungent in both the initial and post-digestive tastes (Rasa and Vipaka) and hot in effect (Virya). It gives relief in Vata and Kapha and increases pitta. It is carminative, antiemetic and thermogenic. It is useful in indigestion, low appetite, nausea and piles.
- Kapha-Vata har: Remover of the Humor of Kapha-Vata.
- Krimighna: Cures all the signs, symptoms and complications created by external and internal worms.
- Kushthaghna: Removes blood impurities.
- Lekhana: Remove bad humours and altered constituents of the body by thinning them gradually and thus clearing the system of them.
- Tvachya: Good for skin.
- Tvak Varnaprasadakaram: Used as skin cosmetic.
- Virechana: Removes from the anal canal aggravated Doshas
- Vishaghna: Poison-destroying
Therapeutic uses in Ayurveda
- Asthma / Shvasa
- Constipation / Vibandha
- Diseases due to vitiation of vata and Kapha / Kaphavatajanya Vikara
- Eczema / Pama
- Intestinal parasites / Krimi
- Itching / Kandu
- Cough / Kasa
- Paralysis / Pakshaghata
- Ringworm / Dadru
- Skin diseases / Kushtha
- Tumour / Gulma
- Wounds / Vrana Vikara
- Nimbadi Churna
- Kasisadi Ghrita
- Maha Vishagarbha Taila
Cassia Tora Seeds Health Benefits
- The seeds are used as coffee substitute.
- They have significant antioxidant properties.
- They protect liver from damage.
- They are used to treat herpes, diseases of eyes and to heal infected sores.
- They have hypotensive action and used to lower blood pressure.
- The seeds intake gives relief in constipation.
- The intake of roasted seeds helps in headache.
- Externally, the seeds are mashed in vinegar or alcohol and applied on eczema. Or the seed paste with turmeric and mustard oil is applied topically.
- In medicine preparation, the gum obtained from seeds is used as emulsifying and binding agent.
Medicinal Uses of Cassia tora
The whole plant of Cassia tora is of medicinal importance. The leaves are laxative and purgative due to which they are useful in habitual constipation and haemorrhoids. The seeds have anti-parasitic properties. The paste of seeds is applied topically on ringworms and scabies. The decoction of whole plant is given as a vermifuge and purgative.
The root of the plant is used as a bitter tonic, stomachic and the leaves as an antiperiodic aperient and anthelmintic.
1- Erysipelas, eczema
Erysipelas: It is an acute, sometimes recurrent disease caused by a bacterial infection, characterized by large raised red patches on the skin.
Eczema: It is condition in which patches of skin become rough and inflamed with blisters which cause itching and bleeding.
Leaf paste is applied.
Root paste with lime juice is applied.
2- Blood dysentery, diarrhoea
Leaf juice mixed with salt is given.
3- Scabies, itches
Plant paste with buttermilk is applied. Or
Leaf decoction is used as a wash.
4- Carbuncles, warts
Root paste with lime juice is applied. Or
Hot leaf paste is applied.
5- Bee sting
Pounded leaf is applied topically.
6- Ring worm, scabies
Seed paste with buttermilk is applied.
Leaf decoction is given.
8- Pus release from furuncles
Hot leaf paste is applied.
9- Intestinal Parasites
Plant decoction is given.
Leaf juice is given.
11- Menstrual disorders
Whole plant decoction is given.
Leaf juice is applied topically.
13- Blisters caused by marking nut (Bhilava)
The juice of the leaves of Cassia tora is applied.
The paste made of Cassia tora with milk or the paste of the roots is applied.
15- Blood purifier
The dried root of Cassia tora is a good purifier of blood and a tonic. The very fine powder of the root is given in doses of 3-4 grams every morning mixed with 30ml of ghee and 7ml powdered sugar.
The decoction of equal parts of the dry roots of Cassia tora, Asparagus racemosus and Sida cordifolia (bala) is made by boiling the mixture with 32 times its weight of water till the liquid is reduced to one eighth of its original weight. The strained decoction is made into syrup by boiling it with twice its weight of sugar 14-28ml of this syrup is taken with powdered cardamoms twice a day with milk for six weeks.
16- Scrofula (chronic inflammation of glands, especially of the lymphatic glands)
A medicated mustard oil is prepared by boiling macerated roots of Cassia tora and juice of Eclipta alba (bhangra). This is made into an ointment with the addition of a little red lead. This ointment is applied topically on scrofula.
Cassia tora seeds are soaked in the milky juice of Euphorbia neriifolia (thuhar) for sometime. These seeds are ground into a paste with cow’s urine. The paste is applied over the affected parts.
The ointment made of Rasunt and the seeds of Cassia tora and juice of wood apple / Kattha is applied topically.
18- Sexual debility
Cassia tora roots 3-5grams mixed with ghee and sugar is given daily early in the morning.
The paste made of equal parts of Cassia tora + sandalwood + camphor with buttermilk is applied topically.
The paste made of equal parts of the seeds of Cassia tora (chakund) and neem berries is applied topically.
20- Other Uses
It is also used as leafy vegetable.
The roasted seeds are used like coffee. For this purpose, 2 teaspoon roasted seeds are boiled in one cup water, filtered and taken.
Boiled seeds are given to the animals to treat hypogalactia.
Dosage of Cassia tora
The therapeutic dosage of seeds is 1-3 grams in powder form.
Contraindications, Interactions, Side-effects and Warnings Cassia tora
- It is safe to take Cassia tora, in low dosage for a short term period.
- Do not take in excess dosage.
- In excess it has many ill-effects, such as lower RBCs, reduced weight and water intake. In males it may cause, reduced sperm count.
- It may cause loose motions.
- It may have mild diuretic effect.
- Please note, this herb should not be taken for long term period.
The seeds are available online as Cassia tora /sickle pod/Coffee pod seeds (50gm @ Rs. 150.00).