Gambhari (Gmelina arborea) Information, Medicinal Uses and More

Gambhari is a medicinal tree mentioned in all classical texts of Ayurveda. Learn about it's Medicinal uses, botanical details and scientific classification.

Gmelina arborea is known as Kashmari (as it grows in Kashmir), Kashmari, Kashmarya, Kasmari, Bhadraparni, Gambhari, Candahar tree, Coomb tree, Cashmeri teak, Coomb Teak, and White Teak. This tree is native to Asia and found in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is mostly found in deciduous and moist deciduous forests. Gambhari has many uses. It is a fast growing tree from teak family and its wood is used in construction, pulp making and handicrafts making.

Gambhari is also a medicinal tree and its roots, stem, stem bark, fruits, leaves, flowers all are used for medicinal purpose in India since ancient times. Its mention is found in all classical texts of Ayurveda.

gambhari medicinal uses

By Jayesh Patil from Mumbai, India (Sivan Uploaded by uleli) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The root is one of the ingredient of the Dashamula and is therefore much used in a variety of diseases. It is present in all formulations containing Dashmool such as Dashmularishta, Dashamula Haritaki, Dashamula Ghrita, Dashamula satpalaka Ghrita, Brihat Panchamuladi kvatha etc. The roots are bitter, tonic, stomachic and laxative. They are used in Ayurveda for treatment of cough, rheumatism, fever, constipation, dyspepsia, hyperdipsia, hemorrhoids, heart diseases, nervous disorders, piles, burning sensation, hallucination, and intestinal parasites. Bark is stomachic, galactagogue, laxative, anthelmintic and given in case of low appetite, hallucination, piles, abdominal pains, burning sensations, fevers, ‘tridosha’ and urinary discharge.

Gambhari fruits are acrid, sour, bitter, sweet, cooling, diuretic tonic, aphrodisiac, alternative astringent to the bowels. They promote growth of hairs and quench excessive thirst. They are given as cooling decoctions in fever. They show beneficial effects in anemia, leprosy, ulcers and vaginal discharge.

Flowers are sweet, cooling, bitter, acrid, and astringent and recommended for leprosy, skin and blood diseases. They are useful in leprosy and blood diseases. Leaf paste is applied to relieve headache and juice is used as wash for ulcers.

General Information

Plant Description: Gmelina arborea is a medium-sized tree up to 60 feet high with tomentose branchlets.

Leaves: 4-8 inch long, broadly ovate, acuminate, entire ; upper surface glabrous when mature, lower persistently clothed with fulvous stellate hairs, base cordate or truncate and shortly cuncate; petioles 2-3 inch long, cylindric, puberulous, glandular at the top.

Flowers: In small usually 3-flowered cymes arranged along the branches of a densely fulvous-tomentose panicle, about 12 inch in length; Calyx campanulate, tomentose, 5-lobed. Corolla campanulate, brownish-yellow, pubescent; limb 2-lipped. Stamens didynamous.

Root: Cylindrical with uneven surface, greyish brown, fracture somewhat tough in bark, brittle and predominant in woody portion. Root bark: Fresh mature root bark yellowish in colour. Dry pieces curved and channeled, thinner ones forming single quills, external surface rugged due to presence of vertical cracks, ridges, fissures and numerous lenticels, fracture short and granular.

Stem: Hard, woody, smooth except for a few scars of branches, yellowish-grey externally and cream colored internally.

Stem bark: 0.2 to 0.7 cm thick, ribbed, quilled at some places; outer surface yellowish-brown in colour and rough due to some longitudinal and horizontal cracks, inner surface fairly smooth and reddish-brown to black in colour.

  • Fruit: A drupe, ovoid, crinkled, black, 1.5-2.0 cm long, sometimes with portion of attached pedicel, two seeded, sometimes one seeded.
  • Seed: Ovate, 0.5-1 cm long, 0.4-0.6 cm wide, light yellow, surface smooth, seed coat thin, papery.
  • Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Roots, rootbark, stem, stem bark, fruits
  • Plant type / Growth Habit: Tree
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Philippine
  • Habitat: Dry deciduous forests throughout India up to 1700 m on the hills and in Andaman Islands, widely grown along roadsides and in gardens.

Vernacular names / Synonyms

Scientific name: Gmelina arborea

Sanskrit: Kashmari, Kashmari, Kashmarya, Kasmari, Bhadraparni, Gambhari, Katphalah, Sarvato-Bhadra (auspicious in every quarter), Shri-parni (fortune-leaved), Krishnavrintaka (black stalk), Kambari (of variegated color)

  • Assamese: Gamari, Gomari
  • Bengali: Gambhar, Gamar, Gumar, gumbar
  • English: Candhar Tree, Candahar tree, Coomb tree, Cashmeri teak, Coomb Teak, Gamari, White Teak
  • Gujrati: Shivan
  • Hindi: Gamari, Gambari, Gambhar, Gamhar, Gumbhar, Kambar, Kambhar, Khambhari, Khammara, Kumar, Kumbhar, Sewan, Shewan, Shiwan
  • Kannada: Shivanigida, Shivani, Kashmiri, Shivanimara, Shivane, Kumbala mara, Shewney, kuli
  • Kashmiri: Kashmari
  • Malayalam: Kumizhu, Kumpil, Kumalu, Kumbil, Kumizhu
  • Marathi: Shivan, Shewan
  • Oriya: Gambhari
  • Punjabi: Gumhar, Kumhar
  • Tamil: Kumishan, Kumizhan, Gumadi, cummi
  • Telugu: Peggummudu, Peggummadi, Gumudu, Pedda-gumudu, Gumar-tek, pedda-gomru, tagumuda
  • Nepal: Gambari
  • Lepcha: Numbor
  • Garo: Bolkobak

Scientific Classification

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 Gambhari is Gmelina arborea. It belongs to plant family Verbenaceae. 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)
  • Subclass: Asteridae
  • Order: Lamiales
  • Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena family, important timber plants such as teak belong to this family)
  • Genus: Gmelina L. (gmelina)
  • Species: Gmelina arborea Roxb.

Synonyms

Premna arborea Roth

Constituents of Gmelina arborea

  • Leaves: Luteolin, apigenin, quercetin, hentriacontanol and betasitosterol.
  • Roots and Root bark: Yellow viscid oil, gmelinol, hentriacontanol, n-octacosanol and b-sitosterol, arboreal, isoarboreal and related lignans
  • Fruit: Butyric acid, Tartaric acid, Alkaloid, Resin and Saccharine, Gmelofuran, Gmelinol, Hentriacontanol, Beta-Sitosterol
  • Stem: Lignans
  • Stembark: Alkaloids, in traces.

Ayurvedic Properties and Action

Gambhari is a medicinal tree found in deciduous forests throughout the greater part of the India upto an altitude of 500 m. It is often planted in gardens and also as an avenue tree.

Gambhari is bitter, appetizer, brain tonic, energizer, digestive, subdues Vata and Kapha, removes dropsy, alleviates thirst, useful in colic pain, burning sensation of body, fever, urinary complaints etc. In Charaka Samhita Gambhari is prescribed in vomiting, dropsy and in burning sensation of the body. In Sushruta Samhita the fruits are said to be energizer like grape and hence used as substitute of sweet date palm.

Dried fruit of Gmelina arborea Roxb.)

  • Rasa (taste on tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Madhura (Sweet), Amla (Sour)
  • Guna (Pharmacological Action): Guru (Heavy), Snigdha (Unctuous), Sara
  • Virya (Action): Shita (Cooling)
  • Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Madhura (Sweet)
  • Karma: Vatahara, Pittahara, Rasayana, Keshya, Medhya, Shukrala, Hridya
  • Ayurvedic Medicines: Arvindasava, Drakshadi Kvatha Churna
  • Medicinal Uses: Rakta Pitta/Bleeding disorder, Daha/Burning Sensation, Trishna/Excessive thirst, Kshata, Kshaya, Mutrakricchra/Dysuria, Hridroga/Heart diseases

Dried Stem

  • Rasa (taste on tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Madhura (Sweet), Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter),
  • Guna (Pharmacological Action): Guru (Heavy)
  • Virya (Action): Ushna (Heating)
  • Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Madhura (Sweet)
  • Karma: Vatahara, Pittahara, Kaphahara, Dipana, Pachana, Bhedani, Medhya, Virechanopaga, Vishahara, Shramahara
  • Ayurvedic Medicines: Karpuradi Kuzambu (Laghu), Candanasava, Dantyadyarishta, Ushirasava
  • Medicinal Uses: Shopha, Jvara/Fever, Daha/Burning Sensation, Trishna/Excessive thirst, Raktadosha, Vishavikara, Arsha/Piles, Shula/Pain, Raktapitta, Bhrama, shosha

Dried Stem Bark

  • Rasa (taste on tongue): Madhura (Sweet), Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
  • Guna (Pharmacological Action): Guru (Heavy)
  • Virya (Action): Ushna (Heating)
  • Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
  • Karma: Kaphahara, Shothahara/Inflammatory conditions curer, Dipana, Pachana, Medhya, Bhedana, Vishahara
  • Ayurvedic Medicines: Chandanasava
  • Medicinal Uses: Shula/Pain, Arsha/Piles, Jvara/Fever, Raktapitta/bleeding disorder, Trishna/Excessive thirst, Bhrama, Shotha/Inflammatory conditions

Dried, mature root and root bark

  • Rasa (taste on tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Tikta (Bitter)
  • Guna (Pharmacological Action): Guru (Heavy)
  • Virya (Action): Ushna (Heating)
  • Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
  • Karma: Dipana, Pachana, Bhedana, Medhya, Tridoshajit, Shothahar, Vishaghna, Jvarhara
  • Ayurvedic Medicines: Dashamularishta, Dashamulaharitaki, Dashamula Ghrita, Dashamula Shatpalaka Ghrita
  • Medicinal Uses: Jvara/Fever, Trishna/Excessive thirst, Daha/Burning Sensation, Arsha/Piles, Shotha/Inflammatory conditions

Important Medicinal Properties

  1. Stem-Wood Bark: Antiviral, Hypoglycemic, Stomachic,
  2. Root: Blood Purifier, Galactagogue, Demulcent, Tonic, Stomachic, Laxative, Antibilious, Febrifuge
  3. Leaf: Carminative
  4. Flower: Acrid, Astringent, Bitter, Refrigerant
  5. Fruits: Acrid, Alterant, Aphrodisiac, Astringent, Bitter, Diuretic, Refrigerant, Sour, Sweet, Tonic

Medicinal Uses of Gmelina arborea

Gambhari is extensively used in Ayurveda. It is one of the five roots of Brihat Panchamula (five larger roots or stem bark of tree, Gmelina arborea, Aegle marmelos, Premna integrifolia, Oroxylum indicum and Stereospermum suaveolens). Brihat Panchamula is used in Ayurveda for chronic fever, high fever, rheumatic affections, haemorrhages, urinary tract infections, anuria, and dysuria.

Gambhari is considered astringent, sweet and bitter. It alleviates phlegm and biliousness. The fruits are unctuous, heavy, cooling, astringent, brain tonic, cardio tonic, removes giddiness, acidity, urinary troubles, burning sensation of body, wounds, wastage and troubles caused by Vata. The fruits are given in case of fever, excess pitta, burning sensation, excessive thirst, painful urination, and heart diseases. The fruits are promoter of good hair, rejuvenating and promoter of intellect. Roots are described as acrid, bitter, anthelmintic, galactagogue, laxative, stomachic, tonic, useful in burning sensation, dyspepsia, fever, hemorrhoids, hallucination, fever, indigestion, anasarca etc.

1 – Acidity

Gambhari has Pitta reducing properties. Eat 2-3 fruits and drink water.

2 – Biliousness, giddiness

Bark cooked with rice is eaten.

3 – Bleeding disorder

Stem decoction is given.

4 – Cold, Cough, gonorrhea

  • Gambhari Stem bark + Kalmegha Andrographis paniculata whole plant, decoction is given. Or
  • 20 ml leaf juice is taken orally.

5 – Diabetes

Take Gambhari fruit powder twice a day.

6 – Dryness of mouth-throat, less salivation

Eat Gambhari fruits.

7 – Fever

A decoction of the roots and bark is given.

8 – Galactagogue (increasing breast milk)

  1. Decoction of the root of Gmelina arborea + liquorice root + sugar is taken orally. Or
  2. A decoction of the roots and bark is given.

9 – Gout, Arthritis

  1. Mix Gambhari Fruit powder + Mulethi root powder, in equal amount and take 1 teaspoon twice a day. Or Prepare decoction of Gambhari Fruit powder + Gambhari stem bark + Mulethi root powder (each 1 teaspoon) by boiling in 400 ml water till it reduces to 100ml. Filter and drink regularly.
  2. Root powder is applied topically.

10 – Hemorrhage

Take ripe fruits with honey.

11 – Headache in fevers

Leaf paste is applied.

12 – Improving chances of conception/pregnancy, improving fertility

Prepare decoction of Gambhari bark + Mulethi, and drink regularly.

13 – Leucorrhoea

Prepare powder of fruits and take twice-thrice a day.

14 – Rheumatism

Root powder paste is applied.

15 – Scorpion bite

Root bark paste is applied.

16 – Smelly discharge worms from ulcers

The leaf paste or juice is used externally.

17 – Thirst Due To Fever

The decoction of the pulp of the fruits is given.

18 – Ulcerative colitis

Eat fresh or dry fruits of Gambhari twice a day with water.

19 – Urticaria, Sheet pitta, Skin Allergy

  • Fruits are taken with milk. Or
  • Fruit powder + Mishri, is taken.

20 – Wounds

Leaf paste is applied.

Other Uses

  • The wood of tree is most reliable timber of India. It is light and tough and used to make furniture, planks, carriages, printing boxes, musical instruments, shafts, axles, picture frames, calipers, ship buildings, artificial limbs and stethoscopes etc.
  • In south India the bark of the tree is used by arrack manufacturers to regulate the fermentation of toddy.
  • The tree is also grown in garden or avenues.

Dosage of Gmelina arborea

  1. Dried Root and Rootbark: 20-30 g of the drug for decoction
  2. Dried Stem: 5-10 g of the drug for decoction
  3. Dried Stem Bark: 3-5 gm in powder form.
  4. Dried fruit: 1-3 g of the drug in powder form.
  5. Decoction of roots/stem is prepared by boiling 20-30 grams of coarse powder of roots/ 5-10 grams of stem, in one glass water till water reduces to half cup. This is filtered and taken lukewarm.

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