Oak galls / Majuphal or Manjakani are the outgrowth on the tree, Aleppo Oak (Quercus infectoria) native of Greece, Asia Minor, Syria and Iran. The excrescences are formed from the attack and deposit of eggs of female gall-wasp (Cynips gallae tinctoriae) on young twigs, leaves and buds. The galls are imported in India for medicinal use.
Galls are growth of oak tree tissue produced in response of chemical secreted by the larvae of gal wasp. The Oak Galls are hard, bluish green, resinous, spherical and of variable sizes. Various studies done on the galls show antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, pain-relieving, skin lightening, anti-venom and anti-amoebic activities.
In Ayurveda, Galls are used in treatment of Piles (Arsha), Diarrhea (Atisara), Small Intestine Disease (Grahani), Oral Diseases (Mukha Roga), Dysentery (Pravahika), Dental Disorders (Danta Roga), Vaginal Tumor (Yoni Kanda) And Leucorrhoea (Shwet Pradar).
Quercus infectoria is a deciduous, semi-evergreen small tree or shrub with elliptical, glabrescent and up to 4 cm long leaves on drooping branches. It grows up to 6 feet at a medium rate. It is mainly found in low lands and mountain valleys. It requires moist soil. The tree bears monoecious flowers (either male or female flowers on same tree). Flowers are in axillary fascicles, pedicels filiform. Fruits are baccate and 8 mm in diameter. They become black while ripening. Root is cylindrical, branched and shows fibrous fracture, 6-10 cm long and 4-8 mm in thickness.
In Ayurveda, Majuphal consists of the dried gall obtained from plant Quercus infectoria Olivo. The galls are formed on the twigs, leaves of the plant from the insect attack. In some galls a small rounded hole leading to a cylindrical canal to the center, can be seen. It is formed by the insect to escape from the gall.
The galls are spherical or pear-shaped, hard and brittle. They are 1.2 to 2.5 cm in diameter and have a short basal stalk and numerous rounded projections on the upper part of the gall. They usually sink in water. The surface of gall is smooth, shining, bluish-green, olive green or white brown. They tastes astringent followed by sweetness. Average weight of ten galls picked at random should not be less than 2.5 grams.
The botanical name of Mayakku is Quercus infectoria. It belongs to Genus Quercus and family Fagaceae. There are about four-hundred fifty plant species belonging to Genus Quercus which are distributed all across the globe. Many of the species are commercially valuable as they provide timber, bark and Galls.
Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.
- Kingdom : Plantae – Plants
- Subkingdom : Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
- Superdivision : Spermatophyta – Seed plants
- Division : Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
- Class : Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
- Subclass : Hamamelididae
- Order : Fagales
- Family : Fagaceae – Beech family
- Genus : Quercus L. – oak
- Species : Quercus infectoria Olivier – Aleppo Oak
Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Gall, seeds (edible)
Plant type: Small tree or shrub
Distribution: Native to Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Syria and Kurdistan. In India, the tree is found in Kumaun, Garhwal
Habitat: Semi-arid to semi-humid
Unani Properties: Cold and dry
What are Galls?
Galls are abnormal overgrowth / tumors caused by various parasites on host plant. There are more than 2,000 kinds of galls formed by wasps, flies, beetles, ants, moths, bacteria and viruses.
The parasite injects chemical in the plant that causes formation of galls. These over growths are used by the eggs and larvae as a house which provides food and shelter to growing insect.
Galls from various plant species are used as food, medicine and for making dyes and inks.
Vernacular Names /Synonyms
- Latin name: Quercus infectoria
- Sanskrit : Mayaphala, Majuphul
- Assamese : Aphsa
- Bengali : Majoophal, Majuphal
- English : Oak Galls, Magic Nuts, Mecca Gall, Syrian Gall, Turkey Gall, Gallnut
- Gujrati : Muajoophal, Mayfal, Maiphal
- Hindi : Maajoophal, Majuphal, Mazu
- Kannada : Machikaai, Mapalakam
- Malayalam : Majakaanee, Mashikkay
- Marathi : Maayaphal
- Oriya : Mayakku
- Punjabi : Maju
- Tamil : Machakaai, Masikki, Mussikki, Machakai, Maasikkai, Masikkai
- Telugu : Machikaaya
- Urdu : Mazu, Mazuphal, Baloot, Mazu Sabz
- Malaysia : Manjakani, Biji manjakani
- Burma : Pinza-kanj-si, Pyintagar-ne-thi
- Persian : Mazu, Mazu-E-Sabz
- Arabic : Uffes, Afas, Ballut Afssi
- Indonesia : Manjakani
- Spanish : Encina De La Agalla
- Swedish : Aleppoek
- Thai : Ben Ka Nee
- Turkish : Mzi Mesesi
- German : Gall-Eiche
- Other common names : Gall-Oak, Cyprus Oak, Nut-Galls, Asian Holly-Oak, Aleppo oak
Constituents of Quercus infectoria Galls
The main constituent of gall is Tannic Acid (50-70%), Gallic acid (3%) Starch and Sugars. Saponins, alkaloids, glycosides, triterpenes, sterols, phenolic compounds, and flavonoids are also found.
Aleppo galls contain highest tannic acid.
Dosage of Quercus infectoria Galls
The powder of Gall is given in dose of 500 mg to 1.5 grams twice a day with water / honey.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action
It is astringent 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, subdues Pitta (Bile). Sheet Virya herb gives nourishment to body and steadiness. It supports building of body fluids.
Rasa (taste on tongue): Kashaya (Astringent)
Guna (Pharmacological Action): Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Dry)
Virya (Action): Shita (Cooling)
Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
Kaphahara – pacifies phlegm.
Pittahara – pacifies pitta.
Dipan – promote appetite
Grahi – dry the fluids of the body
Important Ayurvedic Formulations
Gorochanadi Vati / Gutika
Important Medicinal Properties
Majuphal / Mazoo, is used for therapeutic purpose in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani due to its certain medicinal activities. It is rich in tannic and gallic acid and has significant astringent action. It checks the bleeding and constricts the tissues.
Oak gall are used in treatment of Bleeding, Cancer, Cough, Dysentery, Eczema, Gonorrhea, inflammation of the gums, Piles, Malaria, Nervousness, Prolapse, Vaginal tightening and rejuvenation and Wound. Below is given medicinal properties of Gall powder.
Analgesic – relieve pain.
Astringent – causing the contraction of skin cells and other body tissues.
Desiccant – Drying agent
Diaphoretic – causes sweat
Hemostatic or haemostyptic – stops the bleeding
Hypnotic – sleep-inducing
Hypoglycemic – Reducing level of the sugar glucose in the blood.
Sedative – promoting calm or inducing sleep.
Teeth and Gum Tonic
Tonic – Restore or improve health or well-being.
Therapeutic uses of Majuphal / Mazoo / Nut Gall / Oak Gall
Mazoo / Majuphal is used in treatment of internal hemorrhages, diarrhea, gonorrhea, leucorrhoea and other vaginal discharges, to restore postpartum uterine elasticity and to stimulate the contraction of vaginal muscles. Externally it is applied on prolapses of rectum, relaxed, hemorrhoids, etc.
Gall powder is especially used in treatment of dental and oral problems. It is used as an ingredient in dental formulation (such as Gum Tone Charak) for treating gum problems, strengthening gums and teeth.
Anal fissure, vaginal laxity, anus prolapse, piles
Finely powdered gall (1 part) and Vaseline (4-6 parts) are mixed and applied topically.
In chronic diarrhea, 1 gram of powdered gall is taken, thrice daily with little cinnamon powder.
In advanced stage, the decoction is given in dose of 30-60 ml, thrice daily.
The powder of gall is taken 2-3 times a day in dose of 1-2 grams.
Decoction of galls is used to wash the vaginal area.
Oral problems, nasal catarrh, sore throat
Due to high tannic acid content, the decoction / infusion is used as gargle in oral problems.
Poisoning (Nux vomica, Datura, Aconite, Opium, Antimony etc.)
Once the stomach is emptied, the decoction of galls is given in dose of 50-100 ml.
Piles, dysentery, diarrhea
Dry powder is taken in dose of 500mg to 1 gram with honey.
Prolapse of rectum
The decoction of galls is used as an enema.
Or keep a pad soaked in decoction on anal area.
For making decoction, boil 5-10 grams of bruised galls in half liter water for 10-15 minutes.
Sore throat, Tonsils
Gargle with decoction of galls added with alum.
The galls are boiled, crushed and applied externally on affected body part.
The gall powder is dusted on wounds.
Side Effects of Majuphal / Oak Gall
- Galls are high in Tannins. In large doses, tannic acid can cause stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, and liver damage.
- It is better to avoid use of Oak gall during pregnancy.
- Do not use if suffering from kidney or liver disorders.
- Do not use continuously or in high quantities.
- It can reduce the effectiveness of digestive enzymes.
- It affects absorption of iron.
- It aggravates Vata Dosha.
- It causes constipation.