Caesalpinia sappan (Synonyms Caesalpinia minutiflora, Binacaea sappan) belongs to plant family Fabaceae (Leguminosae). It is also known as Sappan Wood, Indian redwood and Brazil Wood in English. This tree is native to Indo-Malayan region. Sappanwood in a multiurpose tree. The heartwood yields a red dye, which is used for medicinal, cosmetic purposes and as a safe natural coloring agent. The wood is resistant to termite and used for making cabinets, violin bows and walking sticks.
Traditionally, decoction of the heartwood is given as a powerful agent to stimulate menstrual flow and a tonic for women for fast recovery after childbirth. It shows beneficial effects in heavy bleeding and short periods. The heartwood along with other ingredients is used in dysmenorrhea and leucorrhoea. It is also beneficial in certain forms of skin diseases and hemorrhage from the lungs.
Plant Description: Patang is a shrub or small thorny tree, about 6 to 9 m in height with conspicuous spines on the stem and leaf rachis. Paired, recurved stipular prickles are found on branches. It is usually cultivated as a hedge plant.
Bark: Moderately hard, greyish-brown in colour with distinct ridges and sharp prickles about 2.5 cm thick, dark brown on one surface and creamish-white on the other, and yellowish-orange in between; Odour and taste not characteristic.
Leaves: Bipinnately compound, 20 to 45 cm long and are alternately arranged. About 8 to 16 pairs of pinnae on each leaf. Each pinna has ten to 20 pairs of oblong or oblong-rhomboid shaped leaflets attached in distinct manner.
- Inflorescence: Raceme with long peduncle and located at the tips of the branches.
- Flowers: Golden yellow, arranged in supra-axillary and terminal racemes forming a large panicle.
- Pods: Ellipsoid and brown to black in colour.
- Flowering and fruiting occur from July to September, extending rarely to November.
- Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Wood
- Plant type / Growth Habit: Shrub / Medium size tree
- Duration: Perennial
- Distribution: Indian peninsular areas, all southern states, and extends northwards to Orissa and Bengal.
- Habitat: Xerophytic in nature, found in subtropical and tropical regions with dry and hot climatic conditions.
- Propagation: Through seeds.
Vernacular names / Synonyms
- Ayurvedic: Patangah, Patranga, Pattanga, Bharyavriksha, Kashtha, Kuchandana, Lohitaranga, Patanga, Patranga, Pattaranga, Pattaranjaka, Pattranya, Pattura, Raktaka, Raktasar, Ranjana, Rogakashtha, Suranga, Surangada
- Scientific: Caesalpinia sappan
- Assamese: Baggam, Bakam
- Bengali: Bokom
- English: Sappan Wood
- Gujrati: Patang
- Hindi: Pagang, Bakam
- Kannada: Chappanga, Patanga, Patranga, Sappanga
- Malayalam: Chappangam, Pathimukham
- Tamil: Anaikuntrumani, Padangam, Patungam, Sappangu, Varattangi
- Telugu: Bukkapuchettu
- Trade: Patang, Brazil wood
- Unani: Pattang
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 plants.
The botanical name of Patang is Caesalpinia sappan. 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)
- Division: Magnoliophyta (flowering plants)
- Class: Magnoliopsida (flowering plant producing an embryo with paired cotyledons)
- Subclass: Rosidae
- Order: Fabales
- Family: Fabaceae or Leguminosae – Pea family
- Genus: Caesalpinia L.
- Species: Caesalpinia sappan L. – sappanwood
- Binacaea sappan
- Caesalpinia minutiflora
Important Medicinal Properties
Caesalpinia sappan 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.
- Antibacterial: Active against bacteria.
- Anti-cancerous: Against cancer.
- Antidiarrheal: Gives relief in diarrhea.
- Anti–inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
- Antioxidant: Neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
- Antipyretic/antifebrile/febrifuge: Effective against fever.
- Depurative: Purifying agent.
- Emmenagogue: Stimulates or increases menstrual flow.
- Hepatoprotective: Prevent damage to the liver.
- Uterine tonic: Tonic for female reproductive health.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action
Caesalpinia sappan is known as Patanga, Patranga, Pattaranga, Pattaranjaka, Pattranya, Pattura, Raktaka, Raktasar, Ranjana, Rogakashtha, PatRaag, Rakt Kashtha, Kuchandana, Surangaka, Jagatyakva, Pattura in Sanskrit. It is categorized in Karpurapi Varga in Bhavaprakash Nighantu and in Chandanadi Varga of Dhanvantari Nighantu. It is considered astringent, bitter, sweet in taste (Rasa), pungent after digestion (Vipaka), and is cool in effect (Virya). It alleviates Pitta due to cooling action and Kapha due to drying qualities.
- Rasa (taste on tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Madhura (Sweet), Tikta (Bitter)
- Guna (Pharmacological Action): Ruksha (Dry)
- Virya (Action): Shita (Cooling)
- Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
- Dosha Effect: Pitta and Kapha pacifier
It is a Sheet Virya herb. Sheet Virya or Cool potency herb, subdues Pitta (Bile) and Vata (Wind). It is a Katu Vipak herb. Vipak refers to post-digestive (effect after digestion / cooking of Rasa) effect of tastes after its mixing with digestive juices. It is the long-term effect of herb. Katu Viapk herb, increases dryness in body.
Actions / Karma
- Balya: Increase the strength of the body.
- Panduhar: Cures anemia.
- Raktadoshahar: blood purifying.
- Shothahar: Removes inflammation.
- Sthambhana: Stops the watery flow from the body in the form of vomiting, diarrhoea.
- Vranya: useful in the treatment of ulcer.
Therapeutic uses – Daha, Mukharoga, Pradara, Vrana, Rakta Dosha
Ayurvedic Medicines: Arimedadi taila, Karpuradyarka, Kunkumadi taila and Patrangasava.
Medicinal Uses of Caesalpinia sappan
Caesalpinia sappan is used both internally and externally. Its medicinal properties are considered similar to Yellow Chandan (Santalum flonum, Pila Chandan, Peet Chandana). Sappan wood is used topically to heal wounds, stop bleeding and sooth rashes and bruises. Internally, it is used to regulate menses after child birth. A decoction of wood is given in case of hemoptysis (coughing up blood or blood-stained mucus from the bronchi, larynx, trachea, or lungs). Heart wood decoction is also beneficial in diarrhoea, dysentery, intestinal, leucorrhoea and uterine hemorrhage. Heartwood small piece produces dark red solution in water. This solution has antithirst, blood purifying, antidiabetic, complexion enhancing and several other properties. The wood is also used to obtain red dye and as a shampoo.
Bark powder is applied topically.
Fever, biliousness and increased body heat
Heart wood decoction is given.
Improve renal functions
A Bark decoction is given.
Itches, urticaria and rashes
Heart wood paste with coconut milk is applied externally.
Jaundice and bile disorders
- A Bark decoction is used for six days. OR
- Bark is cooked with rice and eaten.
Bark is cooked with rice and eaten.
Thirst and urinary disorders due to diabetes
Heart wood decoction is taken before sleep.
Dosage of Caesalpinia sappan
The recommended dosage of wood is 2-4 grams or 2-4 Masha.
Contraindications, Interactions, Side-effects and Warnings Caesalpinia sappan
- It must not be taken in excess.
- A decoction of the wood is considered a powerful emmenagogue.
- It should not be used during pregnancy. In South Korea, it is used for causing abortion.