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Pankaj Oudhia’s Notes on Mesua ferrea L. [Kirtikar, Kanhoba Ranchoddas, and Baman Das Basu. "Indian Medicinal Plants." Indian Medicinal Plants. (1918)].

Pankaj Oudhia’s Notes on Mesua ferrea L. [Kirtikar, Kanhoba Ranchoddas, and Baman Das Basu. "Indian Medicinal Plants." Indian Medicinal Plants. (1918)].


Pankaj Oudhia




Based on Ethnobotanical surveys since year 1990 in different parts of India Pankaj Oudhia has documented vital information about Medicinal Plants mentioned in the famous publication by Kirtikar and Basu (1918). Through this research document Pankaj Oudhia has tried to present original document with additional notes. For complete paper with pictures, Interactive Tables, Video and Audio clips please visit



For original publication by Kirtikar and Basu (1918) please visit




134. Mesua ferrea, Linn, h.f.b.l, i. 277

Roxb. 437.


Syn. : — M. speciosa, Chois ; M. coromandeliana, Wight.


Sans. :— Nagakesara.


Vera. : — Nagkesar ; naghas ( H. and B.) ; Nageshvoro,

nageswar (Uriya); Nahor (Assam.) ; Nagchampa ; thorlachampa

(Bom.; Nagchampa, thorla chumpa (Bombay); Nagachampa ;

nagchampha (Mar.); Naugal ; Mallay naugal ; nagap-pu ; Nagas-

hap-pu (Tarn.,); Naug (Tinnevelley) ; Naga Kesara ; naga

kesaramu ; gejapushpam ! Tel.); Naga sampigi ; Nassampige

(Kan. v ; Behetta-cham-pagam ; velutta-chenpakam (Mai.).


Habitat : — Mountains of Eastern Bengal, the Eastern

Himalaya and the Eastern and Western Peninsulas.


A large evergreen glabrous tree ; trunk erect, straight ;

twigs slender sub-4-angled. " Bark Jin. thick, reddish-brown,

peeling off in flat thin cakes, having a slightly roughened

surface. Wood somewhat resembling that of Calophyllum, but

much harder and heavier. Heart-wood red, dark, extremely

hard. Pores moderate-sized, scanty, often filled with yellow

resin, singly or grouped, or in oblique strings of varying length.

Medullary rays extremely fine, uniform, equidistant, very

numerous. Numerous fine wavy lines of dark-coloured tissue,

regular and prominent, but of very different lengths (Gamble).

The young shoots at first brilliant red, then pink, gradually

passing into dark green (Brandis). Leaves coriaceous, 2-6 by

1J to If in., drooping linear-lanceolate, base acute or rounded,

dark green and shining above, covered more or less with a fine

waxy meal beneath ; veins very fine, close-set and equally






inconspicuous on both surfaces ; petiole i-Jin. Flowers very

fragrant, usually terminal and solitary or in pair, nearly sessile

bisexual, 3-4in. diam. Flowers, Feb-April. Sepals 4, in 2 rows,

thick orbicular, with membranous margins, inner pair largest.

Petals 4, imbricate, spreading cuneate obovate, pure white.

Stamens indefinite, Anthers as large, oblong, linear, basifixed,

golden yellow. Ovary 2-celled, 2 ovules in each cell ; style

filiform ; stigma peltate. Fruit pointed, conically ovoid, 1-l^in.,

2-valved. Valves tough, supported by the enlarged sepals. Seeds

1-4, testa smooth, hard, shining, dark brown ; embryo a fleshy

homogeneous mass.


Parts used- -The flowers, kernel, bark and leaves. [Pankaj Oudhia’s Comment: All parts are used as medicine. Even the insects and mites attacking its wild population are used as medicine in Traditional Entomophagy and Entomotherapy. The Traditional Healers of Chhattisgarh and Odisha use the soil collected from root zone of Mesua in treatment of different diseases both internally as well as externally. For details please see Tables Mesua-1 to Mesua-15]


Use. — The flowers are considered by the Hindu physicians

to have astringent and stomachic properties, A paste made

of the flowers with butter and sugar, is used in bleeding piles

and burning of the feet. (U. C. Dutt.)


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The flowers and leaves are used in Bengal as antidote to

snake poison (O'Shaughnessy). The bark is mildly astringent

and feebly aromatic (Dymock) ; the oil of the seeds is used as an

embrocation in rheumatism in North Canara (Ph. Ind., p. 32),

and found useful in the treatment of itch by K. L. Dey.


[Pankaj Oudhia’s Comment: The Indian Traditional Healers have in depth Traditional Medicinal Knowledge about this species. I have documented information about over 150,000 Herbal Formulations in which Mesua is added as denary ingredient. Mesua flowers are popular as immune booster among the Healers. Flowers are added as tertiary ingredient in over 40,000 Herbal Formulations. Most of these Formulations are new to modern science and waiting for validation through clinical trials. Mesua bark is added as nonary ingredient in thousands of formulations used for blood related diseases. Most of the Healers practice Traditional Allelopathic Knowledge or collect the plant parts from wild based on this knowledge in order to get the desired effects. Mesua roots are used in treatment of Neurological disorders in form of over 20000 Herbal Formulations. Mesua roots are added as primary, secondary and octonary ingredients in these formulations. Please see Tables Mesua-16 to Mesua-216 for exhaustive information on this species.]


In many localities, the flowers are used for cough, especially

wheu attended with much expectoration. Rheede states that

the bark is given as a sudorific combined with ginger.


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Moodeen Sheriff considers the flowers of Mesua ferrea

and Ochrocarpus longifolius to be stimulant and carminative

and useful in some forms of dyspepsia and in haemorrhoids.


The seeds resemble chestnuts in colour and form. The

kernel yields 79*48 p.c. of a brown non-drying oil, partially

soluble in alcohol, and gives an orange coloration, with a mixture

of sulphuric and nitric acids. The residue contains 2414 p. c.

of proteins. (J. Ch. I, for Aug. 31, 1910, p. 1019.)


The seeds are brown and generally pear shaped ; they consist of a shiny,

brittle, woody shell containing a single buff-colored kernel. Shell 34 per cent.,

kernel 56 per cent, The kernels contain 76 per cent, of reddish brown oil

with a sweetish smell and slight bitter taste. The oil became semi-solid on

standing at 15° C. Sp-gr. at 15° C. 0'935 ; saponification value, 204 ; iodine

value, 90. The oil is useful in soap making. The residual cake is bitter and

probably poisonous ; it would only be of value as manure.


[Bulletin Imperial Institute 1913.]


E-documents on Mesua




Oudhia, Pankaj (2013). Pankaj Oudhia’s Notes on Mesua ferrea L. [Kirtikar, Kanhoba Ranchoddas, and Baman Das Basu. "Indian Medicinal Plants." Indian Medicinal Plants. (1918)].

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