Famed as the “Golden Rain Tree” owing to its beautiful hanging yellow flowers, Amaltas has umpteen health benefits. Be it the fruit pulp, leaves, roots or flowers, Ayurveda signifies this plant as “Sarvarogaprashamani” one that cures all types of diseases and shields the body against numerous microbial infections. The abundance of bioactive ingredients and strong purgative, carminative, anti-pruritic and anti-inflammatory properties offer relief from constipation, common cold, intestinal and skin disorders, boosts immunity, promotes cardiac functioning, treats wounds, cures dyspepsia, prevents flatulence, inflammation and also manages diabetes.
What Is Amaltas?
Amaltas is a miraculous herb that is of deciduous origin. It is usually medium-sized growing to a height of 25 cm. It has alternate smooth, ovate-shaped, hairy, pinnate, leaves, with 4-8 leaflets on either side, fruits in the form of pendulous, cylindrical, indehiscent pods bearing 20-25 shiny black, seeds. The fruit pods are mainly green when ripe and darn brown when they reach maturity, whereas the flowers are usually bright yellow pentamerous and slightly zygomorphic in shape and occur in bunches. The plant usually prefers a deep, well-drained, moderately fertile sandy loamy soil, but can also grow on calcareous, red, and volcanic soils. The plant is usually found growing in the rain forest, seasonally dry forest, woodland, riverine, gallery forest, wooded grassland, on dry scrub, thickets and coastal areas, low altitudes, gardens, parks, and even on urban lands.
The plant which goes by the botanical name Cassia fistula is chiefly indigenous to India and Pakistan but is also widely disturbed in various parts of South-east Asia, Thailand, China, South Africa, Costa Rica, Guyana, and are also naturalized in many tropical parts including Mexico, Ecuador, West Indies, Belize, Australia, and Brazil. Owing to the vibrant yellow flowers, the Amaltas flower is designated as the national flower of Thailand and the state national flower of Kerala.
Being a powerful Ayurvedic herb, amaltas is widely used in almost all ayurvedic formulations that are directed towards boosting overall immunity. Apart from alleviating different types of infections, the ornamental herb also provides a traditional remedy for boosting digestion, improving metabolism, improving cardiac functions, remedying digestive troubles and treating wounds. Be it blood disorders, skin diseases, loss of appetite, urinary anomalies, gout or constipation, this extremely powerful herb provides a striking remedy for all.
Common Names Of Amaltas
The herb is known by different parts of the world. Few of the common names include Golden Shower, Golden Chain Tree, Pudding Pipe Tree, Indian Laburnum, Purging Cassia, Cassia Fistula, Ai-Kadus, Alash, Ali, Bereska, Cana Pistula, Chaiya-Pruek, Riechpuhs, Golden Rain Tree, Golden Rain, Kiar, Kirwara, Guolong Liang, Kakke, Khuun, Koon, Phung-Ril.
Ayurveda knows this plant by the names which are Amaltas, Aragvadha, Amultas, Bahava, Garmalo, Chaturangula, Rajvraksha, Rajbrikh, Rajah Kayu, Sarakkondrai, Sonaru, Sundali, Trengguli.
In the Indian subcontinent, it is chiefly known as Amaltas or Aragvadha in Sanskrit, Bandarlauri, Bandarlathi, Bendra lathi, Bharva, Dhanbaher, Girimalah, Girimaloah, Rajataru, Suvarnaka in Hindi, Aragvadhamu, Raela, Relu in Telugu, Appai, Konnai, Konrai, Konrai ventan, Kontai, Tiru, Tiruk-kontai in Tamil and Amaltas, Amultas, Sondal, Sonalu, Desi asal, Shonalu, Sonali, in Bengali.
Ayurvedic Indications Of Amaltas
The holistic science of Ayurveda knows this ornamental herb as Aragvadha or Amaltas. Time and again, this effective herb has been mentioned in several ayurvedic scriptures and journals for various indications which include Deepana (enhances stomach fire), Pachana (helps in digestion), Rochana (stimulates appetite), Anulomana (improves breathing), Vamana (prevents nausea and vomiting), Jvara (useful in fever), Kasahara (Relieves cough), Amahara (treats indigestion), Dahahara (relieves burning sensation), Mehahara (treats urinary tract disorders), Prameha (manages diabetes), Vayasthapana (prevents ageing), Shwasha (relieves breathing difficulties), Trutahara (relieves excessive thirst), Balya (improves muscle strength), Hikkanigrahana (controls hiccups), Kantya (relieves sore throat), Triptighno (relieves pseudo-satiation), and Vamanopaga (treats emesis) Shonitasthapana (prevents bleeding), Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea), Kustha (treats skin disorders), Kamala (prevents jaundice), Raktadoshahara (blood purifying), Vran Ropana (heals wounds), Varnya (improves complexion), Krimihara (relieves intestinal worms), Hridaya (treats heart problems), Kanthya (improves voice), Arsha (treats piles), and Krichra (treats painful micturition).
What Are The Chemical Components Of Amaltas?
Amaltas comprises an array of bioactive constituents including Glycosides, Anthraquinones, Fistulic Acid, Sennosides, Sugars, Saccharose, Mucilage, Pectin, Anthraquinones, Rhein, Rheinglucoside, Sennosides A And B, Emodin, Chrysophanic Acid, Phlobaphenes, Fistuacacidin, Lupeol, and Sterols like Beta-Sitosterol And Hexacosanol.
Parts Of Amaltas Used In Medicinal Formulations
Each part of this wonder plant has therapeutic as well as curative value. The fruit pulp is used for both medicinal purposes and to heal wounds. The leaves being an integral component is used for the preparation of ointments, creams, and poultices. The bark has potent astringent-like properties and used for relieving inflammatory conditions whereas the wood is extremely durable and used in the manufacturing and furniture industries. The bright yellow flowers are considered sacred in the Hindu culture and are often used for worshipping Lord Vishnu in several regions in the Indian sub-continent.
Culinary Uses Of Amaltas
The young leaves and flower buds of amaltas can be cooked in the form of a stew. The tender leaves, when taken as a soup, is good for digestion. The astringent property of the bark is used in betel paste, whereas the pulp of the plant parts can be used as a spice and added to enhance the taste of various cuisines.
Formulations Of Amaltas
Aragwadharishtam is an ayurvedic herbal decoction falling under the Arishta Varga that uses the natural fermentation process for preparation. This herbal tonic imbued with Amaltas or Aragvadha and many other herbal ingredients is extremely beneficial for treating skin diseases, intestinal worms, vitiligo (leucoderma), cough and cold. It is also used to heal wounds, purify the blood, and eliminate harmful AMA doshas from the body.
Aragvadha (Amaltas) – Cassia fistula
Amalaki (Amla) – Emblica officinalis
Harad (Haritaki) – Terminalia chebula
Vaividang (False Black Pepper) – Embelia ribes
Nishoth (Trivrit or Turpeth) – Operculina turpethum
Kali Mirch (Black Pepper) – Piper nigrum
Elaichi (Cardamom) – Elettaria cardamomum
Laung (Clove) – Syzygium aromaticum
Guda (Gur) – Jaggery
Madhu - Honey
Method Of Preparation Of Aragwadharishtam:
Wash and sun-dry the main ingredient amaltas
Powder and sieve the dried amaltas powder to remove impurities and solid particles.
Separately, clean, dry, powder and sieve the other herbs and keep it aside.
Immerse the powdered amaltas in a specific quantity of water and soak it overnight.
In the morning, boil the decoction and reduce it to ¼ quantity.
Pass the clear decoction through a muslin cloth to eliminate impurities.
Add jaggery to the clear decoction, stir it properly and filter to remove solid particles.
Now, pour the decoction in a wide-mouthed vessel, add the powdered aromatic herbs to the filtrate and seal the opening of the container.
Keep it aside in the fermentation room and allow it to ferment.
Check on the fermentation process without touching or disturbing the vessel.
Once the fermentation is complete, filter the fermented liquid through a muslin cloth to eradicate solid particles and impurities.
Pour the concoction in air-tight containers, and store it in a cool, dry place for enhancing maturation.
Dosage Of Aragwadharishtam
Adults: 10-25 ml
Children: 5-10 ml
It can be taken twice a day by infusing it in water preferably after meals.
The vibrant hanging flowers of Amaltas are not only used for ornamental purposes to decorate your homes but also the aroma of the flowers can be made into perfumes to use it as a normal body perfume or in potpourri to instil the invigorating aroma in your abode.
Use this easy recipe to make an alluring perfume using the aromatic Amaltas blooms right at home:
4 cups of freshly picked Amaltas flowers
4 cups of purified water
An empty perfume bottle (for storing)
Wash the flowers very well.
Put the flowers and distilled water into a thick-bottomed vessel.
Heat the mixture just below the boiling point before it starts to bubble to avoid cooking and ruining the smell of the flowers.
Simmer the decoction for around two hours, checking periodically to make sure the pot hasn’t run out of water.
Turn off the heat and cool the contents.
Strain the mixture through a muslin cloth to remove the solid particles.
Pour the residual liquid into an empty perfume bottle.
Use it as a regular perfume on your body or in the potpourri!
Therapeutic Benefits Of Amaltas
Apart from adaptogenic properties, amaltas characterizes excellent digestive qualities. The anti-flatulent property of the roots reduces the formation of gas in the alimentary canal, thus reducing bloating, flatulence, and abdominal distension. The abundance of fibre in the root powder makes this a powerful remedy for constipation and other digestive issues. The antacid property of the herb prevents the formation of excessive acids in the stomach thereby treating indigestion, ulcer, gastritis and promoting better absorption of nutrients in the body. Also Read: 5 Herbs For A Healthy Digestive System
Thanks to the presence of antioxidants and ascorbic acid, Amaltas formulation offers several folk remedies for improving the immune system, fighting microbes and shielding the body against various infections. Amaltas also portrays the presence of strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and antifungal properties, which is extremely effective in preventing infections like fever, common cold, sore throat, and other respiratory anomalies. Also Read: Top 8 Ayurvedic Formulations That Can Bolster Your Immunity
Aids In Cardiac Functioning
The extensive heart-healthy properties of Amaltas plays a crucial role in treating a host of heart ailments. It relaxes the cardiac system, by calming the mind, which is extremely beneficial for patients suffering from arrhythmias and palpitations. It holds high significance in strengthening the heart muscles, lowering cholesterol levels in the blood and preventing lipid build-up, which in turn reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, heart blocks, heart attacks, blood clots, etc. Also Read: Top 10 Superfoods For A Healthy Heart
The collection of biochemical compounds present in this herb has been used since ancient times to battle germs and shield the body against various infections. Thanks to its strong anti-microbial properties, amaltas is not only used for removing bacteria or germs from the body but also used for treating and healing wounds. It is also extremely effective in reducing general debility, weakness, fatigue and improving the vitality of the body.
Treats Wounds And Ulcers
The anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer properties of amaltas leaves hold high significance in treating different types of ulcers like ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcer, canker sores or mouth ulcers, etc. The bioactive compounds in the plant promote tissue regeneration and the juice extracted from the leaves is also used for dressing wounds.
Shields From Intestinal Troubles
The potent anti-inflammatory and purgative properties of amaltas helps to suppress the toxic bacteria Helicobacter pylori and also prevents it from growing in the gut. Owing to its strong laxative nature, it effectively prevents constipation, piles by softening the stool and facilitating smooth passage through the body. It also prevents the fluid from drying up in the colon and averts abdominal pain, abdominal distension, colic, etc.
The pulp of amaltas, when taken regularly, helps to relieve constipation, indigestion, gas trouble, intestinal worms and helps in strengthening of the intestines. Also Read: Digestive Disorders: 7 Ways To Improve Gut Health
Remedies Pain And Inflammation
The abundance of anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties of the bioactive ingredients in this wonder herb makes it the ultimate choice for providing relief from pain and inflammation due to arthritis. It is also extremely effective against Rheumatoid arthritis which is known as Amavata in ayurveda. Amavata is generally caused due to vitiation of Vata doshas and accumulation of Ama in the joints.
A decoction of Amaltas fruit pulp made by mixing 2 gms each of saunth (ginger powder), harad, and giloy, and amaltas when consumed regularly treat pain related to arthritis and bodily inflammation.
Amaltas confers strong hypoglycaemic property which plays an essential role in pacifying the blood sugar levels of the body. The β-pancreatic cells, which helps in the production of insulin becomes extremely active on the consumption of amaltas syrup. It also helps to reduce the breakdown of starch into glucose which in turn leads to low blood glucose levels in the body and maintains a balanced diabetic reading. Also Read: Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Blessed with antioxidant properties, amaltas is a blessing to achieve spotless radiant skin. It helps in shielding the skin from oxidative radical damage due to the harmful UVA and UVB rays, and hence reduces the risk of the various signs of aging like wrinkles, spots, fine lines, dark circles, etc. Being a potent anti-inflammatory herb, it also reduces allergic conditions like acne, pimples, zits and prevents various other skin infections like erysipelas (which is a blister-like condition with raised red patches on the skin due to the Streptococcus bacteria).
Juice or paste of the amaltas leaves is crucial for treating skin problems such as ringworm and inflammation in the hand or feet caused due to cold conditions.
Relieves Urinary Problems
Amaltas is an extraordinary herb that is a potent remedy for treating urinary disorders like urinary incontinence, painful urination, and burning sensation while urinating. When the paste of the amaltas root is soaked overnight and ingested the next day morning with ghee, it not only reduces the pain and burning micturition but also stimulates proper urination. Being a mild diuretic, it also treats dysuria. The host of anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties holds high significance in preventing urinary infections.
Make a paste of the root of the cassia fistula tree by soaking it in water overnight. Mix this with ghee and have this daily in the morning.
Effect On Doshas:
Amaltas is hallowed with Madhura Rasa (i.e. sweet taste) and Guru (i.e. heavy) and Snigdha Guna (i.e. unctuous or oily quality). It intrinsically portrays Shita Virya (i.e. cold potency) and Madhura Vipaka (i.e. sweet metabolic taste). Being heavy and oily, it pacifies the Pitta (fire and air) doshas and Kapha (earth and water) doshas whereas having a sweet metabolic taste and cold potency, the herb often aggravates the Vata (air) doshas. Owing to the intrinsic properties and doshas, the herb has a positive effect on the various Dhatus (i.e. body tissues) which are Rasa (i.e. Plasma), Rakta (i.e. Blood), Mamsa (i.e. Muscles), Asthi (i.e. Bones) and Shukra (i.e. Reproductive Fluids). Also Read: Introduction To Ayurveda: Learn About Vata, Pitta And Kapha Doshas
The ayurvedic properties help in portraying the following main prabhabs on the body which are, Amaltas portrays Tridoshahara (i.e. corrects the imbalance of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), Raktapittahar (i.e. cures bleeding), Kandughna (i.e. cures itching) and Virechana (i.e. removes the aggravated Doshas from the anal canal)
The effective therapeutic dosage of Amaltas may vary from person to person depending upon the age, body strength, effects on appetite, severity, and condition of the patient. It is strictly recommended to consult an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner as he or she would evaluate the patient’s indications and prescribe an effective dose for a specific period.
Fruit Pulp: 5-10 gm
Flower Churna/powder: 5-10 gm
Cold Infusion Of Bark/ Decoction: 50-100 ml
Amaltas Avaleha: 1-2 teaspoons a day, once a day
Amaltas Vati: 1-2 capsules, 2 times a day
Amaltas Side Effects:
The plant parts are poisonous if eaten raw without the purification process. Excess use of any part of the plant can cause nausea, dizziness, diarrhoea, and dysentery. The herb is not recommended for small kids, pregnant women and lactating mothers. Consultation with a doctor is strictly necessary before consuming the plant.
Coined as the “Golden Shower Tree”, Amaltas is blessed with myriad health benefits. Thanks to the goodness of the essential bio-active ingredients, it is widely used for treating flu and feverish conditions, managing cough and cold, sore throat, treating digestive anomalies, enhance cardiac functioning, preventing skin infections, promoting digestion and many more.