In these times of uncertainty, people are always on the lookout to bolster their Vyadhikshamatva (immunity) by consuming different types of Vyadhyutpadaka Pratibandhakatva, which are herbs and other remedial recipes. And much to our joy, Mother Nature bestows us with a bountiful of plants, herbs, spices, fruits etc that are extensively used for this purpose. Moreover, Ayurveda, an ancient practice of alternative traditional medications provides us with home remedies and natural supplements that are bequeathed with medicinal properties whether we realize it or not. And one such incredible plant that has innumerable benefits and has been mentioned time and again in several Ayurvedic texts and scriptures by various sages is the incredible Deodar tree.
What Is Deodar?
Deodar, deemed as ‘Wood Of Gods’, is prized for its ample medicinal, religious and commercial uses. Going by the botanical name Cedrus Deodara, it is one of the thickest known trees belonging to the Pinaceae family. Touted as ‘Devdaru’ in Sanskrit, it consists of two words where ‘Dev’ means ‘Divine/ Godly’ and ‘Daru’ signifies ‘Tree’. Also known as ‘Suradaru’ in Sanskrit which means ‘the one which grows in the land of Gods’, this divine tree is mainly native to the Indian subcontinent and also spread vastly over Western Himalayas including Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan. In India, this dense tree is found growing in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Darjeeling. It is also exotically grown in Argentina, China, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Spain.
Deodar is a tall, coniferous tree of evergreen origin that grows to a height of 131 feet to 164 feet, and usually found growing at an altitude of 4,921 feet to 10,499 feet above sea level. The plant has dark greyish brown, almost black, bark with vertical and diagonal cracks dividing into irregular oblong scales. It bears leaves that are long and needle-like and a single tough long shoot with a few dense clusters of short shoots emerging from it. The plant has both male and female flowers, where male flowers are solitary and erect, pale green to yellowish-green with a purplish tinge, while female flowers are pale glaucous green in colour. Cones are solitary or occur in pairs, erect, ovoid or ellipsoidal, in shape with numerous fan-shaped scales arranged in a spiral on a persistent woody central axis, rounded at the apex. They are generally bluish when young and slowly turn reddish-brown when ripe. On each scale rests a pair of winged seeds which are broad, triangular with rounded corners. Seeds are mainly shed in the winter season and flowers bloom by September and October. The plant ideally requires to grow in well-drained soil with high moisture and thrives well in ample space with proper sunlight.
In ancient times, deodar forests were considered to be sacred for practicing meditation by sages to please the Hindu Lord Shiva. In the Vedic times, the aromatic timber from deodar forests was used to construct various temples and even make incense of the same. In ancient times, it was also believed that sitting in the shade of deodar helps to cure asthma and many other diseases and can bestow a person with regenerative properties.
Synonyms Of Deodar
Deodar is known by different names in different parts of the world. It is chiefly known as Himalayan cedar, Deodar cedar in English, Cedro dell’Himalaia in Itallian and Cedro del Himalaya, cedro de la India in Spanish.
In the Indian subcontinent, it goes by the name Diar, Deodar, Devdaar in HIndi, Beyar in Bengali, Devadaram in Tamil, Devadaru in Telugu, Devadar in Marathi and Gujarati. Ayurveda knows it by the Sanskrit terms Devadaru, Devakashtha, Devadruma, Saptapatrika, Suradruma, Suradaru, Daru, Bhadradaaru, Daruka, Devahvaa, Amarataru, Amaradaru, and Surataru, Surabhuruha. While Deodaar is the name used in Unani, Siddha medicines know it by Thevathaaram.
Ayurvedic Indications Of Deodar
Ayurveda, the holistic science of herbal remedies has extensively mentioned this plant time and gain in several ayurvedic scriptures and journals for various indications which include, Kasahara (Relieves cough, Shwasha (relieves breathing difficulties),Balya (improves muscle strength), Kantya (relieves sore throat), Deepana (enhances stomach fire), Pachana (helps in digestion), Rochana (stimulates appetite), Anulomana (improves breathing), Vamana (prevents nausea and vomiting), Asra Dagdharuk (remedies wounds and burns), Vishaha (antitoxic), Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea), Kustha (treats skin disorders), Varnya (improves complexion), Kshayajit (treats tuberculosis), Karnarogahara (treats ear disorders), Sonisthapana (treats bleeding), Chakushya (treats eye problems), Garbhaprada (treats infertility), Vamanopaga (treats emesis), Hikkanigrahana (controls hiccups), Triptighno (relieves pseudo-satiation), Kandunashana (relieves itching), Hridaya (treats heart problems), Rasayani (rejuvenates the whole body), Vayasthapana (prevents ageing), Jvara (useful in fever), Gulmajit (useful in abdominal tumours), Mehahara (treats urinary tract disorders), Amahara (treats indigestion), Dahahara (relieves burning sensation), Trutahara (relieves excessive thirst), Shonitasthapana (prevents bleeding), Pandu (treats anaemia), Krimihara (relieves intestinal worms), Kanthya (improves voice), Arsha (treats piles), Krichra (treats painful micturition) and Pushtida (good for nutrition).
The heartwood of deodar yields about 2.1% of essential oil, and consists mainly of the sesquiterpene hydrocarbons a-himachalene 6-7%, p-himachalene and other isomers including o-himachalene, 2 with p-methyl acetophenone, p-methyl 3-tetrahydroacetophenone, atlantone and himachalo. It also contains hydrocarbons and flavonoids mainly deodarin (3',4',5,7-tetrahydroxy-8-C-methyl dihydroflavonol), taxifolin and quercetin.
Imbued with this quarry of bioactive components exhibiting antibacterial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, astringent, anti-ulcer, digestive, expectorant, hypolipidemic, hepatoprotective, diuretic and diaphoretic properties, Deodar is quintessential in the treatment and management of respiratory issues like cough, cold, asthma, fever, osteoarthritis, obesity, eye and gastrointestinal problems, skin infections and other wounds and burns.
Formulation Containing Deodar
Enriched with potent biochemical components and incredible therapeutic properties, Deodar offers a traditional herbal remedy for various health anomalies. Be it in the form of churna, kwath, gutika, lehyam, rasa or tailam, the magical benefits of the divine deodar can be employed via all. One such incredible ayurvedic formulation containing deodar is Devadarvarishtam.
What Is Devadarvarishtam?
Devadarvarishtam, also known as Devadarvarishta is an ayurvedic proprietary formulation that is vastly used to treat indigestion, constipation, piles, malabsorption syndrome, flatulence, dysuria, urinary disorders, fever, leucorrhoea, uterine disorders, pruritus (itching), eczema, psoriasis, and other skin diseases. It also shows significant remedial action in case of liver issues by detoxifying the blood.
How To Make Devadarvarishtam?
50 parts Devdaru (Himalayan Cedar) – Cedrus deodara
20 parts Vasaka or Adulsa (Malabar Nut) – Adhatoda vasica
10 Parts Tagara – Valeriana wallichii
10 Parts Haldi (Turmeric) – Curcuma longa
10 Parts Daruhaldi (Daruharidra) – Berberis aristata
10 Parts Indrayava – Holarrhena antidysenterica
10 Parts Danti (Dantimool or Hastidanti) – Baliospermum montanum
10 Parts Manjistha – Rubia cordifolia
10 Parts Vaividang (False Black Pepper) – Embelia ribes
10 Parts Khadira (Catechu) – Acacia catechu
10 Parts Rasna – Pluchea lanceolata
10 Parts Nagarmotha or Mustak (Nut Grass) – Cyperus rotundus
10 Parts Shirish
8 Parts Arjuna Bark – Terminalia arjuna
8 Parts Ajwain (Carom Seeds) – Trachyspermum ammi
8 Parts Chitrakmool – Plumbago zeylanica
8 Parts Kutki – Picrorhiza kurroa
8 Parts Kurchi (Kutaj) – Holarrhena antidysenterica
8 Parts Safed Chandan (White Sandalwood) – Santalum album
8 Parts Guduchi (Giloy or Heartleaf Moonseed) – Tinospora cordifolia
16 Parts Dhataki Flower- Woodfordia fruticosa
300 Parts Shahad – Honey
4 Parts Trijaat (Dalchini, Tejpata & Elachi)
2 Parts Trikatu (Black Pepper, Long Pepper & Ginger)
2 parts Priyangu – Callicarpa macrophylla
1 Part Nagkesar – Mesua ferrea
2048 Parts of Water
Wash and dry all the kalka dravyas separately under direct sunlight.
Mix them along with the specified quantity of water in asava vessel.
Reduce it to 512 parts liquid content/decoction.
Cool and filter the decoction.
When decoction is slightly warm, add the prakshepa dravyas.
Mix all the ingredients and seal the asava vessel with a clay-smeared cloth.
Leave it undisturbed to ferment for 30 days.
After completion of the fermentation process, filter the concoction and store it in food-grade containers.
Therapeutic Benefits Of Deodar
Fights Respiratory Issues
Powered with potent anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, and anti-asthmatic properties, Deodar holds high significance in treating a host of respiratory troubles. It is extensively used for treating the common cold, sore throat, cough and flu symptoms. It also thins and loosens the rheum particles within the chest and nasal cavities and hence eases breathing and helps the body to get rid of mucus. It is also beneficial in treating bronchitis and asthmatic conditions.
Alleviates Difficulty in Urination
Owing to its astringent and cooling properties, the formulations containing Deodar are also used for treating urinary disorders like urinary incontinence, painful urination, dysuria, burning sensation while urinating and hence prevents chronic kidney failure.
Treats Wounds And Ulcers
The host of anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of Deodar plays a pivotal role in treating different types of ulcers like ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcer, canker sores or mouth ulcers, etc. The bioactive compounds in this divine tree cleanse wounds, facilitates wound healing, and promote tissue regeneration. Its astringent property also helps in reducing the swelling of wounds.
Diminishes Stress And Anxiety
Being a strong sedative and mood enhancer, the essential oil obtained from Deodar, i.e., cedarwood essential oil plays a significant role in thwarting off stress and eliminating various symptoms of anxiety which include uneasiness, restlessness, cold hands, and feet, etc. The calming and grounding properties of the plant also actively help to uplift the mood and promote feelings of hope and joy.
Just pour a few drops of the cedarwood oil in the potpourri and relax in the aromatic environment or get a head massage with a few drops of this oil to get rid of stress and insomnia.
Aids In Weight Loss
The abundance of flavonoids in Deodar helps the body shed excess weight faster. Owing to the presence of fibre and anti-obesity action, when consumed on a daily basis, the formulations of Deodar satiate sudden hunger pangs and prevents overeating and hence can play a pivotal role in one’s weight loss regimen. The herb also improves metabolism and helps the body to maintain a proper weight.
Relieves Pain And Inflammation
Enriched with strong analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties of the bio-active components, Deodar makes for an extensive remedy from pain and inflammation in case of arthritis and joint pain. It is also used to treat painful muscle spasms, sore muscles, arthritic conditions, and other inflammatory situations. It is also extremely effective against Rheumatoid arthritis which is known as Amavata in Ayurveda, an ailment that stems due to the vitiation of Vata doshas and accumulation of Ama in the joints.
Thanks to the mild carminative and digestive properties, Deodar offers an absolute solution for all digestive woes. The anti-flatulent property reduces the formation of gas in the alimentary canal, thus reducing flatulence, bloating, constipation, and abdominal distension. 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. Additionally, it vastly improves the peristaltic movements of the gut and helps in complete evacuation of stools and prevents the formation of Ama.
Improves Cognitive Functioning
Deodar is an ancient and traditional remedy to increase the functioning of the brain. The potent antioxidants present in the bark improves the memory capacity, focus, concentration, calmness, alertness of an individual. Several types of research conclude that people taking deodar in powdered or decoction form regularly, have improved memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities. It also helps in treating epilepsy, memory loss, stress, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s and other neuro-degenerative disorders.
Numerous antioxidants anti-microbial properties present in the wondrous Deodar play a crucial role in treating skin infections like acne, warts, boils, psoriasis, scabies, eczema, blisters, itching etc. Beauty essentials imbued with the cedarwood oil obtained from Deodar bark also improves complexion by evening out the skin tone, clearing blocked pores, and also reducing various signs of ageing. Owing to the antiseptic nature, the oil obtained from it also prevents wounds and injuries and facilitates healing.
Remedies Hair Troubles
The wealth of antioxidant, astringent and antimicrobial properties in Deodar bark oil makes it extremely beneficial for all sorts of hair woes. Sanctified with essential bioactive constituents, deodar not only enhances blood circulation in the hair follicles but also prevents various hair infections and actively takes part in collagen formation. It is extremely useful for treating dandruff, revitalizing dull, lifeless hair. Regular use of the oil obtained from Deodar bark improves hair texture, adds shine and stimulates hair growth. By effectively alleviating stress, it also prevents hair fall and premature greying of hair.
Other Uses of Deodar
Deodar is one such incredible plant that provides ample uses right from the root to the leaves. The heartwood of Deodar is more aromatic, and is used to make incense sticks. The fruits obtained from deodar tree are used to decorate houses in the western hemisphere specifically during Christmas, hence the name ornamental tree. Timber obtained from the plant has excellent demand as a building material because of its rot-resistant character, durability, and close grain, giving a high polished look. The wood is also used for building temples, boat houses, canals, public buildings, bridges, barracks, and railway cars. Cedarwood essential oil extracted from the bark is used for various purposes, right from being used as an insect repellent, soaps, shampoos and other beauty products, anti-fungal ointments etc. Even meats and food grains like wheat and oats are stored and preserved in rooms made of deodar wood or in the vessels made of deodar due to its powerful anti-fungal and insect repellent properties.
Effect On Doshas:
The divine deodar inherently portrays Kashaya (i.e., astringent), Katu (i.e., pungent) and Tikta (i.e., bitter) Rasa. It is blessed with Rukhsha (i.e., dry) and Laghu (i.e., light) gunas. It has Ushna Virya (i.e., hot potency) and Katu Vipaka (pungent metabolic property). The bioactive ingredients in this bitter herb balance the Kapha (earth and water) doshas and Vata (air) doshas and often an excess of it can aggravate the Pitta (fire and air) doshas.
Owing to the intrinsic properties and doshas, Deodar portrays 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).
The ayurvedic properties that help in portraying the following main prabhabs on the body are Deepana (digestive stimulant), Grahi (anti-diarrhoea), Sthoulya-har (reduces obesity), Kapha-har (pacifies the Kapha/mucous), Tvakadosh-har (cures skin diseases) and Sotha-har (reduces swelling), Grahi (useful in diarrhoea), Tvakadosh-har (cures skin diseases) and Sotha-har (reduces swelling).
The accurate therapeutic dosage of the Deodar may vary from person to person depending upon the age, severity, and condition of the patient. One must consult an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner, as he or she will thoroughly examine the indications and prescribe the effective dosage for a specific period of time.
Powder/ Churna – ½ - 1 teaspoon by mixing it with water after meals.
Decoction / Kwath – 10 – 20 teaspoons along with water after meals.
Gutika/ Capsule – 1 – 2 caps swallow it with water after meals.
Tailam/ Oil – 5-10 drops, mix it with coconut oil and apply on forehead.
Kalka/ Paste – 1-2 teaspoons, apply directly on wounds and the affected area.
Deodar Side Effects:
Thanks to the presence of potent bioactive components, the magical Deodar tree showcases no recorded side effects when used in the correct proportion. It is extremely effective in normalizing the aggravated levels of Kapha doshas and Vata doshas in the body. However, tablets, decoctions, oil or powder forms of Cedrus Deodara in prescribed dosages are usually safe in pregnant and lactating mothers however advice must be taken by a registered medical practitioner or ayurvedic doctors before using.
Since the ancient times, the holy Deodar has been widely used for its therapeutic applications and commercial uses. Thanks to the ensemble of essential bio-active ingredients, and therapeutic properties, it is a pivotal herbal remedy for treating respiratory issues like cough and cold, sore throat, diarrhoea, arthritis, digestive anomalies, rectifying flu and feverish conditions, augmenting skin woes, relieving pain and inflammation, preventing viral infections, and many more.