While traversing through the pleasantly warm, tropical, subtropical nations across South and South-East Asia, such as India, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the bright pink to glowing white Kachnar blooms are a prominent, pretty sight, quite hard to miss. Not only are these beautiful natural bounty utilized widely for decorative purposes, thanks to their bright colours and fragrant petals, but kachnar flowers, as well as other plant portions, are also esteemed for their outstanding health benefits and usage in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.
One of the most popular therapeutic concoctions prepared with kachnar, blended with resin from Mukul plants and various spices, is Kanchanar Guggulu, famed for mending instances of thyroid problems, PCOS, joint aches, hormonal imbalance and impurities in the blood. Possessing abundant quantities of vitamin C, vital trace minerals, besides potent antioxidants, kachnar is a panacea for curing a spectrum of health anomalies, ranging from haemorrhoids, indigestion, cough, to slowing progression of cancer and controlling blood sugar in diabetes. Read on, to discover more details about the benefits, nutritive values, ayurvedic indications, dosage and side effects of kachnar.
The Kachnar Tree:
Scientifically known as Bauhinia variegata, kachnar is the name of this flowering plant in the regional Indian languages of Hindi and Bengali and it is called Mountain Ebony, Butterfly Ash, Camel’s Foot in English. It is also referred to by various other terms in the many distinct local languages in India, as “Basavanpada” in Kannada, “Koral” in Malayalam, “Mantharai” in Tamil, “Devakanchanamu” in Telugu and “Kovidara” in Marathi.
The Bauhinia variegata is a deciduous tree, native to the Southeast Asian countries of India, Sri Lanka And China, among others. It is generally medium in size, growing up to a height of 10 to 12 meters, with thick barks and lengthy stems. These branches hold leaves that stretch up to 10 to 20 centimetres in size, being rather broad, having two rounded lobes each at the base and tip. Kachnar flowers are initially present as stuffed buds and upon blooming, appear in striking shades of vivid pink and dazzling white, bearing five petals. These flowers, upon developing, bud into fruits that are basically seedpods, housing numerous seeds. All parts of the kachnar tree, namely the roots, bark, stems, leaves, flowers and seeds are packed with beneficial nutrients and medicinal compounds that confer astounding merits for overall wellbeing.
Kachnar Nutrition Values:
Kachnar is rich in vital essential nutrients of vitamin C, B vitamins, key minerals of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, zinc, besides requisite macronutrients of reducing-sugar carbohydrates, dietary fibers, proteins and healthy unsaturated fats. In many regions of India, curries and pickles are prepared, by cooking, frying kachnar buds, seasoned with onions and spices, as a customary food, which is then eaten as vegetables or side dishes as part of the regular diet.
Besides containing ample amounts of several pivotal vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbs, fats, kachnar also showcases an impressive profile of bioactive phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antihyperglycemic, anti-arthritic and cytotoxic i.e. cancer-reducing properties. These potent components are very useful in the prevention, management and treatment of a host of disorders, including hypothyroidism, irregular periods and amenorrhea, high blood sugar levels in diabetes, mouth ulcers and digestive complications.
Kachnar Health Benefits And Ayurvedic Uses:
Rectifies Thyroid Problems
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not synthesize adequate quantities of thyroid hormones, which play a crucial role in conserving metabolism and immunity in the body. Since an imbalance in the three doshas of vata, pitta, kapha, besides overweight, obesity conditions and hampered digestion processes prompt thyroid problems, taking kachnar decoctions and powders assists in treating hypothyroidism. Kachnar formulations significantly ease the assimilation of foodstuffs in the body, as well as regulate the three doshas, improve metabolism and promote weight loss.
Lowers Blood Sugar
Kachnar is blessed with profuse anti-diabetic and antihyperglycemic plant compounds. These control insulin mechanism in the body, as well as bring down rising blood glucose levels. In this manner, kachnar assists in mitigating diabetes symptoms and keeping blood sugar levels in check.
Effectively Treats Haemorrhoids
Kachnar is imbued with agni-activating matter i.e. compounds that stimulate the digestive juices. Since rampant indigestion and constipation trigger inflammation in the veins in the rectum, resulting in itching, pain, bleeding during the elimination of wastes as urine, stools, kachnar relieves pain, swelling in the rectum and ceases the occurrence of piles or haemorrhoids.
Regulates Menstrual Cycles
Erratic occurrences of monthly periods or the total lack of menstruation i.e amenorrhea, which happen due to imbalance in pitta dosha and an overheated body, can be alleviated by taking kachnar decoctions. This is because kachnar is packed with sheeta or cooling traits, besides an inherent ability to control pitta dosha, thereby assuring timely, normal menstrual cycles.
Diarrhoea occurs owing to an agitated Vata dosha, resulting in frequent excretion of loose stools, apart from discomforting symptoms of fatigue, dehydration. Bestowed with vata-balancing characteristics, kachnar successfully cures diarrhoea, enhances digestion and preserves normal bowel and bladder functions.
Effect On Doshas:
In Ayurveda, Kachnar is designated as “Rakta Kanchan” in Sanskrit and is known by many other ancient names including “Kanchanara”, “Gandari”, “Yugapatraka”. The time-tested scriptures of Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita classify this miraculous plant as “Vamanopaga” meaning utilised in emesis or expulsion of toxins from the body, besides “Kashayavarga” implying it holds an inherent astringent flavour.
Being rather bitter in nature, kachnar comprises a kashaya rasa i.e. astringent taste. This beneficial herb is famed for its laghu guna since it is easy to assimilate in the system and also has a rather dry quality, i.e. rooksha guna. Having an intrinsic sheeta veerya i.e. cooling attribute, kachnar also displays a prabhava or special curative feature, in the form of “Gandamala Nashana”, meaning it effectively rectifies all thyroid problems. Kachnar is also beneficial in balancing elevated kapha and pitta doshas, soothing aggravated symptoms and instilling tridoshic harmony of vata, pitta and kapha in the human body.
For most people, kachnar is absorbed smoothly in the system and vastly improves overall wellness. Taking the bark powder in small amounts of 1 to 3 grams, or 40 to 80 ml of the leaf decoction, 10 to 20 ml of the flower extract, in divided portions, daily, is the suggested safe, effective intake of kachnar. However, if a person presents with any underlying conditions of thyroid, diabetes or PCOS, then it is always advised to consult with a certified Ayurvedic practitioner and follow only the prescribed dosage, to avoid any harmful side effects.
A moderate usage of kachnar daily is well-tolerated by most individuals. Yet, kachnar is not recommended for people who suffer from kidney damage, liver anomalies and have recently undergone extensive treatment, surgery for other pre-existing health conditions, since it may lead to poor absorption in blood and further internal tissue damage. Also, pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised not to consume kachnar, since it possesses hormone-influencing properties.
Kachnar is truly a magical wonder from Mother Nature, that supplies tremendous quantities of essential nutrients, carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, besides powerful antioxidants and advantageous plant-based biochemicals.
Kachnar is indeed a versatile herb. It can be consumed as food in measured amounts by incorporating it into the routine diet, as staple Indian dishes of curry, achaar. Besides, it delivers magnificent curative traits as a medicinal aid for thyroid complications, indigestion, irregular menstrual cycles and healing a host of health woes, to ensure optimal wellbeing.