Karanja also known as Pongamia Pinnata has numerous health benefits and uses which are described in ayurveda. Pongamia oil is very useful in psoriasis and dry skin.
Karanja which has a botanical name as Pongamia Pinnata is an important plant which is recommended in texts of Ayurveda for psoriasis. It belongs to Fabaceae family. These trees are distributed throughout India up to 1200 feet height from sea level.
Texts of Ayurveda eulogise this plant with various names based on its physical features. It is explained as follows.
It is known as Karanaja, since it colours water. The inflorescence looks very beautiful like a garland at night hence it is Naktamaala. The flowers bloom in bunches and Ayurveda acharyas praise it as Gucchapushpaka. The seeds of this plant when processed yield an oil which looks like ghee hence the name Ghritapoora. The leaves of pongamia are shiny and have oily texture, thus the name Singhdhapatra.
In India it is regionally known by different names. It is known as Dithouri in Hindi, Indian beech in English, Pongum in Tamil and Malayalam, Honge mara in kannada.
Health Benefits and Medicinal uses of Karanja or Pongamia Pinnata
This herb tastes bitter (tikta rasa) , pungent (katu rasa) and acts as astringent (kashaya rasa). It is hot in potency (ushna veerya) and penetrates the deep tissues. It is light and gets absorbed quickly. All these qualities help Pongamia pinnata to reach the deep layers of skin and repair it from inside. It normalises Kapha and vata. Kapha and vata mainly cause itching and dryness in psoriasis. The leaves, seeds and karanja oil are used for medicinal purpose.
Pongamia for Psoriasis and Dry Skin
Ayurveda Acharyas have grouped this herb under name Kandughna, kushtajit and kushtaghna. This means the herb which helps to reduce itching in skin diseases. Its use is like winning the battle against skin diseases. Hence this herb is usually recommended in skin conditions like psoriasis and dry skin. Pongamia Pinnata oil or Karanja oil is used in psoriasis and dry skin. Karanja is an ingredient of PSORIBAN cream for Psoriasis and Dry skin.
In wound healing
Karanja accelerates wound healing. Hence it is known as vranahara herb in ayurveda. It reduces inflammation of the affected skin as in psoriasis. Hence it is called as shothahara. (the herb with anti-inflammatory properties).
Other Health Benefits and Uses:
Texts of ayurveda recommend its uses in uterine disorders (Yonidoshahrut), haemorrhoids (arshahara) , intestinal parasites (krumihara), relieves bloating (udavarthahara), Relieves constipation (bedhana).
Karanja Oil or Pongamia Oil benefits and uses in Psoriasis
Karanja oil is extracted from its seeds. This should not be directly used. Karanja is processed with sesame oil along with other herbs to make it suitable for medicinal purpose. This has to be strictly used under the supervision of a qualified ayurvedic doctor. This should not be used internally in children and pregnant women. The processed karanja oil or cream like PSORIBAN can be used in psoriasis and dry skin.
Karanja is praised in ayurveda as
- Kushtaghna, Kushtajit . Which means it is useful in skin diseases and wins over skin ailments
- Vranahara – Heals the skin lesions quickly.
- Krumihara – prevents secondary infections from bacteria and fungus.
- Shotahara – reduces inflammation.
Chemical Constituents of Karanja
The seeds of pongamia contain oil known as pongamia oil which is bitter and dark. Bark contains bitter alkaloid, resin, mucilage and sugar. The important bio molecules of this plant are karanjin, gamatin, ionchocarpin, isochocarpin, glabrin, neoglabrin , ovalitenone, kanugin, pongapin, 3-metho-oxypongapin, pongaglabrone, kanjone, pongol, etc.
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