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.
Medicinal Properties of Karanja or Pongamia Pinnata
Acharya charaka has grouped this herb under name Kandughna. This means the herb which helps to reduce itching in skin diseases. Hence this herb is usually recommended in skin conditions like psoriasis and dry skin. Karanja is an ingredient of PSORIBAN cream for Psoriasis and Dry skin.
This herb tastes bitter, pungent and acts as astringent. It is hot in potency 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.
Karanja is praised 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.
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