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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Palash Tree - Magic of Medicinal Herbs and Flowers

The Palash Tree Flower
Before modern medicines became prevalent, humans treated many ailments with flowers, leaves, roots and barks of plants and trees. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medicinal science that makes use of many herbs. Ancient spiritual persons led highly regulated lives and were very aware of their bodies. They discovered the effect of various herbs on their selves through experimentation. With further use amongst others, certain herbs were declared as being useful for certain ailments.

The difficulty with ancient herbal science is that it has not been put through the same sort of rigorous scientific analysis as modern medicines. Further the knowledge has not been recorded carefully. Names of some of the herbs are misunderstood and some have become extinct. There is also much fraud in this area as humans are prone to resort to whenever there is profit and when regulation is lacking. On the positive side, these herbs are natural substances unlike modern medicines that are unnatural because they are a product of a laboratory. Even when the original source is a plant, modern practitioners isolate the active or so called active agent and use that as a medicine, an unnatural product. The process of testing is so long that the scientist has little time to study the combined effect of other ingredients in the plant that God put in there along with the so called active substance. The result is that many modern medicines are far more likely to cause a harmful side effect as compared to a natural herb that comes from life and supports life, perhaps.

Even addictive herbs such as Marijuana and Opium in their natural state are far less addictive than some chemical medicines. Steps are underway around the world to legalize Marijuana which this author supports, since it kills far fewer people than Alcohol does but governments must be careful not to legalize their extracts and so called active agents.

May I now tell something about a personal near magical experience with just one herbal remedy – the Palash flower. Butea monosperma or Plash (dhak) is a species of Butea native to tropical and sub-tropical parts of India and Asia. Historically, dhak forests covered much of the area between the Ganges and Yamuna in northern India, but these were cleared for agriculture in early 19th century as the English East India Company increased tax demands on peasants. It is used for timber, resin, fodder, medicine, and dye. The wood is dirty white and soft and, being durable under water, is used for well-curbs and water scoops. Good charcoal can be made from it. The leaves are usually very leathery and not eaten by cattle. However, the leaves are great for making throw away bowls and plates after sewing together and drying and used widely in India for the purpose, a practice that is far more environmentally friendly as compared to the use of paper plates. It is a medium sized tree, growing to 15 m tall.. The flowers are 2.5 cm long, bright orange-red, and produced in racemes up to 15 cm long.

A Palash tree growing by a roadside in India
The plash tree is a medicinal tree and amongst its various uses it is used to treat inflammation, swelling, conditions related to bones etc.  For some years now I have suffered from time to time with a stiffness of the back and a feeling of weakness and tiredness in that area that has increased with age, not quite an ache but nevertheless not comfortable. It is something that is common with age and those who lead a life on the desk. Therefore, a few months ago when I heard of the use of Palash flowers from a learned source, I visited a traditional supplier and procured some dried flowers and added them to my afternoon cup of tea. They produce a strong yellow color when boiled. The effect was magical. The back stiffness and feeling of  back tiredness disappeared within a day. Last month I ran out of the flowers and gradually the back stiffness returned. Two days ago I procured some more flowers and repeated their use. Once again the effect was magical. The back pain disappeared within a day again. Praise the Lord who seeded our planet with such wonderful herbs that humans could benefit more from if they gave up on undesirable distractions and learned to love and nurture nature instead.

Palash tree image from

Palash flower image from


Vinod Khurana said...

Dear Ashok ji, Very useful article. Ayurvedic medicines sometime work wonders. But the problem is of quantification of various ingredients.If more rigorous analysis could be carried out, the dosage could be fixed on some scientific basis.This can help revive our ancient system of medicine,like chinese system which is very popular

ashok said...

You are right Vinod, more rigorous research would help. Although as with everything our world moves with money. Since this flower and other natural herbs are cheaply available produced in Gods factory no pharma company would benefit from the research. Rather there have been cases where Pharma companies have carried out propoganda against drugs, even getting research into them banned as they did with cannbis in USA, becuase they are afraid the drug so used will cut the sale of their expensive variant.

ashok said...

When i used the Palash flower I had absolutely no idea of the disage. I went intutively and added a small handful along with a tea spoon of tea for the cuppa. However later I have been adding it before the tee since I felt it needs to be boiled a bit longer than tea that is in granulated form and turns bitter if boiled for long. The method worked well for me. When using food/ natural herb as a medicine one can
be more free with the quantity used whereas with strong allopathic medicines one has to be very careful with dosage.

keiko amano said...


Please try two kinds of easy exercises.

1. Stand up with your feet a foot apart. Open and extend your arms side to side at your shoulder level like an airplane and make sure your thumbs are pointing down.

2. Keep your arms up, rotate your shoulders making small circles, and gradually making the circle larger and larger, then smaller and smaller. Repeat on and on. Your thumbs must be down at all time. Now do the same in opposite direction. Do not stop. Keep rotating your shoulders with thumbs down until your shoulders feel numb and can no longer keep lifting your arms. Then let go.

This relieves stress of your shoulders and back. Do this as many times as you can throughout a day. I learned this exercise in my college physical education class. At the time, I had an acute and chronic shoulder pain, but because of this exercise, I'm free of such pain. I taught this to many people.

The other one.

1. Sit on a regular dining chair with a back (not high back). Flex your foot up, so that your ankles are touching the floor and your toes are up. Your back is against the back of the chair and contract your tummy muscle.

2. Lower your head backward slowly while still contracting your tummy muscles. Keep flexing your foot well. This position will circulate your blood flow very well. If you do this several times a day, I'm sure you feel better and warm your body.

Please let me know how you felt afterward.



p.s. I worry a bit about the flower because your pain came back.

ashok said...

Wonderful. Thanks a lot for sharing Keiko. I shall add it to my set of exercises.

keiko amano said...


Have you tried the exercises? I want to know how you feel afterward. If you do it right, it's very effective.

The first shoulder and back exercise would seem tough to keep going without bringing down your arm to rest, so most people cheat. Also, most people do not keep their thumbs down no matter how much I tell them to keep them down. But if you do that exactly for a long time to the point you feel your shoulder turned like rocks and cannot keep your arms up any longer, then drop them. Feel your shoulders and back. You'll feel very light and tremendous relief.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comment.

ashok said...

I have tried it Keiko but only briefly yet. I shall let you know when I do it in detail, soon.

ashok said...

About this

1. Should the hands be open or closed in a fist?

keiko amano said...

I open my hands and thumbs down, but I just tried it and fists work okay, too.

Please let me know how you feel after you've done for a long time.

ashok said...

I have done it briefly so far and it felt good. I keep fists closed. I will let you know when I do more.

keiko amano said...

Ashok, please open your hands, otherwise you cannot be sure that your thumbs are pointing down. Your thumbs must point down which is not easy to do and maintain. Please don't cheat this, otherwise the exercise won't be effective. it makes a big difference. Please let me know how many minutes continuously you've done.

ashok said...

Thanks for the addition tip Keiko. Will do and let you know, although I rarely exercise for more than a few minutes at a time.

ashok said...

I did it for a minute and a half. It does exercise all of the shoulders and back muscles. Thanks for sharing Keiko. I must remember to do it often though. My discipline for exercise has been poor through life though except swimming and walking that I have done a lot through life, more in the past than now, and as a school boy lot of cycling too.

keiko amano said...

Oh, that's good. If you can keep your thumbs down at all time, one minute and a half is good. If do that throughout your day, I think you feel much better.

I know it isn't easy to keep our good exercise. But it's good for me to tell you so that my own words motivate myself to do it, too! I only walk once a day now. I need more exercise. I used to swim also and ride my bicycle, too, but not anymore.

ashok said...

Thanks again Keiko. Physical exercise just for the sake of exercise is something I have been very poor at but when it involves some work or activity I do it happily. Anway we have to keep trying.

Hari Chand said...

It is true that most plants which find place in literature and folklore like Palash have medicinal values, apart from rendering beauty to environs. Spread of such knowledge through such articles is a noble deed.

ashok said...

Thank you Hari Chand ji for your encouraging comments. I am planning an article on Ashwagandha whenever I find some free time next in the direction of medicinal herbs.