Historical Cultivation And Usage

The tree is not cultivated, but is common in forests, often found existing with Sal. It is distributed in the sub-Himalayan tract from the Bias eastwards, ascending in the outer hills to a height of 1100 m; in Assam, the Khasia Hills, Chittagang, North Orissa, Central India and the western Peninsula, the Eastern Archipelago, and N. Australia.

The tree seeds appear at an early stage. They have poor viability, and should be sown soon after collection. Seedlings are frost-sensitive, but have good powers of recovery (Wealth of India, 1999).

Telinga physicians use Bhallataka (SA) as a specific agent in different kinds of venereal afflictions (Roxburgh). A brown gum that exudes from the bark is utilized by Hindus in

FIGURE 89.1

Marking nut (SA) tree - fruiting branch and leaf. Source: Majumdar et al. (2008). Medicinal potentials of Semecarpus anacardium nut — a review. J. Herbs Med. Toxicol., 2, 9-13. Reproduced with permission.

FIGURE 89.1

Marking nut (SA) tree - fruiting branch and leaf. Source: Majumdar et al. (2008). Medicinal potentials of Semecarpus anacardium nut — a review. J. Herbs Med. Toxicol., 2, 9-13. Reproduced with permission.

scrofulous and leprous afflictions. Oil from the nuts acts as a vesicant in rheumatism and sprains. The bruised nut is applied to the os uteri by native women to produce abortion. The ashes of the plant are prescribed in combination with other drugs in snake bite; the nut is used similarly for scorpion sting (Kitrikar & Basu 2000).

The smoke obtained from the burning pericarp is good for tumors. The nut oil is used as an aphrodisiac and to blacken the hair; it is also good for leukoderma, and epilepsy and other

FIGURE 89.2

S. anacardium with flowers and fruits.

FIGURE 89.3

Vertical section of different parts of S. anacardium. Source: Arya Vaidya Sala, Kottakal, Indian Medicinal Plants, Vol. 5, p. 99. Chennai, India: Orient Longman. Reproduced with permission.

FIGURE 89.3

Vertical section of different parts of S. anacardium. Source: Arya Vaidya Sala, Kottakal, Indian Medicinal Plants, Vol. 5, p. 99. Chennai, India: Orient Longman. Reproduced with permission.

nervous diseases. It lessens inflammation, and is useful in paralysis, for superficial pain, and for ulcers. Detoxified nuts of SA have been incorporated in prescriptions for toxic conditions, skin diseases, malignant growth, fever, menorrhagia, hemoptysis, and intestinal parasites (Kirtikar & Basu 2000).

FIGURE 89.4

Anacardoside - active principle of S. anacardium. Source: Majumdar et al. (2008). Medicinal potentials of Semecarpus anacardium nut — a review. J. Herbs Med. Toxicol., 2, 9-13. Reproduced with permission.

FIGURE 89.4

Anacardoside - active principle of S. anacardium. Source: Majumdar et al. (2008). Medicinal potentials of Semecarpus anacardium nut — a review. J. Herbs Med. Toxicol., 2, 9-13. Reproduced with permission.

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