Historical Cultivation And Usage

The tree starts bearing at the age of 4—7 years. White and purplish flowers in auxiliary racemes appear from April to July. The fruits come to harvest at different periods of the years in various parts of the country, but the harvest period is from November—December to May—June. The pods are collected from April to June, and the shells removed by hand. The yield of seed is said to range from 9 to 90 kg per tree (Krishnamurthi, 1998). The pods are dried in the sun, and the seeds extracted by thrashing the fruits.

During the 16th century, fruits of Karanja were used for parasitic infections, obstinate urinary diseases, and diabetes. Sushruta (an ancient Indian surgeon) prescribed Karanja seeds with honey for hemorrhage; expressed oil from seeds, for use as a laxative, for intestinal parasites, and for skin afflictions; and used the fruits for urinary and vaginal discharges. The seed oil was an ingredient of hair oil, prescribed by Sushruta for baldness, and was applied externally for dermatitis, rheumatic diseases, and muscular atrophy (Khare, 2004).

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