KADAMB ( MITRAGYNA PARVIFOLIA): HEALTH BENEFITS AND USES OF KADAMB TREE
KADAMB, KAIM, MITRAGYNA PARVIFOLIA
The Kadamb tree is native to the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent. It is often confused with the Cadamba tree or Neolamarckia cadamba or Anthocephalus cadamba or indicus, which are both associated with Krishna, and mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana.
This tree, Mitragyna parvifolia has been researched recently because in traditional folk medicine it is reputed to cure many diseases. It is a deciduous tree so loses its leaves in autumn, and tends to grow in forests. It can grow to a height of 25 metres, and has yellow-green flowers which grow into oblong fruits which contain seeds. The parts used in medicine are the root bark and leaves, although sometimes the fruits are used.
In Ayurvedic medicine the bark of the tree is used for blood-related diseases. In traditional medicine in the Indian subcontinent the bark and roots of the tree are used for fevers, colic, muscular pains, burning sensations in the stomach, poisoning, female problems, coughs, oedema and as an aphrodisiac.
Wounds and ulcers may be dressed with bruised leaves to promote healing and to alleviate pain, while extracts of the fruit are used to kill pain and as anti-inflammatory agents. While these properties have been confirmed by scientist, they have not yet discovered which of the substances or combination of them are responsible for these actions.
The stem and the bark of the tree contain flavonoids, glycosides and tannins as well as a number of alkaloids, and an extract has been shown in vitro, to be effective in killing worms. Like St. John’s wort and ginseng, extracts have been proved to relieve anxiety and seem to work as well as diazepam, without the side effects of that drug.
One Indian scientist has finally, after 20 years of research, taken out a patent of a drug, made from two alkaloids found in Kadamb, to help those with Type II diabetes, after conducting trials on 1,300 patients with the disease. The patent has an international classification number from the World Trade Organization so this is perhaps good news for diabetes sufferers.
In one area of India local healers treat rice (Oryza sativa) used for medicinal purposes with extracts from the tree at different stages, seeds, in the field and at different stages of growth so that the medicinal qualities from Kadamb will be imbued by the rice, making it more effective in treatments.
More research needs to be done before scientists can discover in what other ways it can be beneficial to us. The research that has been conducted was published in 2009, so it is relatively recent, and a lot more needs to be done on this health-giving tree.