Ashoka tree is a sacred tree in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. It is one of the oldest known Indian trees. The botanical name of Ashoka tree is Saraca asoca and Saraca indica. It belongs to the Caesalpiniaceae family. It is an evergreen tree with medicinal values in Ayurveda and Unani System of Medicine. It is present all over in India and the Indian subcontinent. The work “ashoka” is derived from a Hindi word “ashok” which means “without sorrow or without grief”. The English name of this plant is Asoca. Ashoka tree is used as a medicinal herb since ancient times.
In Ayurveda, Ashoka herb has its own significance. It has antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer, anti-larval, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antihemorrhagic, anti-oxytocic, antipyretic, analgesic and cooling activities. Due to these medicinal properties, it is commonly used to treat menorrhagia, leucorrhea, vaginal infections, dysmenorrhea, and uterine sluggishness in women. It is also beneficial in diarrhea, dysentery, excessive thirst and intestinal worm infestation. It is mainly used in the prevention and treatment of diseases related to the female reproductive system. It also acts analgesic, which helps in pain disorders. Its antifungal property is also used to treat any fungal infection of the vagina.
The stem bark, seeds and leaves of Ashoka are used to make medicinal preparations. The decoction is produced from the stem bark and consumed orally. The bark is the most important part of this plant for making medicinal preparations. It is used as astringent, refrigerant and antihemorrhagic and analgesic medicine. This herb can be applied topically and can be consumed orally. Ashoka herb also contains nutritional elements such as calcium, iron and magnesium.
Ashoka Bark Benefits & Uses
Ashoka herb is very effective in treating health issues related with the female reproductive system. It maintains the health of the uterus, ovarian tissues, regularizes menstruation, relieves pain during menstruation and restores fertility. Mainly, stem bark of ashoka tree is beneficial in the problems related with women health. It is also considered as a woman’s friend. This herb stimulates the uterine tissues and acts as a uterine and ovarian tonic.
Ashoka Bark for Menstrual Disorder
Irregular menstrual cycle (with heavy bleeding and early menstruation), excessive bleeding (menorrhagia) and painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea) are very common menstrual disorders experienced by women of all ages. Local women and folks around India have been using Ashoka herb to treat problems related to the menstrual cycle. Ashoka herb can also regularize the menstrual cycle. It can also check excessive bleeding during menstruation and excessive bleeding in between two menstrual cycles. The weakness and pain during menstruation can also be treated by consuming fresh juice of Ashoka leaves. This juice gives relief from menstrual cramps and fatigue.
Dried bark and flowers of Ashoka tree are used to treat uterine disorders. The hot water extract prepared from the bark of this plant is administered in adult female to stimulate the uterus.
Menstrual Irregularities with Heavy Menstrual Flow
In ayurveda, Ashoka Ksheer Pak is prepared for reducing heavy menstrual flow during menstruation. It is beneficial when a female has early periods that last for longer days with heavy blood flow.
How to Prepare Ashoka Ksheer Pak
- Wash stem bark of Ashoka dry it in the sun and grind it in a mixer.
- Take 6 gm of this powder in 500 ml of cow milk and 500 ml water.
- Boil this mixture until the volume is reduced to half.
- You can add a teaspoon of sugar.
- Filter the solution.
- Drink this solution daily in the early morning on empty stomach.
Alternatively, to treat menorrhagia, tender leaves of Ashoka tree are crushed in a mortar pestle, the mixture is strained, 5 ml of the juice is mixed with jaggery and consumed for twice a day for a week.
A decoction prepared from the bark of Ashoka tree and Coriandrum sativum can be consumed on empty stomach in the morning for managing menorrhagia.
Ashoka tree is also used to treat dysmenorrhea. To treat this disease, the bark of the tree is used in the form of decoction. 10 ml of the decoction is taken thrice daily for 3 days. Fresh bark can also be boiled in water and can be consumed as a drink.
Alternatively, 15 gm of the powdered bark is mixed in 200 ml of water and boiled until one-fourth of the solution is left. The solution is filtered and stored. 25 ml of this solution is taken twice a day to treat dysmenorrhea.
Vaginal discharge can be a common phenomenon occurring in female after a menstrual cycle or after pregnancy. Leucorrhoea is an abnormal yellowish discharge from the vagina with a foul smell that can be due to some infection. Ashoka herb is effective in treating leucorrhoea due to its antimicrobial activities.
Ashoka is used as a common household remedy for treating various uterine disorders. The decoction prepared from the bark of Ashoka tree in water and milk is used to treat leucorrhoea (abnormal discharge from the vagina).
The powdered bark can be consumed with honey to treat leucorrhoea. The paste prepared from the bark of the tree gives relief from uterine pain.
Alternatively, take Ashoka stem bark powder and sugar cubes in equal amounts and mix well. Add 3 grams of this mixture in lukewarm cow’s milk and drink twice a day. This preparation helps in treating leucorrhea. Ashoka Ksheer Pak is an Ayurvedic formulation used to treat leucorrhea, as discussed above.
Ashoka for Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a disease of the uterus where the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside the uterus. It is a painful condition and incurable in modern medical science. It is a serious disease and can lead to infertility in women where the outside growth of the uterine wall blocks the union of sperm and egg.
The phytochemicals found in the Ashoka bark have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that are useful for the health of the uterus and helps to treat endometriosis.
Ashoka as Tonic
Ashoka herb stimulates the proper development of the uterus and associated tissues. It is considered as a uterine tonic. Women with weak uterine muscles should consume Ashoka stem bark decoction regularly. In Ayurveda, Ashoka tree is regarded as a boon to women.
Ashoka for Weakness in Women
Ashoka herb is known for centuries for treating gynecological problems. Ashoka herb preparations give relief from uterine pain, menstrual abdominal pain, menstrual cramps, weakness and fatigue. It increases strength in the young menstruating female. It is helpful in managing pain due to its analgesic property. It also improves blood circulation and nourishes the circulatory system. It also gives relief from a headache.
Ashoka is capable to manage all painful conditions. The specific analgesic properties present in it are used to calm the nerves when they have been aggravated by the Vata Dosha.
The juice of Ashoka leaves mixed with cumin is a very effective remedy in stomach ache in women. The decoction made from Ashoka bark gives relief from uterine pain.
Ashoka Use in Menopausal Syndrome
In a scientific study, it was found that Ashokarishta (an ashoka bark preparation), Ashwagandha Churna and Praval Pishti are an effective therapy to treat mild to moderate conditions of menopausal syndromes.
How to Prepare Ashoka Stem Bark Decoction?
Ashoka stem bark decoction can be easily prepared at home.
- The bark is boiled in four times the quantity of bark, allowed to cool down and consumed fresh.
- Decoction should always be consumed fresh.
- For later use, the plant parts should be stored dry in airtight
Ashoka herb gives better results in treating gynecological problems. It is quite safe, simple and easy to use. The side effects of this plant are unknown, but it is always advisable to consult a physician if you are suffering from any thrombophilia.
Ashoka herb has its own ethnobotanical and ethnomedicinal importance. It has been successfully used to treat the gynecological disorders such as menorrhagia, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, etc. In addition, this is a legendary herb used to fight against cancer, type II diabetes and piles. With more scientific evidence available regarding the immense benefits of this plant, it has gained a global recognition. This has led to more demand for the bark of the tree not only in India but worldwide.
- Modi, M. B., Donga, S. B., & Dei, L. (2012). Clinical evaluation of Ashokarishta, Ashwagandha Churna and Praval Pishti in the management of menopausal syndrome. Ayu, 33(4), 511–516. http://doi.org/10.4103/0974-8520.110529
- Pradhan P, Joseph L, Gupta V, Chulet R, Arya H, Verma R, and Bajpai A, (2009) Saraca asoca (Ashoka): a review. J Chem Pharm Res 1(1):62–67 (http://www.eumundimedicineman.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Saraca-asoca-PDF.pdf)
- Rajith, N. P., Ambily, D. V., Dan, V. M., Devi, P. S., George, V., & Pushpangadan, P. (2012). A survey on ethnomedicinal plants used for menstrual disorders in Kerala. (http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/14386/1/IJTK%2011%283%29%20453-460.pdf)
- Begum, S. N., Ravikumar, K., & Ved, D. K. (2014). ‘Asoka’–an important medicinal plant, its market scenario and conservation measures in India. Current Science, 107(1), 26-28. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24103399
- Pritts, E. A., & Taylor, R. N. (2003). An evidence-based evaluation of endometriosis-associated infertility. Endocrinology and metabolism clinics of North America, 32(3), 653-667 (https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/14560892)