NaturHeals – Medicinal Plant - 5 Stereospermum Suaveolens - Patala – Dashamoola Herb
The plant biodiversity and forest trees are an integral part of human life. They play a major role in maintaining climatic stability and serve as a valuable source of food, fuel, fodder, and wood. Trees provide natural extracts like resins, tannins, fibers, and alkaloids that are useful in making herbal medicines. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80% of people rely mainly on herbal medicines for their health care. India has a rich cultural heritage of using traditional systems of medicines like Homeopathy, Ayurveda, and Siddha. Medicinal plants have been utilized since ancient times to cure several ailments in all these systems. One such plant is the Stereospermum Suaveolens or Patala. It is one of the plants that come under the Dashamoola group of herbs (group of ten roots). The plant is named thus because the flowers are red (patala) colored. It is widely used as a cardiac tonic, liver stimulant, analgesic, diuretic, wound healing, and astringent. It is known for its antiprotozoal, anti-microbial, antidyspeptic, and anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also taken as an aphrodisiac, helping to improve the quantity of semen and sexual health in men.
Different Names of Patala
Patala is a deciduous tree that belongs to the Bignoniaceae family. The botanical name of the plant is Stereospermum Suaveolens DC, Stereospermum Chelonoides, Bignonia Suaveolens. The English name of the plant is Trumpet Flower, Rose Flower Fragrant, Fragrant Padri Tree, or Yellow Snake Tree. According to Hindu lore, the yellow snake tree is the sacred Padiri tree under which the wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Uma took place. This tree features snakelike branches and yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers.
The Sanskrit synonyms of the Patala plant are Paatala (the flower is red colored); Madhudhooti, Alivallabha (fragrant flowers that attract bees); Krushna Vrunta; Tamrapushpi (coppery red flowers); Ambuvasini, Kuberakshi; Kumbhipushpi; Amogha; Abhipriya; Kasthapatala; Phaleruha; Ghantapatala; and Sheetapatala. In Hindi, the plant is called Podal, Padhal, and Padiala; Parul, Ghunta, Paruli, and Mug in Bengali; Padala and Padal in Punjabi; Padal, Kalagori, Kalgori, Padialu, and Padeel in Marathi and Gujarati; Padiri, Kaligottu, Kalagoru, Ambuvasini, Podira, and Kakkisa in Telugu; Padari, Ambu, and Ambuvagini in Tamil; Parhori, Ser Phang, and Paroli in Assamese; Adri, Giri, Bilee Paadari, Billa, and Padramora in Kannada; Kariyam, Padiri, and Kuberakshi in Malayalam; Boro and Patulee in Oriya; and Bolsel in Garo.
Ideal Soil and Climate
Patala plant is native to Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. It is found in moist areas up to an altitude of about 1200 m and mainly in deciduous forests. In India, the Patala plant is found in Assam, Darjeeling, Meghalaya, Himalayas, Kurnool district, Srikakulam district, Vishakhapatnam district, West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, Wayanad district in Kerala, and Khammam district in Telangana. It is also found in the deciduous forests of North Circus and the Western Ghats as well as in the hills of Malabar, Mysore, Scarce, and Travancore.
The plant requires a hot and humid climate with temperatures ranging from 20oC to 33oC and humidity around 40 to 50 percent. It grows over laterite loamy soil and sandy black soil with a pH of 6 to 7. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range of 1200 to 2500 mm.
The Patala is a medium or large-sized deciduous tree that grows up to a height of 18 to 30 m. The tree has a straight trunk with a smooth yellowish-brown bark with corky lenticels. The leaves are 35 to 45 cm long, compound, decussate, opposite, and imparipinnate. The leaflets are around 5 to 11 in number, ovate, elliptical, and purple when young. The petiole is short. The flowers have a sweet fragrance. They are dark purple or yellow with red-colored veins, bisexual, large, drooping, and glabrous panicles. The upper lip is two-lobed, the lower lip is three-lobed, and is velvety at the mouth. The Calyx is 1 cm long and is in the shape of a bell or a campana. The fruit is a capsule, 30 to 45 cm long and 1.4 to 2 cm wide, four angled and twisted, rough, brown, and covered with white specks. The seeds of the Patala plant are 3 cm X .6 cm in size, deeply notched in the middle, winged, and many in numbers. The roots are dull brown, cylindrical, and hard with transversely extended tentacles.
The Patala plant is endowed with many chemical constituents. The leaves of the Patala plant contain phytoconstituents like quinones, dinatin 7 glucuronide, flavone glycoside scutellarin, stereochenols A and B, sterekunthal B, naphthoquinones, stereoquinone C, and stereolensin. The bark contains iridoid glycoside. The root bark contains n triacontanol and B sitosterol. The root heartwood contains lapachol, dehydro alpha l apachone, stereokunthal B, stereochenols A and B, and apigenin. The seed contains sterols, non-drying oils, glyco alkaloids, and glycosides. The plant also contains coumaric acid, palmitic, saponins, stearic acid, and oleic acids.
As per Ayurveda, the Patala plant balances the three doshas - Vata, Kapha, and Pitta in the body. It is a medicinal herb and helps in treating ailments like rheumatism, cancer, anorexia, piles, cardiac disorders, dropsy, inflammations, hiccups, excessive thirst, gout, hyperacidity, hemorrhoids, scorpion bites, snake bites, vomiting, etc.
Rasa - Kashaya, Tikta
Veerya - Anusna - not very hot
Guna - Laghu Rooksha
Vipaka - Katu - pungent
Karma - Tridosahara (Kaphahara, Vatahara, Pittahara)
Notes - The flowers of Patala are Sheeta Virya (coolant) in nature.
The therapeutic uses of the Patala Plant are:
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints causing pain and swelling, affecting one joint or multiple joints in our body. The Vata balancing properties of Patala help to reduce painful conditions like osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis or Sandhivata occurs due to the build-up of Ama in the joints, causing joint stiffness, swelling, and pain. Taking Patala helps balance the aggravated Vata, thus reducing the inflammation. Due to the anti-inflammatory nutrients of the Patala plant, it helps to lower edema and provides relief from pain arising due to redness and swelling of the inflamed part.
2) Liver Health
Liver problems could be genetic factors or due to various factors that damage the liver, like excessive use of alcohol, viruses, and obesity. Due to its hepatoprotective property, Patala is a known herb that helps in promoting liver health. It is effective against liver enlargement and jaundice, helping to improve the digestive system due to its Pachan (digestive) and Deepan (appetizer) properties.
Asthma is a condition when the Vata and Kapha doshas obstruct the passage of air to the lungs. They swell, causing difficulty in breathing and triggering coughing. Patala helps to balance Kapha dosha, thereby helping to remove the excess mucus from the lungs and provide relief from the symptoms of Asthma.
Diabetes or Madhumeha is when Vata in the body increases, impaired by poor digestion. This leads to the accumulation of toxic remains or Ama in the body due to improper digestion. The Tikta (bitter) and Kashaya (astringent) nature of the herb helps to manage symptoms related to diabetes like excessive thirst, frequent urination, and overeating.
5) Cardiovascular Health
The herb acts as a cardiac tonic (Hridya), and a regular intake of Patala helps in maintaining a healthy heart and optimizing heart function by strengthening the heart muscles and arteries. It also helps to maintain good blood flow in the body and to maintain a normal heart rate by reducing cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
6) Blood Purifier
Due to the plant possessing Asrajit (useful to detoxify blood) property, it helps to eliminate the toxins from the blood, thus purifying it. The elimination of toxins is a great way to getnrelief from many ailments.
7) Blood Disorders
The Patala plant helps to cure blood disorder conditions such as anemia by promoting the production of RBC in the body. It gives relief from symptoms that are associated with anemia like lethargy, fatigue, and weakness.
Patala is effective in the treatment of piles. It gives relief from severe constipation. It is also helpful in providing relief from irritation, itching, soreness, redness, and swelling around the anus.
9) Urinary Problems
Due to possessing diuretic properties, this herb helps to maintain proper urine flow, providing relief from problems such as difficulty in urination, burning sensation, and frequent urination.
10) Skin Rashes
Skin rashes occur due to various factors like heat, allergens, infections, medications, or immune system disorders. Skin infections occur due to the imbalance of Pitta in our bodies. The Patala flowers contain Kashaya (astringent) and Sheeta (cold) properties that help to decrease the redness, itching, and irritation of the rash.
Uses of Patala
The flower, leaf, root bark, and seed of the Patala plant are used in the preparation of several ayurvedic formulations. The tender young fruits and flowers are cooked and eaten as a vegetable. It is also available in the form of powder or decoctions. The root is a coolant, having diuretic properties. The bark is vatakaphashamaka. The flowers and fruits are Vatapittashamaka. The flowers of the plant are paustika, vajikar, and Sitala.
- In Fever - Decoction of root is to be taken.
- In Hiccups - Flowers are given with honey.
- In Rheumatoid Arthritis - Use the decoction made from the roots. You can also apply a paste made of Patala powder for joint pain.
- In Blockages of the Urinary tract - Take a mix of ash from burned roots and barks with water.
- In Ulcers - Take a decoction made from the bark of the Patala plant.
- In Diabetes - The powder of the bark is to be taken.
- In Leprosy - The fruit is to be eaten.
- In Bleeding - Flowers are used.
- In Acidity - Take a decoction made from the bark of the Patala plant.
- In treating Bilious Diarrhoea - The paste of flowers is given.
- As an Aphrodisiac - The fruit is eaten.
Since Patala is one of the plants used in Dashamoola, its side effects are rare. There is no reliable information regarding the safety of using Patala during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Being a natural herb, it may react differently to different people depending upon their age, health condition, and its effect on doshas. It is better to consume the medicines containing the herb under medical supervision.
Planting and Harvesting
Patala seeds are sown immediately after removing the wings. They are placed at room temperature under a mist house, an ideal condition for germination. The Patala seeds shoot up within six to twenty days, and the seedlings sprout within eight to fifteen days. When seedlings are 4 cm in height, they are then transplanted in polybags with sand and cow dung, in the ratio of 2:1. Plants remain in polybags for approximately eight months before planting in fields till the next rainy season. Seedlings are then planted in pits of 30 cm X 30 cm X 30 cm at a distance of 10 m. Weeding and mulching are done twice a year. The plants are given an adequate amount of water during the summer season. In the early developing stage, several branches appear. But only one leader branch is allowed to grow while the rest of the branches are trimmed. The roots of the Patala plant can be harvested every five years. For post-harvest management, the roots are dried in a shed and stored in gunny bags. Flowering occurs at the beginning of the summer. The flowers bloom for around a month.
Medicinal plants are valuable sources for herbal products used globally. The slow growth of medicinal plants will result in the exhaustion of their resources. Cultivation of such plants is required to ensure their availability to the people and industries producing medicines. Such cultivation not only protects the endangered species, but also provides an alternative economy for the poor farmers. We at Jaivik Farms, an agro-based organization, encourage the farmers to cultivate medicinal plants like Patala. Our team of experts is always ready to guide the farmers to practice good harvesting techniques and cultivate the plants organically, that is, without the use of any pesticides or chemicals.