Harsringar is an ornamental tree which gives white fragrant flowers. Harsringar is also known as Night Jasmine or Parijat. Its botanical name is Nycthanthes Arbortristis which literally means Night Blooming Sad Tree. Harsringar is considered as a divine tree mentioned in Bhagvat Purana and VishnuPurana. According to hindu mythology Lord Sri Krishna battled with Indra to win Samundra Manthan and brought this tree for his wife Satyabhama. He planted the tree in the backyard of Satyabhama’s palace on her deman but the flowers use to fall in the adjacent backyard of Rukmini’s palace. This sacred tree is also known as Kalpvriksha(Wishing Tree) and it is one of the five trees that exist in heaven.
Kingdom – Plantae
Division – Magnolipophyta
Order – Lamiales
Family – Oleaceae(Jasmine family)
Genus – Nycthanthes
Species – Arbortritis
Harsringar grows like a small tree or shrub about 10 m tall with brown or greenish rough bark. The edges of theleaves are toothed(sharp) and the surface is rough like sand paper on the upper side around 6-12 cm long and 2-6.5 cm broad. The flowers are white in color with a waxy coating and star like petals. The flowers have sweet fragrance and have an orange red tube in the center. Harsringar flowers usually bloom in clusters , open at dusk and drop at dawn. The flowers are shed from their branches in the morning forming a carpet on the ground.It is for this reason that it is also known as the ” Tree of Sorrow”.Its fruit is heart shaped and flat about 2 cm in diameter and brown in colour. It is two sectioned, each containing a single seed. Harsringar flowers grow from August to November and then its tree starts bearing fruits in the cold season.
The reported chemical constituents of Harsringar (Night jasmine) are :
- Beta-amyrin which cures inflammatory disorders,
- Beta-sitosterol that lowers bad cholesterol levels along with regulating the good cholesterol levels (HDL),
- Mannitol that helps in the treatment of acute renal failure to promote diuresis and reduce high intracranial pressure in brain mass.
- The compound hentriacontane kills and slows the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis,thus it is widely used in the treatment of Tuberculosis
- Benzoic acid is a simple aromatic carboxylic acid,which gives the Harsringar flower its constituent fragrance.
- Oleanolic acid is a powerful inhibitor of a human being’s cellular inflammatory process,
- Nyctanthic acid found in Harsringar leaves has analgesic property which helps in relieving pain in sciatica and arthritis
- Astragalin is a flavonoid with anti- inflammatory activity and is used to treat protozoal infection
- Nicotiflorin is another flavoring glycoside which has a neuro protective effect and thus reduces cerebral ischamic damage (in times of insufficient blood flow in brain).
- Friedelin acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and possesses analgesic property(helps reduce pain) and antipyretic property (reduces fever).
- Another constituent lupeol prevents skin disorders and skin cancer.
- The leaves and seeds also contain iridoid glycosides (anti-leishmanial) which stimulates the release of gastric substances in the digestive system which in turn controls bile secretion (improves liver function), acts as laxative and antimicrobial.
- The seeds have polysaccharide glucomannan which help reduce weight, cure Diabetes and treat Constipation.
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Harsringar is an effective herbal medicine to treat Sciatica and Arthritis.It has analgesic properties due to the presence of nyctanthic acid in leaves.
In Ayurveda , the leaves of harsringar are recommended for various types of fevers (anti-pyretic compound friedelin) and painful conditions.
The decoction of its leaves have liver protecting , anti- viral, anti- fungal, anti-pyretic and anti- inflammatory properties.
Harsringar leaves have alkaloids,phytosterols, phenolic compounds and iridoid glycosides as phytoconstituents which is useful against anti-leishmanial infections(transmitted by sand fly bite) and anti-plasmodial infections(transmitted by mosquito bite).
We have often heard of derived compounds like quinine and artemisinin used in drugs to treat malaria but harsringar is also effective in malaria treatment since it has anti plasmodial properties.
Its leaves are beneficial in the treatment of diabetes (since it has polysaccharide glucomannan) and high blood pressure (since it has beta-sitosterol).
Its laxative and cholagoge properties are useful in destroying intestinal worms.
The glycosides present in the stems of harsringar produces an anti- bacterial and anti- oxidizing action in our body.The stem bark is equally beneficial.
Directions for use
- Take a few medium sized Harsringar leaves and wash them.
- Then place them in a pan and pour a glass of water.
- Boil it at a low flame.
- Filter this decoction and take it on an empty stomach every morning to get relived from sciatica and arthiritis pain.
- Take a kilogram of leaves and wash them
- Place them in a pan and pour 2 liters of water.
- Boil it at low flame for half an hour. Then let it cool to filter.
- This filtrate can be stored for a week.Take a cup of this filtrate every day to cure arthiritis.
- Take a few medium sized leaves and crush them.
- After washing them,squeeze the juice, add one table spoon of honey to it,as this juice tastes bitter.
- Drink this two table spoon twice a day to cure inflammation , fever and dry cough. This can also be combined with ginger juice and taken to treat malaria and leishmaniasis.
- Grind some fresh Harsringar leaves to make a paste
- Apply this paste on ringworm affected areas.
- Take a few flowers of Harsringar, wash them and eat them to tone stomach, prevent gas formation, prevent excess of bile formation (improves liver functions) and cures cough.
- The orangeish red corolla tube contains nyctanthin which gives colour to corolla. These tubes are separated from flower , dried and used for dyeing silk and cotton.
- The stem bark is powdered and taken orally for treatment of rheumatic joint pain and malaria
- Take seeds of Harsringar and let it dry , then grind them to make powder which can be taken one tea spoon orally to cure leishmaniasis caused by sand fly bites and malaria caused by anopheles mosquito bite as it contains iridoid glycosides (also in leaves).