Bakula Pushpa (whose botanical name is Mimusops elengi) is also known as Bulletwood tree, Maulsari, Indian medlar, Bakula and Spanish cherry. It is a popular herb in the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda. This evergreen tree, which leads to the budding of sweet-scented flowers, is often cultivated as a garden tree. Bakula Pushpa, which is native to India, is also grown in Northern and Peninsular India as well as the Andaman Islands. The secrets behind the popularity of Ayurveda’s Bakula flower lie in its powerful health benefits.
The Bakula tree has been in the news in recent times because of its growing demand. The Bakula Pushpa plant has a lot to offer with regards to therapeutic benefits. That said, Indians are not strangers to its valuable properties when it comes to hair and skin care. Simply known as Bakula, to us Indians, this ancient tree finds elaborate mention in ancient Ayurvedic scriptures as well as Kalidasa’s Meghdutta.
The tree’s fragrance is sweet-smelling and fresh. Moreover, it is an evergreen tree with a distinctive appearance owing to its dark bark characterised by deep fissures. The inside of the bark is red whereas the outer part of the bark is reddish-grey and hardy. The tree grows across the country with distinctive smooth and shiny leaves.
The flower is considered to be a harbinger of Vasant or the spring season in India. The Bakula flower generally blooms in the months of May and June. The flowers are quite small, nearly 2 cm (centimetres) in diameter. In addition, the flower has a crown emerging from the middle. The flowers typically fall by morning, but the fragrance continues to leave everyone in a spell.
The Bakula flowers tend to grow in bunches and are extremely fragrant. They are whitish in colour, with a tinge of yellow. The fragrance can be successfully retained for several years if the flowers are sun dried and preserved efficiently. The dried flowers are also used to create necklaces and other beautiful ornaments worn by women. The tree’s fruits are oval with a greenish hue when raw. On ripening, the fruits turn yellow. The ripened fruits then become greyish brown in colour and shiny in texture. They typically contain 1-2 seeds and are caustic in nature. They generally develop in June.
The flowers, fruits, seeds and bark of the Bakula Pushpa are used in Ayurveda because of their medicinal properties. In Ayurveda, it is believed that the Bakula Pushpa effectively reduces two vitiated doshas: Pitta and Kapha.
The primary chemical constituents of Bakula Pushpa include tannins, sterols, taraxerol, spinasterol, beta-sitosterol, D-mannitol and mimusopsic acids. The primary components of the Bakula Pushpa are known to have excellent antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiulcer, anthelmintic, antioxidant, anti-hyperglycaemic, diuretic, analgesic and wound-healing properties.
Mentioned below are some of the myriad health benefits offered by the Bakula Pushpa:
One of the best health benefits of the Bakula Pushpa is its innate ability to significantly improve oral health. The extracts obtained from the bark of this tree are extremely helpful in the treatment of oral ulcers and bleeding gums. Moreover, it helps prevent tooth decay, toothache and bad breath.
The dried, powdered flowers of the Bakula Pushpa help in improving heart health, with benefits for the entire cardiovascular system. It is consumed as a general tonic to enhance body strength.
The fruit pulp of the tree has specific chemicals that are incredibly useful in improving fertility among women. Therefore, regular consumption of this herb will significantly improve fertility in women. Further, it also helps during delivery.
Bakula Pushpa is an efficacious diuretic. The extracts obtained from the bark are administered to individuals with inflammation of the bladder as well as urinary retention to improve urination.
The useful components of the Bakula Pushpa have an excellent anti-poison effect, making it one of the best herbs to treat animal bites. The juice that is extracted from the leaves is highly efficacious in the treatment of insect, scorpion and snake bites.
Although Bakula Pushpa is widely used throughout the world and is regarded as an ornamental plant, the myriad and powerful health benefits of this tree are still not known to most people. Hence, it is time that each one of us realises the full potential of this tree and make use of it for the enhancement of our health.