Kachnar (Orchid tree)
Kanchanara or kachnar is a popular herb in Ayurveda, which has been in use for few millennia now. The plant has been mentioned in Ayurvedic texts written by Sushruta and Charaka in Sushruta Samhita and Charaka Samhita respectively about its various therapeutic uses. Some of the diseases which can be cured by Kanchanara, from Ayurvedic perspective, include internal haemorrhages, haemoptysis, haemorrhoids, dyspepsia, flatulence, etc. It possesses anthelmentic and antiseptic properties as well.
Quick facts about Kanchanara or Bauhinia variegata
- Sanskrit name: Kanchanara
- English name: Mountain Ebony
- Hindi or common name: Kachnar, Kachanar, Kanchanar
- Scientific name: Bauhinia variegata
- Rasa: Kashaya
- Guna: Laghu, Ruksha
- Virya: Sheeta
- Vipaka: Katu
- Dosha: Pacifies all the three doshas viz. Vata, Pitta, Kapha
- Karma: Dipana, Grahi, Tridoshahara
Kanchanara plant is a native of India, and it is found in Himalayas. The plant can grow at altitudes up to 1300 meters. Apart from growing near the Himalayas, Kanchanara plant can also grow in tropical and warm climates all over India and many parts of the world. Kanchanara is a medium sized deciduous tree. The tree has dark brown bark which is perhaps the reason for its common English name Mountain Ebony. The leaves can be as long as 15 cm in length. The flowers are also large with white or purple colours.
The bio-chemicals found in Kanchanara include flavonoids such as kaempferol, ombuin, kaempferol7, 4’-dimethylether-3-o-β-D-glucopyranoside, kaempferol-3-o- β-D-glucopyranoside, isorhamnetin-3-o-β-D-glucopyranoside, hesperidin along with one triterpene caffeate and 3βtrans-(3,4dihydroxycinnamoyloxy) olean-12-en-28-oic acid.
- Anti-diabetic activity: Kachnar has been an important medicine in Ayurveda in controlling diabetes. Scientific research on the validation revealed the presence of insulin like proteins in the leaves of the plant. Studies on lab animals suggest that the action of these proteins is similar to that of commercial swine insulin.
- Anti-ulcer activities: Anti-ulcer activities have been noted in studies conducted on Kachnar plant extracts. The extracts when administered on induced ulcer in lab animals, Kachnar extracts decreased the amount of gastric acids and aided in healing of the ulcer.
- Protection of liver: Kachnar extracts displayed considerable hepatoprotective or liver protecting properties. The extracts of Kachnar shielded the liver against carbon tetrachloride attack.
- Can control tumours: The extracts of Kachnar have been tested for their tumour controlling activity. The study has found that the average rate of survival in the test animals increased and there was also a significant change in the haematological parameters. Apart from possible tumour control, the extracts of Kachnar also possess chemopreventive or cancer preventive properties, according to one study.
- Nephroprotective properties: Research into Kachnar extracts has shown that they possess protective properties against nephrotoxicity. Nephrotoxicity is the accumulation and action of certain chemicals on the nephrons which can result in oxidative stress and damage to nephrons. The extracts of Kachnar displayed nephroprotective properties by shielding nephrons from such attack..