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Indian Medicinal Plants/Natural Order Dilleniaceæ


29. Dillenia indica, Linn., I. 36 ; Roxb. 451.


Vevn.:—Chálta, (Hind.); Cháltá, hargesa (Beng.); Korkot (Santal); Chilta (Monghyr); Panpui (Garo); Chalita otengah, (Assam); Rai, oao (Uriya); Ramphal (Nepal); Phamsikol (Lepcha); Thapru, chauralesia (Mag.); Mothe karamala, mothá karmel, karambel (Bomb.); Motá karmal, karmbel (Mar.); Uva (Tam.); Uva, pedda, kalinga (kalinga, Elliot) (Tel.); Bettakanagala, kaddkanagula (Kan.); Syalita (Malay.); Hondapara, Wampara (Sinhalese).

Habitat:—Tropical forests in the Western Peninsula, Behar and Ceylon, and the Himalaya, from Nepal to Assam. Commonly cultivated at Dehra and Saharanpur. Eastern Peninsula, from Sylhet to Singapore. Malay Peninsula and the Islands.

A very handsome tree with fine foliage; moderate-sized, round-headed. Bark cinnamon-brown. Leaves closely placed, very large, 10-12 in long, oblong-lanceolate, acute, sharply serrate, glabrous above, finely pubescent on veins beneath; lateral veins numerous, strong; petioles 1½ in. long, stout, deeply channelled above, pulvinate at base. Flowers very large, 6-7 in. diam, on stout subterminal pedicels. Sepals very fleshy. Petals white, sometimes pale-azure orbicular with a broad base. Stamens persistent, yellow. Carpels 15-20, coherent at the axis. Styles spreading like a star, white; ripe carpels enclosed in the greatly enlarged and thickened sepals which are 1 in. thick and strongly imbricate the whole forming a large green globose pomiform fruit, 5-6 in. diam. Actual fruit 2½ in. diam. Pericarp thin, indehiscent. Seeds numerous, compressed with a hairy margin.

Uses:—The juice of the fruit, mixed with sugar and water, is used as a cooling beverage in fevers, and as a cough mixture. The bark and the leaves are astringent, and are used medicinally. The fruit is slightly laxative, but is apt to induce diarrhœa, if too freely indulged in. (Roxburgh, Royle, Drury).

The fruit gives a lather with water, says Trimen, and is used as a soap.

Mr. T. P. Ghose of Dehra Dun writes in the Indian Forester for August 1914:—

The fresh ripe fruits were taken and the upper layers of calyces were separated from the inner kernels which consisted mostly of pectous matter of a jelly-like consistence. The kernels being rejected, the calyces were crushed and steeped in 90 per cent. alcohol for six months in a drum with occasional shaking. The alcohol was then filtered off and the residue was pressed almost dry, and this alcohol was added to the first and the whole evaporated off under reduced pressure. The alcoholic extract was finally dried at 100° C. for further examination.

The composition of the calyces of the fresh ripe fruits as was follows:—

Moisture … … … … … 86.40 per cent.
Alcoholic extract … … … … 3.00 "
Water extract … … … … 0.37 "
Insolubles … … … … … 10.23 "

100.0 "

The aqueous extract was made after having extracted the calyces with alcohol, which thus represents only pectous matters, etc., left in the insoluble tissues after alcoholic extraction. The alcoholic ext act examined qualitatively showed the presence of tannin glucose, malic acid and pectous bodies. Malic
acid was also identified by means of its lead salt. The composition of the alcoholic extract obtained as given above was as follows:—

Moisture … … … … … 8.20
Tannin … … … … … 1.40
Glucose … … … … … 12.15
Malic acid … … … … … 2.21
Petroleum ether solubles (fats, etc.) … … 0.72
Albuminoids … … … … … 0.85
Ash … … … … … 12.63
Pectous matters, etc. … … … … 61.84


The 61.84 per cent, of pectous matters coming in the alcoholic extract is due to the dilution of alcohol caused by about 86 per cent. of moisture in the fresh fruit. Though originally soluble in dilute alcohol, these bodies became wholly insoluble both in water and in alcohol on anhydration. They were examined and found to be pectous bodies.

The chief ingredients of the calyces of the fresh ripe fruits are tannin, glucose and malic acid. The percentage of these three ingredients calculated on fresh and dry calyces stand as below:—

On fresh calyces. On dry calyces.
(1) Tannin … 0.05% 0.37%
(2) Glucose … 0.40% 2.92%
(3) Malic acid … 0.07% 0.51%

PLATE No. 24.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 24 - Dillenia indica.png