Butea Monosperma

Botanical Name: Butea Monosperma

Family Name: FABACEAE


Vernacular names :

  1. Hindi – Dhaka
  2. Engish – Flame of the forest tree
  3. Malayalam – Plashu
  4. Tamil – Paras 

Synonyms – Kimsuka, Kshara sreshta, Brahmopanetra, Rakta puspa, Samidvara, Brahma vriksa, Vatapotha 

Ganas in classical texts:

Susruta    : Rodhradi, Muskakadi, Ambasthadi, Nyagrodhadi

Vagbhata : Rodhradi, Muskakadi, Ambasthadi, Nyagrodhadi


Butea Monosperma is the most important plants for the Yajna (ritual) according to vedic literature. Its gum is also described in vedic texts. Palasa is considered as the best among the herbs and is quoted as Medhajanana in Kousika sutra. Its paste is applied externally in case of Jalodara. It is also used in Krimi roga.

Though brihat trayi quoted it extensively, charaka did not include it under any of the varga. Susruta and Vagbhata described it under 4 ganas. Susruta detailed about the seed oil of palasa while considering it as kapha pitta prasamana. It is mainly indicated in prameha, plihodara, vidarika and apatanaka. Charaka mentioned it in the management of arsas, atisara, raktapitta, kustha, raktaja gulma.

Varieties :

  1. Lata palasa (B. superba Roxb)
  2. Rakta ,Swetha, Neela varieties ( Raja Nighantu ) 

Controversial Studies

In charaka samhitha at two places C.S.Si.3/37 AND C.S.Si.3/63 it is described but both indicates more to Karcura or Sathi.

Botanical details

Butea Monosperma is a deciduous tree that grows upto 15m height and 1.5-1.8m in girth  with crooked trunk. Wood is white or yellow , leaves are trifoliate, large, unequal. Flowers are brilliant orange- red colored. Fruits are silbvery white, broad, dehiscent. Seeds are flat, elliptic, reddish- grey


Rasa – Katu, Tikta, Kasaya

Guna – Laghu, Snigdha

Virya – Usna

Vipaka – Katu

Karma – Vata kapha hara, grahi, krimghna, dipana 


Krimi, Pliha roga, Gulma, grahani, Arsas 


Throughout India, upto 1219m. height (except arid tracts) 

Part used – stem bark, flowers, seeds, gum

 Chemical constituents

Flowers- butin, isocorcospin, monospermoside, btein, isomonospermoside, coreopsin, palasitrin.

Roots – glycine, jalaric esters 1,2,3&4 etc

Gum- leucocyandin, procyanidin etc.

Seeds – monaspermin, palasonin, essential oil with myristic, palmitic acid 

Therapeutic uses

Slipada- juice of palasa root and equal quantity of sveta sarsapa are given with oil

Krimi- seed paste or juice of palasa may be taken with butter milk

Pumsavana- the preganant lady (2-3 months after conception ) may be given paste of one palasa leaf with milk. 


Kriminudgararas, Palasaksara taila 


Bark decoction – 50-100ml, seed powder 3-6g, flower powder 3-6g, gum 1-3g

Research works

  1. The alcoholic extract of the flower petals reported to posses anti-oestrogenic effect of at a dose of 3.3 mg/kg pern day ( Laumas & Uniyal, 1996 & Ind.J.Pharm.Sci.1990)
  2. Chronic admininistration of B.frondosa by oral route for 2 months produced marked nephrotoxicity and aneamia in rats , dogs and rabbis. Congestion in liver, lungs and spleen was also observed (Sachdev et al.,1965)
  3. Flower extract exhibited antihepatotoxicity activity (Plant Med. 1986)
  4. Seeds given orally effective in roundworm and thread worm infestations but ineffective in case of tapeworm. Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, genera weakness and pain in abdomen regularly observed as side effects (J.Res. Ayu. & Siddha, 1986)
  5. Oil obtained from the seeds of B.sperba , in a dose of 120mg/kg showed a marked and prolonged fall in B.P. with no effect on respiration (Siddiqui & Inamdar, 1963)