Parijat (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis)

Parijat is known as Harsingar in Hindi and Night Jasmine or Coral Jasmine in English. It belongs to family Oleace or Arshoghnadi Varga in Ayurveda. It is found all over India up to the height of 3,000 feet. Parijat (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis), appears in several Hindu religious stories and is often related to the Kapavriksha. In Bhagwat Puran it is mentioned that Parijat appeared as the result of Samundra Manthan (churning of the milky ocean).

Plant description: It is a shrub or a small tree growing up to 10 meters tall, with flaky grey bark. The leaves are opposite, simple, 6-12 cm long and 2-6.5 cm broad. The flowers are fragrant, with a five- to eight-lobed white corolla and an orange-red centre; they are produced in clusters of two to seven together, with individual flowers opening at dusk while flowers lose their brightness and finishing at dawn; that’s the reason that the tree is sometimes called the “tree of sorrow.” The fruit is a flat brown heart-shaped to round capsule, 2 cm diameter, with two sections each containing a single seed.

Ayurvedic pharmacology: Guna-Laghu, Ruksha Rasa-Tikta, Vipak-Katu, Veerya-Ushna

Chemical composition: The leaves and seeds contain iridoid glycosides; other constituents reported from the leaves are mannitol, beta-amyrin, beta-sitosterol, hentriacontane, benzoic acid, astragalin, nicotiflorin, oleanolic acid, nyctanthic acid, friedelin and lupeol. The orange red centre has Nyctanthene which is like a-crocetin of saffron.

Therapeutically useful part: Leaves, bark and flowers.

Therapeutic uses: Leaves are febrifuge, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, hypotensive, respiratory stimulant. Leaf juice is used for fevers, rheumatism, sciatica, loss of appetite, constipation, hepatomegaly, dysuria, piles, respiratory disorders, snake bite and worm infestation. Seed paste is used on scalp for falling of hair. All parts of the plant are used for allergic disorders.

Dr.Pratibha Mamgain,
Department of Ayurvedic Medicine