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Kutaja Plant In Hindu Religion

Kutaja plant, as per scriptures in Hindu religion, is dear to Indra, the king of Devas, and hence called Indra Vriksha. The fruit and the seed of the tree is called indrayava (indrajaun, or indrajavanu (Indra’s barley) and bhadrayana (or the auspicious barley), which is believed to augur happiness and good fortune.

Kutaja means hill born.

Kutaja is a small or medium height tree with large, oval leaves, pointed at the tip and wedge-shaped at the base, belonging to the family apocynaceae, found mostly in the drier or deciduous forest regions of India.

Some of the different names of kutaja are giri mallika (the mountain jasmine), mallika pushpa (with jasmine like flowers), vatsaka (as it grows in Odisha), Sakrah (because it cures diarrhea), Vrikshaka (a small sized tree), pandurdruma (with pale whitish flowers) and yava phala (with barley like fruits).

Kutaja Plant In Hindu Religion

Kutaja is famous for its rich medicinal properties and it is traditionally considered to be a curative of divine efficacy in the Kali Age.

Saints of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) planted Kutaja in their hermitages or vatikas (gardens), for ornamentation as well as it life giving properties.

The clusters of lightly scented flowers of the tree symbolizing purity and righteousness, is used in various Hindu rituals.

Medicinal Properties Of Kutaja Plant

The tribal people use the kutaja bark along with other herbs to cure snake-bites, bleeding piles, and fever. The decoction of its roots or seed is an old remedy for dysentery.

Its powdered seeds have carminative and astringent effect. Its bark is rubbed over the body in dropsy and paste of its leaves is applied to boils, bleeding gums, and ulcers.

The arista (wine) prepared from kutaja is a remedy for ulcerative colitis, amoebic dysentery, gingivitis, edema, urological disorders, and skin diseases.

References to kutaja occur in such medicinal texts as Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, as also in numerous nighantus (medical lexions) and commentaries.

Sanskrit dramas like Meghaduta by Kalidasa, Malati Madhava by Bhavabhuti, and Bala Ramayana by Rajashekhara also mention it.

Bibliography
  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VI page 212 – 213
  • Dravyaguna Vijnana Vol.II (1983) by Acharya Priyavarta Sarma, Chaukhamba Bharati Academy Varanasi
  • Database on Medicinal Plants Used in Ayurveda Vol. I (2001) edited by Dennis T J, Yeine M B and P C Sharma – Central Council For Research in Ayurveda And Siddha – New Delhi.