Scientific name – Saraca asoca

Family – Fabaceae

The Ashoka tree is considered sacred and legendary in India. In Sanskrit, Asoka or Ashoka means ‘without sorrow’. Ashoka is associated with several traditional beliefs and is sacred to the Hindu God of love, Kamadeva. It is believed that Gautama Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism, was born under the Ashoka tree. The scientific name of the Ashoka tree is Saraca asoca, which belongs to the Caesalpinaceae family. Ashoka tree is native to India and is found all over India, especially in the Himalayas, Kerala, Bengal and the southern regions. The Ashoka tree has been used extensively in Ayurveda.


Ashoka is the beautiful evergreen tree of about 25-30 feet in height.
• Ashoka Bark – Ashoka bark is smooth with transversely ridged and circular lenticels, dark green to greenish grey.
• Ashoka Leaves – Ashoka leaves are dark green, alternate, paripinnate compound, stipulate, large and spreading horizontally.3-6 inches long and 2.5 inches wide.
• Ashoka Flowers – Ashoka has fragrant, bisexual, regular flowers of orange color with 7-8 stamens in a large bunch.
• Ashoka Fruits – Ashoka fruits are legumes that are smooth, leathery and flat pods tapered at both ends having 6-8 seeds. About 12-20 cm long and 5 cm in width.
• Ashoka Seeds – Ashoka seeds are flat, about 1.5 inches long.

Properties –

अशोकः शीतलस्तिक्तो ग्रीही वर्ण्यः कषायकः । शोषापचीतृषादाहकृमिशोयविषास्त्रजित् ।। (भा.प्र.) ‘अशोकवल्कलक्वायशृतं दुग्धं सुशीतलतम् । यथावतं पिवेत्प्रातस्तीब्रासृग्वरनाशनम् ।।’ (च.व.)
Asoka has various important actions on almost all systems of the body. Those Are as follows:

  1. Local actions: External -analgesic and antidotal properties.
  2. Internal actions:
    • Nervous system – analgesic.
    • Digestive system – astringent, anthelmintic, anti-dyspeptic, anti-thirst properties.
    • Cardiovascular system – cardiotonic, hemostatic, blood purifying, and antioedematous
    • Reproductive system – helps in conception; uterine, endometrium, ovarian- stimula strengthens uterine muscles, and reduces uterine discharge and uterine pain.
    Excretory system – diuretic and lithotriptic. • Body temperature – anti-pyretic and cooling effect.
    Chemical composition –
    Ashoka Bark is rich in –
    • Tannins, Haematoxylin, Flavonoids, Steroids, Saponins, Volatile oil, Glycosides, Catechol, Carbonic calcium, Iron, Ketosterol, and Various steroidal glycosides.
    • Ashoka Leaves contain various carbohydrates, tannins, gallic acid, and egallic acid. Ashoka Flowers are rich in saracasin, saracadin, waxy substances, proteins, carbohydrates, and steroids. Ashoka Seeds contains various fatty acids like oleic, linoleic, palmitic and stearic acid.


  1. Flavonoids from Ashoka tree flowers might reduce the number of tumours in skin cancer. This is because it may destabilise the free radicals (harmful molecules in the body) and reduce oxidative degradation of lipids (fats). Additionally, flavonoids from the Ashoka tree may reduce the enzymes like glutathione peroxide, catalase and ornithine decarboxylase, which may be responsible for causing skin cancer.
  2. Catechins in Ashoka tree bark and leaves might show antimicrobial activity. The catechins may inhibit the growth of bacteria. It may act against infections caused by bacteria like E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureas and many more.
  3. Bioactive compounds like β-sitosterol and epicatechin in the Ashoka tree might reduce the risk of heart disease. Ashoka tree may reduce bad cholesterol levels by destabilising the body’s free radicals (harmful molecules) and reduce oxidative degradation of lipids (fats). High cholesterol levels in the body may increase the risk of heart diseases; therefore, antioxidant activity may contribute to protecting the heart.
  4. The flavonoids like quercetin and gallic acid in the Ashoka tree may reduce inflammation caused in arthritis. The inflammation may be reduced by inhibiting the release of inflammatory cytokines (molecules in the body responsible for causing inflammation).
  5. Flowers of the Ashoka tree might help to reduce stomach ulcers. The results suggested that the Ashoka tree may reduce lesions, inflammation and acid secretion to reduce stomach ulcers.
  6. Bioactive compounds like phytosterol, flavonoids and saponins in the Ashoka tree might be beneficial for type II diabetes. These bioactive compounds may increase the secretion of insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels).
  7. Intake of leaf extracts of the Ashoka tree may help to relieve pain. The bioactive compounds like tannins, triterpenoids, saponin, flavonoids and glycosides in the Ashoka tree might help to reduce pain.
  8. Flavonoids and phenols in the Ashoka tree might help to reduce depression. These bioactive compounds may increase the antioxidants in the brain and reduce oxidative stress by destabilising harmful free radicals. This may reduce the symptoms of depression.