Scientific name: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
The tree is called the “tree of sorrow” because the foliage becomes droopy as blooming flowers fall off during early morning. The Latin specific epithet arbor-tristis means “sad tree”. In India, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is known as pārijāta (पारिजात), harsinghar, sephalika, pavalamallikai, manjapumaram,commonly known as night-blooming jasmine, tree of sadness, tree of sorrow, coral jasmine,
The parijata is a divine tree featured in Hindu mythology. The Mahabharata and the Puranas describe the parijata tree, as one of five trees, to have emerged during the legend of the Samudra Manthana.
Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is a shrub or a small tree growing to 10 m (33 ft) tall, with flaky grey bark. The leaves are opposite, simple, 6–12 cm (2.4–4.7 in) long and 2–6.5 cm (0.79–2.56 in) broad, with an entire margin. The flowers are fragrant, with a five- to eight-lobed white corolla with an orange-red centre; they are produced in clusters of two to seven together, with individual flowers opening at dusk and finishing at dawn. The fruit is a bilobed, flat brown heart-shaped to round capsule 2 cm (0.79 in) diameter, each lobe containing a single seed.
Different parts of the plant Parijata contains following phyto-chemicals:
Flowers: – Essential oil, nyctanthin, d-mannitol, tannin, glucose, caratenoid and glycosides are present in flowers.
Seeds: – Arbortristoside A and B, glycerides of linolelic, oleic, stearic, palmitic and myristic acids, nyctantic acid and a water soluble polysaccharide composed of D – glucose and D – mannose are present in seeds. It also contains 15% of a pale yellow-brown oil, nyctanthic acid and beta-sitosterol.
Leaves:- B-Sitosterol, nyctanthic acid, tannic acid, methyl salicylate, mannitol, ascorbic acid, carotene, linoleic acid, glycosides, 6-beta- hydroxyloganin, benzoic acid, glucose, fructose, flavonol, triterpernoids, and some trace of volatile oils are present in leaves,
Flower oil: – α–Pinene, P-Cymene, L-hexanon, phenylacetaldehyde, and I-decanol are present in flower oil of the plant.
Stem: – glycosides, B-glucopyranosyl, α-Xylo-phranoside and B – Sitosterols are present in stem.
Bark: – Methyl-D-glucose, methyl-D-Mannose, arbortristoside A,B,C and iridoid glycoside-nyctanthaside, glycoside and alkaloids
Ayurveda describes sciatica as Gridhrasi, and it is caused by the aggravation of Vata. Sometimes aggravated Kapha and Vata can also cause sciatica. Parijat has Ushna (hot) nature that helps to bring back the aggravated Vata. It also helps to restore the state of equilibrium by maintaining the balance between Kapha and Vata dosha to provide relief in symptoms of Sciatica.
Parijat or Harsingar can prove to be beneficial in controlling the fever. As per Ayurveda, accumulation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the body may sometimes cause fever. Taking Parijat leaves juice with honey helps to reduce the symptoms of fever by reducing Ama because of its Ushna (hot) property.
According to Ayurveda, indigestion is termed as Agnimandya. It occurs due to an imbalance of Pitta dosha. Whenever the ingested food is left undigested due to Mand Agni (low digestive fire), it results in the formation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) and causes indigestion. Parijat helps enhance the Agni, thus leading to improved digestion due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestion) properties.
Diabetes, also known as Madhumeha, occurs due to an aggravation of Vata-Kapha dosha as well as impaired digestion. Impaired digestion leads to an accumulation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the pancreatic cells and impairs the function of insulin. Parijat helps manage diabetes due to its Vata-Kapha balancing and Tikta (bitter) properties. It helps prevent the accumulation of Ama and improves the function of insulin, thereby managing blood sugar levels and reducing the symptoms of diabetes
Parijat oil can help to reduce bone and joint pain. According to Ayurveda, bones and joints are considered a site of Vata in the body. Pain in the joints is mainly caused due to an imbalanced Vata. Applying Parijat oil helps to reduce joint pain due to its Vata-balancing property.
Parijat has Keshya (hair tonic) property which helps to control hair fall and promote hair growth. Juice of Parijat flower or paste of the seeds, when applied to the scalp, can give quick results and also promote hair growth.
Ringworm or Dadru with itching and burning sensation is due to an imbalance of Kapha and Pitta dosha. Parijat leaves juice helps to control fungal infections and itching associated with ringworm. This is due to its Kushtghna (useful in skin disease) and Kapha pacifying properties.