‘Pongam Tree’ is known as one of the richest and brightest tree of India. The name Pongamia has derived from the Tamil name ‘Pinnata’ that refers to ‘Pinnate leaves’.
Karanja (Pongamia pinnata Linn.) an ancient plant described in Veda, Samhita, and almost in all Nighantu. Karanja has been recognized in Ayurveda – a traditional system of medicine for the treatment of various diseases of human beings. Different parts of this plant are traditionally used for the treatment of various ailments including Kushta, Arsha, Prameha, Yonidosha, etc.
Ayurvedic Properties and Pharmacological Effect
Almost all the Aacharya have opined the properties of
Karanja is Tikta (bitter), Katu (pungent) Kashaya
(astringent) in Rasa (taste), Laghu (light) and Tikshna
(sharpness) in Guna (properties), Ushna (hot) in Virya
(potency) and Katu (pungent) in Vipaka (metabolism).
Due to these properties, it alleviates Vata & Kapha
Shleshmatak, Katabhi, Kutaj and Shirish mixed
with cured are applied as a pas
Karanja is mentioned among the KandughnaVarga by Charaka. Sushruta highlighted the utility of KaranjaTaila in Krimi, Kushta, Prameha and Siroroga and quoted it as Kapha-Vathara, Shothahara, Kandughna(anti-itch) and Bhedana.It contains Karanjin, pongapin, Karanja chromen. It shows antibacterial, hypoglycaemic activity. The essential oil from P. pinnata showed mild antifungal activity. Another importance of Karanja is because of its oil-containing seeds. The Pongamia pinnata seeds contain about 40% oil, which can be converted to biodiesel by transesterification method.
The seeds are reported to contain on an average about 28-34% oil with high percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
In Granthivisrpa paste of Karanja bark may be applied locally.
Karanja leaves are fried in Ghruta and made it into powder.This powder is administered along with Saktu for Anuloman
Karanja fruit mixed with Saindhav, Danti, Marich, Pippali and powdered it and this powder used in Kushta for Nasya.
Karanja Patra can be used for Pradeha in Kushta
Seed powder of Karanja should be given with sugar and honey in Raktapitta.
Yavagu prepared along with Kwath of leaves of Karanja is administered for all types of Chardi.
Karanja Taila should be applied in Vrana(wound) due to Kushta.
For Vrana Prakshalan Karanja fresh juice can be used.
Karanja along with Gomutra should be used for Lepana in Urusthamba.