Bombax ceiba Linn

Family Name:


Local Name/English Name: Flowering Period: Status: Parts Used: Habit/Habitat:



Dug sumbal, Sembul, Semul/Silk cotton tree



Bark and wood

A large tree, found as a rare plant in dry clay; also planted in the plains as a roadside and garden tree.

Pakistan: Sub-Himalayan tract from Hazara eastward. World: India, Bhutan, and South China.

A large tree up to 20 m tall. Stem erect, branched, woody, gray bark armed with prickles. Leaves compound, 5-7 leaflets, green, entire, elliptic to lanceolate with long stalks. Flowers are large, red fleshy, cup-shaped, appearing on branches before leaves. Nectariferous flowers attractive to birds. Fruit woody, capsule, dehiscing by five valves (Fig. 3.29).

Family Name: Bombacaceae

Medicinal Uses:

Collection: 1 kg of fresh bark is collected by men 25-40

years old, in winter (November-February), and is used in both fresh and dried forms; dried in shade for 5-6 days; stored in cloth or a glass bottle for further use. Recipes: (a) 150 g of dried bark of Bombax ceiba and

150 g of dried bark of Acacia modesta are ground together for 8-10 min. This powdered drug is stored in a glass or plastic bottle and given to patients suffering from body weakness or rheumatism and to increase muscle strength. For adults, 1-2 tsp (10-12 g) of powdered drug (at one time) is given with 1 cup (250 mL) of water twice a day (morning-evening) for 14-15 days.

10-15 g of powdered drug is roasted daily in 5-6 g of ghee (desighee) and 5-6 g of sugar is mixed in. This sweet meal (halwa) is given to patients in the morning for 14-15 days. OR

1-2 tsp (10-15 g) of powder is mixed with 5-6 g of sugar and then dissolved in 1 cup (250 mL) of water. This syrup is given to patients daily in the morning for 12-14 days. For children, not used.

(b) 10-15 g of fresh bark is ground daily for

3-4 min. This paste is then applied on pimples, skin lesions, and sore joints

1-2 times per day for 2-3 days. Diseases Cured: Body weakness, rheumatism, low muscle strength, skin diseases (lesions and pimples). Ethnobotanical Uses: The wood of the plant is used to make furniture and sometimes as timber and fuel. Phytochemicals: Drying oil, tannic and gallic acids, 4-C-B-D-

glucopyranosyl-1,3,6,8-tetrahydroxy-7-o-(4"-hydroxybenzoyl)-9H-xanthen-9-one (I)

2-C-B-D-glucopyranosyl-1,6,7-trihydroxy-3-o(4"-hydroxybenzoyl)-9H-xanthen-9-one (II)


Fig. 3.30 Brassica compestris Linn

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