All plants have a purpose in the natural world. Enduring cultures know this, and have long exercised a proven practice in utilizing plants for more than just decorative and culinary uses. They have found higher purposes for many plants, which include therapies, supplements and medicines for a variety of human afflictions.
So it comes as no surprise that approximately twenty-five percent of all prescription drugs are derived from trees, shrubs and herbs. Yet throughout human history, few plants have acquired as significant of purpose and meaning as the Ashoka tree (Saraca asoca).
Ashoka, in Sanskrit, means “without worry.” Perhaps the most sacred tree in India, it is worshiped and mentioned in Hindu mythology as the “Ashoka tree” beneath which Indian philosopher and founder of Buddhism, Gautama Siddhartha, was born. (Journal of chemical and pharmaceutical research – http://jocpr.com/first-issue/JOCPR-6.pdf).
It is also quite beautiful to behold, and is cultivated widely throughout Southeast Asia. Growing seven to ten meters in height, the Ashoka tree blooms in fragrant bunches of orange and yellow flowers amongst deep green leaves.
The skin of the bark, seeds, flowers and the fruits of Asoka are used for medicinal purpose. This herb is seldom used externally. When used externally, the paste of its bark – skin is beneficial in combating pain associated with swelling.
The bark, boiled in liquid, sun dried, or ground into powder, is strongly astringent and a uterine sedative. It acts directly on the muscular fibers of the uterus. It has a stimulating effect on the endometrium and the ovarian tissue. Used for the uterine/ovarian fibroids, menorrhagia, bleeding hemorrhoids, bleeding dysentery. (http://www.himalayahealthcare.com/herbfinder/h_saraca.htm)
According to Ayurveda, Ashoka juice is bitter and pungent in taste and cool in nature. It improves the skin color and quenches thirst. It is also useful for the treatment of burning sensation, blood diseases, stomach diseases, swelling, uterus looseness and all the types of leucorrhoea diseases, fever and joints pain. It destroys the stomach worms and alleviates poison. (http://www.jkhealthworld.com/eng_healthworld/?q=ASHOKA%20TREE%20/ASHOKA)
The dried flowers are used in diabetes and haemorrhagic dysentery and seeds are used for treating bone fractures, strangury and vesical calculi.
There are also a couple alternative, alternative uses for some of the compounds found within Ashoka (syn. Saraca indica Linnaeus), such as removing lead from water and larvae control (http://www.bioline.org.br/request?st08004, http://www.springerlink.com/content/lq22013678553x67/fulltext.html).
Papaya and Mango Smoothie
- 2 papayas
- 1 large mango
- 1 can of coconut milk
- lychees: optional
I know you don’t need directions, you just cut the fruit apart and mix it together! You can make it any ratio of fruit you want. I had a lot of papaya, so I was able to make a whole pitcher. I’ve been pouring it out and adding a bit of white wine or sugar water to thin it down a bit. One way or the other I’ve been having fun.