Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Red Sandalwood Seed

Let us continue with the seeds which we use at Shradhanjali.
On this blog we would like to keep giving information about the seeds, flowers, leaves and plants which are the ‘raw materials’ of our natural products.
Today, here is a short introduction on the Adenanthera pavonina.

What does Adenanthera pavonina mean?
Adenanthera comes from ‘aden’ (gland) and ‘anthera’ (anther) which are tipped with a gland.
Pavonina is the name of a Spanish botanist, Pavon, José Antonio (1754–1844)

Its Common Name: Red Sandalwood, Coral Wood, Red Bead Tree, Red Wood

Where do you find it?
Mainly in India, China, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Australia (Northern Territory) and Solomon Islands.
It has been ‘naturalized’ in tropical Africa, Asia, United States, West Indies, Seychelles or Pacific Islands.
In India, it is found in the sub-Himalayan tracts. It is also grows in West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Gujarat, Maharashtra, South India (in Auroville of course) and the Andamans.

What does it looks like?
It is a deciduous, spreading, fast growing, unarmed tree, up to 15 m in height and 2 m in girth. Bark dark brown or greyish brown, rough on old trees, white or brownish white inside; leaves bipinnate, up to 30 cm long; flowers yellowish, scented; pods narrow, up to 20 cm long, twisting while opening, exposing hard, shiny, scarlet seeds.
The seeds, known as Madatya or Circassian seeds, are traditionally used by apothecaries and goldsmiths as weights, each seed being equal to approx. 0,25g.
It is said that roasted and shelled seeds can be eaten with rice and it is good. The powdered seeds, mixed with borax and water can make good cement.
The smooth, pale grey bark is rich in saponin and can be used in the manufacture of both detergents and medicines, while the shredded bark yields a red dye.
The reddish-purple heartwood is hard, heavy, strong and durable, a valued timber in many countries, where it is used for cabinetry or construction and for making articles of fine art.
The red paste made by rubbing the wood upon a moist stone can be used as a tilak.
The red wood, rubbed on a stone with a little water and applied to the body can cure prickly heat. The timber is used as a substitute for true red sandal wood (Pterocarpus santalinus).
A multipurpose tree, in other words.

The seed is extensively used in our Beejika range.

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