Mahua Oil (Iluppai Ennai) – For External Use Only
Mahua Oil (Iluppai Ennai) flowers and seeds are edible. The fruits of tree are used as vegetable. The seeds of tree contain about 40% pale yellow oil. This oil is used as cooking oil by most of the tribes in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. After the oil extraction the residue is used as fish poison. Bheel tribe of Madhya Pradesh burn this residual cake inside the room for keeping the snakes away. The other uses of Mahua oil are as hair oil, skin care, vegetable butter and in making of soaps. Mahua flowers contain about 65 to 70% sugar (reducing sugar 48 to 55%;inert sugar 14 to 18%), cellulose, albuminous substances, ash, enzymes, yeast and water. Due to high sugar content, the flowers provide adequate energy on oral administration. In some parts of India, tribal women eat Mahua flowers during breastfeeding as a nutritive food. In Bihar, flower pickle is used (two teaspoonful, for two months) in treatment of Tuberculosis. Tribals of Bastar in Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and North Maharashtra produces alcoholic drink of Mahua flowers by fermentation. The tribes of Rajasthan uses the stem bark powder for treatment of respiratory disorders. Mahua flowers are also used to make jams, jellies, biscuits and many other food items due to their nutritional value (contains vitamins, sugars, amino acids, organic acids, enzymes and other compounds).
Mahua tree is an important medicinal tree as well. Mahua Flowers are stimulant, demulcent, laxative, anthelmintic, and cough relieving. The flowers are cooling in nature and used for treating cold, cough, bronchitis and other respiratory disorders. Seed oil is galactogenic (stimulating breast milk), pain-relieving and vomiting inducing in action. These are used in pneumonia, skin diseases, and piles. The tree bark is astringent and emollient (skin softening). The bark is used for tonsillitis, gum troubles, diabetes and ulcers. The leaves of tree contain alkaloids, carbohydrates, proteins, saponins, tannins, triterpenoids and absence of gums and fixed oils. These are traditionally used in treatment of are expectorant and also used for chronic bronchitis, bronchitis, rheumatism, head-ache and hemorrhoids. In Ayurveda for preparation of alcoholic fermented drugs (Asava and Arishta), Mahua flowers are used as fermenting agent. Different parts possess liver protective, fever reducing, swelling reducing, pain relieving, anti-tumour, anti-estrogenic (blocks the production or utilization of estrogens/ female sex hormones, or inhibits their effects;estrogen is hormone that produces an environment suitable for fertilization, implantation, and nutrition of the early embryo), blood pressure lowering, wound healing and anti-progestational (works against progesterone;progesterone is responsible for preparing and maintaining uterine envoirnment for fertilised egg) activities.
The botanical name of Mahua is Madhuca indica and it belongs to the family Sapotaceae. The synonyms of species are M. latifolia (Roxb.) Macbride, Bassia latifolia Roxb. Its taxonomical classification is as given below:-
SPECIES Indica (syn. Bassia latifolia) long
Large tree;bark grey to dark brown, scaly;leaves linear-lanceolate clustered near ends of branches, tapering towards base;flowers:glabrous, aromatic, pale yellow, small, many in dense clusters near ends of branches;berries ovoid, yellow when ripe;seeds usually one to two, compressed, shining.
Parts used:Seeds, bark, flowers, fruit, oil of the seeds, leaves, and bark.
- Kannada:Hippegida, Halippe, Hippe, Hippenara, Madhuka, Ippa, Eppimara
- Malayalam:Irippa, Ilippa, Iluppa, Eluppa
- Punjabi:Maua, Mahua
- Tamil:Katiluppai, Kattu Iluppai, Iluppi
- Telugu:lppa Puvvu