Caesalpinia Sappan Wood (Padhimugam): Uses, Side Effects, and Health Benefits

Health Benefits of Caesalpinia Sappan Wood

What is Sappan Wood?

Sappan wood is also called East Indian Redwood, which comes from a tree. It offers both ornamental and medicinal properties. It is a small thorny tree that can grow over 30 feet in height. It is widely found in China and Indian forests. Moreover, it is cultivated in gardens and nurseries. The heart of the tree is harvested by cutting the tree into large pieces, which are then cut into smaller pieces.

Basic Information

Caesalpinia sappan comes under the Fabaceae (Leguminosae) family. This tree belongs to the Indo-Malayan region. The wood is resistant to termites and also is used to make boxes and violin and walking sticks.

It has a unique place in the esteemed Ayurvedic texts. Surprisingly, pathimugam or sappan wood comes with its healing properties and incredible medicinal properties. 

Pathimugam medicinal tree is widely used to make natural dyes. It’s hard, heartwood is also used as a therapeutic part. Boil the water with this wood; it disinfects when it is boiling. 

Drinking this water every day can have healing benefits.

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As it has sweet, salty, and neutral properties, it is very beneficial for the heart, liver, and spleen meridians. It has a unique place in traditional Chinese medicine. Sappan wood stimulates the blood, supports menstruation, as well as reduces the risk of inflammation.

Plant Description

Patang shrub grows up to 6 to 9 m tall, with clear spines on stem and leaf clusters. Paired and regenerated, stipular thorns are found on the branches. It is commonly cultivated as a hedge plant.

1. Bark: It is hard and comes in greyish-brown color. It is about 2.5 cm thick; dark brown to cream-white on one side and yellow-orange on the other; No odor and taste characteristic.

2. Leaves: Twenty compounds, 20 to 45 cm long, alternate. About 8 to 16 pairs behind each leaf. Ten to 20 pairs of long or elliptical-rhomboid leaflets are attached to each pin in a unique way.

3. The inflorescence is axillary racemes and branched at long tips.

4. Wood parts are used for medicinal purposes.

5. Distribution: Indian Peninsula, all southern states, north to Orissa and Bengal.

6. Pod: Elliptical in shape, and the color is brown to black.

7. Bloom: From July to September, the flower and fruit occur, which rarely lasts until November.

8. Habitat: Xerophytic in nature, found in subtropical and subtropical regions with dry and hot climates.

9. Plant type / Habit: Shrub / Medium size tree

10. Period: Perennial

11. Flowers: Blonde-yellow, arranged in super-auxiliary and terminal racemes, forming a large panicle.

12. Propagation: By seeds.

Health Benefits of Sappan Wood (Pathimugham)

If you’ve gone to a Malayali friend’s house, they might have given you deep, woody pink water. Have you ever wondered what it is? That pinky water is called in Kerala by sappanwood or pathimugam shaving with boiling water. Traditionally, it appreciates the ability to cool the body, especially in the summer.

1. Antimicrobial Properties

Boiled water with sappan wood contains antimicrobial properties. The presence of methanol in wood can prevent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that may lead to skin infections, food poisoning, and joint infections.

2. It is Good for the Heart

Drinking one cup of sappan wood water every day is right for your heart health. One study found that Brazilein, the red pigment in sappan wood, gives a positive effect, and keeps your heart healthy. Its pale pink color gives an excellent look when we pour the water into the crystal clear glass.

Squeeze a little lime in the sappan wood water, and if you want to enjoy the sweetness, add a drop of honey and have this drink. Hot or cold, having it every day can give many health benefits to you.

3. It Controls Acne

If you have acne problems in your skin, then wash your face with sappan wood water. Wait for the result, you will get a better finish. The Brazilein found the red pigment in sappan wood extract shows that Propionibacterium fights acne and inflammation of the eyelids.

Read also: Best Ice Treatments for Acne.

4. It also Helps Fight Against Seizures

People who have convulsions due to epilepsy and other disorders should take the sappan wood. One research has shown that the sappanwood extracts have reactive functions. Moreover, this pathimugam has the ability to fight against seizures.

5. It is High in Antioxidants

If you are a tea enthusiast, you will know how many antioxidants you get from it. However, it may lead to severe acidity and caffeine intoxication. Instead of tea, you can try sappanwood tea. It is the best alternative to get antioxidants properties. One study found that sappanwood can offer more antioxidants and can fight against free radicals.

6. Comes with Anti-Allergic Properties

People who have allergy-related issues should take plenty of sappan wood water. Studies show that sappan wood’s elements can help prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Ayurvedic Properties of Sappanwood

It is classified as Karpurapi Varga in Bhavaprakash Nighantu and Chandanadi Varga of Dhanvantari Nighantu. It is astringent, bitter, sweet in taste (rasa), hard after digestion (vipaka), and cold (Virya). As it has cooling action and drying properties, it helps to remove pitta and Kapha.

1 Dosha Effect: Pitta, and Kapha calming
2 Virya (Action): Shita (Cooling)
3 Guna (Pharmacological Action): Ruksha (Dry)
4 Vipaka (altered state after digestion): Katu (severe)
5 Rasa (taste on the tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Madhura (Sweet), Tikta (Bitter)

Sappanwood is a sheet Virya herb, which is a cool energy herb. It controls pitta (bile) and Vata (air). It is also known as the Katu Vipak herb. Vipak refers to the after-digestion (digestion/cooking/effect of rasa) flavors after mixing with digestive juices. It is the long-term effect of the herb. Katu Viapk herb increases dehydration in the body.

Ayurvedic Actions

Balya: Improves your body strength
Panduhar: Treats anemia
Raktadoshahar: Purifies the blood.
Shothahar: Removes inflammation
Sthambhana: Stops the flow of water from the body in the form of vomiting and diarrhea.
Vranya: Effective in treating ulcers.

Medicinal Properties of Caesalpinia Sappan Wood / Padhimugam

Caesalpinia sappan contains some essential medicinal properties. Here are some benefits of them,

1 Antibacterial property: Fight against bacteria and prevent free radical cell growth.
2 Antidiarrheal property: Used to get relief from diarrhea.
3 Hepatoprotective: Protect the liver from any damage
4 Antioxidant property: Neutralizing the antioxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
5 Emmenagogue property: Increases and regulates the menstrual cycle.
6 Uterine tonic: Used as a tonic for reproductive health by women.
7 Anti-inflammatory property: By acting the body mechanism, it can decrease inflammation.
8 Depurative property: Act as a purification agent.
9 Antipyretic / Antifibril / Flu property: Protect against the flu and infection.
10 Anti-cancerous property: Prevent cancer as well as stop the growth of the cancer cell.

Traditional Uses of Caesalpinia Sappan Wood (Pathimugam)

  • Its bark decoction is used to cure tuberculosis, atonic diarrhea, diarrhea, postpartum tonic, skin infections, wounds, ulcers, and anemia.
  • The seeds of the sappanwood are used for abdominal pain and nervous disorders.
  • Most of the women used the tree decoction as a tonic after baby birth, and they also used it to treat emesis and blood vomiting.
  • Dry hardwood used against inflammation.
  • A decoction of the sappanwood is used as a diuretic.
  • Roots, stems, and seeds are used as anesthetics and vulnerabilities.
  • Seeds are used to treat stomach pain. A wood decoction is used as an emollient in Indo-China.
  • It is used for complaints of arthritis, cancer, and inflammation in Thailand.
  • Sappanwood is used to treat malignant conditions, such as pitta, burning sensations, wounds, ulcers, leprosy, skin diseases, dysentery, diarrhea, and diabetes in Ayurveda.
  • It prevents bleeding from the chest and lungs, heals wounds, treats rheumatism, and increases complexion in Unani.
  • As it has an anti thirst and anti-diabetic properties, it has the ability to purify your blood.

Medicinal Uses of Caesalpinia sappan

Caesalpinia sappan wood can be used internally as well as externally. The medicinal properties of this wood are slightly similar to Yellow Chandan Sappan wood. It is mainly used to heal wounds, prevent bleeding, and heal psoriasis.

For women, it is used to control menstruation after baby birth. In the case of hemoptysis (cough of blood or blood-stained mucus from the trachea, larynx, trachea, or lungs) a decoction of the tree is provided.

Hardwood decoction is also used to treat severe dysentery, diarrhea, intestinal, leucorrhoea, and uterine bleeding. A small piece of hardwood forms a dark red solution in water. It includes anti-thirst, blood purifying, antidepressants, color-enhancing, and many other properties. The wood is used to get red dye and as a shampoo.

If you have a chronic wound, apply the bark powder of the sappan wood. It can heal wounds.

Hardwood decoction can cure high fever, bile, and maintain body temperature.

A bar of decoction increases kidney function.

Take the bark paste with coconut milk, use this paste for itching, urticaria, and psoriasis.

You can cook the bark with rice and have it. It can cure jaundice and biliary disorders. It is also used to treat herpes.

Consuming hardwood decoction before bed can reduce thirst and urinary disorders due to diabetes.

How Do You Use It?

Generally, the human body needs 2 liters of water per day, so the drinking water must be hot enough to trigger a digestive fire. In India, especially in the south, people boil the water with medicinal stems, bark, and roots. In the old days, Pathimugam was also added and admired. When added to water, the sappan wood adds a pale pink color. It tastes good

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Scientific Information about the Sappan Wood

Scientifically, this plant is classified into seven major stages. That is kingdom, family, division, class, order, genus, and race. The botanical name of sappanwood is Caesalpinia sappan.

Species : Caesalpinia sappan L. – sappanwood
Kingdom : Plantae
Family : Fabaceae or Leguminosae
Division : Magnoliophyta
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta
Genus : Caesalpinia L.
Superdivision : Spermatophyta
Order : Fabales
Class : Magnoliopsida
Order : Fabales

How Does it Help?

Indian sappan wood quenches a great thirst. It also has many benefits. It is a preservative, and its wood powder is used to decrease pain and swelling caused by external injuries.
It is used to treat certain diseases of the blood, such as dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea, and also has the ability to cure abdominal pain in women following childbirth.

Quantity Method

The usual size of the sappanwood is 3 to 10 grams, which is boiled in water as a decoction. Some suggested using the sappan wood powder with the water.

Other Facts

Dye : 

Hardwood is used to make a red crystal dye, brazilin. Cotton, silk, and wool are popularly used as dyewood for dyeing fabrics. Moreover, it is used to dye leather, silk, bodice, calico printing, furniture, and handicrafts. Also used to color wines and meats. It is one of the safest for coloring food items and medicines.

Lambanog :

In Quezon province, it is one of the famous colorants for the coconut liqueur, lambanog. The piece of sappanwood is used to test the purity of the lambanog as well as it changes the lambanog into a yellow color.

Firewood includes 25,000 kJ / kg of energy value. Commercial Redwood or Brazilwood source. The work, with the cabinet and its straight grains, is of great value in creating the violin bow and walking sticks.


The stem forms a glue.

Safety Precautions

Sappan wood is not recommended for patients diagnosed with anemia. If you are pregnant woman or a breastfeeder, then it is a better idea to avoid using it. Apart from everything, you should consult with your healthcare provider before you consume the sappan wood.

Other language names of Caesalpinia Sappan Wood / Padhimugam

Tamil name : பதிமுகம் / pathimugham, Anaikuntrumani, Padangam, Patungam, Sappangu, Varattangi
English name : Sappanwood, Indian redwood
French name : Sappan, brésillet des Indes
Indonesia name : kayu secang, soga jawa / Javanese, secang / Sundanese
Malaysia name : sepang (general)
Philippines name : sibukao (Tagalog, Bisaya), sapang (Tagalog, Bisaya, Ilokano)
Burma name : teing-nyet
Cambodia name : sbaeng
Laos name : faang deeng
Thailand name : faang (general), faang som (Kanchanaburi), ngaai (Karen, Kanchanaburi)
Vietnam name : vang, vang nhuom, to moc.
Ayurvedic name : Surangada, Patangah, Bharyavriksha, Rogakashtha, Pattranya, Patanga, Kuchandana, Raktasar
Assamese name : Baggam, Bakam
Bengali name : Bokom
Gujarati name : patang
Hindi name : pagang, bakam
Kannada name : Patranga, Chappanga, Sappanga
Malayalam name : Chappangam, Pathimukham
Telugu name : Bukkapuchettu
Trade name : Patang, Brazil wood
Unani name : Pattang

This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page
This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page
This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page
This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page
This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page
This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page
This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page
This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page
This product has multiple variants. The options may be chosen on the product page

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