Madar belongs to the species calotropis and family Apocynaceae which is also known as a crown flower. The flowers are whitish-lavender color, waxy and are arranged in clusters. They have five petals with a crown-like structure and stamens at the center. This large shrub grows up to 4 meters in height. The leaves are oval in shape and light green in color. The stem of this shrub produces milky latex. Madar is distributed widely in India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Pakistan, and Nepal.
The flowers are fragrant which are used in making floral tassels in olden culture. There are two varieties of madar seen in India: one shrub produces white flowers (Calotropis gigantea) and another produces purple (Calotropis Procera) flowers.
In Ayurveda, each and every part of the erukku has various medicinal properties. But every part of the shrub is poisonous at a particular dosage. The milky latex from the leaves and stems are poisonous and is used by the ancient people to poison the arrow. When this latex gets contact with the eyes, it may lead to blindness. But the correct usage of this plant gives powerful health benefits.
What is Calotropis Gigantea?
Generally, Calotropis gigantea, known as the crown flower or giant milkweed, is a large shrub or small tree that comes under the Asclepiadaceae or Milkweed or Ak family.
The native of this plant is continental Asia and Southeast Asia and has been introduced as an ornamental weed near villages and temples in the Pacific Islands, Australia, Central, and North-South America and Africa.
The name Calotropis is a greek word which means beautiful boat keel. It is a sacred plant in India and is used to perform religious rituals for Rudra (one form of Lord Shiva). In the ancient Arabian and Vedic times, Calotropis was used to worship the sun. In Roman Jewish history, calotropis is also known as the apple of sodom. This plant is mentioned in Renaissance Europe and Egypt by Prosper Alpinus.
Archeologists have found the charcoal remains of Calotropis at archaeological sites in the Nile Valley of Upper Egypt which is related to pre-dynastic periods. In India and China, charcoal derived from Calotropis was used in gunpowder.
In some olden Cyprus civilizations, Calotropis fibers are used in making textiles. The fibers from the inner bark of the Calotropis were used in the manufacture of clothes for the princes and nobles. Fibers are also used as bow-strings in India and also for making rug, net, and sewing threads. In Hawaii and the Philippines, the flowers of Calotropis are used for decorative purposes.
Common Names of Aak ( Calotropis Gigantea)
- Botanical Name: Calotropis Gigantea
- Tamil Name: வெள்ளெருக்கு / Vellerukku
- English Name: crown flower
- Hindi Name: कैलोट्रोपिस गिगेंटिया / lalak, lalmadar, madar, mandara, moto aak
- Malayalam Name: കലോട്രോപിസ് ഗിഗാൻടിയ / belerica, belericu, bukam, dinesam, eri, ericu, erikka
- Telugu Name: కలోట్రోపిస్ గిగాంటెయా / arkamu, ekke, jilledu,mandaramu
Madar is known with names such as Giant Milkweed, Indian milkweed, Crown Flower, Giant Calotrope, Swallow-wort, Bow-string hemp, and giant rubber bush. In Tamil, it is known as erukku.
Parts used: Leaves, root, flowers, and latex.
The Crown flower is a fast-growing, large flowering, and attractive shrub. It can grow up to 5 meters in height. You can find this plant in disturbed areas, dry coastal areas, roadsides, watercourses, overgrazed pasture land, sunny, sheltered shores of lagoons, dry, sunny, hot environments, urban open spaces, fallow land, gullies, and floodplains. This plant grows successfully in a variety of soils but mostly prefers sandy, loamy soils. It thrives in dry sands.
The roots are found with a rounded head, and the remaining parts are spirally curved. These hard roots are grayish-white in color. Bark yellowish gray on the outside and yellowish-white on the inside of the bark. The upper cork portion is rough and spongy whereas the inner portion is mucilaginous and smooth. The taste of the dried bark is bitter.
Opposite leaves are nearly rounded, narrow-pointed to obtuse at the apex, with very short petioles below the heart-shaped base; The leaf blades range in color from pale green to almost white veins. The leaves are 7 to 18 cm long, and 5 cm to 13 cm broad, and have smooth hairs that rub off. The top of the leaves are pale green, and the downside are whitish green with prominent veins. The delicate leaves are covered with ashy-gray young pubescence. Matured leaves are almost smooth or glabrous.
Inflorescence axillary cymes, numerous flowers, 5-16 cm long, fungal tube, 2-5 cm long at the base of tomentose pedicel. The flowers are regular, lilac, bisexual, or pale pink, purple or pale green with a yellow and faint scent. They are arranged laterally on the alternate sides of the nodules or in simple or rarely mixed cymose corymbs at the ends of the interpetiolar peduncles. Each cluster is surrounded by many small elongated sharp scaly cadaveric protrusions. Flower buds are ovate.
It has five lobes that widely ovate with little fleshy teeth-like glands within the base.
It is a pale rose-purple, gamopetalous and regular sub campanulate with a small tube and five wide ovate, valvate, spreading lobes, and lanceolate.
At the coro basement, there are five stamens inserted. The filaments are fused to form a column with a large tolerance, provided with five transparent radiation coronal appendages that are perfectly compatible but slightly shorter than the column.
The appendages are succulent, pale purple or yellowish-white, abbreviated laterally, with a reversible hollow corsal spur and compressed at the base. The anther is narrow, broad, and somewhat horny, with broad triangular membrane anther tips that are curved at the sides of the stigma hoods. Flowering usually takes place from March to October.
Fertile flowers are fluffy, ellipsoid pairs, curved, 5-10 cm long, and 2.5-5 cm in diameter containing many seeds. They have split ovate, flattened seeds, about 0.6 cm long and 0.4 cm wide, thin hairs at one end, 2-4 cm long, which are scattered by the wind.
Ayurvedic Properties of Giant Milkweed
Taste (Rasa) : Bitter (Tikta) and Pungent (Katu)
Qualities (Guna) : Light (Laghu), Dryness (Ruksha), and Sharp (Teekshna)
Metabolic property(Vipaka) : Pungent (Katu) after digestion
Potency (Virya) : Hot (Ushna)
All parts of erukka have hot potencies. The hot potency of giant milkweed balances Vata (air, ether) and Kapha (water, earth) dosha; while the bitter and sweet taste of the flower balances pitta (water, fire).
Giant Milkweed in Ancient Texts
--> Herbs that treat cough, cold, stiffness, and back pain (Arkadi)
--> Herbs inducing laxative effects (Adhobhaghara)
--> Pain-relieving herbs (Bhedniya)
--> Herbs which induce vomiting (Vamnopaga)
--> Herbs Increasing sudation – sweating (Swedopaga)
--> Herbs that treat cough, cold, stiffness, and back pain (Arkadi)
Chemicals Found in Calotropis Gigantea
- Nonprotein amino acid
Health Benefits of Calotropis Gigantea
Calotropis has a particular chemical substance that might help in thinning of mucous. It will help you to cough and remove mucus easily from your body. In some animal studies, Aak has helped to treat pain, inflammation, bacteria, fever, and ulcers caused by alcohol. It also acts like aspirin and indomethacin.
Aak is an effective medicine that is used for digestive disorders including diarrhea, constipation, and stomach ulcers. It treats toothache, cramps, and joint pain. Some people use Aak to treat syphilis, boils, inflammation, muscular spasm, epilepsy, hysteria, warts, leprosy, gout, snakebites, and cancer. It is also used as an inhalation therapy, that is, aak bark smoke is inhaled to get relief from coughs, asthma, and to cause sweating. It cures parasitic infections including elephantiasis and worms.
The Calatropis contains anti-diabetic properties that can be identified as having a good influence on Diabetes. It has specific properties that increase insulin sensitivity and simultaneously stimulate insulin production. Calotropis has anti-diabetic agents that are good for diabetics patients.
The leaves and flowers of Aak have certain anti-diabetic agents that improve the sensitivity of Insulin and trigger the secretion of Insulin. An experiment done in rats had found that the leaves and flowers were effective in reducing serum glucose. Their extracts in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats had decreased the blood sugar levels.
How to use Aak Leaves for Diabetics:
Place the rough side of leaves to your sole and then wear socks. Let the leaves remain there for the whole day, remove them before sleep and wash your feet. Doing it continuously for a few days will reduce the blood glucose level.
Read also: 10 Scientifically Proven Herbs for Diabetes
Good Anti-inflammatory Nature
Inflammation occurs due to the release of chemicals in response to the immunity system (WBC). These chemicals enter into the blood or tissue to secure the body from invaders or microbes. This increases the blood circulation in the infected areas. Inflammation causes redness, pain, swelling, and heat. In worst cases, it may lead to loss of function. Erukku aids in the treatment of inflammatory diseases namely gout and rheumatism.
How to use:
Lightly heat the crushed leaves of madar and apply it over the painful joints to get quick relief.
Rid Blemishes of the Skin
You can apply turmeric bark on the skin of the face to remove discoloration and blemishes. You can add appropriate churna and cure vitiligo. Too much oil secretion by the sebaceous glands leads to blemishes. Oils in the face easily attract toxic substances such as dirt and car exhaust from the environment. It causes spots, tan, pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and marks on the skin surface and causes blemishes. Clogged pores also cause blemishes.
How to Use:
Mix the latex of aak with turmeric and apply it on the face to get rid of discoloration and blemishes. You can also add a suitable herbal powder mixture to treat vitiligo.
Treat Ear Pain
An ear infection may be due to bacteria, viruses, or fluid (otitis media) in the ears. The tubes in the middle ear can be blocked due to cold, allergies, or a sinus infection that leads to ear pain. Wearing tight headwear, poorly fitted headphones, sleeping on a hard surface, and grinding teeth also cause pain in the ears.
To get rid of pain from the ear, use giant milkweed leaves. Clean the leaves with water, dry it, and then extract the juice from it. Mix the juice and sesame oil in equal ratio(1 tablespoon), and then add cinnamon, asafoetida, calamus, and garlic (1/4 teaspoon each). Strain the mixture and store it in a cool place and use it as an ear drops. Deafness can be cured by preparing the juice from a yellow leaf and pouring it into the ear drops by drops.
Helps Bowel Movement & Cures Diarrhea
Intaking and excreting food is the main process of human life. Aak flowers are the great herbs for the digestion process and it increases appetite. It also aids in treating other digestive problems such as excessive gas and bloating. Use the Erukku plant to cure prolonged diarrhea. It settles the stomach and increases the digestive process. It also cures constipation problems.Improve the Speed of Healing and Cure for Boils
The latex of the giant milkweed has healing properties that are used to treat wounds and boils. A boil is a painful, pus-filled bump that is formed on the skin surface due to bacterial infection. Boils are reddish and sometimes cause irritation.
How to use:
Calotropis aids in improving the healing process of the wounds on the skin. Mix the latex of the Calotropis Gigantea tree with turmeric and apply it over the affected skin surface.
Crown flower leaves find an application to control high blood sugar.
Excellent Vermifuge and Used in Vomit Therapy
Worm infestation may cause sickness because the worm may eat the nutrients from the undigested food. This worm infection lead to weight loss, stomach pain, irritation, itching around the anal, and blood in stools. Worms widely affect the intestine and rarely enter into the blood or liver. The flowers and leaves of aak are used in curing worm infestations.
Vomit therapy triggers vomit and it is used in case of consuming poisonous substances. Vomit therapy eliminates the poison from the body. The Latex of the aak leaves can lead to vomiting and purgation. Therefore, it is used in purgation and vomiting therapy.
Cure foot blister
The latex of the aak tree is used to cure foot blisters. Blisters are like a bubble that is filled with a fluid such as serum, blood, or pus. Just apply the latex over the infected area to get instant relief from the foot blister.
Use as an Abortifacient
The milk excretion of the crown flower plant is an abortifacient. Therefore, women who want to abort their baby will use latex products.
It comes with a spasmogenic effect. Therefore, it finds application in the treatment of various diseases.
Good Antifungal Property
Sodom can be used to treat diseases such as candida using plant products. If you take too much, the medicine will prove poisonous, so be careful.
Act as Antidote for Snake Poison
Calotropis gigantea was used by ancient people to treat the effects of snakebite. They chewed the Calotropis Gigantea leaves and applied the Calotropis latex over the snake-bitten area. Calotropis has hydroalcoholic extract which neutralizes the activity of snake venom.
Treats Toothache and Has Spasmogenic Property
Get immediate relief from toothache by applying the latex of Calotropis gigantea on the gums and tooth. It also has a Spasmogenic effect which induces spasm. Therefore, it is used in the treatment of many diseases.
Treat Skin Diseases
Calotropis gigantea has an excellent antifungal property which cures diseases such as candida and ringworm.
12 Natural Remedies of Calotropis(எருக்கு)
Calotropis Gigantea can give many health benefits and cure several diseases such as cholera, digestion, stomach pain, etc.
Cholera gets spread through contaminated water which leads to severe dehydration and diarrhea. The dried bark of the aak plant helps in the treatment of cholera. Powder the dried bark of aak and mix it with the pepper powder and ginger juice. Make a pea-sized tablet and have it for every two hours with mint juice.
Half an hour later, give a pill to a cholera patient twice a day. It helps to cure cholera slowly. Take 10 g of Calotropis bud, 6 g of red chili, and 3 g of poppy seeds. Have it every day, which will help in the last stage of cholera.
For digestion, take 12 g of aak, 12 g of black pepper, 6 g of borax (Suhaka), 6 g of Naushadar, 10 g of rock salt, and flower laung (crown).
Smash all the ingredients and add the ginger juice in it. Take this pill one day at a time to treat diarrhea, indigestion, abdominal pain, etc.
Take Naushadar, Clove, Saunth (Dried Ginger), Magha, black pepper, rock salt, black salt, sea salt, and carom seeds (ajwain),(each one is 5 gm ) take 50 gm madar flower.
Take 10 grams of fennel seeds and grind all of these ingredients and make pea size tablets. Give this tablet for abdominal pain, bloating, and flatulence patients.
To cure paralysis, take 1 kg of sesame oil and heat it. Take 100 Calotropis leaves and boil the oil. Extract the burnt leaves. Then preserve the remaining oil. Apply this oil directly lightly hot on the affected area. Give some mild massage to the affected area. Wait for the result. It gives a better feel.
If scorpion bites, take 20 gms of milk, five gms of Naushadar, 2.5 gms of lime powder, and 30 gms of glycerin. Mix all these ingredients and make an ointment using it. Applying this ointment over the scorpion bitten area will give relief from the pain.
Take 10 g dried skin of the root of oak, 30 g of rall, 40 g of Katha. Grind all these ingredients. If this powder is sprayed on any kind of wounds, it will heal the injuries immediately.
As per your requirement, take barahan Singha bhasm. Soak this bhasm in the milk in a clay pot and place it in the fireplace where the potter makes the clay pot.
Let it cool and open, and reheat if the mixture does not turn white. Then make a powder and store it the bottle. When pneumonia, chest pains and muscle cramps occur, you can take this bhasm by mixing honey one or two times.
Mix well 300 g of sugar with 100 g of the purified flower of Calotropis. Place it in a container and allow it to dry. When the mixture is ready, consume 1 -2 grams of this gulkand to cure kaba dosha, cough, epilepsy, cold, asthma, arthritis or joint pain, and hemorrhoids.
To treat asthma, use four goats and graze on the leaves of Calotropis. First, graze the leaves of an oak on a goat for up to 20 days; after 20 days, take the milk of this goat for ten days and move the goat.
Now continue this process with three goats and take the milk of those goats for up to 40 days. It can cure the asthma problem.
Read also:10 Best Herbs for Asthma- An Overview
Note: You should be aware when grazing goat leaves. A goat should graze oak leaves for twenty days, and goat milk should be used only by one patient for ten days. If the leaves of a goat graze lasts for 40–50 days then its milk changes into poison.
For this problem, use 20 ml latex of Aak plant, mix 5 g bavchi churna and 1/2 g Hartaal churna. Apply this paste on the affected areas.
Take the yellow leaf of the plant and heat it. To get the juice, squeeze the leaf. Add a few drops in the ears.
It also cures skin diseases, ringworm, fungal infections, poisonous insect bites, ulcers, tumors.
Take the dried roots in the shade of the white floral pattern. Pull it out to get a fine powder. Consume this powder in a dose of 1-2 g with a glass of kaddukta.
Traditional Uses and Benefits of Crown Flower (Calotropis Gigantea)
Scientifically proven that this plant has insecticidal and antifungal properties.
The crown flower is used as a treatment for common ailments such as fever, cough and cold, eczema, rheumatism, nausea, and diarrhea in traditional medicine.
You can also use its Latex to treat boils, pimples, body pains, and sprains.
Milk sap (latex) tumors have cardiac properties similar to digitalis when hot (from various digitalis spp).
It is one of the best natural remedies for leprosy, dysentery, asthma, elephantiasis, epilepsy, and many other complaints.
To treat cold, mix with salt, and consume orally. It can cure.
In Nepal, people use their Latex to apply for body pains, sprains, and pimples.
To stop bleeding, you can use milky latex externally and is used to treat various conditions including leprosy, rheumatism, ringworm, boils, scabies, stab wounds, burns, cuts, ulcers and wounds.
To treat caries and toothaches, you can apply it to the gums and teeth.
Its bark is used as a medicine to treat neurodermatitis and syphilis. For diarrhea, elephantiasis, leprosy, and dysentery, consume its bark as a powder.
The stem bark is used to induce Diabetes and expectoration and diarrhea, spleen complaints, seizures, lumbago, scabies, ringworm, pneumonia, and labor.
For severe heart conditions and chest colds, use an infusion of its leaves.
Consuming its leaf extract can cure intermittent fever.
For burns, sores, rheumatic pains, and headaches, smash, warm the leaves and use as a poultice on the affected areas.
To cure asthma, cold and cough, powder the flowers, and use it.
In ear treatment, the juice of young buds is dropped inside the ear.
The sap is used in the treatment and cleansing of leprosy.
Latex and bark are used to treat skin diseases and as an earthworm medicine.
The root bark has been replaced with ipecac, particularly to treat diarrhea; It is also used to treat skin diseases.
In China, the genus bark is used as a medicine to treat neurodermatitis and syphilis, and the leaves are used as poultry.
Take the young fruits and boil them with water. Make them in a paste consistency and rub over the body to eliminate blood clots.
Latex is used to induce vomit and purgation. Moreover, it gives relief from flatulence, abdominal distension, and bloating.
It is efficiently treating ascites, which can lead to large abdominal distention due to fluid accumulation in the abdomen.
It increases appetite, thus eliminating hunger and not caring about food intake.
It works well for the respiratory system and helps in diseases like the common cold, cough, asthma, and other similar respiratory problems.
Take some leaves and boil them with water. To get rid of stomach pains, headaches, and sprains, used as a hot poultice. In addition, its Tincture is excellent for treating fever.
The plant’s parts are given as an aphrodisiac and anesthetic, and as it has been found to stimulate blood flow, it may help men with erectile dysfunction.
Its roots are used as a medicine for skin diseases. Moreover, the roots can cure cough, eczema, diarrhea, elephantiasis, asthma, rheumatism, and leprosy.
Its leaves can cure migraines too.
It also acts as a natural remedy for black scars on the face, boils, colds, coughs, asthma, earaches, eczema, skin rashes, inflammatory ulcers, aches, rheumatism, syphilis, leprosy, and edema.
It is also an antiseptic for skin infections, laxatives, ear drops, and an anti-fertility agent.
Various tribes of central India have used root bark and leaves as a curative agent for jaundice.
Indian practitioners use the root and leaves as bark in asthma, shortness of breath, and liver diseases and spleen, in Ayurveda.
One research found that this plant effectively treats skin, digestive, respiratory, circulatory, and neurological disorders and has been used to treat fever, elephantiasis, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Candles can be made from seed floss.
- Its flowers are attractive and long-lasting.
- Floss, obtained from seeds, is used for stuffing.
- Its wood is used as fuel and made into charcoal.
- Wood is also used as a toothbrush in East Africa.
- Sometimes, wood is used for fuel, but it is substandard.
- The branches are used as chewing sticks to clean the teeth.
- The juice is used in the preparation of a yellow dye and in tanning.
- It is widely used in the manufacture of textiles, fishing nets, and bowstrings.
- Floss absorbs oil while expelling water, so it is also used to clear oil spills in the ocean.
- Its leaves are used for mulching, green manure in paddy fields, and binding in sandy soils.
- Culex gelidus and Culex tritaeniorhynchus work as vectors of Japanese encephalitis.
- Calotropis provides useful, durable fibers for ropes, rugs, fishing nets and sewing thread.
- From its wood, you can get excellent quality charcoal and can be used to make gunpowder.
- In Cambodia, people used funerals or sarcophagus to decorate the interior of the house.
- The crown is made of durable fibers called ‘Bowstring of India,’ used to make floral ropes and rugs.
- The Queen of Hawaiian loved the Liliuokalani, and they regarded them as symbols of royalty and wore them on leis.
- Mature seed pods have many floats that can be used to fit things like pillows or mixed with other fibers to create fabric.
- It is a kapok substitute that can be used as a floating aid or as padding material in life jackets as it is very water repellent.
- The fermented mixture of calotropis and salt is used to remove hair from goat skins and sheepskins for fox skin production that is much used for inexpensive bookbinding.
Ayurvedic Health Benefits of Crown Flower
Ascites: To treat Ascites, apply sodom latex to the affected areas.
Ascaris: Drink the extract of sodom leaf with honey twice a day.
Leprosy: Use the sodom plant latex on the affected area of the skin.
Leucoderma: Use sodom latex on the skin patches.
Tumor: Drink 3ml of sodom extract daily.
Abscess: Take turmeric powder and sodom latex. Mix them well and make it like a paste. Apply it on the affected parts.
Asthma: Take an equal amount of clove, black pepper, and sodom flowers. Grind them all. Add lukewarm water and mix them well. Drink this water daily.
Bronchitis: Take root bark powder of sodom. Add date palm sugar to it. Consume a pinch of it before going to bed with hot milk.
Cough: Take the powder form of sodom root bark. Include date palm sugar in it. Consume it with hot milk before going to bed. You might feel better.
Digoxin (Lanoxin) Interacts with Calotropis
Digoxin keeps your heartbeat more energetic and healthy. Calotropis may seem to affect the heart so that consuming Calotropis with digoxin may enhance the effects of digoxin and improve side effects. If you are taking Digoxin (Lanoxin), it is good to avoid the Calotropis, and consult with your doctor before consuming it.
Stimulant Laxatives Interact with Calotropis
Calotropis can affect the heart because the heart uses potassium. Laxatives, also known as stimulant laxatives, reduce the amount of potassium in the body. Low-level potassium may lead to the side effects of calotropis.
Some of the stimulant laxatives are cascara, bisacodyl (Correctol, Dulcolax), senna (Senokot), castor oil (Purge), and others.
Lithium Interacts with Calotropis
Calotropis may have a water pill or “diuretic” -like effect. Ingestion of calotropis may reduce the amount of lithium released by the body. It improves the lithium amount in the body and causes severe side effects. If you are taking lithium, consult your doctor before using this Calotropis. You may need to change your lithium level.
Water Pills (Diuretic drugs) Interacts with Calotropis
Calotropis can affect the heart. “Water tablets” reduce the level of potassium in the body. Low-level potassium may lead to side effects and affect the heart.
Some “water pills” that can reduce potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (thalidone), furosemide (LASIX), hydrochlorothiazide (HCDZ, HydroDiuril, microzide) and others.
Side Effects & Safety
Calotropis is safe until consumed in low dosage when it goes for the high dose that may lead to side effects. Its chemicals can affect heart function, especially in high doses. Moreover, it may cause seizures, diarrhea, slow heart rate, vomiting, and death.
No further research is available about whether it’s safe to inhale calotropis smoke.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
- It should not be given to children.
- This plant is poisonous if eaten and used excessively.
- Latex of aak is poisonous and is used for poisoning arrows.
- All the parts of aak plant are toxic, due to some cardiac glycosides present in the aak.
- Avoid the use of aak during pregnancy and breastfeeding because it has an abortification effect.
- The plant is also known to cause allergic contact, dermatitis, and the latex causes infection in the cornea and conjunctiva.
- Dosage of different parts of this herb should be carefully modulated as over dosage and can induce severe vomiting and diarrhea in patients.