Home Blogs Herbs Karanja: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

Karanja: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

By NS Desk | Herbs | Posted on :   17-Dec-2020

Millettia pinnata, commonly known as Karanja in India, is native to eastern and tropical Asia, Australia, and pacific island. This plant is being used for a thousand years. Traditionally Karanja oil was used as lamp oil, soap making, and tanning leather. The bark yields a black gum used to treat poisonous wounds, and the wood is used as firewood. Medicinally Karanja tree is very versatile; every part of the tree (roots, flowers, leaves, bark, and seed) possess medicinal properties.
 
In Ayurveda, Karanja oil is used to treat eczema, healing wounds due to its healing and antimicrobial property. The leaves paste also helps in healing and reduce inflammation. The stem is used as a brush since ancient times to maintain healthy teeth. In modern science, Karanja is widely used for treating constipation and gastric problems, promoting hair growth, dandruff problem, skin diseases, as an anti-inflammatory.
 
What are the other names of Karanja?
Millettia pinnata is the scientific name used for Karanja. In India, Karanja has many different names like Indian beech, Pongamia pinnata, pongam oil tree, Karajata, Karach, etc.
 
Benefits of using Palash in Ayurvedic treatment
 
1. Indigestion problem
In Ayurveda, indigestion is explained as a state where the digestion process remains incomplete. The main cause of this state is Kapha's aggravation that leads to weak digestive fire or Agnimandya. Weak digestive fire causes accumulation of Ama or undigested toxic food residue, leading to several other problems. Karanja is Ushna or hot, and this property helps to improve the digestive fire and fixes digestion related problems. ¼ - ½ teaspoons of Karanja powder with water is recommended twice a day after meals. Taking this regularly helps to enhance the digestive system.
 
2. Karanja helps in loss of appetite
Insufficient secretion of digestive/ gastric juice in the stomach causes loss of appetite. According to Ayurveda, Agnimandya (weak digestion) is a result of Vata (body energy), Pitta (fire and water element), and Kapha (earth and water) aggravation and imbalance. This leads to incomplete digestion of food and thus causes loss of appetite.  Karanja when consuming as Karanja churna (¼ – ½ teaspoons) with water twice a day before meals, it helps to improve digestion. Karanja has Deepan or appetizer quality, which stimulates the secretion of digestive juice and increases appetite.
 
3. Arthritis
Arthritis, especially Osteoarthritis, is the most common one. In this, the protective cartilage between bones (commonly joints in hands, knees, hip, and spine) wears down over time. Osteoarthritis causes pain, swelling in joints, and difficulty in moving. According to Ayurveda, this problem occurs due to an imbalance in Vata dosha. Karanja is a Vata balancer that helps manage Osteoarthritis or Sandhivata and gives relief from the pain and swelling in the joint.  ¼ - ½ teaspoons of Karanja powder are mixed with water, and it is recommended to take twice a day after meals. Consuming this regularly gives relief from osteoarthritis symptoms.
 
4. Common cough and cold
Taking ¼ - ½ teaspoons of Karanja powder mixed with honey helps in cough and cold and gives relief. Karanja possesses Ushna (hot) property, which helps to melt thick mucus, which is accumulated due to cold and makes it easy to expel out from the lungs, which also gives relief from cough. As Karanja has Kapha balancing property, it also helps to reduce cough. Karanja is especially helpful in a whopping cough.  The mixture of Karanja and honey is recommended to be taken twice a day to get better results.
 
5. Skin problem
Karanja is antiseptic, and it has Ropan or healing property. Due to these properties, Karanja is widely used as a remedy for many skin diseases. Skin diseases like eczema, abscess, boils can be treated with Karanja. In the case of numb skin lesions where no sweating and itching occurs, they are rubbed with a Karanja stem brush. This is done to initiate bleeding, which then helps to treat the skin. This is specifically called bloodletting therapy to treat diseased skin in Ayurveda. Karanja oil is used for skin treatment. 3-5 drops of Karanja oil is mixed with coconut oil and applied to the affected area twice a day. Repeat this process regularly until you get relief from the symptoms of the disease get cured.
 
6. Piles 
Piles are a mass development or swelling in the vessels of anal canals. It could be of the bleeding type or non-bleeding type. In the non-bleeding type, the swelling near the anus does not bleeds, but it causes lots of pain. Piles can occur in people at a certain age, or they can be genetically induced. Prolonged constipation can also lead to swelling and cause piles problem.  Karanja is an anti-inflammatory agent that helps to reduce swelling in the case of piles. The Ropan or healing property Karanja helps in healing bleeding piles.  To get relief from the swelling and pain, Karanja oil mixed with coconut oil is used. After clearing the bowel, the oil mixture is applied to the swollen pile mass. Repeat this step once or twice a day regularly to get relief from this problem.
 
7. Reduces Joint pain
According to Ayurveda, joint pain occurs due to an imbalance in Vata dosha (body energy), and the bone joints in our body are considered as a site of Vata. Karanja Oil is very helpful in reducing joint pain because Karanja possesses Vata balancing property. When the oil is applied externally on the joints, it helps to balance the Vata and thus reduces pain. Massaging the joints with a mixture of 3 – 5 drops of Karanja oil with sesame oil is preferred. Massaging the joints with this oil regularly get complete relief from the pain.
 
8. Ulcer problem
Karanja juice is very helpful for sinus ulcers; the Ropan or healing effect helps in healing the ulcer. It also acts as an antioxidant, which also prevents cell damage. Not only sinus ulcer but Karanja also useful in treating gastrointestinal ulcer problem due to its cell proliferation and prevention of lipid peroxide or reduction in acid pepsin mediated cell damage. 3 – 4 drops of Karanja oil and coconut oil mixture can also be applied externally on the affected region to treated external ulcers.
 
9. Healing wounds
Karanja oil has great wound healing efficiency; its astringent property helps in wound contraction. The hydroxyproline and hexosamine content of Karanja acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. All these properties help in quick healing of the wound, decrease swelling due to anti-inflammatory property, and bring back the skin's normal texture. The mixture of Karanja oil and coconut oil can be used in treating skin problems, normal cuts. Massaging the affected area with this oil induces quick healing.
Forms of Karanja in Ayurveda with Recommended Dosage
 
1. Karanja powder
Karanja powder, also called Karanja churna, can be used to treat cough and cold, osteoarthritis, loss of appetite, and indigestion. The recommended dose is ¼ - ½ teaspoon with honey or hot water. It is taken before meals for appetite and indigestion, and for osteoarthritis, it is taken after meals twice a day. It is also used externally. When used externally, ½ - 1 teaspoon of Karanja powder is mixed with honey and applied to the affected area. Leave it for 10 -15 minutes and then wash it properly. This remedy is very useful in treating fungal infection, wound healing, and other skin problems.
 
2. Capsule
Karanja capsule is used as a health supplement and can tread a weak digestive system. A 1 – 2 capsule per day after meals is recommended.
 
3. Oil 
Karanja oil is great for external use. It is good for skin health and can get rid of eczema, boils and reduce psoriasis symptoms. Karanja oil can help to maintain healthy hair and reduce hair fall; it can also reduce dandruff. 3 – 5 drops of Karanja oil mixed with coconut oil is generally used for external use.
 
4. Poultice paste of Karanja leaves
Karanja leaves have anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, a poultice paste of Karanja leaves, when applied to the affected area, reduces the swelling and reduces the pain. (A poultice paste means a substance or pastes that can be wrapped in a cloth, heated, and applied on the affected area of skin)
 
Precautionary guidelines when using Karanja
 
● For acidity
Since Karanja is ushna or hot, it can create a problem if someone has gastric or acidity problems. That's why it is recommended to use Karanja oil in small quantities in these situations.
 
● Pregnancy and breastfeeding
It is highly recommended to consult a doctor before using Karanja during pregnancy or breastfeeding. 
 
● In allergic condition
Karanja oil is Ushna or hot in nature, and it can cause skin problems and allergy. To reduce the possible side effects, it is recommended to mix it with rose water or coconut oil for hypersensitive skin. The application of Karanja oil on the face should be avoided.
 
FAQ’s about Karanja
 
1. What is the Ayurvedic preparation of Karanja available in the market?
 
The different Ayurvedic preparation of Karanja, which is available in the market, is. a. Karanja oil (the average price is 100 Rs per liter, and the shelf life is 2 years) b. Karanja powder c. Karanja kwath d. Karanja capsules.
 
2. How is Karanja helpful in leprosy treatment?

Science

Ayurveda

The use of Karanja seeds oil in leprosy is a traditional treatment. There are certain constituents of Karanja (karanjin), which have antileprotic activity. Along with the antileprotic activity, Karanja oil also possesses a quick healing ability, which helps the leprotic wounds to heal quickly. The oil is used topically.

Ayurveda says leprosy occurs due to an imbalance in any of the three doshas, which are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. And leprosy leads to dryness and itching of the skin, and eventually, that leads to pain. Karanja oil has Vata and pitta balancing property, which helps in managing the leprosy condition. The Ropan or healing property also induces quick healing of leprosy wound, thus provide relief from leprosy symptoms.

 
3. Can Karanja help in constipation?
Yes, Karanja is a laxative in nature, which is very helpful in constipation situation. It helps to ease out the bowel movement and reduce the stiffness of the stool. It also has Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) property, which improves digestion and reduces constipation.
 
4. How Karanja helps in arthritis?
Karanja can be very useful in treating arthritis; Karanja's bioactive compounds help manage symptoms of arthritis. The compounds of Karanja have an anti-inflammatory property, which reduces the swelling in the joints, and they also inhibit those chemicals which cause the inflammation in the first place. It also a painkiller, which helps to reduce the pain in arthritis. The main cause of arthritis is the Vata dosha imbalance, according to Ayurveda. And Karanja leaves are great Vata balancers.  To reduce arthritis pain, it is recommended to bathe with a hot infusion of Karanja leaves.
 
5. Is Karanja good for fever and cough?
Fever can occur due to an imbalance in any three dosha (Vata, pitta, Kapha), and karanji helps to mage Vata and Kapha dosha. Thus it helps to manage fever. Scientifically it is proven that Karanja can act as antipyretic (reduces fever), and it also has an anti-inflammatory function. So Karanja can prevent fever due to these qualities, and also it can reduce any inflammation associated with fever.
 
6. How Karanja helps in the pile?

Science

Ayurveda

Karanja is helpful in managing piles. Karanja is anti-inflammatory, so it can reduce the inflammation or swell in piles, and as it reduces swelling, it also gives relief from the pain. Karanja also helps to make the digestive system strong and can act as a laxative. Karanja's laxative nature aids in bowel movement and eases the excretion of stool, which is very helpful in piles condition.

Karanja has Rechana or laxative property that helps to improve bowel movement and makes stool excretion easy. When taken orally, Karanja helps improve Agni (digestive fire), which indirectly helps in constipation and piles. The Ropan property of Karanja quickly heals bleeding piles and also reduces swelling.

 
7. Is Karanja beneficial in gastric ulcer?
Yes, Karanja is very useful in treating ulcers. It reduces the risk of ulcers. Karanja makes the digestive system strong and reduces other harmful acid production in the body, contributing to ulcer conditions. It is shown that Karanja helps to rebuild the protective lining of the stomach called mucin and increases the production of mucosal cells, so it heals the ulcer wound.
 
8. Does Karanja cure constipation?
Yes, Karanja helps to cure constipation. Constipation mainly occurs due to improper digestion, and Karanja improves Agni (digestive fire). It also acts as a laxative, which improves bowel movement and easy excretion of stool. So, by improving gastric motility, Karanja can cure constipation.
 
9. Can Karanja help in stoping vomiting?

Science

Ayurveda

Scientifically there is not enough evidence that can support the fact that it can stop vomiting.

Vomiting is the backflow of undigested food. It occurs due to Ama's accumulation (undigested toxic food residue), and Ama forms because of a weak digestive system. Karanja is very useful because it has Deepan (appetizer) property and Pachan (digestion) property, strengthening the digestive fire or Agni. Strong digestion reduces the formation of ama and thus stops the tendency of vomiting.  ¼ - ½ teaspoon of Karanja powder mixed with moderately hot water will help to stop vomiting when taken once or twice a day after having some lite food.

 
10. Is Karanja helpful for urinary discharge problems?
There is no scientific research or data that can support that Karanja helps in urinary disorders. But Karanja's fruit is traditionally used in Ayurveda for urinary discharges, especially in case of vaginal discharge. Karanja oil also manages urinary discharge when taken internally.
 
11. Can Karanja cause skin rashes?
Yes, Karanja can cause skin rashes as it is Ushna or hot. That's why it is recommended to use Karanja with rose water to reduce the hotness.
 
12. Is Karanja good for bruises and healing wounds?
Yes, Karanja is very useful for wound healing purposes because it has a ropan (healing) property. Karanja also possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, which helps to manage pain and inflammation caused by cuts or bruises. Karanja also reduces the chemicals which cause inflammation, thus reduces pain. Karanja's anti-microbial activity helps prevent infection and produce fast healing when applied externally on the affected area as a paste.
 
13. What are the health benefits of Karanja oil?

Science

Ayurveda

Scientifically there is not enough evidence that can support the fact that it can stop vomiting.

Vomiting is the backflow of undigested food. It occurs due to Ama's accumulation (undigested toxic food residue), and Ama forms because of a weak digestive system. Karanja is very useful because it has Deepan (appetizer) property and Pachan (digestion) property, strengthening the digestive fire or Agni. Strong digestion reduces the formation of ama and thus stops the tendency of vomiting.  ¼ - ½ teaspoon of Karanja powder mixed with moderately hot water will help to stop vomiting when taken once or twice a day after having some lite food.

 
14. What are the positive effects of Karanja on hair?

Science

Ayurveda

Karanja Oil can reduce hair fall because it is good for scalp and hair health; that is why it is an ingredient in many hair oils, preventing baldness. A mixture of Karanja oil and neem oil is very good for the dandruff problem. It also helps to get rid of head lice in children when mixed with shampoo in a small quantity. In general, it induces hair growth and maintains good hair health.

Hair fall occurs due to an imbalance in Vata dosha (body energy). Karanja oil is great for balancing Vata dosha. Applying Karanja oil to the scalp also removes the dryness of the scalp, which later causes dandruff. Thus Karanja is good for any scalp related problem and also reduce hair loss and promote hair growth.  Karanja oil is mixed with coconut oil and applied to the scalp once a day. This process is recommended a week thrice to maintain good scalp and hair health.

 
15. How Karanja helps in dental disease?

Science

Ayurveda

There is evidence that Karanja is used in ancient time for teeth related problem, Karanja stem as a toothbrush was used to get relief from toothache.

But there is not enough scientific data available that can support this ancient use of Karanja.

Several mouth problems can occur due to the imbalance in Kapha dosha because the mouth is a Kapha dosha site. Imbalance in Vata dosha can also lead to a dental problem, and it is another reason behind a toothache. Thus Karanja has Vata and Kapha balancing properties; it can provide beneficial mouth problems and reduce toothache.

 
16. Can Karanja oil help to reduce psoriasis?

Science

Ayurveda

Psoriasis is a type of skin disease; in this disease, the skin cells multiply rapidly, 10 times faster than normal. This causes a bumpy red buildup over the skin with a white scale. This can cause itchiness and generally appear on the scalp, elbow, knees.

Karanja oils contain many bioactive constituents, specifically flavonoids, which provide an antipsoriatic effect. So Karanja can be used to treat psoriasis, and a mix with 10% neem oil is very effective.

Skin problems like psoriasis can cure due to an imbalance in any three dosha (Vata, pitta, Kapha). It can cause itching and bleeding in some cases. Karanja oil is Vata and Kapha balancer, which helps to reduce psoriasis. The Ropan or quick healing property also helps to heal the skin quickly and reduces symptoms.  3-4 drops of Karanja oil is mixed with coconut oil. This oil mixture is applied to the affected area of the skin once a day. Reputing, this process regularly manages the symptoms of psoriasis.

NS Desk

Are you an Ayurveda doctor? Download our App from Google PlayStore now!

Download NirogStreet App for Ayurveda Doctors. Discuss cases with other doctors, share insights and experiences, read research papers and case studies. Get Free Consultation 9625991603 | 9625991607 | 8595299366

Read the Next

view all