Description : Leaves are narrowly lanceolate 15-25 cms long, cork-like at the base and with a short petiole. Stipules are intra-petiolar and completely united. Flowers are fragrant. They are 7.5-10 cms across. Calyx is yellow to orange and finally red. Its stamens are 7 to 8. The filaments are filiform. Ashoka is one of the most legendary and sacred trees of India, and one of the most fascinating flowers in the Indian range of flower essences. Ashok is a Sanskrit word meaning without grief or that which gives no grief. Indigenous to India, Burma and Malaya, it is an erect tree, small and evergreen, with a smooth, grey-brown bark. The crown is compact and shapely. Flowers are usually to be seen throughout the year, but it is in January and February that the profusion of orange and scarlet clusters turns the tree into an object of startling beauty. Pinned closely on to every branch and twig, these clusters consist of numerous, small, long-tubed flowers which open out into four oval lobes. Yellow when young, they become orange then crimson with age and from the effect of the sun’s rays. From a ring at the top of each tube spread several long, half-white, half-crimson, stamens which give an hairy appearance to the flower clusters. In strong contrast to these fiery blooms is the deep-green, shiny foliage. The foot-long leaves each have four, five or six pairs of long, wavy-edged, leaflets. Young leaves are soft, red and limp and remain pendent even after attaining full size.
Ashoka is an important Ayurvedic herb used mainly in bleeding gynecological conditions. Its botanical name is Saraka indica or Saraca asoca and it belongs to Caesalpinoidae family.
CHARACTERISTICS OF ASHOKA : This rain forest tree is indigenous to the Indian sub continent. It is grown extensively in the western coastal region and Central Deccan Plateau region.. The flowers are yellowish orange in colour and have good fragrance. The tree flowers between February and April. The flowers grow in bunches and turn into bright red colour before wilting. The dried bark, stem and flowers of Ashoka tree are used extensively in preparing medicines.
Healing options : The bark have been used in Ayurveda for many centuries. The bark is prescribed in Ayurvedic medicine for arresting bleeding or secretion and as a uterine sedative. It is said to have a stimulating effect on the endometrium that is, the mucuous membrance lining the uterus and on the ovarian tissues.