Evergreen marvel | Daily News

Evergreen marvel

Kohomba, is a wonder tree that is known as an excellent air and water purifier. It is one of the trees that release the most amount of oxygen into the environment. Its leaves and seeds have tremendous potential when it comes to health benefits. Green Thumbs speaks to Institute of Indigenous Medicine, Department of Dravyaguna Vignana, Senior Lecturer, Dr. S.D. Hapuarachchi on Kohomba, a marvel in the home garden!

Kohomba (Azadirachta indica) is a very greenish tree, 15-20 meters in height. It has environmental benefits in addition to health and medicinal benefits. In this day and age with the air getting polluted, it acts as an air purifier making it a ‘must have’ tree in your home garden keeping the air fresh and clean.

“The leaf extract and oil from the seeds has amazing health benefits. It has the ability to protect the other plants against pests and insects by the use of spraying, and it can get rid of mosquitoes through the fumes of the burnt Kohomba leaves making it a natural mosquito repellent. The fruit is very bitter in taste and not eaten and the leaves and seeds are the most important parts.

The Kohomba juice (leaf extract) is usually sometimes drunk along with other ingredients or gargled if one wants to cure mouth ulcers. It is drunk alongside other ingredients since it is very bitter. Very rarely is it drunk alone. There are various decoctions you drink it with. If you have fever, then it is taken internally and if you want to purify the blood is it taken internally,” said Hapuarachchi.

Hapuarachchi pointed out that there are certain anti-inflammatory properties in Kohomba leaves and it is good for arthritis. If there are skin diseases, cleaning of wounds and such external requirements, then the oil is used. She commented that Kohomba fights fungal infection. It has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Also if you want to remove the dandruff in your hair, the oil is useful. This oil is of course taken from the seeds. The way you prepare the extract (get the juice) is, you collect the leaves and crush it and then mix it with water. It is not advisable for those taking diabetic medication since it has blood lowering activity. If you have hypertension/ high blood, pressure Kohomba is helpful.

“We know that having chicken pox and skin diseases can be a very painful experience. However the marvelous properties of Kohomba leaves can be soothing and comforting. All you need to do is lie down on a bed of Kohomba leaves. The leaves have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effect. It reduces the body pain. We know that the oil from the seeds also can help in skin diseases such as Psoriasis. Kohomba detoxifies the body. The leaf extract helps rid the body of toxins. Both oil and extract helps cure Acne and is ideal for sensitive skin,” explained Hapuarachchi.

Hapuarachchi also pointed out that if you have an eye infection washing with boiled leaf extract can help. For some skin diseases, Kohomba powder and Turmeric powder can be combined and applied.

“In order to repel mosquitoes, the Kohomba seed oil is put into the leaves, then burnt and the fumes get rid of mosquitoes. To create the pesticides Kohomba seeds and leaves are all crushed together to get the extract and mixed with water which is then sprayed. In India the Kohomba flowers are eaten but this practice is not seen in Sri Lanka. Most parts of the Kohomba tree are awfully bitter with the exception of its flower,” pointed out Hapuarachchi.

City life is such that there is so much air pollution. Kohomba is grown and included in the home garden to purify the air, with pollution being a real problem. Its leaves and seeds as stated above are very valuable which is why the Kohomba tree is a wise choice to include in your home garden. Even having the plant along the road side has great benefits.

“The Kohomba plant is one of the trees that release the most amount of oxygen into the air. That is why it is a boon to nature. In addition to the health benefits I mentioned above it is good to reduce the risk of heart disease, wound healing, upset stomach, respiratory disease, malaria, worms, head lice and diabetes. Except for head lice others can be cured by drinking. But to take internally the Kohomba extract has to be taken with other ingredients,” added Hapuarachchi.

Kohomba is also good for matters related to teeth. People in some societies are known to brush their teeth using twigs of Kohomba. Hapuarachchi also stated that these days you find Kohomba based toothpaste to ensure good dental health. It is an excellent moisturizer for the skin. It is marketed in so many ways.

“Kohomba is a tree where even the roots play a role in making the world a better place. It is an ideal remedy for water pollution. I have learnt that the roots go deep inside the soil, and purify the water sources. If they are present near a canal, along the side of a river or even a well, they prevent that area from water pollution.

It is a natural resource to keep the environment clean and healthy. The Kohomba tree helps maintain a balance in nature by exhaling oxygen and is one of the species of trees that exhales the most amount of oxygen,” explained Hapuarachchi.


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