As the end of March nears, the green bushy branches of Jhinjhedi (Bauhinia racemosa) trees start dropping their leaves. But soon, by the middle of next month, they will get new foliage.
Also known as the Bidi leaf tree, it is native to the Aravalis. The tree grows well in harsh weather conditions that make it an ideal one for the region. According to experts, this tree is a versatile medicinal plant and a unique source of various types of chemical compounds.
These are small trees that grow up to 3-5 metres. As the name suggests, the leaves of this tree are used for making bidis. It also bears small, greenish-white flowers. The flowering season for this tree is between February and May.
According to experts, the natural range of the three extends to Myanmar, Sri Lanka and South China as well. It is a tree that grows in dry, deciduous forests. It looks beautiful when in full bloom.
“Every part of the plant possesses medicinal values. The bark and leaves are used in the treatment of headache, fever, skin diseases, blood diseases, dysentery and diarrhoea. The bark is useful for treating ulcers. The tree has anti-tumour qualities and is widely used in Ayurveda to treat the first stage of cancer as well,” said Sunil Harsana, a researcher.
According to the forest department of Haryana, the bark is useful in dyeing clothes. The tree makes good fodder for sheep, goats and cattle. The flowers are used in curries and can be made into pickles. The wood is hard and heavy and used in making plough and yokes. It is also used as fuel. “The wood is pale brown with irregular masses of heartwood at its centre. Also, its leaves have been traditionally used in the treatment of asthma. Its fruit is a dark and woody pod. It is surprisingly large for such a small tree. It contains 10 to 20 seeds,” a forest official said.