The Joyous Tree

It is a very famous ornamental tree. But very few know that the tree can be a very good Agroforestry tree as well. Golden Champa (Michelia Champaca/सोनचाफा) is an evergreen tree and mainly cultivated for its strongly fragrant yellow or white flowers.

The flowers of Golden Champa are best known and used in India for several purposes. They are primarily used for worship at temples, floated in bowls of water to scent the room, as a fragrant decoration for bridal beds, for garlands, in religious ceremonies and generally worn in hair by women as a means of beauty ornament as well as a natural perfume. A yellow dye is extracted from the flowers and is used as a base for other colours. The flower is the main scent present in the commercial 'Joy' perfume, most expensive perfume in the world; hence sometimes is called as Joy Perfume tree.

Golden Champa is a very useful agroforestry tree too! It is known to fix the atmospheric nitrogen in soil with the help of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae. Its leaves provide very useful mulch. It improves the soil under tree cover by increasing pH, soil organic carbon and available phosphorus. Hence it is used to reforest badly eroded areas. Its leaves are used as larval fodder by silkworms & butterflies. It has potential for commercial exploitation for oil production for various uses. Other uses includes as a wayside tree & near temples for ornamental. The tree is seldom cut on account of it being considered as sacred. It can be propagated by seeds but seeds should be sown as soon as possible after collection.

The tree also possesses medicinal properties. Leafs extract and seeds extracts shows fungicidal & antibacterial activity respectively. A decoction of the bark and leaves is given after childbirth; the bark is used as a febrifuge. In Ayurveda, the tree is mentioned to pacify vitiated tridosha, detoxify poison, worm infestation, increase digestive power, diuretic and cures fever. Flowers reduce burning sensation, cures skin disease, even leprosy & ulcer.

These are flowers you don't have to stick your nose in as the scent can be enjoyed several hundred feet away from the tree, even while driving by the tree. However, you really can't stop sticking your nose into a flower over and over again. Nectar insects & butterflies appear frantic, driven like drug addicts, bashing into each other to get to the heart of every flower on the tree. The extremely aromatic orange blooms & fruits appear nearly all year round. Its aril-covered seeds are highly attractive to birds & squirrels.

Planting a Golden Champa tree in your backyard really makes your home a sweet home. Also you could take the flower, home made natural perfume. It emits a unique warm fragrance which promotes a peaceful state of mind, reducing stress and allowing one to relax and breathe easily. Looks like it is specially designed for moments of tranquil contemplation. Its the nature of Champa to remind us of the Divine in all things.

Sarasa..The Superior

A robust, attractive & adaptable tree that tolerates acidic, alkaline and even eroded soils..Indian Siris (Albizia Lebbek/सरस, शिरीष). It is a fast-growing, deciduous tree having a spreading umbrella-shaped crown of thin foliage. Indian Siris is one of the All-Rounder tree we have..

Indian Siris is used as a folk remedy for many ailments. It has a long history of use in Ayurvedic herbal medicine for the treatment of asthma and allergic disorders. Its leaves, seeds, bark and roots are all used in traditional Indian medicine. The tree has been reported to possess anti-allergic, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, anti-microbial, anti-ulcer and even anti-psychotic activities. It has been used successfully in Ayurveda for the treatment of boils, cough, asthma, bronchitis, leprosy, eczema, pruritis, paralysis, abdominal tumors, gum inflammation and worm infestation.

Siris tree is widely used in agro-forestry practises due to its multi-purpose benefits. It is one of the most promising and excellent fodder tree for arid & semi-arid regions. The nitrogen-rich leaves are valuable as mulch and excellent green manure. Due to its extensive root system, it is recommended for eroded lands like river embankments. Good soil-binding ability makes it useful for soil conservation plantings. Its a good tree for reforesting dry, alkaline soils. It is tolerant to drought and can survive even in grass fires.

One of the most interesting aspects of Siris is that, in addition to providing feed directly, it appears to enhance pasture production and quality. The tree is capable of fixing the nitrogen, coppices fairly well and grows moderately fast. Another common use is as an avenue tree and sometimes it is used to shade coffee and tea. Its whitish-cream colored flowers (The flowers should not be confused with that of exotic Rain tree which has similar flowers but pink in colour) are fragrant, attracting bees. Bee keepers like the species for the light-colored honey its nectar provides. Its leaves also serve as the larval food for butterflies.

The bark contains saponins and tannins, used for making soap and in tanning respectively. Its bark yields a reddish-brown gum that is used as a substitute for gum arabic. It is an excellent charcoal species. It is also pollarded to use as a host for the lac insect Kerria Lacca.

Siris tree can be propagated by seeds. Seeds may be sowed without pre-treatment, although soaking the seeds in cool water for 24 hours, increases germination rate. When agitated by the wind, the pods and enclosed seeds are said to produce an incessant rattle like women’s chatter, hence the name Woman’s Tongue. :-)

A Tree for Nutrients

Imagine a tree in your backyard that will meet all your nutritional needs, take care of you medicinally, serve the ecosystem, improve your soil, make your garden more fertile and also purify water for you. Looks like an extreme imagination or fantasy. But this tree actually exists! The Drumstick tree (Moringa Oleifera/शेवगा) is an amazingly generous & a very-fast-growing tree!

The Drumstick tree or Moringa, as it is popularly known, is considered to be one of the most useful trees, since almost every part of the Moringa tree has some beneficial property..its leaves, leaf powder, pods, seeds, flowers, roots and bark of Moringa are either edible or have some other healing property.

Moringa is best known as an excellent energy and nutritional booster. It is an exceptionally nutritious tree with a variety of potential uses. Its leaves and pods are, in fact, the powerhouse of nutritional value as it contain rich amount of nutrients which are 7 times the vitamin C in Oranges, 4 times the calcium & 2 times more protein in Milk, 4 times vitamin A in Carrots, 3 times the potassium in Bananas. In short, the tree will replenish your body and provide you with the right energy you need (not like the sugar-energy, that makes you hyper for some period of time & then leaves you drained).

Some researchers document Moringa's tree value as solution to mal-nutrition, especially among infants, children and mothers.
How many, do you think, benefits we can get from the tree? Start counting.. :-)

India's ancient tradition of Ayurveda says, the leaves of the Moringa tree prevents 300 diseases and modern science & researchers confirms the basic idea.

Let's name just a few benefits of its leaves and pods :

1. gives a feeling of wellness and promotes energy, yet this is not a sugar based energy
2. increases natural body defense and stimulates metabolism
3. stimulates the cell structure of the body
4. rich in vitamin A, provides nourishment to the eyes & brain
5. balances level of cholesterol
6. balances level of sugar
7. rich in anti-oxidants, beautifies the skin & lowers the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
8. improves functioning of kidney and liver
9. promotes healthy digestion
10. promotes body's immune system
11. has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties
12. promotes circulatory system and controls blood pressure
13. promotes anti-inflammatory features, heals arthritis pain
14. heals tumors and ulcers
15. balances hormone and gland system
16. detoxify body from poisons
17. helps relax and promotes good night sleep
18. purifies & disinfects water (functioning even better than aluminum sulfate, a standard water flocculant)
And many more...

The pods and leaves of Moringa can practically wipe out the mal-nutrition on our planet. It is amazing to know that a comprehensive Moringa supplement can provide ten essential vitamins & eleven essential minerals; all nine essential amino acids; more than two dozen natural, powerful anti-oxidants; more than two dozen natural, powerful anti-inflammatory nutrients and both omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids. The leaves can be cooked, which looks like cooked spinach, or dried and ground into a fine powder that can be added to almost anything as a nutrient supplement. And the well-known pods are widely used in curries & dishes.

Huhh! So many things in a simple-to-grow tree (grown easily from both seeds & from cuttings)!! God's grace, indeed!!!

The tree can be used in countless ways to benefit health, nutrition and beauty needs. Rich oil pressed from the seeds of Moringa tree is among the most desired oils for health & beauty products. Friendly to touch & full of rejuvenating properties, Moringa oil penetrates deep into the skin, revitalizing and nourishing skin tissue with vitamins and age-defying antioxidants.

But wait! It also has uses outside of the human health & medicinal realms.. It is a terrific high nutrient feed for animals, it is useful in agro-forestry. Its oil is used in arts, lubricating watches, as cooking oil and, importantly has the potential to be used as biodiesel fuel. In many ways, Moringa truly appears to be a Miracle tree.

Furthermore, it also can function as a natural growth stimulant for other plants. The juice from leaves can be used to produce an effective plant growth hormone containing the active substance Zeatin. Even better, Moringa can help your garden to be more fertile! Using Moringa leaves as a green manure can significantly enrich agricultural land. The tree tolerates a wide range of soil & rainfall conditions. It is a drought tolerant tree which needs very little water. It is resistant to most of the pests & diseases also. So some or the other parts of the tree can be used for animal feed, domestic cleansers, perfume, dye, gum, fertilizer, medicine, water clarification, rope fiber and as an agent for tanning hides.

Miraculous Moringa is a remarkable tree, which can make remarkable improvement in your health and quality of life. It is nature's true medicine cabinet. And not only that, it could be a nutrition dream come true in nations devastated by lethal diseases, widespread poverty and resulting malnutrition.

Perhaps, that is the reason why only this tree got its place in the logotype of 'Gifting Trees...' :-)