Famed for its immense medicinal value, Indian Rose Chestnut, Cobra Saffron or Nagkesar (Mesua Ferrea/नागकेसर) is a handsome, medium-sized evergreen tree. Its botanical name Ferrea means 'belonging to iron' referring to its very hard & durable timber. It is often planted as an ornamental for its fragrant white flowers that yield a perfume.
Environmentally, the tree very good! Its dense canopy provide shelter to many birds as well as shade. It provide abundant green manure for agriculture or garden. It also helps in Nitrogen fixing due to Endo-mycorrhizal associations. The seed meal of Nagkesar is a good source of protein & energy and its use as a feed ingredient for cattle is proposed.
Other uses include as a provider of good quality coal, tannin, dyes etc. The fragrant flowers are also used to stuff pillows, cushions and in cosmetic products & perfumes.
Medicinally, it is well known species in traditional medicine of Ayurveda and admired all over India as well as overseas. Many parts of the tree has digestant, antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, anthelmintic and haemostatic activity. It can be used in the treatment of numerous ailments like fever, itching, nausea, leprosy, skin disorders, erysipelas, bleeding piles, metrorrhagia, menorrhagia, excessive thirst and sweating. It also known to enhance the complexion. It leads to fragility transparency to the skin. Oil from the seeds is used for sores, scabies, wounds and rheumatism.
Probably that's the reason, Nagkesar tree is considered sacred in India!