Hin: Bakul, Maulsiri
Mal: Ilanji, Elanji
Tam: Magilam, Ilanci
Guj: Barsoli, Bolsari
Importance: Spanish cherry, West Indian Medlar or Bullet wood tree is an evergreen tree with sweet- scented flowers having ancient glamour. Garlands made of its flowers are ever in good demand due to its long lasting scent. Its bark is used as a gargle for odontopathy, ulitis and ulemorrhagia. Tender stems are used as tooth brushes. It is also useful in urethrorrhoea, cystorrhoea, diarrhoea and dysentery. Flowers are used for preparing a lotion for wounds and ulcers. Powder of dried flowers is a brain tonic and is useful as a snuff to relieve cephalgia. Unripe fruit is used as a masticatory and will help to fix loose teeth. Seeds are used for preparing suppositories in cases of constipation especially in children (Warrier et al,1995). The bark and seed coat are used for strengthening the gum and enter into the composition of various herbal tooth powders, under the name of “Vajradanti”, where they may be used along with tannin-containing substances like catechu (Acacia catechu), pomegranate (Punica granatum) bark, etc. The bark is used as snuff for high fever accompanied by pains in various parts of the body. The flowers are considered expectorant and smoked in asthma. A lotion prepared from unripe fruits and flowers is used for smearing on sores and wounds. In Ayurveda, the important preparation of Mimusops is “Bakuladya Taila”, applied on gum and teeth for strengthening them, whereas in Unani system, the bark is used for the diseases of genitourinary system of males (Thakur et al, 1989).
Distribution: It is cultivated in North and Peninsular India and Andaman Islands. It is grown as an avenue tree in many parts of India.
Botany: Mimusops elengi Linn. belongs to the family Sapotaceae. It is an evergreen tree with dark grey fissured bark and densely spreading crown. Leaves are oblong, glabrous and leathery with wavy margins. Flowers are white, fragrant, axillary, solitary or fascicled. Fruits are ovoid or ellipsoid berries. Seeds are 1-2 per fruit, ovoid, compressed, greyish brown and shiny (Warrier et al, 1995). Other important species belonging to the genus Mimusops are M. hexandra Roxb. and M. kauki Linn. syn. Manilkara kauki Dub.(Chopra et al, 1980).
Agrotechnology: Mimusops prefers moist soil rich in organic matter for good growth. The plant is propagated by seeds. Fruits are formed in October-November. Seeds are to be collected and dried. Seeds are to be soaked in water for 12 hours without much delay and sown on seedbeds. Viability of seeds is less. After germination they are to be transferred to polybags. Pits of size 45cm cube are to be taken and filled with 5kg dried cowdung and top soil. To these pits, about 4 months old seedlings from the polybags are to be transplanted with the onset of monsoon. Addition of 10kg FYM every year is beneficial. Any serious pests or diseases do not attack the plant. Flowering commences from fourth year onwards. Bark, flowers, fruit and seeds are the economic parts.
Properties and activity: -sitosterol and its glucoside, -spina-sterol, quercitol, taraxerol and lupeol and its acetate are present in the aerial parts as well as the roots and seeds. The aerial parts in addition gave quercetin, dihydroquercetin, myricetin, glycosides, hederagenin, ursolic acid, hentriacontane and -carotene. The bark contained an alkaloid consisting largely of a tiglate ester of a base with a mass spectrum identical to those of laburinine and iso-retronecanol and a saponin also which on hydrolysis gave -amyrin and brassic acid. Seed oil was comprised of capric, lauric, myristic, palmitic, stearic, arachidic, oleic and linoleic acids.
Saponins from seed are spermicidal and spasmolytic. The aerial part is diuretic. Extract of flower (1mg/kg body weight) showed positive diuretic action in dogs. Bark is tonic and febrifuge. Leaf is an antidote for snakebite. Pulp of ripe fruit is antidysenteric. Seed is purgative. Bark and pulp of ripe fruit is astringent (Husain et al, 1992).