Melia azedarach L.
Synonym: Melia australis Sweet
Species: M. azedarach
Local Name: DhrekSindhi
English Name: White cedar, Bead tree
Part Used: Fruit, leaves, roots, and seeds
Melia azedarach L. is a moderate size deciduous tree up to 12 m high. Leaves are bi- or tri-pinnate in 3-4 pairs and more or less opposite. Leaflets are 3-11 and ovate or lanceolate. Flowers are bisexual, lilac, sweet scented, and purple in color. Ovary is usually 5-locular. Style is 4-5 mm long and stigma is capitate. Fruit is globose, 3-6 seeded, and yellow when ripe.1, 3
M. azedarach is widely cultivated and naturalized throughout Pakistan and India.1,2 It runs wild in the sub-Himalayan tract up to 1800 m. It is also found in China, Myanmar, Iran, and Turkey.4
Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:
Ground leaves of M. azedarach are applied topically for the treatment of chronic wounds and ringworm in District Shaheed Benazirabad (Sindh).
Paste of M. azedarach berries is applied for the treatment of onychomycosis in District Jacobabad (Sindh).
M. azedarach contains alkaloid azaridine, resin, tannin, meliotannic acid, benzoic acid, margocin, and bakayanin.1 Heartwood contains bakalactone. Leaves have quercetin, rutin, tetranortriterpenoids, salanin, vilasinin, and neobakayanin.2,4
Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific studies:
M. azedarach leaves, fruit, and bark is used in scrofula and leprosy. Leaves juice is diuretic, anthelmintic, and emmenangogue. Seeds are used for the treatment of rheumatism.1 Infusion of bark is effective against ascariasis. Ethanolic extract of leaves exhibited fungicidal and antibacterial activities. Gedunin content of the plant is antimalarial. M. azedarach also exhibited antitumor and antiviral activities. It is also used for the treatment of asthma, cough, cold, fever, eczema, heat rash, ringworm, and ulcers. Leaves are used for purifying blood in such ailments as scabies, ringworm, leprosy, and leucoderma. Flowers are used for the treatment of bacterial skin diseases like cellulites, pustules, and pyogenic infections.3 Plant is sedative and psychostimulant. Roots are used for the treatment of tuberculosis.4 It has potent antioxidant, antiinflammatory, cardioprotective, analgesic, insecticidal, anticancer, antiulcer, antipyretic, antiplasmodial, and male contraceptive properties.5, 6, 7
- Rehman, M. (2006), A Pictorial Guide To The Medicinal Plants of Pakistan, p. 270, Kohat University of Science and Technology Publishers, Peshawar, Pakistan.
- Khare, C. P. (2012), Indian Medicinal Plants, p. 403-404, Springer Science Publishers, New Delhi-110058, India.
- Abid Askari, S. H. (2010), Poisonous Plants of Pakistan, p. 343-344, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan.
- Pullaiah, T. (2006), Encyclopedia of World Medicinal Plants, V. 3, p. 1324, Regency Publishers, New Delhi, India.
- Chiffelle, G. I., Huerta, F. A., and Lizana, R. D. (2009). Physical and Chemical Characterization of Melia azedarach Fruit and Leaf for Use as Botanical Insecticide. Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research, 69(3), 38–45.
- Azam, M. M., Mamun-Or-Rashid, A. N. M., Towfique, N. M., Sen, M. K., and Nasrin, (2013). Pharmacological Potentials of Melia azedarach L. – A Review. American Journal of BioScience, 1(2), 44.
- Sharma, D., and Singla, Dr., Y. P. (2013). Preliminary and pharmacological profile of Melia azedarach: An Overview. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, 3(12), 133–138.