Oroxylum indicum, Tree of Damokles, midnight horror

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A plant with many benefits in ayurvedic medicine and and is an important herb in indigenous medical system. Its names are variegated aswell as its effects on health. It is called `Tree of Damokles´ because of its long fruits curved downward and resembling sickles or swords in the night. It is also called `midnight horror` or `Broken Bones Tree´. When the people have seen it at night, the withered large leaf stalks were fallen down and looked like a pile of broken limb bones. It is native in Sri Lanka, India, China, Indochina and Malaysia and belongs to the family of trumpet trees called Bignoniaceae. Its leaves are feathered and collected in a group of four to five leaves and can be up to ten centimeters length. The tree can grow up to twelve meters. The blossoms are trumpet formed with a bright yellow to creme color with a purple calyx. Florescence happens during the night and flowers are adapted to pollination by bats. Later the fruits develop from December to March. They have a length of fifty to eighty centimeters and seem like leathery sickles with seeds surrounded with papery wings inside. The substrate should be a mixture of soil and sand or perlite, it should have some warm and sunny place with temperatures of minimum ten degrees during the winter months. In ayurvedic medicine the leaves, roots and bark are used for treating different diseases. As herbal tea it is used against diarrhoe, sore throat, hoarseness and stomach aches. Warm steam calms asthma. Some extracts out of the bark with alcohol are used for the skin to alleviate measles, skin irritation and inflammation. Antiallergic effects are known from the brew of fruits and leaves. The seeds are used as purgatives. Anticancer preventious effects are caused by some flavonoids which decrease the uncontrolled cell proliferation and are antioxidants with detoxifying impacts.
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