Shalmali (Salmalia malabarica)

Basonym of Drug

The illustrious medicinal plant Shalmali, scientifically known as Salmalia malabarica, holds a treasury of therapeutic potential within its botanical realm.

Main Sanskrit Synonyms

Shalmali’s essence is encapsulated by an array of Sanskrit synonyms, each echoing its unique attributes. Some primary Sanskrit synonyms of Shalmali include:

  1. Kantakadya: Its branches have thorns.
  2. Mocha: It releases juice.
  3. Bahuvirya: It is a high potent herb.
  4. Picchila: Its juice is slimy in nature.
  5. Rajapushpa/Raktapushpta: It has red coloured flowers.

Regional Name (Vernacular Names)

Shalmali’s presence resonates across regions through its vernacular names. Some regional names for Shalmali are:

  • Hindi: Semal, Shalmali
  • English: Silk Cotton Tree
  • Marathi: Kait, Kavat
  • Gujarati: Shemali, Simali
  • Tamil: Mullilavu
  • Telugu: Panchavankaya, Varug
  • Kannada: Kempu hunase, Varug
  • Bengali: Shimul, Sanvar

Scientific Classification of Dravya

Shalmali finds its place within the scientific classification as follows:

  • Kingdom: Plantae (Plants)
  • Clade: Angiosperms (Flowering plants)
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Clade: Rosids
  • Order: Malvales
  • Family: Bombacaceae
  • Genus: Salmalia
  • Species: malabarica

Classical Classification of Dravya (Gana)

Charaka Samhita: Kashaya skandha, Pureesha-virajaniya, Shonita-sthapana, Vedana-sthapana.

Sushruta Samhita: Priyangvadi

External Morphology

Shalmali stands as a deciduous tree, renowned for its grandeur and striking appearance. Its large, vibrant flowers and distinctive fruit pods make it easily recognizable.

Useful Parts

Various parts of Shalmali are harnessed for their medicinal value, including the roots, flowers, fruits, exudate(Mocharasa), patioles and seeds.

Important Phytoconstituents

Shalmali’s therapeutic potential is attributed to a diverse array of phytoconstituents. Some key phytoconstituents present in Shalmali include:

  1. Flavonoids: These compounds contribute to Shalmali’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, supporting overall health and well-being.
  2. Tannins: Tannins offer astringent properties and might contribute to Shalmali’s potential in managing various health conditions.
  3. Glycosides: Glycosides present in Shalmali may contribute to its diverse medicinal properties, making it a valuable herb in traditional practices.

Rasa Panchaka:

Rasa (Predominant Taste): “Madhura” (sweet), [“Kashaya” (astringent)- Mocharasa] 

Guna (Property): “Laghu” (lightness), “Snigdha” (Unctuous), “Picchila” (Slimy).

Veerya (Potency): “Sheeta” (cold)

Vipaka (Post-digestive Effect): “Madhura” (sweet) [“Katu” (pungent)- Mocharasa]

Prabhava: Shalmali’s unique efficacy or “Prabhava” lies in its potential to address imbalanced doshas and support various health concerns.

Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala:

Dosha: Shalmali’s primary action is on the “Kapha” and “Vata” doshas, helping to balance its excess. Its Mocharasa, flowers and fruits pacifies “Kapha” and “Pitta” doshas.

Dhatu: Shalmali primarily affects the “Rakta” dhatu (blood tissue), where it may support blood purification and overall blood health.

Mala: Shalmali’s ability to balance “Kapha” dosha could contribute to supporting healthy mala (waste products) elimination and maintaining overall gut health.

Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications):

Shalmali is indicated for a range of health conditions, including but not limited to:

  1. Digestive Disorders: Shalmali’s astringent taste and Kapha-balancing properties make it valuable in managing digestive disorders. It might help regulate bowel movements, reduce excess mucus, and alleviate symptoms of conditions like diarrhea, dysentery, and indigestion.

  2. Skin Conditions: Shalmali’s potential to balance doshas and support blood purification can aid in managing skin conditions. It may help address acne, eczema, itching, and other dermatological issues by promoting healthy blood circulation and skin detoxification.

  3. Respiratory Issues: Shalmali’s properties might be beneficial for managing respiratory disorders characterized by excess mucus and congestion. It could be useful in conditions like bronchitis, asthma, and common colds, where it might help clear the respiratory passages and alleviate symptoms.

  4. Anti-inflammatory Action: Shalmali’s anti-inflammatory attributes contribute to its potential in managing inflammatory conditions. It might provide relief from conditions involving inflammation, such as arthritis, joint pain, and various inflammatory disorders.

  5. Gynecological Disorders: Shalmali’s potential to support blood health and balance doshas can be advantageous for managing gynecological disorders. It may help regulate menstrual cycles, alleviate excessive bleeding, and support overall reproductive health.

  6. Diabetes Management: Shalmali’s properties may aid in managing diabetes by helping regulate blood sugar levels. Its potential to support blood purification and metabolism might contribute to better glucose control.

  7. Urinary Disorders: Shalmali’s astringent properties could be beneficial for managing urinary disorders, including urinary tract infections and conditions related to excessive urination.

  8. Heart Health: Its potential to balance doshas and support blood circulation might contribute to heart health. Shalmali might help manage conditions like hypertension and support overall cardiovascular wellness.

  9. Wound Healing: Shalmali’s potential anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties might assist in managing wounds, cuts, and minor injuries by promoting faster healing and reducing inflammation.

  10. Immune Support: Its properties may contribute to immune support by promoting overall wellness and vitality, thus enhancing the body’s defense mechanisms.

Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose):

Shalmali can be administered in various forms, tailored to specific therapeutic benefits. Dosage may vary based on age, constitution, and the condition being treated. Common forms of Shalmali administration include:

  1. Decoction: Preparing a decoction of Shalmali bark and consuming it in recommended doses. 30-60ml
  2. Powder: Using powdered Shalmali bark in prescribed doses. 3-6 grams.
  3. Exudate: 1-3 grams.

Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations):

Shalmali is an important ingredient in several Ayurvedic formulations. Some notable formulations containing Shalmali are:

  1. Chandanasava: A classic formulation that combines Shalmali with other herbs for managing urine related problems.
  2. Shalmali Ghrita: It is good for skin troubles, intrinsic haemorrhage, conjunctivitis, splenomegaly and haemorrhoids.

Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects):

When used within recommended doses and formulations, Shalmali is generally safe for most individuals. However, excessive consumption might lead to:

  1. Digestive Disturbances: Overconsumption could result in digestive discomfort and dryness.

Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures):

In case of adverse effects due to Shalmali consumption, consider these measures:

  1. Reduce Dosage: If digestive discomfort occurs, decrease the dosage or temporarily discontinue use.

Shodhana (Purification Method):

Shalmali generally does not require specific purification methods before use, as it is often used in processed forms such as decoctions or powders.


Shalmali, scientifically known as Salmalia malabarica, shines as a testament to the harmony between nature and healing. Its attributes, outlined in its Rasa Panchaka, therapeutic indications, and potential formulations, underline its importance in Ayurvedic practices. As with any medicinal herb, consulting a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner is vital before incorporating Shalmali into your health regimen. This article provides insights into the nuanced tapestry of Shalmali and its potential benefits for overall health and well-being.

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Note: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with a qualified healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of any other medical condition.

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