Cassia Siamea (Jue Ming Zi Xian Lou)
Botanical Name: Cassia Siamea, Senna siamea
This lovely tree, is especially popular in Thailand, where there are even areas named after it. The leaves, tender pods, and seeds are edible, with each needing to be boiled first, then discarding the water to remove unwanted compounds that can upset the stomach, and then finally being ready to add to popular curry dishes. As a medicine, Cassia Siamea has been used in Oriental medicine for many thousands of years to treat malaria, anxiety, panic attacks, and sleep disorders.
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Also Known As: Siamese Cassia, Kassod Tree, Cassod Tree, Cassia Tree, Khilek, Mezali
Organs/Systems: Stomach, Intestines, Respiratory System
Key Actions: Sedative, Antimicrobial, Antimalarial, Antidiabetic, Anticancer, Hypotensive, Diuretic, Antioxidant, Laxative, Anti-inflammatory, Analgesic, Antidepressant, Antipyretic, Anxiolytic, AntiHIV, Anticarcinogenic, Antiflu, Antitumor, Antiviral
Medicinal Uses: Diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, flu, support immunity, prevent cancer, constipation, anxiety, HIV, malaria, calming, insomnia.
Also Known As: Ka Suo De Shu (Kassad Tree), Black Wood, Bujuk, Khilek, Mezali, Bombay Blackwood, Iron Wood, Iron Knife Wood, Seemathangadi
Meridians: Stomach, Liver, Intestines
Key Actions: Clears Heat, Calms Shen, Tonifies Qi, Reduces Fever, Expels Intestinal Worms
Medicinal Uses: Anxiety, hysteria, insomnia, stress, beriberi, diabetes, headache, dysentery, stomach disorders, urinary disorders, diabetes, hypertension, rhinitis, malaria, constipation, scabies, intestinal worms, childhood convulsions, chills and fever, profuse sweating.
Flavors/Temps: Bitter, Cooling
Caution: Generally considered safe.
Key Constituents: Barakol, Alkaloids, Apigenin, Beta-sitosterol, Vitamin B1, Betulin, Polyphenols. Flavonoids, Steroids, Isoflavonoids, Triterpenes, Chromone alkaloids, Anthraquinones, Carotenoids, Tannins.
History/Folklore: The heartwood of Cassia Siamea is said to be a laxative. It is also used to prevent blood from pooling in organs or in the genito-urinary tract. The plant has excellent tranquilizer and calming properties that help counter the effects of stress and anxiety. In Cambodia, a decoction using Cassia Siamea is used to treat scabies and rhinitis. It can have some analgesic and diuretic properties. Unlike pharmaceutical counterparts is not noted for unwanted side effects, toxicity, or addiction. It is considered a first class psychopharmaceutical. The leaves are used to treat malaria.
In Ayurvedic medicine the fruit is used to treat intestinal worms and prevent convulsions in children.
Fresh and dried leaves can be decocted and enjoyed with lemon juice to treat malaria and liver disorders. In Uganda, the leaves are picked, cleaned, and chewed with the liquid being swallowed to treat abdominal pains. In India, the leaves are boiled and a bit of honey added. A daily does of 150ml, taken 3 times a day, of this mixture is used to treat anemia and fevers. In Thailand, prepared leaves are taken in capsule form as a laxative and sleep aid.
In Kenya, the macerated roots are used with other herbs to treat snake bites and diabetes. In the Ivory Coast, small repetitive doses of decocted roots are used to treat angina and malaria.
The seeds are used to treat intestinal worms and scorpion bites.
In China, a decoction of the leaves and stems is enjoyed as an aperitif and to counter arthritic swelling.
The young fruits and leaves are eaten as a vegetable and the flowers and young fruits are used in curries. Cassia Siamea’s leaves, tender pods, and seeds are edible after having been boiled and the water discarded. This helps eliminate some of the leaves bitter taste. The leaves are sometimes called “caper leaves” because the young flower buds look like caper berries, and are a common ingredient in Thai curry dishes.
The ethanol extract made from the leaves have been found to protect against diabetes-induced insulin resistance and hepatic dysfunction in mice.
The compound betulin, found in the flowers, is known for its antiHIV, anticarcinogenic, antiflu, antitumor, and antiviral properties.
The compound barakol is known for its antidepressant and sedative properties.
Cassia Siamea is a provincial tree in Thailand. There are places in the country that are named after this lovely tree. It is often planted as a windbreak and as a fodder plant. Its hardwood is used for ornamentation on guitars and ukuleles. The wood is highly valued in Chinese furniture making. The wood was also popularly used to fire locomotive engines as its charcoal is excellent quality. The wood is very hard, resists termites, is durable, and can take a high polish. All parts of this plant can be used for tanning.
The leaves can be toxic to pigs and poultry. The flowers are a good source for honey. The blooms will attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
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Take FULL advantage of the healing powers of this herb!
What are the benefits of Cassia Siamea? How can it be used? Get Eastern and Western perspectives about how and why Cassia Siamea works. Get recipes, gardening tips, insights, and much, much more.
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