Botanical Name: Alstonia scholaru
Indian Name: Saitan-ka-jhad, Chhatim
Description and Composition
Devil's tree is a large evergreen tree about 25 metres high. It has a bitter milky juice, rough, dark grey bark and whorled branches. Its leaves are small and it has greenish-white flowers. Its fruits are long, narrow and slender. The dried bark of the tree constitutes the drug. The bark of the tree contains many alkaloids. Of these, the most important are ditamine and ditain. The latter is an uncrystallisable bitter principle to which are ascribed the febrifuge, that is, the thirst quenching properties of the drug.
Healing Power and Curative Properties
The bark of the devil's tree has been reputed in the indigenious system of medicines for ages as a tonic and a drug which restores the normal function of the digestive system. It ~ also useful in fevers and skin diseases.
The herb is an excellent substitute for cinchona and quinine , for the treatment of intermittent and. remittent fevers. Its powder can be taken in doses of 2 to 6 grams or its extract should be given in doses of 2 to 10 drops.
An infusion of the bark is very useful in malaria. It brings down fever steadily to normal in a short time without causing perspiration and over exhaustion which usually follows other medicines for malaria.
Chhatim is effective in bowel complaints. About 33 centigrams of the powder of the bark can be given in these complaints.
The powdered bark is beneficial in the treatment of catarrhal dyspepsia,-that is indigestion accompanied by discharge of mucus from the inflamed mucous membrane of the intestines. About 3.25 grams of the powder can be given at night.
Diarrhoea and Dysentery
The drug is an effective remedy in chronic diarrhoea and in advanced stage of dysentery. It, however, does not seem to produce any marked effect in ordinary diarrhoea.
For skin diseases such as eczema, acne and ringworm, an infusion of the bark is given in 30 to 60 ml doses, twice or thrice a day.