Butea superba is a large, evergreen climbing shrub with stems 20cm or more in diameter growing from a very large, spindle-shaped root. The branched stems can climb to the tops of large trees, twining around the branches for support[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of fibre, gum and dyestuff.
E. Asia - India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam.
Forests in mountain areas[
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Butea species generally prefer a moist, well-drained soil and a position where it can grow into full sun[
A gum obtained from the bark is astringent[
The root is used as a rejuvenative[
]. A spoonful of a paste made from the root is taken in a cup of water by a woman to facilitate an easy delivery[
The root is combined with an equal proportion of the roots of Nyctanthes and Woodfordia floribunda, the seeds of Cassia tora and Vernonia anthelmintica, and the stem juice of Trichosanthes palmata - these are made into a paste with cow's urine and used as a local application to treat the poisonous bites of animals[
An ethyl alcohol extract of the root has shown interesting oestrogenic properties. In addition, it has been shown to reduce cell death from oxidation. The plant has potential as an active ingredient in preparations for the treatment of skin-ageing in post-menopausal women[
A gum is obtained from the plant[
]. A juice, which naturally exudes from cracks and wounds in the bark, hardens into a most beautiful, ruby-coloured, brittle, astringent gum. It dissolves perfectly in water and partially in spirit[
]. It is said to be similar to the gum obtained from Burtea monosperma[
The following is an account of the gum for Butea monosperma:-
A red exudate is obtained from the tannin-rich vesicles in the bark[
]. It hardens into a gum, known as Butea gum, or Bengal kino and can be used medicinally, as a dye or for tannin[
]. It occurs in the form of round tears, often fragmentary. It may be purified by solution in water. It is of a brilliant ruby-red colour, translucent and brittle, heat rendering it more so instead of melting it[
Infusions of the flowers are used as a dye. When applied to cotton cloth that has previously been impregnated with a solution of alum, a beautiful bright yellow is obtained; a little alkali changes it to a deep reddish orange[
A yellow dye can be obtained from the leaves
A strong fibre is obtained from the roots and young branches[
The dark-brown wood is porous and very fibrous[
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