The genus Hydnocarpus is currently (2015) under review and there seems no clear and generally accepted treatment currently available. Because different authorities are treating the genus differently, we have included several species here where we are uncertain if we are using the correct name - or even if we are including it more than once under different names. We have followed the treatment in GRIN for this species, though some other authorities are using Hydnocarpus laurifolius.
Chilmoria pentandra Buch.-Ham.
Hydnocarpus laurifolius Dennst. ex Sleumer
Marottia oleosa Raf.
Munnicksia laurifolia Dennst.
Common Name: Chalmugra
Hydnocarpus pentandrus is an evergreen tree growing 9 - 15 metres tall[
A very important medicinal tree in India, where the fruits are commonly harvested from the wild both for local use and for trade. It is particularly valued in the treatment of leprosy and skin conditions. The oil from the seeds is also used as an illuminant in lamps, whilst the wood is also used locally.
Major threats to this species are loss of habitat and habitat fragmentation, unsustainable collection of the fruits for medicinal use, and predation by squirrels. Populations are believed to have been reduced by around 40% since the mid 20th century. The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2014)[
Although we have seen no specific information for this species, the seeds of many members of this genus contain cyanogetic glycosides[
]. In very small quantities this has been used medicinally, having been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
E. Asia - southern India.
]. Mainly found along the sides of watercourses, from moist deciduous to semi-evergreen forests[
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Grows best on well-drained, sandy, alluvial flats and floodplains along rivers, or at least in moist but well-drained surroundings[
Plants take from 20 - 25 years from seed before they start producing seeds[
Seeds tend to go rancid rather quickly. Therefore ripe fruits should be opened and the fruit pulp and aril removed from the seeds. Seeds are then washed and dried in the sun. Sun-dried seeds, either whole or broken, are cold-pressed or pressed under concurrent heating to extract the oil. The chemical composition of the end-product of these methods varies[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required
The oil from the seed is alterative, antibacterial and stimulant[
]. It is often used, both internally and externally, in the treatment of lepromatous leprosy, and is effective in early cases in decreasing the size of nodules, anaesthetic patches and skin lesions[
]. The oil has also been recommended as a topical application to treat rheumatism, sprains and bruises, sciatica and chest complaints, and for dressing wounds[
The seed oil is used in the treatment of leprosy, rheumatic arthritis, worms, diabetes, body swellings and other skin diseases[
]. It is used in Ayurveda, Sidha and Folk systems of medicine in India[
The seeds are detergent[
The oil contains a number of medically active constituents, especially chaulmoogric acid and hydnocarpic acid[
A non-drying oil is obtained from the seeds[
]. It is used in lamps[
The oil extracted from the seed is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a hair, nail and skin conditioner and an emollient[
The oil-cake repels ants and other insects[
The white wood is of fair quality and is occasionally used[
When it attains suitable dimensions, the wood of species in this genus is often used locally for house building (poles), temporary heavy construction, posts, fences, interior finishing, panelling and door and window frames[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe, when it will usually germinate quickly. Germination of stored seed can be slow, with some species in the genus taking up to 2 years. Sow the seed in a shaded position in a nursery seedbed and keep moist. Grow on the seedlings in shade until large enough to plant out[
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