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Agastya, Sesbane (Sesbania Grandiflora)

Sesbania grandiflora or Agastya is a fast-growing tree. It is small tree quickly developing and delicate tree, found in India or Southeast Asia. It can growing up to 15 m tall and 25-30 cm in diameter. It thrives under full exposure to sunshine and is extremely frost sensitive and grows well in wide range of soils including those that are poor and waterlogged. It tolerates saline and alkaline soils and has some tolerance to acidic soils. Roots are heavily nodulated with large nodules. Trunk is nearly 30 cm long with drooping branches and bark is light gray, corky and deeply furrowed and the wood are soft and white. Its leaves are glaucous, deep green, pinnately compound up to 30 cm long with 20-50 leaflets in pairs. Leaflets are oblong, to elliptical, obtuse apex, about 2–3 cm long. Flowers are large, white, yellowish, rose pink or red, 7-9 cm long with a calyx 15-22 mm and corolla with standard and wings, staminal tube and glabrous ovary and style. Pods are pendent, slender, long (20-60 cm) and thin (6-9 mm) with broad sutures, cylindric, green, indehiscent containing 15–50 seeds. Seeds are beanlike, elliptical, red brown, 6-8 in a pod, 3.5 mm, and each weighting 1 g.

Leaves, seeds, pods and flowers of S. grandiflora are edible. Flowers are the most widely used part, and white flowers are preferred to the red. Plants consist of large pea-like flowers and grow in clusters of 2-5 at the base of leaves. Flower is normally large, white, yellowish, rose pink or red colored and 7-9 cm long with a calyx 15-22 mm and corolla with standard and wings, staminal tube and glabrous ovary and style. They have acrid, bitter, and astringent taste and are eaten both cooked and raw, in salads, curries, and as a steamed vegetable.

The plant is named “Agastya” in light of the fact that its blossoms sprout in the Agastya star day of Sharad Ritu (harvest time) according to Ayurveda. As indicated by anther conviction, it was named after “Agathi” a celebrated diviner who rehearsed Ayurvedic Rasayana systems in the excellent dwelling place Himalayas. It is said that this plant was unforgettable to him and has since been named after him.

Types of Agastya, Sesbane

Four kinds of Agastya plants are mentioned according to the color of the flower. They are –

  •   Shveta (white)
  •   Pita (yellow)
  •   Nila (blue)
  •   Rakta (red)

Commonly available are the red and white flowered plant.

Properties of Agastya, Sesbane

Sesbania grandiflora contains the following nutrients:

  •   Iron
  •   Phosphorus
  •   Selenium
  •   Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
  •   Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  •   Vitamin B9 (Folate)
  •   Vitamin C

Benefits of Agastya, Sesbane

  •   Sesbania Grandiflora leaves are used to treat migraine, fever, sinusitis, and respiratory disorders in Ayurveda. The leaves have anthelmintic, diuretic, and laxative effect on the body.
  •   Oil of Agathi seed has anthelmintic effect.
  •   Flowers of Sesbania Grandiflora are used in the treatment of headache, night blindness, and catarrhs.
  •   Bark of the tree is used to treat diarrhea, malaria, smallpox, and gonorrhea.
  •   Roots of red flower variety used to treat rheumatism, arthritis, and scabies.

Different Names

  •   English: Sesbane, Hummingbird Tree, Agathi, Sesban, Swamp pea
  •   Hindi: Agustiya, August, agati, Basna
  •   Bengali : Bak, Bagphal, Bak, basnapul, vak, agashi, basna, vasna
  •   Latin: Sesbania grandiflora
  •   Sanskrit: Augastya, Munidrum, Agati, Agasthya, Dirghaphalaka, Kharadhvansi
  •   Tamil: Agati, Acham, Agatti, Akatti-keerai, Kariram, Muni, Peragatti
  •   Telugu: Agise, Agase

Classification of Agastya, Sesbane

  •   Kingdom: Plantae (comprising all living or extinct plants)
  •   Subkingdom: Tracheobionta (have lignified tissues or xylem for conducting water and minerals)
  •   Superdivision: Spermatophyta (produce seeds)
  •   Class: Magnoliopsida (flowering plant producing an embryo with paired cotyledons)
  •   Subclass: Rosidae
  •   Order: Fabales
  •   Family: Fabaceae ? Leguminosae (dicotyledonous tree with legumes and nodules on the roots that contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria)
  •   Genus: Sesbania Scop. (Riverhemp)
  •   Species: Sesbania grandiflora (L.) Poir. (Small tree also known as vegetable hummingbird, agati or hummingbird tree)

Habitat of Agastya, Sesbane

This plant is native to Malaysia and grown in many parts of India such as Punjab,Assam,Delhi,Bengal and many parts of india.

Parts Used

  •   Bark: Anti ulcerogenic, Anticonvulsant
  •   Flower: Anti-cancer, Anti-microbial Analgesic and Anti pyretic
  •   Leaf: Anxiolytic, Hepatoprotective, antioxidant and Antiurolithiatic activity
  •   Root: Anti inflammatory

Uses & Effectiveness

  •   Worm infestation: Intake of agastya leaves juice 10-20ml in empty stomach, early morning for 2 weeks can expel the intestinal worms.
  •   Headache: 2 -3 drops of agastya leaves juice is used as nasal drops in the morning to cure sinusitis and headache.
  •   Arthritis: Root and bark paste of agastya is applied externally to relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and gout.
  •   Night Blindness: Administration of 3gms of agastya flowers paste processed in ghee recommended for night blindness.
  •   Fever: The paste of agastya leaves can be externally applied over the body to subside the fever.
  •   Colic: 5 grams of agastya bark powder is boiled in 100ml of water till it reduced to 25ml. Oral administration of this decoction added with salt and hing relieve abdominal colic.

Effect on Doshas

Aggravates Pitta Dosha, pacifies aggravated Vata Dosha, and removes excess Kapha Dosha.

Bio Energetics of Agastya, Sesbane

Hindi Sanskrit English
Rasa Kashaya Taste Tikta (Bitter)
Guna Laghu Properties Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Dry)
Veerya Sheet Potency Cooling
Vipaka Katu Metabolism Katu (Pungent)

Side Effects of Agastya, Sesbane

  •   Intake of this herbs may aggravate Vata and gas in few people.
  •   Overdose can cause diarrhea.
  •   The leaves of the tree are considered contraceptive.
  •   It causes dryness.