Karanja - Controlling soil erosion to managing inflammation and fever, multiple benefits and application.

Karanja (Pongamia pinnata (Linn) Pierre.) is an important drug which has been used since the vedic period. It is also known by the name Naktamala in Sanskrit. It is called as Pongu or Ungu in Malayalam and Honge mara in Kannada.

It belongs to the Papilionaceae family. It is a medium sized tree, up to 18m high. Karanja is a  preferred species for controlling soil erosion and binding sand dunes because of its dense network of lateral roots. 

Herb - Karanja

Ayurvedic Action

Rasa (Taste)Katu, Thiktha
Virya (Energy)Heating
Vipak (Post-digestive effect)Katu
Guna (Quality)Light, Sharp
Doshic EffectBalances -K- V

Health Benefits

Skin health

Oil from karanj seeds contain flavonoids which possess diverse pharmacological properties. Karanjin and pongamol are active principles of karanj. 

The oil mainly used for skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczema , acne and vitiligo etc. Also helpful in dandruff condition.

Fever management 

Karanja is useful in managing fever. Karanja has antipyretic (reduces fever) and anti-inflammatory properties. Due to this, it reduces as well as prevents fever. Moreover, it also reduces inflammation and pain associated with fever.


The anti-inflammatory property of Karanja is useful in managing the symptoms of arthritis. They inhibit the production of chemicals that cause inflammation. Also, Karanja leaves contain certain compounds that have pain-reducing properties. So bathing with a hot infusion of Karanja leaves helps to reduce arthritis pain.

Anti-inflammatory activity.

In a study ( Pharmacological & Phytochemical study - SDM research Centre Udupi ) reported that the ethanolic extract of Pongamia pinnata leaves has potent anti-inflammatory activity against different phases of inflammation without side effect on gastric mucosa.

Anti - diarrhoeal activity.

In a study ( Pharmacological & Phytochemical study - SDM research Centre Udupi ) the crude decoction of dried leaves of Pongamia pin the crude decoction of P. pinnata has selective antidiarrheal action with efficacy against cholera and entero-invasive bacterial strains causing bloody diarrhoeal episodes. They attributed the antidiarrheal activity to antimotility, anti-secretory and antimicrobial actions of the compound.

Antibacterial effect.

Karanj extracts have great potential as antibacterial compounds against enteric pathogens and that they can be used in the treatment of enteric infectious diseases.

Enteric infection is the infection of the small intestine that is caused by microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria and parasites. These diseases most frequently result from consuming contaminated food or water and some can spread from person to person. 

Dosage and side effects (only after consultation with an ayurvedic doctor).

  1. Karanja Oil - 2-5 drops or as per your requirement.
  2. Karanja Powder - ½-1 teaspoon or as per your requirement.

Use Karanja root juice or leaves paste with rose water due to its Ushna (hot) potency. For hypersensitive skin use Karanja oil with coconut oil. Avoid the application of Karanja oil on the face.


  1. https://www.phytojournal.com/archives/2016/vol5issue5/PartC/5-4-37-833.pdf
  2. https://wjpr.net/admin/assets/article_issue/1513593173.pdf
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