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Cedrus Deodara

cedrus deodara natural herbs

English: Himalayan cedar

Hindi: Deodar

Sanskrit: Devadaru

The Himalayan cedar, deodar, is a majestic and handsome tree, growing to a great height and wide girth and living to a great age. The name devadaru is sometimes applied to Erythroxylnn monogynum or Polyalthia lnngifolia but these are not interchangeable with the true deodar.


Habitat

It is found throughout the western Himalayas, from Kashmir to Garhwal, at altitudes of 1200-3000 m. It is often cultivated as an ornamental.


Botanical description

A large evergreen conifer, reaching up to 85 m in height with ascending, spreading branches (Plate 17). The leaves, which are present in whorls, are triquetrous, needle-like, 2-4 cm long, dark green with a silver sheen. Male cones are cylindrical, female cones ovoid with overlapping thin woody placental scales; both are solitary, up to 12 cm long and 10 cm in thickness and occur at the ends of branchlets. Seeds are winged, up to 1.5 cm long and triangular in shape. The bark is blackish, rough, thick, furrowed, with vertical fissures. The heartwood is light yellowish-brown, darkening on exposure, scented and rich in oil.


Parts used

Heartwood, bark, leaves and oil.


Traditional and modem use

The oil is antiseptic and used in skin diseases, sores, wounds and ulcers and also for headache, fever, urogenital diseases, piles and as a carminative, antidiarrhoeal, diaphoretic, diuretic and insecticide. The heartwood is used for similar purposes and as an antiinflammatory, laxative, sedative, cardiotonic and for many other disorders. The leaves are bitter and acrid and used mainly in inflammation.


Ethnoveterinary usage

The wood and bark are used in bloody dysentery' and the oil in skin diseases and ulcers, against mange in buffaloes, calves, goats and camels and to treat sore hooves in cattle.


Major chemical constituents
Essential oil

The heartwood yields about 2.1 % of essential oil, consisting mainly of the sesquiterpene hydrocarbons a-himachalene 6-7%, p-himachalene around 91 % and other isomers including o-himachalene,2 with p-methyl acetophenone, p-methyl 3-tetrahydroacetophenone, atlantone and himachalo.


Hydrocarbons

The petroleum ether extract of the bark oil yields saturated, straight chain and branched chain hydrocarbons (CI4-C2O)'


Flavonoids

Stem bark contains deodarin (3',4',5,7-tetrahydroxy-8-C-methyl dihydroflavonol), taxifolin and quercetin.


Medicinal and pharmacological activities

Treatment of skin disorders: A mixture of Cedrus deodara and Ricinus communis oils was found to be safe in the treatment of mange in animals: In another study, the oil of Cedrus deodara (15% in castor oil base) cured 95.6% of sheep of Sarcoptes scabiei infectionS after treatment with 10 applications. It was also found to be effective in demodectic mange and psoroptic mange in affected cattle and sheep.


Antimicrobial activity: The oil exhibits antifungal action and is used in the treatment of human and animal phycomycotic diseases.


Molluscicidal activity: The oil of Cedrus deodara in Tween-80 proved 100% ovicidal and molluscicidal at 15-20 ppm (24-hour exposure) in the laboratory. Under field conditions the suspension at 30 ppm gave 100% mortality of snails and their eggs within 24 hours.


Insecticidal activity: Low concentrations (0.45%) ofthe oil produced a mortality rate of around 50% in adult Anopheles stephensi, The toxicity of the steam-distilled oil was tested at 26?C against 4th ins tar larvae and the LOso for larvae found to be 63.2 ppm,/t was effective against other insect pests such as cockroaches and houseflies.


Anticancer activity: The ethanolic extract was found to have cytotoxicity against human epidermal carcinoma of the nasopharynx in tissue culture."


Antispasmolytic activity: The major antispasmodic constituent in the wood of Cedrus deodara has been identified as himachalol. The spasmolytic action was similar to that of papaverine as observed by the effect of himachalol on various isolated smooth muscles and several agonists."


Safety profile

A 15 % mixture of C. deodara oil in castor oil was subjected to acute toxicity tests in mice and found to be non-toxic. The formulation was non-irritant to the skin of rabbit and sheep and did not alter blood urea nitrogen and blood glucose levels. The LDso was 500 mgiii in adult albino mice. Applied topically to rabbits, it was found to have no adverse effects on skin or any other vital organ.


Dosage

Powdered wood: 3-6 g Decoction: 28-56 ml


Oil: 0.5-3 ml


Ayurvedic properties

  • Rasa: Tikta (bitter)
  • Guna: Laghu (light),
  • snigdha (unctuous)
  • Veerya: Ushna (hot)
  • Vipaka: Katu (pungent)

Dosha: Pacifies vata and kapha