Golden shower tree: Health benefits and nutritinal value

Know in one minute about Golden shower tree

  • The golden shower tree is a beautiful ornamental tree and is famous for its medicinal properties.
  • This plant is an excellent source of nutrients and energy for humans.
  • Restrain the growth of many types of bacteria and fungi.
  • Act against constipation, skin disease like wounds, melasma, eczema, blisters, and sores.
  • The abundance of antioxidants and protect organs from damage.
  • Treat swelling, reduce anxiety, fatigue and induce sleep.
  • Controls diabetes and regulates cholesterol levels.
  • Help to fight against cancer, chikungunya, malaria, yellow, dengue, and other fevers.

Introduction

The Golden shower tree (Cassia fistula L.; family Fabaceae) is an evergreen and ornamental tree due to its beautiful branches of yellow flowers. It is a summer-flowering plant and is recognized as both the national tree and national flower of Thailand. 

This plant grows as a medium-sized tree and is quite famous for its therapeutic properties as well.

Geographical distribution

It is widely grown in Asian countries such as India, Sri Lanka, and China. Also found in various other countries such as Ceylon, Egypt, Mauritius, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, and East Africa.

Common name

It is commonly known as the golden shower, Indian laburnum, purging cassia, pudding-pipe tree, or amaltaas in India. The other common name is a golden chain, ai-kadus, alash, Ali, golden rain tree, and many more.

Botanical description of Golden shower tree

Golden-Shower is a slow-growing tree with well-spaced branches. Young leaves, flower buds, flowers, and pulp of the pods are edible parts of the plant. 

Height

10–20 m (33–66 ft) and 30 to 40 feet wide

Stem and bark

Brown, erect and slender trunk

Flowers

Yellow, bloom in a drooping pattern in a cluster, like a bunch of grapes

Leaves

The leaves are alternately arranged in a spiral manner with up to eight pairs of leaflets

Fruits

Separate brown pods, have a pungent odor and have several seeds. The pulp is sticky, sweet, and mucilaginous, somewhat disagreeable.  

Seeds

Hard, light brown, and shiny (1)

Nutritional value of Golden shower tree

Golden shower tree flower

The golden shower tree is an excellent source of some important nutrients and energy for humans. It contains phenol, alkaloids, lipids, proteins, flavonoids, and carbohydrates. Intake of about 100 g of the fresh fruit is meet US Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of potassium for adults.

On the other hand, the amount of calcium is higher in this plant fruit than in any fruit. Moreover, the fruit of this plant contains a good amount of iron and manganese that is considerably higher in comparison to apple, apricot, peach, pear, and orange.

Golden shower fruit has high energy content at 18 kJ/g could enhance the daily energy requirement of people (2).

Medicinal importance

Every part of the plant is valuable and may be used for the treatment of various diseases.

1. Antimicrobial properties

Golden shower fruit, bark, and leaf are rich in tannin and phenolic compounds (3). These compounds fight against various bacteria and fungi like dermatophytes and protect the body from infections such as diarrhea, typhoid fever, oral thrush (4).

2. Treat constipation of children

The golden shower tree is rich in anthraquinone that has a laxative effect and treats gastrointestinal disorders. Thus, this plant is useful to treat constipation in children (5).

3. Antioxidant properties

Phenols and flavonoids found in the plant act as powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants help neutralize the attack of harmful radicals, stimulate antioxidant enzymes and keep organs healthy (6).

4. Treat skin disorder

Melasma is a general disorder in which brown patches appear on the face and neck.  However, golden shower tree pods contain catechins, gallic acid, flavonoids, quercetin, organic acids (linoleic acid, oleic acid).

This compound acts as a skin whitening agent that reduces skin melanin and prevents aging (7). This plant oil and gel also reduces blisters and sores on the skin or mucous membranes and eczema, helping in wound healing (8, 9).

5. Treat anxiety and fatigue

Phenols and flavonoids content is high in the pulp of the golden shower tree that acts as antioxidants. These compounds reduce anxiety, fatigue and induce sleep (10).

6. Anti-inflammatory properties

Golden shower trees contain rhein and flavonoids that inhibit the several enzymes activated in the inflammatory process (11).

7. Treat cancer

Epiafzelechin and rhein found in golden shower seeds, fruits, leaves inhibit the growth of cancer and induce apoptosis. Thus this plant fights against bone, cervical, breast, and liver cancer and increases life span (12).

8. Manage diabetes and cholesterol levels

Golden shower fruits and bark are rich in antioxidants and polyphenol content (13). These compounds lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels, protect the body from diabetes (14).

9. Repellent mosquito

Golden shower leaf and flower can kill the larvae of Aedes aegyptiAnopheles stephensi, Culex quinquefasciatus, and C. tritaeniorhynchus (15). Thus, this plant prevents mosquito-borne diseases, like chikungunya, malaria, yellow, and dengue fevers (16).

Other uses

Golden shower tree has many utilities such as a contraceptive, immunity booster,  liver detoxifier, coagulant, biosorbent, and natural dye. 

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