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champaka - Michelia champaca Linn.

champaka :

champaka  : Michelia champaca Linn. Campaka consists of dried buds and flowers, including calyx, of Michelia champaca Linn. (Fam. Magnoliaceae), a tall, ever green tree, usually upto 30 m in height and 3.5 m in girth with a straight trunk, found in eastern Himalayas, North-East India and Western Ghats; it is planted throughout India in gardens and near temples. 


Puranic Reference

The fragrance of Champaka flowers is unique. It is used in the worship of all gods except Lord Shiva. The reason for not using the flowers in the worship of Lord Shiva is as follows:

Sage Narada was on his way to the Shiva temple in Gokarna, in Karnataka, when he was drawn to the smell of Champaka flowers near the temple. He stood below the tree and was enjoying the sweet fragrance of the flowers. He then saw a Brahmin priest nearby the Champka tree.  He had come to pluck the flowers, but on seeing Narada, refrained from plucking the flowers. When Sage Narada enquired with the Brahmin, he told that he was from a nearby village and while he was passing by, he was drawn to the tree by its smell and was thus enjoying the smell of the flowers. Sage Narada then left for the temple. When Narada had left, the Brahmin plucked the flowers and hid in a basket. When sage Narada returned from the temple, he met the Brahmin again.  When Narada enquired with him, he said that he was going home. Narada became suspicious about the Brahmin’s behaviour and asked the Champaka tree if anyone had plucked the flowers, to which the tree replied in negative. Not convinced with the answer, sage Narada went back to the temple and was astonished to find the Shiva Linga covered with Champaka flowers. Sage Narada asked a man who was sitting nearby, as to who had offered the Champaka flowers to the Lord. The man said that a Brahmin offers the flowers daily to the Lord. Lord Shiva was immensely pleased with the Brahmin and had showered him with His blessings. The Brahmin had become all powerful in the King’s court and was harassing poor people.

Sage Narada, asked Lord Shiva as to why he was helping the evil Brahmin. Shiva said that as the Champaka flowers are dear to Him, he cannot but help the evil Brahmin who was worshipping Him every day with the Champaka flowers.

Sage Narada then went back to the tree and cursed the tree for lying. He said that its flowers would never be used in the worship of Lord Shiva. He also cursed the Brahmin saying that he would be born as a demon and will attain moksha when he gets killed in the hands of Lord Rama.

In Bhagavada Purana, (3:21), it is mentioned that next to the Bindu Sarovar Lake, Sage Kardama performed austerities. It is described that the lake was surrounded by fragrant, and spiritually elevating trees and flowers, among which is Champaka mentioned.

It is mentioned in Shiva Purana, that Mount Kailash, was surrounded by fragrant trees, and Champaka was one among the trees.

It is mentioned in Bhagavatam, that the Vrajas of Vrindavan would talk to the Champaka trees, asking them if they had seen their beloved Lord- Sri Krishna pass by.

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Streptophyta
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia
Species: Magnolia champaca

Allied species:

 So notable are its qualities as an ornamental flowering tree that little effort has been made to cultivate closely allied species from Mexico, Central and South America. One of these, Magnolia tamaulipana of northeastern Mexico, is finally gaining some popularity, mostly as an oddity, since its flower fragrance is entirely different from the sweet lemony aroma of M. grandiflora.


Sanskrit: Campeya, Hamapushpa , Champaka, Kanchana, Shat pada, Latika, phali, Gandhaphali, Gandhaphala, Deepapushpa, Sthirapushpa, Peetapushpa, Hemahva
English: golden or yellow champa , joy perfume tree
Hindi: Champa
Urdu: Champa
Telugu: Chattu Sampangi
Bengali: Champaka, Champa
Marathi: Sonachanpha
Konkani: चांपे champe, सोनचांपे sonchampe
Oriya: Chompa
Gujarathi: Raichampo, Pilo Champo
Tamil: Sampagi
Malayalam: Campakappuv
Kannada: Sampige
Punjabi: Champa
Munda: Campabadaru
Spanish: - (champaca)
Assamese: Tita-sopa
Japanese: -瞻蔔樹 (Skt, Pali; Jpn sempuku-ju )
Chinese: -黄兰
French: - (ilang-ilang)
Burma: - (mawk-sam-lung); Cantonese
Nepal: अैाले चाँप Aule chaanp
Sinhalese: -Hapu, Sapu
Tulu: -Sampay


Magnolia champaca varieties and hybrids include:

Magnolia (Michelia) champaca var. champaca — Huang lan (yuan bian zhong), (黄兰(原变种)) in Chinese. To 30 metres (98 ft) tall, documented in China.
Magnolia (Michelia) champaca var. pubinervia — Mao ye mai huang lan (毛叶脉黄兰) in Chinese. To 50 metres (160 ft) tall or taller, documented in China.
Magnolia × alba — white-flowered hybrid of Magnolia champaca and Magnolia montana.

In Thailand, there are other purported hybrids cultivated with other species, including with Magnolia liliifera and Magnolia coco.


चाम्पेयश्चम्पकः प्रोक्तो हेमपुष्पश्च स स्मृतः | 
एतस्य कलिका गन्धफलेति कथिता बुधैः ||२४|| 
चम्पकः कटुकस्तिक्तः कषायो मधुरो हिमः | 
विषकृमिहरः कृच्छ्रकफवातास्रपित्तजित् ||२५|| 

bhavaprakasha nigantu - pushpadi varga


Synonyms in Ayurveda: kusuma, suvarna

The species epithet, champaca, comes from the Sanskrit word campaka (pronounced tʃaɱpaka)

the campaka’s other Sanskrit synonym is cāmpeya (which can also mean ‘gold’)

Rasa: Kashaya Katu Tikta
Guna: Laghu Ruksha
Veerya: Sheetha
Vipaka: Katu
Karma: Kaphapittasamaka Vishahara-Anti toxic,

Champaka tree rich in medicinal properties is used in several ayurvedic preparations. The leaves, root, root bark, flowers, fruit and oil are used for its medicinal value. The extract of the flowers, leaves and seeds have anti cancer, antimicrobial, antioxidant properties. The active constituents of the plant are alkaloids, saponins, tannins, sterols, flavonoids and triterpenoids.


The tree is cultivated for its flowers and ornamental use
Cultivate soil before planting. Dig hold twice the width of container. Place the plant in hole so the soil level of the plant is the same as the surrounding soil. Fill hole firmly and water well, even if the soil is moist


The tree is grown from stem propagation and seeds.


-Harvest seeds from the ripened fruit of an existing Michelia champaca tree. Allow the fruit to split on its own before removing the seeds.


Volatile oil

Root bark contains sesquiterpene lactones costunolide. parthenolide, dihydroparthenolide, micheliolide. Bark contains tannin. Leaves contain essential oil. Flowers contain Champaca essential oil. Seeds contain fat, resin and resin acids.



1.  Candanabalalakshadi Taila,
2.  Baladhatryadi Taila
3. Maharajaprasarini taila
4. Madana Kameshwari Lehyam

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Bark, Flower, ,


pushpa curna - 1-3 gm
powder - 3-6 g
bark decoction - 50 -100 ml


-Magnolia baillonii


Classical categorization

Kaiyadeva Nighantu - Oshadhi Varga, Sarvaushadhika Varga, Sugandhamalaka Varga
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu - Pushpa varga
Raja Nighantu - Karaveeradi Varga

Commercial value:

Magnolia champaca is cultivated by specialty plant nurseries as an ornamental plant, for its form as an ornamental tree, as a dense screening hedge, and for its fragrant flowers. It is planted in the ground in tropical and in subtropical climate gardens, such as in coastal Southern and Central California.


Michelia champaca is a tall handsome, evergreen tree with a straight trunk of about 30 m in height branches ascending, spreading, forming a close head. Simple, alternate leaves, lanceolate, entire petiolate. very fragrant flowers, yellowish to orange, Solitary and axillary and deciduous bracts. Dark brown capsules, opening on the back by two valves, valves woody, orbicular covered with white warty exereseenses. Seeds 1-12, brown, polished, variously angled and rounded on the back.


Pedicel -Shows ridges and furrows in outline with a single layered epidermis having a few unicellular hairs; cortex composed of a wide zone of collapsed, thin-walled, parenchymatous cells having a few oil globules; collateral vascular bundle and secretory cells are present; pith consisting of thin-walled, oval to polygonal, parenchymatous cells; irregular, elongated, lignified stone cells isolated or in groups, having narrow lumen and pits, found in cortex and pith.

Sepal - Single layered epidermis, slightly sinuous in surface view, present on both surfaces, a few unicellular hairs are in outer surface; ground tissue composed of thinwalled, oval to polygonal, parenchymatous cells having a few prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate; a few vascular bundles present in ground tissue. Petal -Epidermis single layered of rectangular cells, slightly sinuous in surface view, present on both surfaces; a few fibro-vascular bundles present in ground tissue along with a few cluster crystals of calcium oxalate. 

Geographical distribution:

The tree is native to the Indomalaya ecozone, consisting of South Asia, Southeast Asia−Indochina, and southern China.

It is found in Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests ecoregions, at elevations of 200–1,600 metres (660–5,250 ft). It is native to Maldives, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam In China it is native to southern Xizang and southern and southwestern Yunnan Provinces.


The fragrant flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Its aril-covered seeds are highly attractive to birds.

Plant conservation:

 It is planted in containers in cooler temperate climates. It requires full sun and regular watering.
Provide adequate water in dry periods. Pruning is seldom needed

General Use:

Bark is used in fevers, flowers are stimulant, good for eyes and relives burning , and in skin diseases, Root bark is purgative, used in amenorrhoea. Flowers tonic, stomachic, carminative, used in dyspepsia, nausea, fever, also useful as a diuretic in renal diseases. Flower oil used in cephalgia. Bark stimulant, diuretic and febrifuge. Dried root and root-bark used as a purgative and emmenagogue

Therapeutic Uses:


Systemic Use:

  1. the flowers are bitter and are useful in leprosy, boils and itch.
  2. The flowers and fruits are considered bitter and cool remedies, and are used in dyspepsia, nausea and fever. 
  3. the flowers mixed with Sesamum oil form an external application, which is often prescribed in vertigo.
  4. the dried root and root-bark, mixed with curdled milk, are useful as an application to abscesses, clearing away or maturing the inflammation, and that, prepared as an infusion, it is a valuable emenagogue.
  5. the perfumed oil prepared from the flowers is a useful application in cephalalgia, ophthalmia, and gout, and that the oil of the seeds is rubbed over the abdomen to relieve flatulence. 


flower powder
bark decoction


  1. flower bud - anti diabetic
  2. flower - hyperlipidemia 
  3. leaves - Anti-microbial , Anti-oxidant , Anti-cancer

Clinical trials:

1. Pharmacological basis for the medicinal use of Michelia champaca in gut, airways and cardiovascular disorders by Fatima Saqib, Zubia Mushtaq, KhalidHussain Janbaz, Imran Imran

2. Bioactive constituents from Michelia Yeh YT1, Huang JC, Kuo PL, Chen CY.

3. in-vitro anticancer activity of michelia champaca l. flowers against ehrlich ascites carcinoma cell line by ananthi  elango


  1. New Volatile Constituents of the Flower Concrete of Michelia champaca L. -R Kaiser - Journal of Essential Oil Research, 1991 - Taylor & Francis
     2. Constituents of Michelia champaca and Lewis acid catalysed transformations of parthenolide into guaianolides   - VK Sethi, RK Thappa, KL Dhar, CK Atal - Planta medica, 1984 -


not known

Toxicity studies:

not known

Use in other system of medicine:

    • Folkloric 
      - Infusion of flowers used as vaginal wash.
      - In Chinese medicine, promotes the flow of qi; relieves cough.
      - Used for cough, leucorrhea, abdominal distention, prostatitis, sunstroke.
    • • Rituals / Ornamentals: Flowers are used as religious offerings or used in making garlands.
      • Aromatherapy: An ideal ingredient for aromatherapy products.
      • Perfume: Essential oil used in making highly prized perfume; also used in tea-perfuming.


    Michelia champaca is an evergreen or semi-deciduous, small to mediumsized tree up to 50 m tall
     Flowers are white, elongated, bell-shaped, with thin, leathery, and narrow petals, emitting a strong sweet fragrance.
    Cultivated for its flowers and used for making floral necklaces or the perfuming of clothes in storage. Also used to scent hair oils. 
    Studies have shown antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, tyrosinase inhibiting, anti-asthmatic, cytotoxic properties.
    The genus is named after Italian botanist Peter A. Michel (1679-1737); the
    specific epithet after the Hindu name

    KEY WORDS: Magnolia champaca, champak, Michelia champaca.

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