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ankola - Alangium salviifolium Wang., Alangium lamarckii Thw

ankola - Alangium salviifolium Wang., Alangium lamarckii Thw - Cornaceae

ankola :

ankola  : Alangium salviifolium Wang., Alangium lamarckii Thw Ankola consist of dried leaf of Alangium salviifolium (Linn. f.) Wang. syn. A. lamarckii Thw.; (Fam. Alangiaceae), a small tree found over the plains and foothills throughout India.


Adi Shankara, the greatest philosopher of India uses lot of similes from nature to illustrate Advaita philosophy. One of his interesting observations is about a tree called Ankola in Sanskrit, Alinjil in Tamil . True Bhakti or devotion is explained with the help of Ankola tree and magnet in Sivananda Lahari and Viveka Chudamani of Adi Shankara.

Ankolam nijabeejasanthathi syaskanthopalam suchika………… (Sivananda Lahari, verse 61)

Sri Shankara has explained what real Bhakti is. The relation between the devotee and Iswara(God) is explained with reference to five examples. They are the tree known as Ankolam and its seeds; the magnet and the needle; a chaste woman and her husband; a creeper and a tree; and a river and the ocean.

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Streptophyta
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Cornaceae
Genus: Alangium
Species: Alangium salviifolium

Allied species:

Alangium salviifolium subsp. hexapetalum (Lam.) Wangerin is a liana found in tropical evergreen forests of western ghats and has acuminate leaves with distinct domatia in veins on lower surface.They are twiners which use their spines to their advantage to climb up large trees.


Sanskrit: Ankot, Deerghakeela, Ankola, Nikochaka, Peetasara, Tamraphala, Hundika, Rudamallika, Kotara, Gudhapatra, Madana, Rechi, Gandhapushpa, Bhusita, Irikilla, Guptasneha etc.
English: sage leaves
Hindi: Dhera, Ankol.
Urdu: Ankola
Telugu: Ankolamu, Udagu, Urgen
Bengali: Aankod, Badh Aankod.
Marathi: Ankol
Oriya: Ankul, Baghonokhiya, Dolanku, Konkonolo
Gujarathi: Ankol.
Tamil: Elangi, Alandi.
Malayalam: Ankolam, Velittanti, Irinjil, Chemmaram
Kannada: Ankola.Ankolimara, Ansaroli, Arinjil
Punjabi: -ਐਂਕੋਲਾ Aiṅkōlā
Sindhi: انڪوول
Spanish: ankola
Japanese: -アンコラ Ankora
Chinese: -安寇拉 Ān kòu lā
German: Ankola
Nepal: -एकोला Ēkōlā
Persian: -قورباغه
Sinhalese: -ඇන්කෝලා ænkōlā
Greek: ankola


bhava prakasha , dhanvantiri nighantu - Guduchyadi varga
Kaiyadeva nighantu - Oshadhi varga
Raja nighantu - Prabhadradi varga
Charaka Samhita – Phala varga


Synonyms in Ayurveda: ankot, ankolaka, gomedaka, mani, nikocaka

The name Alangium is Latinized from the Malayalam name Alangi, which, in Kerala, refers to Alangium salviifolium. It was named in 1783 by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in his Encyclopédie Méthodique

Guptasneha - yields oil
rechi - useful in virechana
Gandha pushpa - fragrant flowers

Rasa: Kashaya Katu Tikta
Guna: Laghu Snigdha Teeskhsna
Veerya: Ushna
Vipaka: Katu
Karma: Kaphapittasamaka

The stems are used for spears in Kenya. In India the wood is valued for musical instruments and furniture. In Asia Alangiumwood is used in building as beams, for flooring, furniture, cabinet work, inlaying, carving, bobbins, spindles, shuttles, rice pestles, tool handles, walking sticks, gunstocks and handicraft articles. The twigs are used for brushing the teeth in India.


Succeeds in any moderately fertile, well-drained soil and requires a position in full sun


Seed: Cuttings of half ripe wood


The plant is harvested from the wild, especially in India, for its use in traditional medicine


Alkaloids (Alangimarckine, deoxytubulosine, ankorine);
campesterol, episterol, stigmast-5,22,25-trien-3 β-ol,
alangidiol and isoalangidiol. 


Kaalakuta rasa
Amrita ghrita
Ankotamulani kwatha

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Whole plant, ,


The maximum dosage for the plant should not exceed 2g.

Root bark powder – 125 – 2000mg.
Leaves – less than 2g.
Fruits – less than 2 g.
Seeds – less than 2 g.
Ankol oil – 2 to 15 drops.
For Vamana Karma (therapeutic emesis) – 15 grain – 3 gm

Poison antidote – 60 grains


Vishaghna (antidote) – Jangama visha hara 
The fruit is used as purgative, expectorant, carminative and as an antidote for poisoning, 
Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) should be given with milk to counter its side effects.


The root-bark has been used as a substitute for Cephaelis ipecacuanha (Ipecac)

Commercial value:

 It is also a valued local source of wood and is often grown as an ornamental


Leaves 8 to13 cm in length and 3 to 5 cm in width, simple, petiolate, petiole 6 to 13 mm long, lanceolate, narrowly oblong or ovate, base rounded or acute, glabrous above, pubescent on the nerves, venation reticulate.


Leaf -
Petiole - Epidermis single layered, covered by cuticle; nonglandular, mostly unicellular, rarely bicellular, uniseriate trichomes, measuring upto 280 µ in length and upto 16 µ in width; 7 to10 layered collenchyma present just beneath the epidermis, followed by parenchymatous tissue; collateral vascular bundles 3 to10 in number arranged in an arch and surrounding parenchymatous pith; vascular bundles composed of xylem and phloem; xylem consists of fibres, tracheids and xylem parenchyma; abundant rosette crystals of calcium oxalate present in the parenchyma tissue, measuring upto 45 µ in diam.; granulated pigments noticed in all tissues except in the vascular bundle.

Midrib –
T.S. shows biconvex outline; epidermis on both surfaces covered by cuticle; abundant nonglandular, unicellular trichomes measuring upto 385 µ in length and upto 16 µ in width present on epidermis; 4 or 5 layered collenchyma situated just beneath the epidermis; collenchyma followed by 3 or 4 layered chlorenchyma; vascular bundle surrounded by sclerenchymatous tissue except on lateral sides; phloem located on the outer peripheral parts of xylem; xylem mainly consists of tracheids, vessels and fibres; central part of the midrib occupied by parenchyma cells, containing rosettes of calcium oxalate crystals, measuring upto 20 µ in diam.

Lamina –
T. S. shows dorsiventral structure; epidermis on both the sides covered by cuticle; in surface view the lower epidermis shows straight walled, polygonal cells with prominent cuticular striations and anomocytic type of stomata; upper epidermis either devoid of stomata or with rare ones; cuticular striations also absent; nonglandular, unicellular trichomes similar to midrib abundant on lower epidermis; upper epidermis followed by a two layered palisade; mesophyll traversed by veins. Dispersed in the region are rhomboid calcium oxalate crystals, measuring 10 to 26 µ in length and 6 to 16 µ in width; palisade ratio 7 to 11; vein islet number 8 to 12; stomatal index 7 to 14.

Geographical distribution:

Its native to Western Africa, Madagascar, Southern and Eastern Asia (China, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and Philippines), tropical Australia, the western Pacific Ocean islands and New Caledonia. In the Indian sub-continent, it is found in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. In the African region in eastern Kenya, Eastern Tanzania and Comoros


Prefers dry climate, The flowers are bird and bee pollinated. It is mainly pollinated by pale-billed flowerpecker (Dicaeum erythrorhynchos), purple-rumped sunbird (Leptocoma zeylonica), purple sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) and two large carpenter bee species, Xylocopa latipes and Xylocopa pubescens.

Plant conservation:

-not evaluated

General Use:

Ankol is well known for its effectiveness in the natural treatment and management of Rabies. It is also used to induce vomiting and purgation when conducting vamana and virechana karma during tedious Panchkarma procedures.

It helps in balancing Kapha and Pitta body energies given its properties.

Therapeutic Uses:

  • The fruit has coolant properties and can be taken to relieve internal burning sensation and gut heat. It also improves immunity and overall strength and stamina.
  • Problems like gastritis, sore throat, laryngitis etc which usually occur due to pitta vitiation are easily cured with the use of Ankola fruit.
  • The seeds and oil are used to treat digestive problems and intestinal colics due to related conditions. Due to the kapha balancing properties of Ankola, it helps to relieve edema and psychological disorders while helping to improve in case of psychological disorders and edema.
  • In the treatment of not only dog bite but also snake, rat and rodent bites also, seeds and oil of Ankola tree is very useful.
  • The oil if Ankola tree is especially good for improving skin texture and complexion when used externally on the skin. It is also good for the management of oral disorders, bleeding problems both external as well as internal etc.
  • The anti-inflammatory action of Ankola makes it useful in treating diabetes, epilepsy and other painful conditions of the body.
  • Ankola root bark works well in case of common cold, influenza and fever.
  • In case of dogbite, Ankol root bark powder is given to the patient with milk, two to three times a day. It is also effective in rat bite, snake bite and spider bite also.
  • The herb is good for liver detoxification and can help in treating diarrhea, Irritable bowel syndrome etc.
  • Ankol oil is a very good aphrodisiac and rejuvenating preparation. It can be applied to the navel if one is having problems like Premature Ejaculation. Its fruits are also good and give better results in case of impotency and male reproductive system problems.
  • It can be given to relieve headache as well.

Systemic Use:

The roots are anthelmintic and purgative.
The juice is used to expel worms, and to treat conditions such as piles, dropsy, hypertension, diarrhoea, fever, back pain, blood disorders, snake and rat bites, leprosy and other skin diseases

A decoction of the whole plant, combined with the fruit of coconut palm (Cocos nucifera), is used externally for the treatment of boils
The stem is used to cure diarrhoea and vomiting
The leaves are used to cure asthma and as cataplasm to reduce rheumatic pains

The fruit is used as purgative, expectorant, carminative and as an antidote for poisoning
The fruit juice is applied to the eyes to cure eye diseases.

The alkaloid alangine has been isolated from the plant; this compound acts on the parasympathetic nervous system. Other alkaloids, including cephaline, emetine and psychotrine, have also been isolated
Leaf and wood extracts showed antifungal activity.


For Vamana Karma (therapeutic emesis) – 15 grain – 3 gm
Churna (Powder) in – 2 -10 grains
Poison antidote – 60 grains


Graha badha
Kukkura visha
Luta visha
Mooshika visha

Clinical trials:

  • Adeeba Anjum, Haque, M.E., Rahman, M.M. & Sarker, S.D., 2002. Antibacterial compounds from the flowers of Alangium salviifolium. Fitoterapia 73(6): 526–528.
  • Mosaddik, M.A., Kabir, K.E. & Parvez Hassan, 2000. Antibacterial activity of Alangium salviifolium flowers. Fitoterapia 71(4): 447–449.


  • Murugan, V., Gulhane, S., Badami, S., Ramanathan, M. & Suresh, B., 2002. Androgenic activity of the total alkaloid fraction of Alangium salviifolium (Linn. f). Journal of Natural Remedies 2(1): 66–70.
  • Verdcourt, B., 1958. Alangiaceae. In: Turrill, W.B. & Milne-Redhead, E. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 4 pp.


Excess may cause abdominal pain
Ankol plant parts are highly purgative and may induce vomiting in case of over dosage. Therefore, care should be taken if symptoms like severe burning, stomach upset, vertigo and insomnia etc. occur.
Ankol should be avoided in all forms at the time of pregnancy or during breast feeding.

Toxicity studies:

A number of compounds extracted from Alangium salviifolium from Asia have shown antibacterial, antifungal and androgenic activities, without obvious toxicity. 

Use in other system of medicine:

The Rice farmers of Charama region are aware of many  traditional medicinal uses of Ankol (Alangium salviifolium) plant parts. They use its seeds as  aphrodisiac. In general, they take its seeds upto one month in any part of the year, in order to  maintain good sexual health round the year. The seeds are used in many ways. Popularly, the seeds are roasted and crushed into powder. This powder is taken internally in combination with Shahad (Honey). The seeds are added in popular herbal combinations used as aphrodisiac. 


Alangium salvifoliumis the most versatile medicinal plants having a wide spectrum of biological activity. Alangium salviifolium showed potent antidiabetic, anticancer, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, laxative, astringent, emollient, anthelmintic and antiepileptic activities. The plant was also reported for its anti fungal activity, anti microbial activity, cardiac activity and anti fertility activity

In Ayurveda almost all parts of the tree use for medicinal purposes. The roots and the fruits are used for the treatment of rheumatism, leprosy and hemorrhoid. Externally, it is used for the treatment of bites by rabbits, rats, and dogs. Root bark is an antidote for several poisons. Fruits are sweet, cooling and purgative and used as a poultice for treating burning sensation and haemorrhage6. However, there were not enough scientific investigations on the anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities conferred to these plants.

KEY WORDS: ankola , Alangium salviifolium Wang., Alangium lamarckii Thw

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