Karanja (Pongamia pinnata Linn. Merr.) - Karanja botanically known as Pongamia pinnata Linn., is a medium sized tree with a short bole and spreading crown and found almost throughout India up to an altitude of 1200 metres.
Karanja seeds are used internally as well as externally in various types of skin
aliments including fungal skin disease. Seed oil is highly esteemed for
medicinal purposes and is indicated for local application in scabies,
herpes, leucoderma and other cutaneous diseases. This remedy is
also enlisted in Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia of India for management
of various skin diseases.
Composition - Pongamia oil is extracted from Karanja seeds for local application on affected parts.
English name - Indian beech, smooth leaved pongamia, Pongam oil tree
Latin name - Pongamia pinnata Linn.
Family - Fabaceae
Part used - Seeds.
Main chemical constituents - Karanja seeds contain fixed oil, flavones and traces of essential oil.
Dosage form - Dusty powder and yellowish orange oil.
Therapeutic properties - Karanja has anthelmintic, insecticidal, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, nematocidal, and wound-healing properties.
Indications and uses - Karanja is indicated for skin diseases such as ringworm, scabies, eczema, urticaria, erysipelas, leucoderma, leprosy, gonorrhoea, herpes (shingles or herpes zoster and also against herpes genitalis), impetigo and pityriasis versicolor.
Precaution and safety aspects -
(1) Overdose of Karanja seed powder should be avoided. If any adverse effect is observed, stop taking it further.
(2) Internal use of Pongamia oil is reported to have adverse effects due to its toxic components3 and hence should be avoided.
(3) Adverse effects with external use of Pongamia oil are not reported but be observant while using this medicament.
(4) Internal use of Karanja is not advisable for pregnant women and nursing mothers.