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Saptaparna, White cheesewood (Alstonia scholaris)

Saptaparna, Alstonia Scholaris

Description of Plant

Saptaparna (Alstonia scholaris) which literally means seven leaves in a whorl, is an evergreen tree which grows up to height of 40 m. It is a glabrous tree, having green colored leaves, with glossy appearance on the upper side, while appear greyish colored on the underside of the leaves. Leaves are 4-6 inches in length, and 1-2 cm in diameter. The leaves are of uneven size but in clusters known by the name - visama- cchada and ayuk cchada.

The bark of this tree is thick, brittle, white on the external surface and yellowish inside. When the bark is cut a milky liquid oozes out. Seeds are white in color with attached to it cotton like fibers at the end.

General Description

Saptaparna is a herbal plant which has been traditionally used for various Ayurvedic medicinal preparation. It has been cited in the Charaka and Sushrutha Samhithas. For medicinal preparation its bark, latex, flowers and leaves are being used.

The tree is a rich in alkaloids and flavonoids. The main chemicals of this herb are like - Ditamine, echitenine and echitamine which are used as alternatives to famous medicine - Quinine.

Other chemical composition includes Akuammidine (rhazine); picrinine; strictamine, tetrahydroalstonine; angustilobine B, 6, 7-seco-6-norangustilobine B (losbanine, alschomine, isolschomine, alstonamine; echitamine, tubotaiwine, alstonamine scholaricine etc.

It is used for the treatment of disease that occurs due to tridosha. It is mainly kaphavatashamak. The tree is found to have anticancer properties. Alstonia Scholaris is a very useful herb as blood purifier, anti-bacterial, skin diseases and respiratory diseases.


  • Local Name - Saptaparni
  • Botanical Name - Alstonia Scholaris
  • Kingdom - Plantae
  • Family - Apocynaceae
  • Subkingdom - Viridiplantae
  • Division - Tracheophyta
  • Class - Magnoliopsida
  • Order - Gentianales
  • Genus - Alstonia
  • Species - scholaris


The tree is native to Asian subcontinent. The tree is found widely in Sub-Himalayan tract, West Bengal, Bihar, Peninsular India and Andamans. It is also found in moderately dry places of Karnataka like Shimoga district. Besides India, it is found extensively in Pakistan, Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Australia.

It grows naturally in any type of soil including arid regions. These herbal trees bear fruits in January-February month. The flowering season is from October-November.


  • Latin name - Alstonia Scholaris
  • Hindi Name - Satouna, Chitvan, Chitavan
  • English Name - Dita, Milkwood Pine, White cheesewood, Blackboard tree, Indian devil tree
  • Telugu Name - Edakula Ponna, Edakulariti
  • Bengali Name - Chatim
  • Punjabi Name - Satouna
  • Urdu Name - Kashim (chatim)
  • Marathi Name - Satvina, Satveena
  • Guajarati Name - Satvana, Saatavan
  • Assamese Name - Satiana, Chatian
  • Kannada Name - Maddale
  • Tamil Name - Elilaippalai,
  • Malayalam Name - Mukkampala, Pala
  • Mizoram Name - Thuamriat
  • Oriya Name - Thuamriat, Taala mraanu
  • Tibetan Name - Lo ma bdun

Ayurvedic Properties

Hindi / Sanskrit English
Rasa Tikta, Kashay Taste Bitter, Astringent
Guna Laghu, Snigdha Physical Property Light, Unctuous
Virya Ushna Potency Hot
Vipaka Katu Metabolic Property (After Digestion) Pungent

Effects on Doshas

It balances Kapha and Vata doshas.

Classical Categorization

Charak Samhita Sushrut Samhita
  • Kusthaghna - Group of herbs used in skin diseases
  • Udarda prashamana - Group of herbs that areused for allergic skin conditions and ring worm infestation
  • Kashaya Skandha - Group of astringent tasting herbs
  • Tikta Skandha - Group of herbs with bitter taste
  • Aragvadhadi

Ancient Verse about Alstonia Scholaris

The Bhavprakash nighantu of Edtion 1998: verse 74-75, page no-546-547.

Sanskrit name of Chativan are Saptparna, Vishaltvak, Sharada and Visamacchada. It is astringent in taste, promotes digestive fire, having hot potency, good for Kapha Vata, Skin Disorders, Blood Disorders and Respiratory Disorders.


The Bhavprakash nighantu with elaborated Hindi commentary by Padmashri prof. K.C. Chunekar, edited by Dr. G.S. Pandey: edition of 1998; verse 74-75, page no-546-547.

Properties and Practical Uses of Alstonia Scholaris

The drug is anti-pyretic, anti-septic, carminative, cardio tonic and vermifuge. It is used in abdominal pain, fever, respiratory disease, and in skin diseases. The drug is very much used in traditional medicine against malarial fever.

  • The twigs of Alstonia Scholaris tree is used for brushing the teeth due to its bactericidal property.
  • Herb is useful in skin diseases with secretions, allergic skin diseases
  • It is also found to be useful in thread worms and round worms.
  • It is very good supplement that helps to improves appetite and is given to women after delivery.
  • It is effective remedy to drop the fever, increases lactation and provides strength to women after delivery.
  • The paste of the bark is applied over inflamed joints in chronic arthritis which provides relief to the patient.
  • Saptaparna is a very efficient blood purifier which provides beneficial effects for the heart
  • It is very useful for malarial fever as it is a very good antipyretic and giving same effect as that of quinine on fever, but has no side effects.
  • It is quiet beneficial in dyspnea.
  • This herb is even recommended in chronic enlargement of the spleen.
  • The Alstonia Scholaris is useful herb to improve appetite of new mothers.
  • The plant as well increases lactation in new mothers.
  • The flower powder is used in headache for nasal administration.
  • The bark is given to get relief in case of leprosy, for which an extract being prepared from the fresh bark and given with milk.
  • Its Milky juice can be applied in rheumatic pains, sores, toothache, tumors and ulcers.
  • The ripened fruits of Saptaparna are found to be useful in syphilis, insanity and epilepsy.
  • Saptaparna powder is usually given to females during pregnancy and after giving birth to new born which benefits to improve the digestive system, increase body strength of mother and improves lactation.
  • Decoction of Saptaparna found to be useful in diabetes.
  • Juice of Saptaparna flowers with honey is useful in condition of asthma.


  • Dose of Bark powder of Saptaparna is 3-6 gm.
  • Its Decoction dose should be 40-50 ml

Part Used

  • Stem Bark
  • Latex
  • Flowers


Extract of Alstonia Scholaris should never be taken in excess.

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Best Ayurvedic Doctor - Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

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