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Author(s): Arpita Srivastava1, Arunima Sur*2, Kush Kumar Nayak3



    1Amity Institute of Biotechnology, Amity University Chhattisgarh, Raipur, India
    2Amity Institute of Biotechnology, Amity University Chhattisgarh, Raipur, India
    3Amity Institute of Biotechnology, Amity University Chhattisgarh, Raipur, India
    *Corresponding Author Email-

Published In:   Volume - 4,      Issue - 2,     Year - 2022

Cite this article:
Arpita Srivastava, Arunima Sur, Kush Kumar Nayak (2022) Butea monosperma: A Plant of Traditional and Medicinal Significance. NewBioWorld A Journal of Alumni Association of Biotechnology,4(2):8-14.

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 NewBioWorld A Journal of Alumni Association of Biotechnology (2022) 4(2):8-14               


Butea monosperma: A Plant of Traditional and Medicinal Significance

Arpita Srivastava1, Arunima Sur2* and Kush Kumar Nayak3


1,2,3Amity Institute of Biotechnology, Amity University Chhattisgarh, Raipur, India;;

*Corresponding Author Email-




Article history:


28 August 2022

Received in revised form

26 October 2022


29 October 2022


Butea monosperma; phytochemical; antibacterial;


anti-inflammatory activity;

antihelmintic activity



Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub belonging to the family is Fabaceae is widely found in India and other countries of Asia. The use of this herbal plant has been reported in conventional medicines for centuries. The crude extracts of varied parts of Butea monosperma consists of large number of phytochemicals such as lactones, flavonoids, alkaloids and many more which encompasses immense potential of medicinal properties including antibacterial, antioxidant, hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory activities etc. Butea monosperma also comprises properties such as aphrodisiac, diuretics, astringent, tonic etc. The ubiquitous utilization of this herbal plant have resulted in their wide chemical exploration for their bioactive principles which may lead to the development of significant novel drugs in treating various ailments in future. This review will confer about the taxonomy, botanical description, traditional uses, significant medicinal activity and future prospective of Butea monosperma.




Over the precedent decade, herbal medicines have developed into a theme of worldwide significance, making an impact equally on world wellbeing and international trade. Therapeutic plants endure to play an imperative function in the healthcare organization of vast coverage of the world’s populace (Jan and Jain 2010). Acknowledgment and expansion of the curative and economic benefits of these plants are at the stage of increase mutually in developing and industrialized nations (WHO 1998). In India Herbs have been considered as the foremost source of drugs and currently becoming accepted, globally, as populace endeavor to reside in good physical shape in the face of chronic stress and pollution, and along with that for the treatment of various ailments and maintenance of the body’s resistance. There is a prevalent conviction that herbal medications are safer than synthetic drugs (Balchin and Deans 1997).The World Health Organization reported that 80% of the world’s inhabitants rely primarily on conventional medicine and a foremost element of the traditional therapies involve the utilization of plant extracts or their vigorous constituents.(Ahmad et al. 1998)Plants are the source of immense measure of medicines and as medication on account from the ancient. Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub is an important medicinal plant among the numerous herbs in Ayurveda. It is generally known as ‘Flame of forest’ and Bastard Teak as well as recognized as palasha under the Sanskrit name. Butea monosperma is a medium- sized tree of family Fabaceae. This tree is recommended for the treatment of a range of disorders as it possesses valuable remedial properties. This tree is a superior resource of gum, resin, food, fibre, dyes etc as well as extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopathic medication and has turn out to be a cynosure of current medicine. They encompass one of the major families of about 18,000 species (Burlia and Khadeb2007a). Butea monosperma, Butea frondosa, Butea parviflora, Butea superba are the other species of Butea which are broadly scattered all the way through India (Sutariya and Saraf 2015a). The purpose of the existing review is to throw light on the taxanomy, phytochemistry, medicinal activities as well as future prospective of Butea monosperma.

Butea monosperma

Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub belongs to the family Fabaceae and is known by variety of names. The common names of Butea monosperma are as follows (Sutariya and Saraf 2015b, Kore et al. 2020).

Botanical Classification

The botanical classification of Swertia chirayita is as follows (Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia).

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Fabales

Family: Fabaceae

Genus: Butea

DOI: 10.52228/NBW-JAAB.2022-4-2-2

Species: monosperma (Lam.) Taubert

Table.1. Common names of Butea monosperma

Common names

Different languages

States of India

Paalasha, Kimshuka




Dhaak, Samagh












West Bengal



Tamil Nadu









Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub is a medium-sized deciduous tree mounting all through India, South Japan,Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam. The tree is found up to a height of 1200 m excluding arid regions (Khare 2007). It grows in areas of grasslands which are open and is found spreaded in mixed forest. Butea monosperma can be upstretched on the lands which are irrigated as well as arid. Butea monosperma has the ability to grow on an ample variability of soils such as black cotton soil, shallow, clay loams and waterlogged soils. A seedling of this plant flourishes best on a prosperous loamy soil with pH 6-7 under high temperature as well as relative humidity (Burlia and Khadeb2007b).


Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub. (Bastard Teak, Flame of the Forest; Synonyms: Butea frondosa Roxb; Butea monosperma (Lam.) Belongs to a family of Fabaceae native to tropical southeastern Asia and an ornamental tree prevalently grown and found around the globe. It is a deciduous tree about 12–15 m high, possessing a curved stem of diameter up to 20-40 cm in full-grown tree. It has pinnate leaves, with petiole of 8-16 cm along with three 10-20 cm long leaflets. The length of  flowers of Butea monosperma are 2.5 cm, bright orange in color, in addition wrought in racemes which is up to 15 cm extended, these appears into sight during spring season. Fruit of this plant is a pod of about 15-20 cm long and 4-5 cm wide, ripened brown in colour. (Kapoor 2005, Suguna et al. 2005).

Traditional uses

Traditional uses of Butea monosperma are as follows, the herb is utilized in diverse parts of the world to cure a number of illnesses such as ringworm, sores and skin troubles, insomnia, liver disorders, ulcer, muscular pains, tumor, dysentery, fever, fungal infection, urinary disorder, asthma, leucorrhoea etc. The traditional use of Butea monosperma is mentioned in the following Table 2. (Sharma and Deshwal 2011).

Phytochemical analysis

Hait et al., investigated for qualitative phytochemical screening of flower of Butea monosperma were the presence of ten phytoconstituents was found in different solvent extracts. The phytoconstituents are cardiac glycosides, phenols, flavonoids, carbohydrates, tannins, saponins, alkaloids and terpenoids. Alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, tannins, terpenoids, glycosides and phenols possess different kinds of outcomes in a variety of solvents. The water extract of flower revealed the presence of carbohydrate, tannins, alkaloids, proteins, and quinones. On the other hand, 70% ethanol and acetone consist of cardiac glycosides, carbohydrates, flavonoids, phenols, quinones and terpenoids. The occurrence of phenol, tannins, flavonoids, alkaloids, terpenoids and proteins was revealed in the methanol extract. Alkaloids protect against the ailments. Saponins defend against hypercholesterolemia whereas flavonoids and phenols show their effectiveness collectively with antioxidant, free radical scavenging capabilities, anti-inflammatory etc. (Hait et al. 2019). Salar and Seasotiya studied that acetone and methanol extracts of decreasing solvent polarity consists of the existence of most phytochemicals. The chief extractive value obtained in water extract (4.03%) signifying the presence of a high amount of water soluble phytoconstituents. On the other hand, increasing polarity extracts exhibited highest extractive value (2.09%) in acetone extracts (Salar and Seasotiya 2011). The other investigation of phytochemicals of Butea monosperma leaves revealed the presence of alkaloids in hexane and chloroform extracts as well as flavones in petroleum ether and chloroform extract. (Mishra 2016). Hossain et al., studied that the seeds of Butea monosperma consists of various phytochemical components consisting diverse biological functions. The outcome showed the presence of different phytochemicals in the methanol extract with the confirmation of the existence of diverse classes of secondary metabolites such as tannins, flavanoids, alkaloids and terpenoids. The existence of 43.03 ±0.09 mg/g GAE of total phenolic compound was evident in the result. About 36.87 mg/g of QE flavonoids and 20.76 mg/g AE of alkaloids were analysed in the investigation. The potential activities possessed by phenolic compounds were found to be antioxidant, antidiabetic, hepatic protective, anticancer, antimicrobial activities (Hossain et al 2013). Thooyavan and Karthikeyan investigated the occurrence of the phytochemical compounds augment the therapeutic value of Butea monosperma more after the recognition of 35 volatile chemical compounds of diverse functional groups such as alcohol, hydrocarbon, esters, etc. in methanol through GCMS analysis. Various functional groups of phytochemicals were identified by means of GC-MS studies. The current findings also disclose the existence of medicinally significant compounds like flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins etc. in the methanolic seed extract of Butea monosperma. The identification of compounds was   done with the reference to the standard databases (Thooyavan and Karthikeyan 2016).

Table 2. Traditional uses of different parts of Butea monosperma

Parts of Butea monosperma

Traditional uses   




Hepatic disorders

Viral Hepatitis


Astringent and tonic

Treatment of chronic fever


(Firdaus and Mazumder2012), Patnaik 1993a, Muzamder 2011)



Night blindness


Piles, ulcers and tumors

Antifertility and analgesic



(Singh and Swati 2012, Somayaji and Hegde 2016a)


Antiulcer, antitumor

Regulation of menstrual flow


Diarrhea, blood purifier

Treatment of snake bite


(Patnaik 1993b, Somayaji and Hegde 2016a)


To cure boils, pimples, swellings etc.

(Yadav 2020a)


Astringent and depurative

Useful in leprosy and skin diseases.

Used as microbial and fungal infections in some tribes like Banjara from Maharashtra (India)


(Yadav 2020b)


Medicinal Properties

Srivastava et al., studied the therapeutic potential of Swertia chirayita. In this study they reviewed the pharmacological properties of the herb Swertia chirayita. (Srivastava et al. 2021a) Similarly, Srivastava et al., assessed the Therapeutic and Safety aspects of Tinospora cordifolia. In this study they reviewed the medicinal properties of Tinospora cordifolia. (Srivastava et al. 2021b).

Antioxidant activity

There are a wide range of free radicals are presented by oxidative environment including superoxide, hydroxyl radical, nitric oxide and peroxynitrite, that living organisms to deal with. Countless evidences exist to elucidate the role of free radicals in the growth of a variety of diseases including neurodegeneration, cancer and some inflammatory diseases. Antioxidants have consequently gained significance for their competence to neutralize such free radicals (Lu 2010,Dudonna 2009). Lavhale et al., studied that the fractions of butanol, ethyl acetate, in addition aqueous from methanolic extract of flowers of Butea monosperma encompassed free radical scavenging activity (Lavhale and Mishra 2007). Sindhia and Bairwa estimated the free radical scavenging activity of diverse extracts of flowers was completed by means of diverse in-vitro models like scavenging of 2, 2 diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radial, reducing power assay, nitric oxide radical, hydroxyl radical etc. Ethyl acetate and butanol fractions of methanolic extract revealed effective free radical scavenging activity (Sindhia and Bairwa2010). According to Munawar et al, The antioxidant property of the crude extracts was analyzed and as well as compared by a range of biochemical assays like, DPPH and NBT assay. The antioxidant activity of ethanolic extract of stem confirmed relatively stronger effect as compared to the flower extract. The DPPH scavenging activity came out to be 55%, 74% and 91% at 600 μg/ml for flower extract, stem extract and Vitamin C in that order (Munawar et al. 2018).

Antimicrobial activity

The mounting failure of chemotherapeutics and antibiotic resistance exhibited by pathogenic microorganisms has become a foremost crisis to mankind and ultimate leads to the screening of numerous therapeutic plants regarding their potential for antimicrobial activity which signifies a probable source of novel anti-infective agents (Elizabeth2005). Dhale et al., investigated that the antimicrobial activity of the leaves of Butea monosperma using petroleum ether, alcohol and chloroform as solvents against Bacillus subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. The antimicrobial activity of ethanolic extract was most competent against Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus with the zone of inhibition of 13 mm (Dhale et al. 2010). Malpani et al., investigated the antimicrobial activity of the aqueous and methanolic extracts of the leaves, flower and gum of Butea monosperma by cup plate agar well diffusion method against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli. The aqueous extracts showed very effective antimicrobial activity against all pathogens as compared to methanolic extract. The zone of inhibition with the water extract of gum, leaves and flower against Bacillus subtilis was found to be 38mm, 36mm and 21mm. Activity of water extract was significant against Bacillus subtilis (Malpani et al. 2012). Lohitha et al., studied the antimicrobial activity of ethanolic and aqueous extract of bark of Butea monosperma against Bacillus subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli. Both the ethanolic and aqueous extracts showed good efficacy against Bacillus subtilis with the zone of inhibition of 25mm and 26mm (Lohitha et al. 2010). Verma et al., evaluated the screening of antimicrobial activity of clove oil which was extracted from cloveagainst Bacteria and Fungi.Clove oil was found to be effectual in contradiction of Bacteria as compared to Fungi in specific concentration. (Verma et al. 2016) Sur, investigated the antimicrobial of Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) Seed Oil against Bacteria and Fungi. According to the results fennel oil was more effective against bacteria in compare to fungi. (Sur, 2020).

Antidiabetic activity

Diabetes is an obscure and varied assembly of disorders characterized by hyperglycemia that has attained an epidemic level in the present century. Herbal plants are prosperous source of organic compounds, a lot of which might lead to the development of novel agents for the treatment of this disease and various pathological disorders (Kondalreddy 2019).Somani et al., investigated that in alloxan induced diabetic rats the glucose tolerance and cause reduction in blood glucose was extensively improved by the treatment of single dose of ethanol extract of Butea monosperma flowers at the dose of 200mg/kg p.o. (Somani et al2006) Talubmook et al., studied that the ethanolic extract of Butea monosperma flowers substantially reduced blood glucose, serum cholesterol, improved HDL cholesterol as well as enhanced activities of antioxidant enzymes were also observed (Talubmook and Buddhakala 2014). Harish et al., found that effective anti-diabetic activity was shown by aqueous extracts of leaves and stem bark of Butea monosperma through various in vitro techniques like diffusion, amylolysis kinetics, enteric enzymes, glucose adsorption etc. (Harish et al 2014).

Anti-inflammatory activity

Inflammation is a severe response by the living tissues to any kind of injury. Chronic inflammation may result in damage to the body. Plants have the ability to synthesize a variety of phytochemicals that have the potential to treat various chronic and infectious diseases (Verma 2016). Shahavi and Desai evaluated that the methanolic extract of anti-methanolic extract of Butea monosperma showed significant anti-inflammatory activity by carrageenin induced paw edema and cotten pellet granuloma. At 600 and 800 mg/kg inhibition of paw edema, by 26 and 35% was observed in carrageenin induced paw edema whereas in cotten pellet granuloma of granuloma tissue formation was inhibited by 22 and 28%. (Shahavi and Desai 2008). Krolikiewicz-Renimel et al., investigated that the hydro alcoholic extract of Butea monosperma flowers in which the fractions of butrin, isobutrin were found competent in decreasing the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, prostaglandin production as well as matrix metalloproteinase. (Krolikiewicz-Renimel et al 2013).

Hepatoprotective Activity

Liver plays a pivotal role in metabolism, secretion and storage. The risk of liver intoxication has increased by higher exposure to environmental toxins, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and frequent use of chemotherapeutics. (Verma R2018) Sharma et al., found that the aqueous extract of Butea monosperma flowers reinstated serum transaminases, hepatic lipid peroxidation, reduced glutathione and total protein levels against CCl4 induced acute liver injury [Sharma et al. 2011). The pretreatment effect of methanolic Butea monosperma extract previous to TAA treatment at two doses suggesting the results that it may perhaps put in to the chemo preventive effect. A noteworthy revival was shown by Butea monospermain the level of glutathionealong with its detoxifying enzyme system induced by metabolizing enzyme in the liver  revealed by the prominent levels of other QR, SOD, GPx, and xanthine oxidase, which are vital phase II enzymes. (Sehrawat et al. 2006)

Anti-anthelmintic activity

Helminthiasis is among the most important animal disease. Helminths are the most common infectious agents of humans in developing countries contribute to the prevalence of malnutrition, anemia and pneumonia. Plants are known to provide a rich source of botanical anthelmintic that have led to the proposal of their screening for their anthelmintic activity (Egnale and Giday2008). Bokar et al., revealed that in vitro anthelmintic activity against roundworm, earth worms, also tapeworms was extensively exhibited by the alcoholic and ethyl acetate leaves extracts of Butea monosperma (Bokar et al. 2011). Singh et al., investigated that the aqueous seeds extracts of Butea monosperma possessed effective anthelmintic efficiency against Haemonchus contortus present in sheep and goats (Singh et al. 2015).

Future Perspectives

Butea monosperma has enormous potential as well as encompasses widespread activity on several diseases. A lot of bioactive compounds from different parts of the plant have been explored for various biological activities. The phytochemicals such as tannins have been traditionally used for protection of inflamed surfaces of the mouth and treatment of catarrha, wounds, haemorrhoids, and diarrhea, and as antidote in heavy metal poisoning. Flavonoids are naturally occurring phenols which is found to possess numerous biological activities including anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, antithrombotic and Vaso protective effects whereas glycosides are reported to possess antimicrobial activity. The characterization of the phytocompounds present in extracts, the isolation of liable bioactive compounds along with the study of their medicinal activity are the relevant and chief area regarding future investigations which will illustrate a broad spectrum of pharmacological activities and may lead to chemical entities with potential for clinical use.


The present review shows the traditional, phytochemical and pharmacological activities of Butea monosperma. The plant comprises tremendous prospective against a range of diseases. Advanced pertinent studies are required to be accomplished for the determination of the mechanism by which Butea monosperma exhibit medicinal properties furthermore these effects are considered necessary to be confirmed for its efficient utilization as curative agents.


I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Amity University Chhattisgarh for the kind support and guidance.


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