I was delighted to see beautiful white kurchi flowers blooming at Arishi Nagor Biddaghor of UBINIG , Hazipara, Muladuli, Ishwardi, Pabna.
Here it is blooming from early April and shall continue for more than a month. I had learnt about Kurchi in 1963inTaxonomy class offered by late respected Prof. Dr. Salar Khan in Botany Department, University of Dhaka. In English Kurchi is known as Ivory tree, Easter tree or Bitter Olender. I also saw the flowering tree in the botanical garden of the University of Dhaka on the north-east corner of Curzon Hall area. Since then I did not see the plant anywhere in Bangladesh. However, after 52 years I could recognize the tree for its profuse bearing of attractive white flowers with mild pleasing aroma. I also remembered the Latin name on the spot, Holarrhena antidysenterica . I also shared the most important medicinal property of the plant with my friends there with the help of the species name antidysenterica . It is one of the best herbal medicines for dysentery.
The Kurchi tree is fables to have sprung from the drops of amrita which fell on the ground from the bodies of Rama’s monkeys, which were restored by the lord Indra. Different part of the plant including bark, root, fruit and seeds have been mentioned in Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Greek, Roman, Portuguese and the British Materia Medica for Treatment of different diseases. It is used for treatment of diarrhea, piles, skin diseases, arthritis, osteoarthritis, gastric disorder, augmenting digestion and appetite, proctitis , rectal swelling, obesity, gout, raktapita , urinary stones, skin diseases, intestinal worm, colitis, carminative and asthma. The original home of Kurchi is considered to be in the Tropical Himalays.
The Plant grows as a shrub or tree up to 25 meters tall with a stem diameter of up to 30 centimeters. Its fragrant flowers feature a white corolla. Holarrhena antidysenterica is a member of Apocynaceae family.
Around 30 alkaloids have been isolated from Kurchi. These include conessine, kurchine, kurchicine, holarrhimine, conarrhimine, conaine, conessimine, iso-conessimine, conimine, holacetin and conkurchin.
Dosage: Decoction: 20-30 gm, Powder: 3-6 gm.
It is known that there are more than 500 medicinal plants in Bangladesh. About 250-300 species are commonly used for medicines. Kurchi is one of those and deserves consideration for commercial cultivation for medicinal use, ornamental plant and conservation for posterity.