Malkangani (Celastrus Paniculatus Willd)

Plant Description/ Introduction

Malkangani (Celastrus paniculatus Willd.) belongs to the family “Celastraceae” is a woody climber, a most widely used medicinal herb in Unani Medicare System. It is a large climber, height up to 18m with stem diameter up to 23cm.

Stem of the plant is woody and bark is thin and brown. Branchlets are hairless, with many distinct minute white dots called lenticels. Leaves are simple, alternate, ovate to oblong-elliptic, about 5-15x 2-8 cm; apex acute, acuminate or obtuse; base round, shortly acuminate, margin toothed with rounded teeth, hairless; lateral nerves 5-8 pairs, slender; leaf stalks about 3 cm long.

Flowers of the Malkangani (Celastrus paniculatus Willd.) unisexual  in terminal  pyramidal  panicles, about  6mm  across,  yellowish  or greenish white,  collected  in terminal paniculate cymes; panicles  5-30cm long, pendulous. Capsules sub-globose, 1.0–1.5 cm in diameter, smooth, yellow when mature, transversely wrinkled, dehiscing by three valves; seeds 3-6, ellipsoid or avoid, about 6x3 mm, yellowish brown enclosed in crimson-red aril.

Flowering period of Malkangani (Celastrus paniculatus Willd.) is from November to February and fruiting is from March onwards.

It is endangered medicinal plant distributed throughout India, mostly in tropical forests and the subtropical Himalayas, ascending up to 1400 m. The genus is distributed in the sub-Himalayan tract from the Jhelum eastward, up to 6000 ft. It is extensively distributed in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Bombay, Orissa, Western Ghats, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Jammu Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

Vernacular Names:

  • English:           Intellect tree, Black oil tree, Staff tree
  • Urdu:               Malkangani 
  • Arabic:            Qaifoor, Tilan
  • Burmese:        Myinkongnayoung
  • Deccan:          Malkanguni
  • Hindi:              Jyotishmati,  malkakni
  • Sansikrit:       Amruta,  Jyotishmati,  Jyotishka,  swarnlata,  pita  tel,  mati  priya, vanhiruchi,  katumbhi, maghzsudhi, medhya    
  • Garhwal:         Malkauni
  • Kannada:        Kariganne 
  • Telgu:              Malaerikata,  malkangni 
  • Kumaon:         Makagni, malakoni
  • Marathi:          Kanguni 
  • Bengali:          Lataphatki
  • Malyalam:       Palulavam 
  • Panjabi:          Samphu,  Sankhu
  • Gujrati:           Makngana, Malkangani 
  • Tamil:             Atiparichcham,  valuluwai 
  • Sinhalese:     Duhudu

Scientific classification 

  • Kingdome:      Plantae
  • Class:               Angiospermae
  • Order:              Celastrales
  • Family:            Celastraceae
  • Genus:             Celastrus
  • Species:           Paniculatus

Parts used (Ajza-e- Musta’mla) 

  • Seeds and its oil and leaves

 Temperament (Mizaj)

Temperament of the seeds is hot and dry in 3rd degree

Action and Uses

The survey of classical literature of Unani medicine reveals that, the seeds and its oil have been used as Memory tonic (Muqawwi-e- Haafiza), Neurotonic (Muqawwi-e- A’saab), Aphrodisiac (Muqawwi-e- Bah), Digestive tonic (Muqawwiy-e- Hazm), Muḥarrik-e- Ishtiha  (Appetizer),  Hazim-e- Ta’ām  (Digestive),  Kāsir- e- Riyaḥ  (Carminative),  Appetizer (Mushtahi), Expectorant (Munaffis-e- Balgham), Khafeef Mushil  (Mild  Laxative), Eye tonic (Muqawwi-e- Chashm), Emmenagogue (Mudirr-e- Haiz),  Diaphoretic (Mu’arriq),  Thermogenic (Daafe’ Humma),  Muqawwi-e- Dimagh  (Brain  Tonic),  Muqawwi-e- Jigar (Liver Tonic), Munaffith-e- Balgham  (Expectorant), Muḥallil-e- Waram (Anti- Inflammatory),  Musakkin-e- Alam (Analgesic), Mudirr-e- Baul (Diuretic), Muwallid-e- Hararat (Thermogenic),  Muqi  (Emetic), Mumsik (Retentive), Tiryaaq Samoom-e- Afiyoon (Antidote of Opium Poisoning) etc.

Seeds and oil of Malkangani (Celastrus paniculatus Willd.) are used locally as well as internally to stimulate intellect and appetite (Ishteha), to sharpen memory and to reduce headache (Suda’) and joint pain (arthritis). Specially it is used  to  cure disorders which are  caused by cold humours and  nerve  or brain origin like, Laqwa  (Facial  Paralysis),  Falij  (Hemiplegia),  Dard-e- Zanoo  (Thigh  pain),  Sud’a (Headache),  Waja’ -al- Ṣadr  (Chest  Pain),  Niqris  (Gout),  Irq -al- Nisa  (Sciatica),  Tashannuj (Spasm), Waja’-al- Warik (Hip Pain), Zat-al- Riya  (Pneumonia), Zat -al- Janb (Pleurisy),  Ḍafi’-Haafiza (Amnesia), Barṣ (Leucoderma),  Ḍiq-al- Nafas  (Asthma)  etc.

Malkangani (Celastrus paniculatus Willd.) seeds  and  its oil  are used for the treatment of Sciatica, Amnesia, Leprosy (Juzaam),  Pneumonia, Pleurisy, Anaemia (Su -al-Qiniya), Ascites (Istisqa), Loss of appetite, Flatulence, Sexual weakness, Amenorrhea, Leucoderma and Gout etc.

In various disorders its uses are as follows:

  • Memory weakness (Zo’f-e- hafiza): One drop of its oil is used daily to increase memory.
  • Loss in eye vision (Zo’f-e- chashm): One seed is taken daily then gradually increasing it one every  day for  eight  days and  after that  taken continuously  8 seeds  daily,  strengthen  the eyesight. Its oil is also applied to the soul of hand and feet to increase eyesight
  • Leprosy (juzam): Its oil is applied locally and also taken orally to cure leprosy.
  • Spasm  (Tashannuj): If  spasm  occurs  in  any  organ  due  to  cold  or  collection  of gas, takmeed (fomentation) after application of Roghan-e- Malkangni is very useful.
  • Sexual weakness (Zof-e- bah): Its seeds fried with ghee (Roghan-e- zard) are taken in quantity of one cuff (24 gm) to increase sexual power and the oil of its seeds in quantity of 10 drops is taken daily with betel leaves to treat impotence.
  • Stomach  disorders  (Amraz-e- Me’da): For  diseases  of  stomach  it  is  taken  orally  which strengthens the stomach, increase appetite and digestion.
  • Premature greying of hairs (Shaib-e- sha’r): Ghee obtained from the milk boiled with its seeds is used orally in quantity of 24 ½ gm - 28gm with Kheer (a diet made with rice and milk) to treat premature greying of hair. 
  • Retention of urine (Ihtibaas-e- bawl):  The oil causes diuresis, so it is used with lassi to cure retention of urine.  
  • Litharge: A snuff is taken to cure lethargic condition.
  • Cold diseases (Amraz-e- barida): In cases of cold diseases like hemiplegia (faalij), facial palsy (laqwa) and spasm (tashannuj), local application of its oil are useful.
  • Fistula (Nasoor): Its oil is applied in the fistula, which heals it easily.

Doses (Miqdaar-e- Khurak):

Seeds  500mg- 01gm, Leaves  juice  20- 40 ml  and  oil  is  used  in  the quantity of 10- 15 drops.

Adverse Effects (Mazarrat): It is harmful in younger age person having a hot temperament in the hot season and hot places. It is contraindicated in pregnancy due to its abortificient property. It also causes headache.

Correctives (Musleh): Due to the 3rd degree of temperament Malkangani (Celastrus paniculatus Willd.) produces some toxicity and adverse effects. In such conditions cold materials like cow milk and cold regimens are used to correct its toxic or adverse effects.

Substitute (Badal): Sometimes in absence or unavailability of one drug another drug is used as a substitute in Unani system of Medicine, Roghan Qaranful (Clove oil) is used as a good substitute of the Roghan-e- Malkangni.

Compound Formulations:

Various Unani compound formulations are prepared in which Malkangani (Celastrus paniculatus Willd.) is used as an important ingredient such as:

  • A’sbi
  • Habb-e- Sara’  Khas
  • Halwa-e- Gheekawar
  • Halwa-e- Malkangani
  • Roghan Malkangani
  • Dawa-e- Tikor
  • Majoon Nishaat Angez
  • Roghan-e- Shifa
  • Tila-e- Ajeeb
  • Tila-e- Khas-al- Khas
  • Tila-e- Nishat Angez
  • Tila-e- Ikseer
  • Tila-e- Benazeer
  • Zimaad-e- Muqawwi
  • Zimaad-e- Kharateen Shangarafi


  • PUBLISHED DATE : Jun 17, 2020
  • LAST UPDATED ON : Jun 17, 2020


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