Nagkesar seed oil

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fertiled flower
Raw fruit

Oil is extracted from Nagkesar (Hindi: नागकेसर) tree seeds. The Nagkesar tree's botanical name is Mesua ferrea and also known as Iron of Wood tree. It belongs to guttiferae family.This handsome East Indian evergreen tree often planted as an ornamental for its fragrant white flowers that yield a perfume; source of very heavy hardwood used for railroad ties.[1] It is the National tree of Sri Lanka[2]

common name in Indian languages[2][3][edit]

  • commonly known as: Ceylon ironwood, cobra's saffron, Indian rose chestnut, ironwood tree, mesua, poached egg tree
  • Hindi= नाग चम्पा (Nag champa, नागकेसर( Nagkesar )
  • Urdu= नर्मिश्क, Narmishka
  • Tamil= Tadinangu, நாகப்பூ( nagappu), நாகேசுரம் (nakecuram)
  • Marathi= Thorlachampa, नागचंपा (nagchampa), नागकेशर (nagakeshara)
  • Malayalam= (Vainavu, ചുരുളി (churuli
  • Assam= নোক্তে (Nokte )
  • Manipuri= নাগেসৰ (Nageshor )
  • Telugu=నాగకేసరము (nagakesaramu)
  • Sanskrit नागकेशर (nagakesarah), नागपुष्प( nagapuspah)
  • Kannada= ನಾಗ ಕೇಸರಿ( nagakesari), ನಾಗ ಸಮ್ಪಿಗೆ (nagasampige)
  • Bengali= নাগকেশর (nagkesar, পুন্নাগ (punnaga)
  • Gujarati= નાગચંપા( nagachampa)
  • Kashmiri= नागकेसर (nagkesarah)

common name in other countries[4][edit]

  • English-: Ceylon ironwood, Cobra's saffron, Indian rose-chestnut, Iron-wood tree, Sembawang tree (Singapore).
  • Italian-: Croco di cobra.
  • German-: Nagassamen.
  • Arabic-: Narae-kaisar.
  • Russian-: Indiiskoe zheleznoe derevo, Mezua zheleznaia, Mezuia zheleznaia, Nagakeshara (from Hindi), Zheleznoe derevo.
  • Burmese-: Gungen, Kenga
  • Chinese- : Tie li mu, (Taiwan).
  • Japanese-: Tagayasan.
  • Thai- : Bhra na kaw, Bunnak (Boon naak), Ka ko (Karen), Gaa gaaw, Gam gaaw, Kam ko (Shan), Saan phee daawy, Saraphi doi (Chiang Mai).


It is a tall tree reaching up to 100 feet height.The tree is native to Sri Lanka, India, southern Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Indochina, the Philippines, Malaysia and Sumatra, where it grows in evergreen forests, especially in river valleys. In the Himalayas and India the tree can grow at the altitude up 1500 meters, and in Sri Lanka at 1000 meters altitude.[5] It is the only ironwood forest in the dry zone with wet zone vegetation.



It is a small to medium-size evergreen tree.Tree grows up to 13 m tall, often buttressed at the base with a trunk up to 90 cm in diameter. It has simple, narrow, oblong, dark green leaves of 7–15 cm long, with a whitish underside. The emerging young leaves are red to yellowish pink and drooping.[2] The wood is very hard, heavy & strong.The weight of the wood is about 72 lbs per cubic foot & density is 1.12ton/m3.[6] The root of the tree is used as an antidote for snake poison[7]


Flowers are terminal or axillary, bisexual, solitary or in an up to 9-flowered open panicle, pedicel with small paired bracts. Sepals 4 decussate, sub-orbicular, persistent and variously enlarged and thickened in fruit. Petals 4, white or pink. Stamens numerous, free or connate only at the base, ovary superior (1-2 celled) each cell with 1-2 axillary ovules. Style slender with a peltate to 4-lobed stigma. The flowers are 4-7.5 cm diameter, with four white petals and a centre of numerous yellow stamens.[8] The flowers have many uses - they are used to make an incense and also used to stuff pillows in some countries.[2] The flowers are acrid, anodyne, digestive, constipating, stomachache. They are useful in conditions like asthma, leprosy, cough, fever, vomiting and impotency. The seed oil is considered to be very useful in conditions like vata and skin diseases. Dried flowers are used for bleeding hemorrhoids and dysentery with mucus. Fresh flowers are useful remedy for itching, nausea, erysipelas, bleeding piles, metrorrhagea, menorrhagea, excessive thirst, and sweating][9]


Fruit is a capsule, usually globule, often beaked, thinly woody, usually dehiscing with 2(-4) valves before falling, often exuding resinous droplets. One fruit contains 1-4 seeds. The generic name is after J. Mesue (777-857) and the specific epithet is from Latin meaning ‘belonging to iron’, in reference to its famed and very hard, durable timber.[8] Fruits are reddish,conical hard and ovoid.the dia of fruit is 3.0" and nearly woody.Fruits are ovoid,2.5 -5.0 cm long with persistent calyx.seed 1-4,dark brown,cotyledons fleshy,oily.[10] fruit weight vary from 50-60 grams each[11]


Fruit contains one round or three conical shining brown seeds.seed have fibrous outer cover and brittle shell.The seed outer cover will be 50% of seed,and brittle shell is 13.4% and the kernel part(cotyledons) is 36.6%.The presence of oil in the kernel is nearly 75% and around 55% in bad and damaged seeds.[11] Mesua ferrea seeds contained total lipid (66.91-70.23 g %), moisture (4.02-5.05 g %), ash (1.46-1.50 g %), total protein (6.99-7.19 g %), water soluble protein (2.98-3.11 g %), starch (5.51-5.85 g %), crude fiber (1.22-1.98 g %), carbohydrate (15.88-18.68 g %) and energy value is(700.55-724.15 kcal/100 g)[12]


The kernel part(cotyledons) is 36.6% of the total seed.Kernel contains 70-75% oil.

Physical properties and composition of Oil[edit]

Nagkesar oil contains Mesuol, Mesuaxanthofle B- and euxanthofle 4- a1kylcoumnu0l MammeiSin, Mamiflegin & mesuol (Phytochem. 1971,10,1131). Mesuaferrofle glycoside- cyclohaxodione- mesuaferrol, sitosterol. Octadecatriefloic and hexadecanolic acids are present in seed oil,along with normal fatty acids.[10] The presence of oleic acid varies from 55 to 60% in the oil.The oleic acid is a mono unsaturated fatty acid.Oleic acid have 18 carbons in acid molecule.The double bond in the oleic acid is formed at 9th carbon. Linoleic acid, which is known as omega-6 fatty acid is present up to 10-20%.Linoleic acid have two double bonds in its hydrocarbon chain.

Fatty acid composition of Oil[11][12]

Fatty acid percentage
Myristic acid(C14:0) 0.0-2.8
Palmitic acid(C16:0) 8.0-16.5
stearic acid(C18:0) 10.0-15.8
oleic acid(C18:1) 55-66
linoleic acid(c18:2) 10-20
Arachidic acid(C20:0) 0-1.0

Table-Physical properties of seed oil[12][13]

character Range/limit
Refractive Indexat, 400C 1.465-1.475
Iodine value 65-95
Saponification value 195-205
moisture 1.0-1.5
color 1/4" cell(Y+5R) 25-35
unsaponifiable matter% 2.0-2.5

uses of oil[edit]

  • Oil from the seeds is used for sores, scabies, wounds, and rheumatism. It has digestant, anti poisonous, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and anthelmintic activity. It is used in fever, itching, nausea, leprosy, skin disorders, erysipelas, bleeding piles, metrorrhagea, menorrhagea, excessive thirst, and sweating.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ironwood tree - definition of ironwood tree by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Mesua ferrea - Nag Kesar". Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  3. ^ "Nagakeshara (Sanskrit: नागकेशर) | Flickr - Photo Sharing!". Flickr. 2008-01-20. Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  4. ^ "Nagkesar, abortifacient herb, herb inducing abortion, Mesua Ferrea, bitter herb, poisonous herb, making railway lines, hard timber". Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ "Herb Therapy - Ironwood Tree or Nagkesar". 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  8. ^ a b "Species Information". Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  9. ^ a b Chakrapani Ayurveda. "Nagkesar, Mesua, Mesua ferrea, Clusiaceae". Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  10. ^ a b Chakrapani Ayurveda. "Nagkesar, Mesua, Mesua ferrea, Clusiaceae". Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  11. ^ a b c SEA HandBook-2009,By The Solvent Extractors' Association of India
  12. ^ a b c "Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Ethiopia". Retrieved 2013-11-21. 

External links[edit]