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Bombax ceiba - Kutasalmali

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Shalmali, Silk Cotton Tree

Bombax ceiba is a medicinal tree and is also referred as silent doctor. It is found in India, Malaysia, Sri lanka, Hong kong, Australia and Africa. Every part of this tree is used to treat various ailments.


Semen problems, Leucorrhoea, Over bleeding in menstruation, Acne, Skin blemish, Pigmentation, Wounds, Cold, Sore throats, Cough[1]


Bombax ceiba can be used in food. Young roots are roasted over fi re and eaten. Flower buds and fruits are cooked as vegetable, petals used in preparation of jam[2].

Parts Used

Flower, Leaf, Root, Bark[1]

Chemical Composition

Stem and root bark contains lupeol, β-sitosterol, naphthoquinone compound, phenolic substances, a lactone, 4 sesquiterpenes. Root yields triacontanol, β- sitosterol.[3]

Common names

Language Common name
Kannada Marahatti, Kempu booruga
Hindi Shalmali
Malayalam Unnamurika
Tamil Sittan, Sanmali
Telugu Buruga
Marathi NA
Gujarathi NA
Punjabi NA
Kashmiri NA
Sanskrit Shalmali, Semul, Simul
English Silk Cotton Tree, Kapok Tree


Reference: Dravya - Substance, Rasa - Taste, Guna - Qualities, Veerya - Potency, Vipaka - Post-digesion effect, Karma - Pharmacological activity, Prabhava - Therepeutics.



Kashaya (Astringent)


Laghu (Light), Snigda (haevy)


Sheeta (cold)


Madhura (Sweet)



Nutritional components

Kutasalmali contains the Following nutritional components like Vitamin-A, C and E; Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Sodium[2]


Deciduous tree



Kind Shape Feature
Simple Digitate Leaf Shape is Oblong-lanceolate or elliptic and Leaf Arrangement is Alternate -spiral



Type Size Color and composition Stamen More information
Unisexual 2-4cm long Yellow 5-20 Solitary, paired or clustered; blood red. Flowering from April-March


Type Size Mass Appearance Seeds More information
Oblong capsule 7–10 mm Fruiting April onwards A loculicidal, oblong capsule, 5-valved Many {{{6}}}

Other features

List of Ayurvedic medicine in which the herb is used

Shalmali ghrita, Chandanasava, Himasagara tailam, Vigorex, Gangadhara Churna, Pushyanuga Churna, Narasimha Lehya, Palasugandi Lehya, Abhayarishta, Ushiraasava, Jeevani, Abhayalepa[5][1]

Where to get the saplings

Mode of Propagation

Seeds, Cuttings.

Cultivation Details

Seed - sown fresh, without pre-treatment, they have a high germination rate. Some reports suggest germination rates can be improved by pre-soaking the seeds for 12 hours prior to sowing[6]. Bombax ceiba is available through February to June[2].

Season to grow


Required Ecosystem/Climate

It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Kind of soil needed

Light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.[7]

Commonly seen growing in areas

Hot region, At elevations below 1,400 metres, Humid lowland deciduous forests, Dry river valleys.

Photo Gallery


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Karnataka Medicinal Plants Volume - 2” by Dr.M. R. Gurudeva, Page No.234, Published by Divyachandra Prakashana, #45, Paapannana Tota, 1st Main road, Basaveshwara Nagara, Bengaluru.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Forest food for Northern region of Western Ghats" by Dr. Mandar N. Datar and Dr. Anuradha S. Upadhye, Page No.30, Published by Maharashtra Association for the Cultivation of Science (MACS) Agharkar Research Institute, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar Road, Pune
  3. Chemical constituents
  4. Morphology
  5. Ayurvedic preparations
  6. Cultivation Details
  7. Kind of soil needed

External Links