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AYURVEDA-Jyotishmati / Malkangani – Staff-tree (Celastrus paniculatus)



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Jyotishmati / Malkangani -Staff-tree, (Celastrus paniculatus)

  • Excellent pain reliever

Relieves pain: Apply staff-tree oil on the affected area.

Celastrus paniculatus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Celastrales
Family: Celastraceae
Genus: Celastrus
Species: C. paniculatus
Binomial name
Celastrus paniculatus
Celastrus dependens Wall.

Celastrus paniculatus seeds

Celastrus paniculatus is a woody liana commonly known as black oil plant, climbing staff tree, and intellect tree (Sanskrit: jyotishmati ज्योतीष्मती, Hindi: Mal-kangani माल-कांगनी, Chinese: deng you teng 灯油藤).[1][2][3] The plant grows throughout India at elevations up to 1800 m.[1][4] Oil from the seeds is used as a traditional medicine in Indian Unani and Ayurvedic medicine.[1][5]

C. paniculatus is a deciduous vine with stems up to 10 centimeters in diameter and 6 meters long with rough, pale brown exfoliating bark covered densely with small, elongated lenticles. The leaves are simple, broad, and oval, obovate or elliptic in shape, with toothed margins.[1][2] The Intellect tree, or Celastrus paniculatus, is a climbing shrub, also known as malkangani, found throughout India. The seeds contain fatty acids and alkaloids, and have sedative and antidepressant actions. Botanist M. Daniel states that the seeds are used to sharpen the memory, and Ayurvedic practitioners also use the seed oil as a brain tonic and as a treatment for memory loss. A study published in the August 2004 issue of the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” found that intellect tree’s ability to improve memory loss may be due to its neuroprotective actions. A study of rats suggested the aqueous extract of Celastrus paniculatus seed has dose-dependent cholinergic activity, thereby improving memory performance.[6]


  1.  Premila, M. S. (2006). Ayurvedic Herbs: A Clinical Guide to the Healing Plants of Traditional Indian Medicine. New York: Haworth Press. ISBN 0-7890-1768-7.
  2. H. F. Macmillan (1989). Handbook of Tropical Plants. Columbia, Mo: South Asia Books. ISBN 81-7041-177-7.
  3.  Putz, Francis E.; Mooney, Harold A. (1991). The Biology of vines. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-39250-0.
  4.  Zhixiang Zhang, Michele Funston: Celastrus, in Flora of China, Vol. 11
  5.  Chopra, R. N. Indigenous Drugs of india. Kolkata: Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-81-85086-80-4.
  6.  Bhanumathy M. Harish MS. Shivaprasad HN. Sushma G.”Nootropic activity of Celastrus paniculatus seed.Pharmaceutical Biology. 48(3):324-7, 2010 Mar.

Native to: India, China, Sri Lanka, and south-east Asia


Celastrus paniculatus is a shrub used in Ayurdevic medicine in India.  Various properties are attributed to the aerial parts of the plant, but we will deal here primarily with the seeds and the oil expressed from them. Celastrus paniculatus oil is cold-pressed raw herbal oil expressed from the Malkangni/Intellect Tree seeds of Celastrus panuculatis, a shrub native to India.   While Celastrus oil has been used in India for centuries it is only within the past few years that it has started to become known outside of Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medicinal practice of India.


1.   The oil is used to increase memory and facilitate learning.

2.   It induces a feeling of well-being and has reported aphrodisiac effects.

The oil in its raw state has a shelf life of 2 years if kept in a cool and dark place such as a refrigerator. When put into softgels the shelf life can be expected to be much longer, on the order of four years if kept in a dark and refrigerated state.

Oil Chemical Composition:

The oil contains protein,   carbohydrates (less than 1 calorie per dose), fats (saturated fats: .022 of 1%, polyunsaturated fats: .035 of 1%, monounsaturated fats: .032 of 1%) Vitamin C, Sodium, Potassium, ash, Calcium, Iron, and Sesqiterpene polyesters.

Uses of Malkangni:

1.   Celastrus paniculata is a treasured medicinal herb that is revered for its effects on the brain and has been used for centuries in Ayurveda for sharpening the memory, increasing intellect, and improving concentration.

2.   The seed oil is used for massage with great benefit, especially in vata diseases like sciatica, lumbago, paralysis, arthritis and facial palsy.

3.   The seed oil is useful to hasten the healing in nonhealing wounds and ulcers.

4.   Essential for acne, boils, eczema and hair loss.

5.   Excellent pain reliever Relieves pain

The seed oil is extremely beneficial as a sirovirecana cleansing nasal therapy, wherein the drops instilled into nostrils, ward off mucous secretions in colds and cough.


It grows almost all over India, up to attitude of 1,800 meter Specially Punjab, Kashmir etc. hilly state. It is also found SriLanka, Malaya deep and Philippines.  Globally the species occurs in the tropical and subtropical regions of India, Myanmar (earlier Burma), China, Malaysia, SriLanka and Philippines and also in North America. Within India, it occurs in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

The leaf and seed of Jyotismati is used in the form of powder and oil to treat udara roga, wound, sidhma, drowsiness in fever and amenorrhoea and many Skin diseases.

Morphology Description:

Malkagni is a large, woody, climbing shrub. The leaves are ovate oblong-elliptic, the flowers are unisexual, small greenish white or yellowish green, the capsules are globose, yellow 1-6 seeded and transversely wrinkled, the seeds are ellipsoid or ovoid, yellowish or reddish-brown in color enclosed in scarlet aril, which stains yellowish orange.

Chemical Composition: 

The seeds yield brownish yellow oil 52.2% with an unpleasant taste. This oil is reported to contain acetic acids & benzoic acids in addition to the higher amount of the fatty acids.


The oil of Malkagini locally act as a good analgesic, anti-inflammatory it overcome pain and inflammation in case of paralysis, facial paralysis, joint pains, sciatica, lumber pain etc.

Ayurveda recognizes its seeds as an effective nervine tonic. Its use is recommended in chronic debilitating diseases of nervous system. The seeds possess emetic, diaphoretic, febrifugal and Nervine properties and are used for sharpening the memory & learning abilities.  

Effect on Doshas – Pacifies Vata & Kapha, Promotes Pitta.


  1. medchemnintabelle says:

    Reblogged this on MedCheminAustralia.

  2. RAJESH SHUKLA says:

    Tremendous herbs.But add more herbs for sharping memory .need more research in above herbs.this is beneficial in pain relievers in Vat and cough.but this herbs mainly used in memory .need more research.

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