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Common Name : Sal

Hindi Name : साल | Scientific Name : Shorea robusta
Family : Dipterocarpaceae
Uses : In Buddhist tradition, it is said that Guatama Buddha was born under the branches of this tree while his mother was en route to birth him in his grandfather's kingdom. Sal is one of the most important sources of hardwood timber in India, with hard, coarse-grained wood that is light in colour when freshly cut, and becoming dark brown with exposure. The wood is resinous and durable, and is sought after for construction, although not well suited to planing and polishing. The plant has been traditionally used for various ailments. The leaves and bark are used to treat wounds, ulcers, leprosy, cough, gonorrhea, earache and headache. The bark is also used to treat diarrhoea, dysentery and vaginal discharges. The fruits are useful in tubercular ulcers, seminal weakness, burning sensation and dermopathy. The oleoresin exuded from the plant has astringent, carminative and stomachic properties. It is useful in vitiated conditions of pitta, wounds, ulcers, neuralgia, burns, fractures, fever, diarrhoea, dysentery, splenomegaly, obesity and burning of the eyes. In Unani medicine, the resin is used for treating menorrhagia, enlargement of spleen and for relieving eye irritation. In Ayurveda, it is used with honey or sugar in treatment of dysentery and bleeding piles. It is also given in gonorrhea and for weak digestion. It is suggested for ulcers, wounds and menopausal disorders by Siddha practitioner.
Native: S. India, Indo-China to NW. Peninsula Malaysia.
General Description:

It is a tree and grows primarily in the wet tropical biome. Sal is moderate to slow growing tree, which can grow up to 30-35 m tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 2-2.5 m. The bark of the young tree is smooth with a few long deep and vertical furrows. The leaves are ovate-oblong, 10-25 cm long and 5-15 cm broad. In wetter areas, it is evergreen; in drier areas, it is dry-season deciduous, shedding most of the leaves in between February to April, leafing out again in April and May. The sal flowers, whitish in color, appear in early summer. These are borne in raceme-like panicles in leaf axils, covered with white pubescence. Sal trees are found from Burma in the East, to Assam, Bengal, Nepal, the Deccan Plateau, going up to the foothills of the Shivaliks on the left bank of the Yamuna river. Flowering: April-May.