Mahua (Illupai) or Butter tree is a boon to mankind. There is no other Indian tree or plant given as much importance for tribal India like Mahua. The tree is often referred to as the “Tree of Life of Tribal India”.
Central Tribal India has been using the herb in different forms for culinary, domestic, cultural, and medicinal applications. The flowers, seeds, roots, leaves, stems, and bark of the plant are used in various forms like food, fodder, fuel, therapeutic oil for body pain, and many more. It has been used to develop numerous fermented and non-fermented food products.
Most people know Mahua because of the delicious wine prepared from its flowers only. People who tasted it claim that it can beat classic Italian grape wine in the international market. But not only its flowers, but the fruits and seed oil are also used in a range of applications.
Mahua is loaded with many active compounds that offer therapeutic and medicinal values. It can be taken as medicine for seasonal flu, fever, and epilepsy. In Ayurveda medicine, it has been included as a universal formula.
Vernacular Names of Mahua
- Bengali: Banmahuva, Mahuha, Mohwa
- English: Butternut tree, Bassia, Indian butter tree, Moatree, Moah tree
- Gujarat: Mahuda
- Hindi: Jangli moha, Moha, mohua, madhuca, mahwa, mahua, mowa, moa
- Kannada: Madhuka, Errape, Hippegida
- Malayalam: Iluppa, Eluppa
- Marathi: Mohda
- Oriya: Mahula
- Punjabi: Maua, Mahua
- Sanskrit: Madhuka
- Siddha: Leluppai
- Tamil: Illupai, Elupa, Illupe, Illupi, Katillipi, Katiluppai, Kattu Iluppai
- Telugu: Ippi, ippa puvvu
- Urdu: Mahuva
Oil extracted using the seeds of Illupaai tree has various health benefits.
- Has skin softening and soothing properties and hence used to cure skin diseases.
- Helps in curing rheumatism (inflammation and pain in the joints, muscles, or fibrous tissue, especially rheumatoid arthritis).
- Relieves headache.
- Reduces body heat.
- Strengthens nervous system and cures nervous disorder.
- Helps to reduce irritation and swelling of body due to poisonous insect bite.
- Helps to reduce eye irritation.
- Due to its innumerable health benefits, the Illupai oil was considered to be holy by the ancients.
- It is believed that lighting deepam using Illupai oil everyday at home destroys negative energy and brings in positive energy, happiness, peace and prosperity.
- Illupai oil has been celebrated by the ancient rishis especially in Siddha Medicine.