Symplocos racemosa Roxb. (Symplocaceae)

English Names Lodh Tree

Sanskrit Name Lodhra, Tilva, Shavara

Hindi Name Lodh


This tree, in Sanskrit, was called Lodhra, Rodhra or Srimata meaning "propitious", and "Tilaka" because it was used in making the Tilaka mark on the forehead. A decoction of the bark was used for gargling when the gums were spongy and bleeding (Susruta). Roxburgh remarks that the bark was popular among the dyes of red in Calcutta and seemed to be used as a mordant only. In Europe it was formerly looked upon as a cinchona bark and had been known at various times as "Ecorce de lautour", "China nova", "China calafornica", "China Brasilarsis", and "China paraquatan". It was also known as "Lotus Bark".


It grows abundantly in the plains and lower hills throughout North and East India, ascending in the Himalayas up to an elevation of 1,400 m; southwards it extends up to Chota Nagpur.

Morphology Description (Habit)

S.racemosa is an evergreen tree or shrub. The leaves are dark green above, orbicular, elliptic oblong, coriaceous and glabrous above; the flowers are white, turning yellow, fragrant, in axillary, simple or compound racemes; the drupes are purplish black, subcylindric, smooth and 1-3 seeded.

Principal Constituents

Three alkaloids, viz. loturine, loturidine and colloturine.


The astringent bark is given for the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery and liver complaints. It is recommended in the treatment of menorrhagia and other uterine disorders.

J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2011 Jul;2(3):137-43. doi: 10.4103/0975-9476.85552.

Hepatoprotective activity of Symplocos racemosa bark on carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic damage in rats.

Wakchaure D1, Jain D, Singhai AK, Somani R.

The present study aims to evaluate the hepatoprotective activity of ethanol extract of Symplocos racemosa (EESR) bark on carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced hepatic damage in rats. CCl4 with olive oil (1 : 1) (0.2 ml/kg, i.p.) was administered for ten days to induce hepatotoxicity. EESR (200 and 400 mg/kg, p.o.) and silymarin (100 mg/kg p.o.) were administered concomitantly for fourteen days. The degree of hepatoprotection was measured using serum transaminases (AST and ALT), alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, albumin, and total protein levels. Metabolic function of the liver was evaluated by thiopentone-induced sleeping time. Antioxidant activity was assessed by measuring liver malondialdehyde, glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase levels. Histopathological changes of liver sample were also observed. Significant hepatotoxicity was induced by CCl4 in experimental animals. EESR treatment showed significant dose-dependent restoration of serum enzymes, bilirubin, albumin, total proteins, and antioxidant levels. Improvements in hepatoprotection and morphological and histopathological changes were also observed in the EESR treated rats. It was therefore concluded that EESR bark is an effective hepatoprotective agent in CCl4-induced hepatic damage, and has potential clinical applications for treatment of liver diseases.

Symplocos tinctoria - (L.)L'Hér.

Common Name Sweet Leaf, Common sweetleaf

Family Symplocaceae


Known Hazards None known

Habitats Woods, swamps and bottomlands[43]. Rich moist soils, often in the shade of dense forests[82].

Range South-eastern N. America - Florida to Arkansas, north to Delaware.

Symplocos tinctoria is an evergreen Shrub growing to 8 m (26ft 3in). It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)The plant is not self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves.

Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw. Thick and downy, they have a pleasant sweet smell and taste[245]. Chewed for their pleasantly sweet, slightly acid flavour that is refreshing and helps to ease thirst[183].

Medicinal Use

Febrifuge; Tonic.

The bitter, aromatic roots have been used as a tonic[46, 82]. A decoction of the scraped roots has been used in the treatment of fevers[257].

Other Uses

Dye; Mordant; Wood.

A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves, the bark and the fruits[1, 46, 82]. We have no specific information for this species but many species in this genus contain alum and can be used as mordants when dyeing[168]. Wood - soft, weak, light, close grained, easily worked[46, 82, 235]. It weighs 33lb per cubic foot[235]. Used for turnery[46, 82].

Cultivation details

Easily grown in any fertile soil[182]. Prefers a sunny position in a well-drained fertile acid to neutral soil[200]. Plants are often found growing in dense shade in the wild[82]. This species is not very hardy in Britain, it only succeeds outdoors in a sheltered position in the warmest counties of the country[182]. Forms of this species that are hardy in Britain might exist in the north of the plants range or at higher elevations[11]. This species is not a true evergreen, but in climates with mild winters the previous years leaves are not lost until after the new leaves come into growth[229]. Self-sterile, it needs cross-pollination with a different plant in the same species if seed and fruit are to be produced[182]. The flowers are sweetly perfumed[245]. The leaves also have a sweet smell[245]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].


Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed requires stratification and is best sown in a cold frame in late winter, it can take 12 months to germinate]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in individual pots in a cold frame[78, 200]. Roots are formed in about 4 weeks. Good percentage].