• Name : Shalmali
  • English Name :Silk-Cotton Tree
  • Scientific Name :Bombax malabaricum



Shalmali is a deciduous tree attaining a height up to 40 m and a girth up to 6 m or more and distributed throughout the hotter parts of the country up to 1500 m or more.1


Morphology Description (Habit):

Bombax ceiba grows to an average of 20 meters, with old trees up to 60 meters in wet tropical weather. The trunk and limb bear numerous conical spines particularly when young, but get eroded when older. The leaves are palmate with about 6 leaflets radiating from a central point, an average of 7~10 centimeters wide, 13~15 centimeters in length. The leaf's long flexible petiole is up to 20 cm long.

Cup-shaped flowers solitary or clustered, axillary or sub-terminal, fascicles at or near the ends of the branches, when the tree is bare of leaves, an average of 7~11 centimeters wide, 14 centimeters in width, petels up to 12 centimeters in length, calyx is cup-shaped usually 3 lobed, an average of 3~5 centimeters in diameter. Staminal tube is short, more than 60 in 5 bundles. stigma is light red, up to nine centimeters in length, ovary is pink, 1.5~2 centimeters in length, with the skin of the ovary covered in white silky hair at 1mm long. Seeds are numerous, long, ovoid, black or gray in colour and packed in white cotton.

The fruit, which reaches an average of 13 centimeters in length, is light-green in color in immature fruits, brown in mature fruits.2


Parts Used:

Root, Stem Bark, Flower, Fruit, Exudate. (Refer ?Mochras? for details regarding exudate.)



Saponins, Tannins and Gums.


As per Ayurveda:

           Rasa (Taste)                 : Sweet, astringent

           Guna (Property)           : Light, unctuous

           Veerya (Potency)         : Cold

           Vipaka (End Result)      : Sweet


Pharmacological Actions:

Shalmali is Vatapittahara. Its primary pharmacological actions of this soothing fruit are summarized as under:


Digestive System:

i. The extract exerts a protective role of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).3


Cardiovascular System: 

i. Shamimicin, 1′′′, 1′′′′′′′-bis-2-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-3,4-dihydro-3,7-dihydroxy-5-O-xylopyranosyloxy-2H-1-benzopyran along with lupeol, which possesses potent hypotensive activity has been isolated from Bombax ceiba stem bark.4/p>

ii. The flowers exert cardioprotective effect.5


Reproductive System: 

i. Young roots of Bombax ceiba also known as Semal Musli are used traditionally in Indian subcontinent as sexual stimulant. Its juice is considered nutritive and restorative tonic.6


Urinary System: 

i. The fruit exerts significant diuretic activity.7

ii. The fruit possesses lithotriptic activity.8



i. The flowers exhibit potent antioxidant and antiproliferative activities. The presence of beta-sitosterol and some fatty acids may contribute to the bioactivity of B. ceiba flower extracts.9

ii. The flowers of B. malabaricum have excellent antioxidant activities and thus might be a potential source of natural antioxidants.10

iii. The stem bark of Bombax ceiba has been observed to exhibit significant ameliorative potential against High Fat Diet induced obesity.11



Root ? Non-organic causes of impotency and infertility

Stem Bark ? Acne, Diarrhea, Dysentery, IBD

Flowers ? General health

Fruits ? Dysuria, Urinary tract Calculi



1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part-1, Vol-3.

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombax_ceiba

3. Jagtap AG, Niphadkar PV, Phadke AS. Protective effect of aqueous extract of Bombax malabaricum DC on experimental models of inflammatory bowel disease in rats and mice. Indian J Exp Biol. 2011 May;49(5):343-51.

4. Saleem R, Ahmad SI, Ahmed M, et al. Hypotensive activity and toxicology of constituents from Bombax ceiba Stem Bark. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 2003; 26(1): 41-46.

5. Patel SS, Verma NK, Rathore B, et al. Cardioprotective effect of Bombax ceiba flowers against acute adriamycin-induced myocardial infarction in rats. Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia. 2011; 21(4).

6. Bhargava C, Thakur M, Yadav SK. Effect of Bombax ceiba L. on spermatogenesis, sexual behaviour and erectile function in male rats. Andrologia. 2012 May;44 Suppl 1:474-8.

7. Jalalpure SS, Gadge NB. Diuretic effects of young fruit extracts of bombax ceiba L. In rats. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2011 May;73(3):306-11.

8. Gadge NB, Jalalpure SS. Curative treatment with extracts of Bombax ceiba fruit reduces risk of calcium oxalate urolithiasis in rats. Pharm Biol. 2012 Mar;50(3):310-7.

9. Tundis R, Rashed K, Said A, et al. In vitro cancer cell growth inhibition and antioxidant activity of Bombax ceiba (Bombacaceae) flower extracts. Nat Prod Commun. 2014 May;9(5):691-4.

10. Yu YG, He QT, Yuan K, et al. In vitro antioxidant activity of Bombax malabaricum flower extracts. Pharm Biol. 2011 Jun;49(6):569-76.

11. Gupta P, Goyal R, Chauhan Y, Sharma PL. Possible modulation of FAS and PTP-1B signaling in ameliorative potential of Bombax ceiba against high fat diet induced obesity. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Oct 25;13:281.


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