| Pterocarpus indicus|
Narra (Pterocarpus indicus) is a tree prized in the Philippines for its strength, weight, and working quality. Common names include naga, asana, or angsana. Found throughout the Philippines, it is the country's national tree.
Description and Habitat
The narra is a tree that can grow a height of 25 meters or more. Its leaves are 15 to 30 cm long, compound, and has 7 to 11 leaflets which are ovate to oblong-ovate and 5 to 10 cm long. It has several fragrant, yellow flowers, about 1.5 cm long, on branched, axillary panicles. Its fruits are in the form of pods, which transition from hairy to smooth as they mature. They are orbicular to obovate in shape, including the wing which is 4 to 5.5. cm long.
Narra trees live on primary forests at low and medium altitudes throughout the Philippines, as well as other parts of Southeast Asia.
Narra is most prized for its wood, mainly used in construction and furniture-making. The termite-resistant, rose-scented timber is official in the French, Portuguese and Spanish Pharmacopoeias. The wood also gives a red dye composed of the compounds narrin and santalin, used as coloring by some natives.
The young leaves and flowers were documented to be edible. The flowers are also a source of honey, while an infusion of the leaves is used as shampoo. The young leaves are also applied to ripening boils, ulcers, and prickly heat.
Pterocarpus indicus also contains kino, which is a kind of gum obtained from Pterocarpus species. Kino is well-known in Malay cultures as a medicine, and is prescribed for diarrhea and dysentery, after being purified by boiling and subsequent evaporation to dryness. It is also used as an astringent.
- Purdue University (1998). Pterocarpus indicus . Accessed on November 5, 2007.
- Quisumbing, Eduardo (1978). Medicinal Plants of the Philippines. Quezon City: Katha Publishing.