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If you know who Rabindranath Tagore is, then you are bound to have heard of the delicate and beautiful Shiuli flowers described in his poem Paper Boats. Not a festivity of puja ceremony goes without the use of the flower and as people living in India, we are all a bit too familiar with the white and orange vision.
Apart from the flower's allure and delicacy, and its prominence in Hindu mythology - Shiuli, also commonly known as parijat or night-flowering jasmine possess various medicinal benefits and uses.
Commonly known as parijat or night-flowering jasmine, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is a species of Nyctanthes. It is a shrub or a small tree that has fragrant flowers. The flower of the plant has been used for various health problems since ages and is a common herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. Parijat flowers have four to eight petals arranged on an orange stem  .
The benefits of the parijat plant or Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is encompassed in its leaves and flowers. Found in abundance in the country, is nutritionally beneficial for your body  .
Let's get to know more about the plant and the benefits it can have on your body.
Nutritional Information Of Parijat
Parijat leaves and flower contains nutrients such as benzoic acid, fructose, glucose, carotene, amorphous resin, ascorbic acid, methyl salicylate, tanat acid, oleanolic acid and flavanol glycoside .
Health Benefits Of Parijat
From alleviating pain to reducing inflammation, the benefits of parijat leaves and flowers are plenty.
1. Reduces inflammation
The leaves of the plant are used to make parijat essential oil which can help reduce inflammation. Possessing anti-inflammatory properties, parijat leaves are steamed for making the oil, which when applied to the affected area will bring down the inflammation. The presence of benzoic acid and carotene is responsible for this benefit of parijat leaves  .
How to use: Mix two ml of coconut oil and four to five drops of parijat essential oil and warm it. Gently massage the warm oil on the affected area and apply a warm compress.
2. Treats fever
Parijat leaves are effective in the treatment of nauseous fevers. It has been specifically used for treating malaria and dengue in Ayurvedic medicine. A natural remedy for fevers, parijat leaves are known for its antipyretic property, which helps in reducing fever. Apart from parijat leaves, parijat bark extract is also used for treating fevers. It is also said to prevent the growth of bacterial organisms that can cause fever  .
How to use: Mix 1 ml olive oil and 2 drops of parijat oil extract and gently rub on the soles of your feet. This is followed in Ayurvedic medicine as it is shown to reduce body temperature during high fever.
Intrigued so far? Here are some tales and folklores about parijat.
3. Manages arthritis
The antirheumatic properties possessed by the leaves make them beneficial in the treatment of arthritis. Parijat tree leaves benefit any individual with arthritis, that is, not only the elderly but also the young adults  .
How to use: Take 5-6 parijat leaves and crush them in 2 ml of coconut oil. Apply the paste on the affected area for pain relief from arthritis.
4. Prevents oxidative damage
Nyctanthes arbor-tristis leaves are beneficial for preventing the onset of radical damages and deficiencies in your body. Being high in antioxidants, the leaves can help manage radical deficiencies. They are also said to be beneficial in preventing the development of cancer cells  .
How to use: Take 20-25 leaves of parijat and grind the leaves by adding 300 ml water. Boil the mixture and reduce to half, then, filter the solution and divide into three equal parts. Consume each part in the morning, noon and evening, 1 hour before the meals and continue for 2 months.
5. Soothes cough
The ethanol compound found in parijat flowers and leaves is beneficial in relieving cough. The ethanol compound in the leaves act as an excellent bronchodilator and help dilate the throat muscles. Due to this property, some studies have linked it with asthma, preferring it to be a natural remedy for asthma.
How to use: Take 10-15 parijat leaves and boil it in two cups of water. Add ginger or honey, and let it boil for 5-7 minutes. Steep the residue and drink the parijat leaves tea for quick relief from dry cough  .
6. Relieves constipation
Night-flowering jasmine leaves are used as a laxative as it helps in stimulating bowel movement. By accelerating the intestinal transit, the minerals present in the Nyctanthes arbor-tristis leaves help to regulate the digestive system, thereby, aiding you to overcome constipation  .
How to use: Drink parijat leaves tea once a day, or when you find it difficult to pass stools.
7. Improves immunity
Parijat flowers and especially leaves possess immunostimulatory effect due to the presence of ethanol compounds. The ethanol compounds help improve immunity levels by stimulating both humoral and cell-mediated antibodies  .
How to use: Take 20-25 leaves of parijat and grind the leaves by adding 300ml water. Boil the mixture and reduce to half, then, filter the solution and divide into three equal parts. Consume each part in the morning, noon and evening, 1 hour before the meals & continue for 2 months  .
8. Manages diabetes
One of the major of parijat leaves health benefits is their plausible role in managing diabetes. Extracts from the leaves have been known to reduce the high blood sugar levels (potent anti-diabetic effect). However, more studies have to be done on this aspect to clarify assertions  .
Important note: Consult with a doctor before incorporating the herb into your diet.
Apart from the above mentioned, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is also said to possess other health benefits, such as the following  :
- Manages anxiety
- Gets rid of intestinal worms
- Treats malaria
- Heals wounds and fractures
- Combats breathing problems
- Prevents gas
- Helps to cure lice, baldness and dandruff
- Prevents dental issues like scurvy
- Prevents acidity and dyspepsia
- Helps relieve menstrual cramps
Uses Of Parijat
- Used for face packs as a remedy to various skin ailments 
- Parijat flowers are used as a source of yellow dye for clothes
- Dried flowers and fried new leaves are used in Assamese cuisine
- Parijat flower oil is used as a perfume
- The flowers are used for making incense sticks
- Parijat leaves are used in case of snake poisoning
- Parijat seeds are used for alopecia and dandruff 
- The leaves are sued for getting rid of lice
- The leaves are used as a soothing agent
Side Effects Of Parijat
- Consuming too much parijat leaves can cause nausea  .
- Excessive consumption of leaves can cause throat problems.
Infographics by Sharan Jayanth
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