Sweet Indrajao is a small, deciduous tree with a light gray, scaly smooth
bark. Native to India and Burma, Wrightia is named after a Scottish physician
and botanist William Wright (1740 - 1827). From a distance, the white flowers
may appear like snow flakes on a tree. The fruits pendulous, long paired
follicles joined at their tips. The hairy seeds are released as the fruit
dehisces. The leaves of this tree yield a blue dye called Pala Indigo. Sweet
Indrajao is called dhudi (Hindi) because of its preservative nature.
Supposedly a few drops of its sap in milk prevent curdling and enhance its
shelf life, without the need to refrigerate.
The wood of Sweet Indrajao is extensively used for all
classes of turnery. It is made into cups, plates, combs, pen holders, pencils
and bed stead legs. It is commonly used for making Chennapatna toys.
The leaves are applied as a poultice for mumps and
herpes and sometimes, they are also munched to relieve toothache. In folk
medicine, the dried and powdered roots of Wrightia along with Phyllanthus
amarus (keezhanelli) and Vitex negundo (nochi) is mixed with milk and orally
administered to women for improving fertility. The bark and seeds are
effective against psoriasis and non-specific dermatitis. It has
anti-inflammatory and anti-dandruff properties and hence is used in hair oil