Nagalingam (Couroupita Guianensis) is a large, deciduous and tropical tree which performs well in well-drained soils and grows upto 35 m high. This plant is well known for its medicinal and ornamental value. In India, the tree is often regarded as the sacred tree. It is widely grown in botanical gardens as an ornamental plant.
The trees are grown extensively in Shiva temples in India. Hindus revere it as a sacred tree because the petals of the flower resemble the hood of the Naga, a sacred snake, protecting a Shiva Lingam, the stigma. The Cannonball Tree possesses antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and analgesic qualities. The trees are used to cure colds and stomach aches. Juice made from the leaves is used to cure skin diseases, and shamans of South America have even used tree parts for treating malaria. The inside of the fruit can disinfect wounds. The fruit emits an unpleasant odor and can be used as an insect repelent just by rubbing it to the skin or clothes.
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