The Kewda plant is an aromatic monocot species belonging to the Pandanaceae family. It is native to Australia, South Asia (Andaman Islands), and the Philippines and is also found wild in southern India and Burma.
Botanically it is Pandanus odorifer. It is commonly known as fragrant screwpine, kewda, fragrant screwpine, umbrella tree, and45 screw tree.
It is a small palm-like tree that grows to a height of 4 meters. Leaves are 40-70cm long and sword-shaped with spines. In summer, these plants bear highly fragrant flowers.
The tree is propagated by the offshoots of young plants that grow around the base of the trunk. Seeds can also propagate them. The general maintenance required for culturing the kewda is similar to that of palms. Kewra requires an abundance of water in summer.
The unique character of the Kewda plant is that it is dioecious; that is, the male and female flowers are borne on different trees. Male trees are very strong but brittle, whereas female trees are hard on the outside but soft and juicy on the interior.
Uses of Kewda plant
- These plants are used in living fences and coastal windbreaks.
- Kewda plants are planted for soil stabilization and as ornamental plants.
- The timber from this tree is used in house construction and in making ladders.
- Aerial roots are used to make basket handles, paint brushes, and skipping ropes.
- The fragrant flowers are used to make essential oils and perfume.
- The young leaves are used as fodder.
Medicinal uses of Kewda plant
- The male fowlers have aphrodisiac properties. They are also used for decoration.
- The woody is used in the preparation of crafts like toys.
- Leaves are woven into traditional attires, mats, and baskets.
- Kewda oil, Kewda oil, Kewda water, and Kewda attar are some of the extracts prepared from kewda flowers.
- Kewda oil is used in Ayurveda to heal degenerative diseases. It is also good for skin health.
- The leaves and roots have medicinal uses.
- They are mainly used to relieve pain and headaches.
- The roots and leaves also have antibacterial and antiseptic properties, making them good wound healers.
- The bark is used in the treatment of skin problems.
- Roots are used in a decoction to treat hemorrhoids.
- The root is used to alleviate stomach cramps, and the leaves are used to relieve vomiting.
- Flowers are used to relieve headaches and earaches.
Dr. Vandana K.