Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Friday, August 23, 2019

Blinding tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Botanical Name

Excoecaria agallocha Linn.

Common Name

Blinding tree, Tejbala (Hindi), Thillai (Tamil), Ugaru (Sanskrit)

Distribution

Western Ghats and the Pichavaram swamps

 

Religious association

 

 

 

 

 Lord Nataraja

 

 

 

 

The tree is associated with Lord Nataraja (dancing form of Lord Shiva). The town of Chidambaram, which is renowned for its Nataraja temple, was once covered with thillai forest.

Uses

 

 

The tree sap is used by coastal communities as a fish and arrow poison. Various parts of the plant are used in traditional medicine to cure sores and also stings from marine creatures. The tree is also being tested for medical uses. Clinical trials have shown that the plant has anti-tumour, anti-HIV and anti-bacterial properties.