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

Printed Date: Monday, September 25, 2023

Blinding tree









Botanical Name

Excoecaria agallocha Linn.

Common Name

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


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.




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.