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Lal Chandan, Raktachandan

Our Trees - Red Sanders


Species  : 

Pterocarpus Santalinus

Other Names  :  Red Sanders, Red Sandalwood, Ruby Wood,
Hindi Names  :  Lal Chandan, Rakta Chandan


Red Sanders (Hindi name - Lal Chandan or Raktachandan) is a light-demanding moderate sized tree growing upto 8 m tall with a trunk 50–150 cm diameter. It is fast-growing when young, reaching 5 m tall in three years even on degraded soils. It is not frost tolerant, being killed by temperatures of -1 °C but stays well at semi-arid climatic conditions. The leaves are alternate, 3–9 cm long, trifoliate with three leaflets. The flowers are produced in short racemes. In Hinduism, this wood has been traditionally used as a sacred wood. The priests and higher class casts such as brahamin extensively use this wood on many of their rituals. It is found mainly in South India, Sri Lanka, and some parts of Nepal and Pakistan.

It is observed that the red sanders grown on the shale type of subsoil, at an altitude of 750 meters above sea level. Red sanders with wavy grain margin fetch a higher price than the non-wavy wood.

It is used in diseases like cough, vomiting, fever, hyperdipsia, helminthiasis, diseases of the blood and eye, wounds etc. The heartwood and fruits of Rakta chandana have great medicinal value. It reduces the burning sensation, arrests bleeding, alleviates edema and ameliorates various skin disorders, hence, is an effective external application as a paste, in burning sensation, headache, dermatoses and ophthalcopathies.

This species is listed as Endangered by the IUCN, because of overexploitation for its timber.