Diospyros melanoxylon |
Tendu is a species of flowering tree in the family Ebenaceae native to India and Sri Lanka. It is a medium-sized tree or shrub that can be deciduous in drier regions and evergreen in moist locations. It can grow up to a height of 25 meters. It grows best in the areas where annual daytime temperature ranges between 25 to 35`C with a mean annual rainfall 800-1200mm. The species has a deep, tap-rooting habit. Locally it is the most economically important species of Diospyros. The fruits are edible and have a cooling and an astringent effect. The seeds can be intoxicating; they have been prescribed in traditional medicine as a cure for mental disorders, nervous breakdowns and palpitations of the heart. The bark is astringent, the decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhoea. The leaves are used as the wrapping around tobacco to make bidi cigarettes in the local markets. The leaves have been extensively used in Indian traditional medicine as diuretic, styptic, laxative, carminative, and to cure night blindness. Besides its ecological benefit as a tree, the Tendu leaf trade is an important socio-economic activity of tribals of India.