Also known as Pathimugam, a multipurpose and a flowering tree in the legume family, this tree is native to tropical Asia and in India it is grown extensively in the southern states. It was a precious traded commodity in the 17th century with exports to Thailand and even to Japan.
The tree finds uses as timber for inlay work, cabinet making, violin bows and walking sticks among others.
It produces a reddish dye called Brazilin which is used for dyeing fabrics as well as making paints and Inks.
But it is much more valued for its medicinal properties. It has antibacteial and anticoagulant properties and is in fact used as an additive to herbal drinking water in regions as diverse as Kerala to Central Java. In this drink, it is frequently mixed with ginger, cinnamon and cloves and is highly valued in Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine