The wonder herb blooms again

Recently, the Kayampoovu flower has been rediscovered in the deep forests of Pooyamkutty in the Kuttampuzha panchayat of Ernakulam district.
Despite its beauty and cultural significance, the Kayampoovu plant faces the threat of extinction.
Despite its beauty and cultural significance, the Kayampoovu plant faces the threat of extinction.Photo | Express

KOCHI: The famous song Kayampoo Kannil Vidarum, penned by the legendary Vayalar Ramavarma for the film 'Nadhi' (1969), might have piqued your curiosity. What is Kayampoovu? Is it a real flower, or a creation of the poet’s imagination?

The flower is very real and was once common in the countryside. Recently, it has been rediscovered in the deep forests of Pooyamkutty in the Kuttampuzha panchayat of Ernakulam district.

Known scientifically as Memecylon umbellatum, this flower blooms only once a year and was found by the tribals near the ancient Knachary temple. “Pooyamkutty forest has long been a favourite destination of tourists,” says Bineesh Narayanan, ward member of Pinavorkudy.

“Its abundant medicinal plants and breathtaking scenery have attracted visitors from far and wide. This forest has also caught the eye of filmmakers, serving as a backdrop for popular movies like 'Pulimurugan', with the picturesque Pindimedu waterfall being a central location for filming,” he says.

The flower blooms at an altitude of 1200 metres above sea level. “The flowers have bloomed adjacent to a stream along the path leading to the Knachary temple. In the past, the sturdy stems of the plant were used by the tribals to weave baskets to hold forest produce,” Bineesh adds.

According to Sasikumar, a resident, the flowers slowly fade to white before falling off.

Traditional medicinal practitioners believe the flower has medicinal properties, with its leaves said to provide energy and a hint of sweetness. “The plant is also known by various names such as Anjan, Alli, and Kaya,” says Sasikumar.

Despite its beauty and cultural significance, the Kayampoovu plant faces the threat of extinction.

Ironwood

  • Kayampoovu, also known as Ironwood, possesses antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, and antidiabetic properties

  • Its leaves, flowers, stems, and roots are used to treat various ailments

  • It is effective in treating eye troubles, gonorrhoea, leucorrhea, cough, herpes, and wounds

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