Herb: Indian Bean Tree


Latin name: Catalpa bignonioides


Synonyms: Bignonia catalpa, Catalpa syringaefolia


Family: Bignoniaceae (Trumpet-creeper Family)



Medicinal use of Indian Bean Tree:

A tea made from the bark has been used as an antiseptic, antidote to snake bites, laxative, sedative and vermifuge. As well as having a sedative effect, the plant also has a mild narcotic action, though it never causes a dazed condition. It has therefore been used with advantage in preparations with other herbs for the treatment of whooping cough in children, it is also used to treat asthma and spasmodic coughs in children. The bark has been used as a substitute for quinine in treating malaria. The leaves are used as a poultice on wounds and abrasions. A tea made from the seeds is used in the treatment of asthma and bronchitis and is applied externally to wounds. The pods are sedative and are thought to have cardioactive properties. Distilled water made from the pods, mixed with eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) and rue (Ruta graveolens) is a valuable eye lotion in the treatment of trachoma and conjunctivitis.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
15 m
(49 feet)

Flovering:
June
to July


Scent:
Scented
Tree

Habitat of the herb:

Rich moist soils by the sides of streams and rivers.

Other uses of Indian Bean Tree:

A fast-growing tree with an extensive root system, it has been planted on land that is subject to landslips or erosion in order to stabilize the soil. Wood - coarse and straight-grained, soft, not strong, moderately high in shock resistance, very durable in the soil. It weighs about 28lb per cubic foot. It is highly valued for posts and fencing rails, and is also used for interior finishes, cabinet work etc.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown outdoors, or in a cold frame, as soon as it is ripe. Stratify stored seed for 3 weeks at 1C and sow in spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Softwood cuttings, 10cm long, in a frame. They should be taken in late spring to early summer before the leaves are fully developed. Root cuttings in winter.

Cultivation of Indian Bean Tree:

Rich moist soils by the sides of streams and rivers.

Known hazards of Catalpa bignonioides:

The roots are highly poisonous.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.