Healthy reasons to add this amazing plant to your meal, recipes in it

Spices and spices are an important part of Indian cuisine and give the dishes a unique zest and taste. Mother Nature has blessed us with a rich array of herbs, whether for ornamental, health, wellness or culinary purposes, our planet has been super bountiful. One such magnanimous deciduous tree is Bombex ceiba, which belongs to the bombacaeae family, popularly known as semal. Semal is native to India, Asia, Australia and Africa. The tree bears spectacular deep red flowers and a small capsule containing white fibers like cotton when fully ripe. The fruit of this tree that comes in buds is boiled, eaten and pickled. Cotton from the tree is used as a dust filler. From flowers to seeds to leaves, semal has been very popular for its health properties and other wellness incentives that can be derived from it. In fact, our tribal communities have been using this wonder plant since ancient times, protecting this tree for centuries. The tree is believed to have potent antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic and oxytocic properties. And last but not least, this tree is fire resistant.

Indian cottonwood, Indian kapok, and red silk-cotton tree are common names in English. It is known by other vernacular names such as Himila in Assamese, Safed Shimalo in Gujarati, Kanntisenbal, Rakta Senbal in Hindi, Kempuburuga in Kannada, Ilav, Mulalilav in Malayalam, Ilav, Puulaa in Tamil and Buruga in Telugu.
Semi/Indian Cottonwood

Semal In Ayurveda

Semal has been mentioned in Ayurveda since time immemorial. Be it flowers, bark, fruit or gum, every part of this tree offers countless health benefits. Its cooling, astringent, stimulant, aphrodisiac and soothing nature protects us from many chronic ailments. It is beneficial in promoting sexual health and relieving problems such as asthma, anemia, diarrhea, pulmonary tuberculosis and flu.

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Healing Health Benefits

Prevents liver damage

The root extracts are supposed to prevent liver damage. In addition to curing chronic liver disease, the seed root also cures symptoms of hepatotoxicity, a deterioration in liver function caused by overexposure to drugs or excessive alcohol consumption.

Also read: Top 8 Foods For A Healthy Liver

Prevents acne

Alcoholic extract of the bark has antimicrobial properties that are used to fight acne and other skin conditions.

Lowers blood pressure

The plant has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic and oxytocic properties that help lower blood pressure and are also good for the heart.

Prevents oxidative damage

The bark of the seed root has been sun dried and used in concoctions to prevent oxidative damage to the system.

Diuretic Properties

Semal is highly diuretic in nature and very beneficial for treating urinary tract problems. The roots of the tree have been used since ancient times to cure all kinds of urinary tract infections.

If that’s not enough, semal also offers great culinary benefits! If you’re wondering how to use fruits or flowers in your food, here are two delicious recipes for you to enjoy.

Semal Sabzi


250 grams tender flower buds

2 potatoes

onion paste

1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

1 cup tomato paste

1 tsp red chili powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

3 tbsp mustard oil

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

Salt to taste


  • Cut the tops into four parts
  • Heat mustard oil and add chopped semal
  • Fry for a few minutes, add potatoes and set aside
  • Heat the remaining mustard oil and add fenugreek seeds
  • Wait for them to turn light brown and add onion paste
  • Bake the pasta until it turns pink brown
  • Add the ginger-garlic and tomato paste and salt
  • Cook until the mixture becomes shiny
  • Add the powdered spices and mix well
  • Add the partially baked semal and potatoes to the cooked spice mixture
  • Add water and cook for 15 minutes
  • Serve hot with rotis


The vegetable made from sun-dried buds has a faint smell and a spicy taste. Semal is the main ingredient of this recipe and contains protein, carbohydrates, vitamin A and vitamin C in ample amounts. Potatoes are a good source of fiber, which makes you feel full and boosts your energy levels.

Semal Raita


2 cups yogurt

2 fresh half flowers

1 cucumber

2 onions

1 tablespoon roasted cumin powder

Pinch of chili powder

Salt to taste

coriander leaves


  • Boil small flowers for a few minutes
  • Pour off water and keep aside
  • In a bowl, add cumin powder, salt and curd and mix well
  • Add chopped coriander leaves to the curd mix
  • Now add chopped cucumber and sesame flowers to the mixture
  • Mix all ingredients well
  • The raita is ready to be served
  • Garnish it with chili powder


A simple addition to your meal, semal raita can be served any time of the day. The fragrant raita with fresh semal flowers is packed with minerals and antioxidants. Since Raita is made with curd, it acts as a probiotic and improves the gut flora in addition to providing immunity to the body.