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Indian Butter Tree

Botanical Name Madhuca indica Gmel.
Common NameIndian butter tree, Mahua (Hindi), Iluppai (Tamil), Madhuka (Sanskrit)


West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh

Religious association

The tree is associated with Lord Shiva. Madhuka is one of the 1001 names of the Lord Shiva.


A decoction of the bark is used to cure itching, bleeding gums and ulcers. The flower possesses anti-bacterial properties and is used for treating cough and swelling of the respiratory tract. Tribal communities especially in Madhya Pradesh distil Mahua flower for liquor. The wood is used for house building and for making agricultural implements.

Mahua butter, derived from the seeds of the plant, is used for cooking and also, in the manufacture of soaps, lotions and candles.

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