Botanical name: Quercus infectoria
PLANT NAME IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES
Sanskrit: Kasiska, Mayaphalah
Hindi: Majuphal, Muphal
English: Oak gall, Magin nut, Dyers oak gall
Malayalam: Masikka, Mayakku
A small tree or shrub 2-5 m in height with grey bark; leaves very rigid, 4-6 cm long, dentate, yellowish in colour, the galls arise as excrescences on the young twigs, consequent to the deposition of eggs by a small hymenopterans insect known as Adeleria gallae-tinctoriae.
The galls are spherical or pear-shaped with a smooth and shining surface bearing spinous projections. It is chestnut brown in colour. The galls collected before the emergence of the insects are the best. Such galls have inner soft tissue of a deep greenish yellow colour. Those collected after the escape of the insects will have perforations. The galls generally vary in size, colour and appearance.
The galls are astringent, acrid, cooling, febrifuge and tonic. They are useful in vitiated conditions of pitta and kapha, internal haemorrhages, diarrhoea, dysentery, ulcerative stomatitis, cough, bronchitis, dyspepsia, fever, gonorrhoea, diabetes, tonsillitis and general debility. It is very useful for blackening the hair and in the antidotal treatment in cases poisoning by aconite, datura, nux-vomica and antimony.