7 Top Benefits Of Pathimugam Water (Sappan Wood)

pathimugam water benefits

Pathimugam water is very famous in Kerala. Whenever we visit our friends house in Kerala, we will be usually served with pathimugam water which is nothing but infusion made with the heartwood of pathimugam tree. It is a beautiful pink coloured water with many wonderful health benefits and medicinal uses. From treating ulcer and protecting our skin to reducing blood sugar levels, it has wide uses!

What is Pathimugam (Sappanwood)?

It is a species of flowering tree in the legume family fabaceae. It is native to southeast Asia and it’s botanical name is Caesalpinia Sappan. It is found all over southeast Asia and its dried hardwood has been used as a traditional ingredient to color food and beverages and as a home remedy to treat certain ailments.

Brazilin is the major active compound found in pathimugam heartwood and is responsible for the natural red pigment. It is called sappan wood in English, Chappangam in Malayalam, Patunga in Hindi, Sappanga in Kannada, Pathang in Marathi and Pathimugam in Tamil.

Pathimugam Medicinal uses:

1. Antimicrobial Properties

Brazilin, the active compound found in pathimugam has very powerful antimicrobial properties and is effective against three strains of cariogenic bacteria especially Streptococcus mutans, the most severe cariogenic bacteria which causes tooth decay. Using pathimugam extract as a mouth rinse can greatly prevent tooth decay.

2. Powerful Antioxidant

The heartwood extract has been proven to have powerful antioxidant properties and regular consumption greatly helps reduce oxidative stress. It also helps reduce oxidative stress induced photo aging of skin. Protosappanin A, an important bioactive compound isolated from pathimugam extract greatly inhibits oxidative and nitrative stress which are considered to be one of the major reasons for many neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Saponin A, a compound present in pathimugam extract also has a protective effect on our brain and helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

3. For Metabolic Diseases:

Diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol are considered metabolic diseases and pathimugam helps with all the three. Pathimugam extract helps reduce high blood sugar levels. In a study, 30 menopausal women had their blood sugar levels tested and were given pathimugam water. After giving pathimugam water, their blood glucose levels were checked again. The test results showed that there was significant difference between blood glucose levels before and after drinking the water. Since it also has vasorelaxant properties, it helps with blood pressure too.

3. Antiulcer Properties

Pathimugam water has gastroprotective properties and has been traditionally used for treating ulcer. In a study, rats were fasted overnight and were given pathimugam water extract at the doses of 250 mg per kg and 500 mg per kg. The results showed that it has powerful antiulcer properties. If you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or ulcer, try including pathimugam water in your diet regularly.

4. Antiplatelet Properties

Brazilin the major component of pathimugam has been proven to have antiplatelet activity. It does this through the inhibition of phospholipase A2 and increasing intracellular free Ca2+ concentration. Among the Brazilin derivatives, BRX-018 is the most effective antiplatelet agent.

5. Anticancer Properties

It is effective against many cancer cell lines including colorectal cancer. 3-DSC, a component present in pathimugam suppresses colon cancer cell growth. 3-DSC is also effective against human esophageal cancer cells. Brazilin causes cancer cell death and is effective against Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), cancer of the nervous system. Brazilin is also effective against cervical, lung, breast and hepato cancer cell lines.

6. Skin Care

Studies have shown that brazilin in protects skin against UV rays and the resulting UV induced skin photo aging. We can use pathimugam extract in facepacks and serums regularly to protect our skin against UV damage and since it has antibacterial properties it will help treat acne too.

7. Anti-inflammatory Properties

Several compounds present in pathimugam has anti-inflammatory properties including brazilin and sapponone. It is excellent for treating wounds and helps reduce the inflammation and pain very soon if used as a wound wash. People who are suffering from arthritis and inflammation will greatly benefit consuming pathimugam water on a regular basis.

It also helps with allergic airway inflammation which is asthma. It not only helps with external wounds and inflammation, it also helps treat neuroinflammation which is the leading cause of various brain diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

pathimugam uses

How To Make Pathimugam Water?

To make pathimugam water, boil 5 litres of water in a pot. Add in half teaspoon of sappanwood. Boil for a few minutes till the colour of the water changes to pink colour. This is the common way pathimugam water is made but here in our village we pound a tsp off coriander seeds, a small piece of dry ginger and one cardamom pod and add to the water along with pathimugam heartwood. All these three ingredients helps promote good digestion. Strain the water and consume a cup of this at least weekly twice or thrice.

Pathimugam Water Side Effects

Brazilin found in sappanwood causes reproductive toxicity so pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid pathimugam water. Since it helps lower blood sugar levels, diabetic patients should monitor their blood sugar levels closely if planning to consume it on a regular basis.

Where To Buy Pathimugam?

Sappanwood is sold in almost all the departmental stores in India. You can also order it easily online too, it is available very very cheap. When buying pathimugam, make sure to buy it exclusively without any add on ingredients.

pathimugam water benefits

3 Top Ways To Use Pathimugam Water For Skin & Hair Care

1. Pathimugam Face Pack

Mix equal quantities of besan and multani mitti in a bowl. Add in pathimugam water and mix to form a smooth paste. Apply as a face pack, wait for it to dry completely and then wash it off.

2. Pathimugam Face Scrub

Take equal quantities of ground oat flour and rice flour in a bowl. Add in a tablespoon of papaya pulp and pathimugam water to it. Mix into a spreadable paste and use it as a face scrub weekly once or twice.

3. Pathimugam Hair Rinse

Mix equal quantities of a pathimugam water and green tea and use it as a hair rinse. After rinsing, rinse again with water but don’t use shampoo. This will give a nice shine to the hair.

pathimugam uses


  1. Natarajan Krishnaswamy
    January 25, 2022 / 8:13 pm

    Nice article. It is also cheap.

  2. DW
    September 24, 2022 / 12:23 am

    Thank you for introducing me to something new. I will buy this and try it. I love to try new things. 🙂

  3. DW
    December 23, 2022 / 4:11 am

    Are you sure it’s 5 litres to 1/2tsp? That’s a lot of water to very little herb? Can I use less water, but keep the same amount of wood? I couldn’t drink that much in a week.

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