Two earlier posts have dealt at length with the
and its environs.
The park is easily the lifeline of Cubbon
and apart from facilitating traffic, it is still home to a bewildering variety of
flora and fauna. Bangalore
What makes the
a horticulturist’s delight is that it still possesses rare and exotic trees and
shrubs and many of them were planted during the turn of the century.
Unfortunately, almost all visitors to the park are either unaware of such trees
or they give a go by as they are ignorant of
its presence. Cubbon Park
Infact, the park is so widely spread that few venture to visit the park in its entirety. A majority skip the area around the Lawn Tennis stadium and the office of the Department of Horticulture and it is this place which has many exotic trees.
The park, in reality is an arboretum, and the place where the Department of Horticulture grows trees for study and display. This park is unique in the sense that it has flowering shrubs and trees all around the year. This is so as the exotic and native species flower at different times of the year and this is the reason why the park is always adorned with a wide spectrum of colours.
There are more than 7,000 trees in the park today and this is the only park in
where the exotic species outnumber
the native variety. Some of the trees are of immense botanical and medicinal
value and one of the oldest trees planted, the Australian chestnut tree and its
botanical name is Castanospermum australe, has been found to be useful in
developing a cure for AIDS. Bangalore
This black bean tree is a rich source of Castano spermine which is used for the treatment of AIDS. However, beware. The immature seed of the asutrale is poisonous, though mature seeds are harmless. A flowering plant belonging to the Fabaceae family, the raw or immature seed is poisonous and it needs to be treated to make it edible.
It is generally found in
New South Wales and Queensland
in Australia and in the
Pacific islands of Vanuatu
The asutrale is also called Moreton Bay Chestnut (It was at the Bay that the
tree was first seen and hence the name) or Blackbean, and it can reach a height
of 40 metres or 130 feet. The seeds
are poisonous, but become edible when they are prepared by grating, pounding,
soaking and baking into flour, leaching with water, roasting and then eating it.
The Australian aborigines are experts in this preparation. New Caledonia
The australe is a hardy species with glossy dark green pinnate leaves and low spreading branches when grown in the open.
The Black Bean is today extensive preparation as a food by Aborigines in
and research has now
proved that it contains alkaloids which have anti-HIV and anti -cancer
It is a potent inhibitor of α- and β-glucosidases and it also inhibits HIV infectivity.
The alkaloids have been found to be highly effective to prevent cellular recognition of the host and syncytium (synctia) formation through changes in the structure of the glycoprotein coat of the AIDS virus. It can alter the HIV virus’s surface and make it non-infectious.
It can also inhibits angiogenesis, thyroglobulin secretion, antitumor activity and also inhibit protein glycosylation.
Castano spermine has also been found in the genus Alexa which is native to
This is not to say that only the Australian tree has been found to be effective in the cure of AIDS. The post only wants to highlight one of the many exotic trees in
and also the fact that few people are aware of it. Cubbon Park
Incidentally, Indian and Japanese scientists are working on developing herbal and Ayurvedic formulations to treat HIV/AIDS.
They have zeroed in on 60 plant species and they have so far found 16 plant species which have inherent properties to fight AIDS.
The Government of India too is engaged in finding an Ayurvedic cure for AIDS. Ayurvedic pandits swear by Ashwagandha, which they say is effective against HIV/AIDS.
home to nearly three million HIV/AIDS patients including over 70,000 children
below the age of 14. India
In Karnataka,Coming back to
tops the list of reported
HIV/AIDS. More worryingly, the number of women infected with AIDS in Bangalore City has been going
up every year. Bangalore