Kimshuka, Kiṃśuka, Kiṃsuka: 26 definitions


Kimshuka means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, the history of ancient India, biology. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Kiṃśuka can be transliterated into English as Kimsuka or Kimshuka, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Kimshuka in Purana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Bhavishya-purana

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक):—The consequences of using various flowers in worship of the sun (e.g. kiṃśuka flowers) confers eradication of troubles, according to the Bhaviṣya-purāṇa (brahmaparva, 197:1-11)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक) is the name of a flower, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.2.22. Accordingly as Sitā said to Śiva:—“[...] the most unbearable season of the advent of clouds (ghanāgama or jaladāgama) has arrived with clusters of clouds of diverse hues, and their music reverberating in the sky and the various quarters. [...] Unrivalled splendour has resorted to the Kiṃśuka flowers devoid of odour, as Lakṣmī (the Goddess of fortune) abandons good people and resorts to the crooked, whether of high or low birth”.

Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Kalpa (Formulas, Drug prescriptions and other Medicinal preparations)

Source: Shodhganga: Edition translation and critical study of yogasarasamgraha

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक) refers to the medicinal plant known as “Erythrina variegata Linn.” and is dealt with in the 15th-century Yogasārasaṅgraha (Yogasara-saṅgraha) by Vāsudeva: an unpublished Keralite work representing an Ayurvedic compendium of medicinal recipes. The Yogasārasaṃgraha [mentioning kiṃśuka] deals with entire recipes in the route of administration, and thus deals with the knowledge of pharmacy (bhaiṣajya-kalpanā) which is a branch of pharmacology (dravyaguṇa).

Veterinary Medicine (The study and treatment of Animals)

Source: Asian Agri-History: Paśu Āyurvēda (Veterinary Medicine) in Garuḍapurāṇa

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक) refers to Butea monosperma, and is used in the treatment of elephants (Gajāyurveda or Hastyāyurveda), according the Garuḍapurāṇa.—The drugs, treatments enumerated in connection with diseases of horses may also be employed in the diseases of elephants. But the dosage is four times of that of a horse. In Garuḍapurāṇa a kaṣāya known as Rogasāmaka-kaṣāya mentioned for treating the diseases of elephants. It is made up of the following pacifying drugs:—[...] Kiṃśuka (Butea monosperma) [...].

Toxicology (Study and Treatment of poison)

Source: Shodhganga: Kasyapa Samhita—Text on Visha Chikitsa

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक) refers to an herbal ingredient included in a (snake) poison antidote recipe, according to the Kāśyapa Saṃhitā: an ancient Sanskrit text from the Pāñcarātra tradition dealing with both Tantra and Viṣacikitsā—an important topic from Āyurveda which deals with the study of Toxicology (Viṣavidyā or Sarpavidyā).—Kāśyapa prescribes various antidotes to quell the poison by administering them through nasal drugs, collyrium, ointment, herbal drinks and diet. According to Kāśyapasaṃhitā (verse VIII.11)—“The juice extract of Kiṃśuka leaves (kiṃśuka-patrarasa) administered nasally quickly kills poison. So also Auṣadharāja or Hiṅgu-asafoetida mixed with sakāyajala (saliva) of the patient renders Darvīkara venom innocuous within seconds”.

Note: Kiṃśuka, besides being a germicide belonging to Asanādi Gaṇa cures Anaemia and skin problems caused by poison.

Agriculture (Krishi) and Vrikshayurveda (study of Plant life)

Source: Shodhganga: Drumavichitrikarnam—Plant mutagenesis in ancient India

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक) (identified with Butea monosperma) is used in a recipe for manipulating the colour of flowers or fruits (on the tree) [varṇa-pravartana], according to the Vṛkṣāyurveda by Sūrapāla (1000 CE): an encyclopedic work dealing with the study of trees and the principles of ancient Indian agriculture.—Accordingly, “The white flowers of a tree turn into a golden colour if the tree is watered with a mixture of Curcuma longa powder, Butea monosperma [e.g., Kiṃśuka], Gossypium herbaceum seed, Rubia cordifolia and the Symplocos racemosa tree”.

Unclassified Ayurveda definitions

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक) is a synonym for Kālamegha, a tree from the Fabaceae family. It is used throughout Ayurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. 

Ayurveda book cover
context information

Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Source: Wisdom Library: Brihat Samhita by Varahamihira

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक) refers to the flower Butea frondosa, according to the Bṛhatsaṃhitā (chapter 6), an encyclopedic Sanskrit work written by Varāhamihira mainly focusing on the science of ancient Indian astronomy astronomy (Jyotiṣa).—Accordingly, “If Mars should appear with a large and clear disc or red like the flower of Kiṃśuka (Butea frondosa) or of Aśoka (Jonesia ashoka Roxb) or of clear and fine rays or like molten gold or if he should pass through the northern path, rulers will be happy and there will be prosperity in the land”.

Jyotisha book cover
context information

Jyotisha (ज्योतिष, jyotiṣa or jyotish) refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents the fifth of the six Vedangas (additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas). Jyotisha concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक) refers to one of the thirty-six sacred trees, according to the Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā, an expansion of the Kubjikāmatatantra: the earliest popular and most authoritative Tantra of the Kubjikā cult.—Accordingly, “According to the Kula teaching (these) [i.e., Kiṃśuka] are the most excellent Kula trees that give accomplishments and liberation. (They are full of) Yoginīs, Siddhas, Lords of the Heroes and hosts of gods and demons. One should not touch them with one’s feet or urinate and defecate on them or have sex etc. below them. One should not cut etc. or burn them. Having worshipped and praised them regularly with their own flowers and shoots, one should always worship the Śrīkrama with devotion with their best fruits and roots. [...]”.

Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: SOAS University of London: Protective Rites in the Netra Tantra

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक) refers to a “flower”, according to the Netratantra of Kṣemarāja: a Śaiva text from the 9th century in which Śiva (Bhairava) teaches Pārvatī topics such as metaphysics, cosmology, and soteriology.—Accordingly, [verse 10.7cd-17ab, while describing the worship of Bhairavī and Bhairava]—“[...] One should always worship [in times of] peace and prosperity, to suppress sickness and vice, [which are] the root cause of wasting away, [and] for the protection of cows, Brahmins, and men. One meditates on [Bhairava] as having equal radiance to snow, jasmine, the moon, or pearls. [He is] as clear as the curved moon and similar to immovable quartz. [He is] clear like the burning of the end of time, resembles a flower on the sacred tree (japā-kiṃśuka-saṃnibha), appears red like innumerable suns or, rather, red like a lotus. [...]”.

Shaivism book cover
context information

Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Vastushastra (architecture)

Source: Shodhganga: Elements of Art and Architecture in the Trtiyakhanda of the Visnudharmottarapurana (vastu)

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक) is classified as a “tree beneficial for the construction of temples”, according to the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, an ancient Sanskrit text which (being encyclopedic in nature) deals with a variety of cultural topics such as arts, architecture, music, grammar and astronomy.—The eco-friendly suggestions of Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa are seen to protect the greenery and to balance a pollution free environment. [...] The architect is suggested to go to the forest to collect appropriate wood (e.g., from the Kiṃśuka tree) for temples in an auspicious day after taking advice from an astrologer. [...] According to the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, the woods of some particular trees remain beneficial for the construction of temples. At the time of cutting the trees [e.g., Kiṃśuka] one should clean the axe by smearing honey and ghee. After collecting the suitable wood from forest, the architect uses it according to his requirements and purposes.

Vastushastra book cover
context information

Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Sanskrit Literature: Kimshuka

The kiṃśuka is a fire: the blazing red flame that burns lovers’ hearts; a fierce conflagration in a mountain forest; sacrificial fires for the rites of the festival of Love. Beyond its bright red hue, the kiṃśuka flower’s distinctive shape makes it the subject of striking, at times disturbing, imagery. The name is popularly derived as kiṃcit śuka iva (‘somewhat like a parrot’) because the flowers resemble the parrot’s red curved beak.

In the sixth book of the Rāmāyaṇa we find the first of many more violent images when Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa, assailed by the magic arrows of Indrajit, “resemble flowering kiṃśukas”. To some eyes, kiṃśukas are the red welts left by the nails of a lover – sometimes vasanta himself – upon the body of his beloved. 

The Gīta Govinda pictures the curved red flowers as Kāma’s fingernails. 

Other poets take this idea further, imagining them to be the claws of a lion–the lion of spring or the lion of love–or even an elephant driver’s hook. 


The kiṃśuka’s English names–Parrot Tree and Flame of the Forest–reflect two of these associations. It is also known as Bastard Teak. In Sanskrit it can also go by the name palāśa, or parṇa (literally ‘leaf’ because of the size of its leaves, which, in one verse, pose as flowers and so lure unsuspecting bees) or vātapotha–which seems to mean ‘that which strikes the wind’. It is normally identified as Butea Frondosa. 

In modern Indian languages, the kiṃśuka remains kiṃśuk or palāś in Hindi and Bengali, but also ḍhāk in Hindi. In the South, it is camatā, murukkaṉmaram, puracu, palācam, kirumicatturu, kāli in Tamil and camata or pḷāśu in Malayalayam.

The Pandanus database of Indian plants describes the kiṃśuka as: A deciduous tree up to 15m high, prominent red flowers, 3-foliate leaves, gummy bark, large bright orange red flowers in clusters, grows all over India up to 1200m elevation.

India history and geography

Source: Shodhganga: Cultural history as g leaned from kathasaritsagara

Kimshuka is the name of a tree mentioned in the Kathasaritsagara by Somadeva (10th century A.D).—Kimshuka is known for its red-coloured (like hot coals) flowers.

Somadeva mentions many rich forests, gardens, various trees (e.g., Kimshuka), creepers medicinal and flowering plants and fruit-bearing trees in the Kathasaritsagara. Travel through the thick, high, impregnable and extensive Vindhya forest is a typical feature of many travel-stories. Somadeva’s writing more or less reflects the life of the people of Northern India during the 11th century. His Kathasaritsagara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Kimshuka, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravahanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyadharas (celestial beings).

India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Biology (plants and animals)

Source: Wisdom Library: Local Names of Plants and Drugs

Kimshuka [किंशुक] in the Sanskrit language is the name of a plant identified with Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub. from the Fabaceae (Pea) family having the following synonyms: Butea frondosa, Butea braamania, Plaso monosperma. For the possible medicinal usage of kimshuka, you can check this page for potential sources and references, although be aware that any some or none of the side-effects may not be mentioned here, wether they be harmful or beneficial to health.

Source: Google Books: CRC World Dictionary (Regional names)

Kimshuka in India is the name of a plant defined with Butea monosperma in various botanical sources. This page contains potential references in Ayurveda, modern medicine, and other folk traditions or local practices It has the synonym Rudolphia frondosa (Willd.) Poir. (among others).

Example references for further research on medicinal uses or toxicity (see latin names for full list):

· Revisio Generum Plantarum (1891)
· Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany (1996)
· Encyclopédie Méthodique, Botanique (1786)
· Journal of Tree Sciences (1983)
· Familles des Plantes (1763)
· Species Plantarum. (1802)

If you are looking for specific details regarding Kimshuka, for example chemical composition, pregnancy safety, diet and recipes, extract dosage, side effects, health benefits, have a look at these references.

Biology book cover
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This sections includes definitions from the five kingdoms of living things: Animals, Plants, Fungi, Protists and Monera. It will include both the official binomial nomenclature (scientific names usually in Latin) as well as regional spellings and variants.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Kimshuka in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

kiṃsuka : (m.) the tree Butea Frondosa.

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक).—[kiṃ cit śuka iva śukatuṇḍasadṛśapuṣpatvāttathātvam] A kind of tree having beautiful red blossoms, but without any odour; तत्राम्बरादग्निरतिप्रवृद्धो रुक्षप्रभः किंशुकपुष्पचूडः (tatrāmbarādagniratipravṛddho rukṣaprabhaḥ kiṃśukapuṣpacūḍaḥ) Rām. 5.54.34. विद्याहीना न शोभन्ते निर्गन्धा इव किंशुकाः (vidyāhīnā na śobhante nirgandhā iva kiṃśukāḥ) Chāṇ.7; Ṛtusaṃhāra 6.2; R.9.31.

-kam The blossom of this tree; किं किंशुकैः शुकमुखच्छविभिर्न दग्धम् (kiṃ kiṃśukaiḥ śukamukhacchavibhirna dagdham) Ṛtusaṃhāra 6.21.

Derivable forms: kiṃśukaḥ (किंशुकः).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक).—m.

(-kaḥ) A tree bearing beautiful red blossoms, and hence often alluded to by the poets, (Butea frondośa;) also palāśa E. kiṃ what, something, śuka a parrot; its red flowers being of the colour of a parrot’s beak.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक).—i. e. kim-śuka, I. m. A tree bearing beautiful red blossoms, Butea frondosa, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 8, 246. Ii. n. Its blossom, [Suśruta] 1, 224, 1.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक).—[masculine] [Name] of a tree; [neuter] its flower.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Kiṃśuka (किंशुक):—[=kiṃ-śuka] [from kiṃ-yu] a etc. See, [ib.]

2) [=kiṃ-śuka] [from kiṃ > kim] b m. the tree Butea frondosa (bearing beautiful blossoms, hence often alluded to by poets), [Mahābhārata] etc.

3) [v.s. ...] n. the blossom of this tree, [Rāmāyaṇa; Suśruta] (cf. palāśa and sukiṃśuka)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक):—[kiṃ-śuka] (kaḥ) 1. m. A tree bearing red blossoms (Butea frondosa).

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Kiṃśuka (किंशुक) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Kisua.

[Sanskrit to German]

Kimshuka in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Kiṃśuka (ಕಿಂಶುಕ):—[noun] the tree Butea frondosa of Papilionaceae family; flame of the forest.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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