Description of the species
Saro (Cinnamosma fragrans) is an endemic tree of Madagascar that belongs to the Canellaceae family. Its evergreen foliage is dark green and aromatic, and the young shoots are covered with pod-like lenticels. It is distributed mainly in the northern and eastern part of Madagascar and it grows in dense and dry forests where it is often found near running waters, among shady stony ground or at the bottom of a gorge.
Usage of the species
In Malagasy, Saro is called Mandravasarotr or Sakarivohazo – and means "to drive away evil." Saro is often used in traditional medicine as it is a strong antibacterial and antiviral agent. Saro essential oil, which is gained mainly from the leaves, has a very subtle and pleasant fragrance. The plant has medicinal properties and is traditionally used for bacterial and viral infections of the respiratory tract, including colds, flu, bronchitis, and angina. It also limits the presence of parasites and acts against gastrointestinal infections. Apart from its medicinal properties, Saro is also used in the cosmetics industry.