Red Sanders or Lal chandan is a moderate-sized deciduous tree with clear trunk and dense rounded crown which belongs to the family, Pterocarpaceae. The Pterocarpus species are distributed in peninsular India and Sri Lanka. It occurs gregariously in patches in tropical dry deciduous forests, towards south eastern Ghats.
It attains a height of 10 m and a girth of 0.9–1.5 m under favourable growing conditions. The blackish-brown bark is fissured and resembles crocodile skin.
The inner bark, when injured or cut, oozes red coloured ‘santolin’ dye.
The wood is extremely hard and dark red in colour. Wood can be used for the perfume industry. The heartwood of red sander can also be used as medicinal purposes. Its decoction is given in chronic dysentery.
It is also useful in vitiated conditions of pitta, burning sensation, vomiting, skin diseases, leprosy, ulcers, fistula, and haemorrhages.
The quality wood is considered among the ﬁnest luxury woods in the world and highly useful for making high-value musical instruments, cabinets, ornamental veneers, toys, and dolls.
The red color of the wood is used as a natural dye in pharmaceutical, paper, pulp, textile, tannery, and food industries.