Monday, June 22, 2009

Jujube - Fruit that relieves STRESS

Scientific Synonym -
Ziziphus oenoplia

Also known as - Jujube, Red Date, Chinese Date, Jackal Jujube, Wild Jujube
Hindi: Makkay, Makai
Marathi: Burgi
Tamil: Suraimullu, ilantai
Malayalam: Tutali Cheriyalanta,Tutari
Telugu: Paraki, Paringi
Kannada: Pargi, Barige, karisurimullu, Harasurali
Bengali: Siakul
Sanskrit: Karkandhauh

Native to - southern Asia, between Lebanon, northern India, and southern and central China. Jujube was domesticated in the Indian subcontinent by 9000 BCE

Rich Source of - very high vitamin C

Tastes like - dry apple.. comparable sweetness

Propogation -Jujubes can be propagated from seed, although they do not come true. There is evidence that jujube cultivars will root on hard or soft wood cuttings. However, successes have been limited to date with this process of plant reproduction.

Interesting Usage -
  • Important tree in the dry regions. It can grow voluntarily and rapidly on poor ground
  • The jujube's sweet smell is said to make teenagers fall in love, and as a result, in the Himalaya and Karakoram regions, men take a stem of sweet-smelling jujube flowers with them or put it on their hats to attract women.
  • The fruits are used in Chinese and Korean traditional medicine, where they are believed to alleviate stress
  • In the traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, jujube and walnut were often placed in the newlyweds' bedroom as a sign of fertility
  • In Bhutan, the leaves are used as a potpourri to help keep the houses of the inhabitants smelling fresh and clean
  • It is also said to keep bugs and other insects out of the house and free of infestation
  • In Korea, the wood is used to make the body of the taepyeongso, a double-reed wind instrument
  • The jujube-based Australian drink 1-bil avoids making specific stress-related claims, but does suggest drinking 1-bil "when you feel yourself becoming distressed"
  • Ziziphin, a compound in the leaves of the jujube, suppresses the ability to perceive sweet taste in humans
  • If picked green, jujubes will not ripen
  • The tree provides good timber and excellent fuel
  • It is considered as a very good material for fencing
  • Its branches have the ability to be used as fodder for camels and goats
  • People employ the bark for tanning
  • The plant is one of those trees on which the `Eri` and `Tasar` silkworms feed
  • It is one of the best trees in Punjab for the insects named `Lac`
  • The insects live on the tender branches of certain trees, suck the juice and form crusts continuously

Availability - early September until late October

Health Benefits -
  • The fruit, being mucilaginous, is also very soothing to the throat
  • The roots are astringent bitter, anthelmintic, digestive and antiseptic. They are useful in hyperacidity, ascaris(round worm with 3 lipped mouth) infection, stomachalgia and healing of wounds
  • The fruits are used as a tonic for the lungs and kidneys and as a good blood cleanser
  • The Chinese use jujube to tone the spleen and stomach, strengthen digestion and calm the emotions
  • They are helpful for weakness, low energy, nervous exhaustion, and poor appetite
  • They can stabilize the emotions when feeling irritable, sad or crying for no reason
  • The leaves are said to kill parasites and worms in the intestinal tract, which cause diarrhea
  • The leaves are also used to treat children suffering from typhoid fever, inducing sweating to break the fever
  • The heartwood is a powerful blood tonic
  • The bark is said to be used as an eyewash for inflamed eyes
  • The root helps promote hair growth and also is used for treating eruptive fevers of children in smallpox, measles and chickenpox
  • Jujubes are an important herb used for the purification of blood, as a synergestic herb combining multiple ingrediants in a tonic, and as an energy boost

Custard Apple - has poisonous seed

Scientific Synonym - Annona Squamosa

Also known as -
Custard apple, Bullock's heart, Bull's heart, Wild sweetsop, Ox heart, Sweet apple, Cherimoya, supporta

Native to - West Indies, Central america to south mexico, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, India, Australia, and Africa
In India the tree is cultivated, especially around Calcutta, and runs wild in many areas. It has become fairly common on the east coast of Malaya, and more or less throughout southeast Asia and the Philippines though nowhere particularly esteemed. Eighty years ago it was reported as thoroughly naturalized in Guam.

Rich Source of - minerals like iron, phosphorous, calcium and riboflavin

Tastes like -

Propagation -
Seed is the usual means of propagation. Nevertheless, the tree can be multiplied by inarching, or by budding or grafting onto its own seedlings

Interesting Facts-
  • The seeds(kernels) are not consumed as they are slightly poisonous
  • Fatty-acid methyl ester of the seed oil meets all of the major biodiesel requirements in the USA
  • Actual seed counts have been 55, 60 and 76
  • The leaves also provide ingredients used to make dyes, stains, inks, tattoos and mordants
  • The leaf juice kills lice
  • The fruits should be plucked before they are ripe and stored for ripening
  • Its juice can be used as a milk substitute
  • Used in tanning and they yield a blue or black dye

Sought by Birds - None

Availability - March to July

Health Benefits -

  • Custard apple promotes digestion
  • Fruit can be used as a cure for vomiting, diarrhoea, dysentery and vertigo(Giddiness)
  • Fruit serves as an expectorant, stimulant, coolant and is useful in treating anemia
  • Increases heamoglobin content of the blood - haematinic
  • Paste of flesh of this plant or crushed leaves of the plant can be used for local application on ulcers, abscesses and boils
  • The decoction made out the leaves of this plant serve as vermifuge (evacuation of parasitic intestinal worms)
  • The root bark of the tree is used for relief from toothache
  • The seeds of the plant have insecticidal and abortifacient(drug that cause abortion) properties
  • The decoction extracted from the root serve as febrifuge
  • The leaves are believed to have healing properties and have been used against tumors and cancers

Friday, June 19, 2009

Camachile - Korkalikka

Scientific Synonym -
Pithecellobium dulce

Also known as - Guamachil, Manila Tamarind, Kodukkai Puli/Kodi-kai puli, Sweet Tamarind, Thai-Sweet Tamarind, Madras Thorn, Monkey Pod, Jungle Jilebi, Bilayati Imli, Seema Chintakayalu (Foreign Tamarind), Kona Puliyankai (Twisted Tamarind)

Native to - Mexico, America, Central Asia, India, Caribbean, Florida, Guam, Philippines. It was introduced to the Philippines during the Spanish times and has spread throughout the Pacific (Guam, Micronesia, Hawaii, etc.). It was also introduced to Thailand and onto India where it is known as Manila Tamarind.

Tastes like - Sweet when they ripe

Interesting facts-
  • Kodukka puli came from the word Kodi-Kai puli which means Vined Tamarind
  • peel the black seeds to reveal a brown coating (not the white ‘main’ seed inside) and then string them into bracelets
  • The pod/pulp is widely used in the tanning industry. Camachile bark used almost exclusively by Filipino tanners
  • Used as good timber
  • Mucilaginous gum
  • Used for preparing yellow dye

Sought by Birds - Parrots and Squirrels

Availability - July and August

Health Benefits -
  • Used to treat Venereal diseases(sexually Transmitted Infection)
  • Leaves - Remedy for indigestion
  • Bark - curative for bowel movement/constipation
  • Camachile is also prescribed for diabetics

Jamun Fruit

Scientific Synonym
- Syzygium cumini

Also known as - Jamun, Nerale Hannu, Njaval, Jamblang, Jambolan, Black Plum, Damson Plum, Duhat Plum, Jambolan Plum, Java Plum, Portuguese Plum, Malabar plum

Native to - Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Indonesia
Also grown in Philippines, Myanmar, and Afghanistan. The tree was also introduced to Florida, USA in 1911 by the USDA, and is also now commonly planted in Suriname. In Brazil, where it was introduced from India during Portuguese colonization, it has dispersed spontaneously in the wild in some places

Rich Source of - vitamin A, vitamin C, Iron, Minerals

Tastes like - sweet, mildly sour and astringent flavor

Interesting facts -
• The wood is strong and is water resistant. Because of this it is used in railway sleepers and to install motors in wells
• Used to make cheap furniture and village dwellings
• Tends to color the tongue purple (Some people shun it for the strain it leaves)
• Ripe jamun fruit is fermented to fabricate excellent quality wine
• Juice of the raw fruit is used to fabricate vinegar
• Jamun is processed to form a distinct flavor of jams, jellies, preserve and squash
• The flesh of the rejects is crushed and sold as jamun syrup

Sought by Birds - thrushes, tanagers and the Great Kiskadee

Availability - May and June

Health Benefits -
  • Touted as a fruit that can control diabetes
  • Purification of blood
  • Acts as a coolant
  • Induces digestive power. The seeds are used in ayurvedic, unani medicines and Chinese medicine for digestive ailments
  • Used to treat diarrhea and ringworm
  • Leaves possess anti-bacterial properties and are used for making medicines for the strengthening of the teeth and gums
  • It is good for sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, thirst, dysentery, blood impurities and ulcers
  • The paste of jamun leaves is very good to dry the pus-filled wounds.
  • The bark of the tree has high astringent properties and is therefore used for gargles and as a mouthwash.
  • To get relief from vomiting and its burning sensation, one can take extracts of soft mango and jamun leaves mixed in honey two times a day
  • The bark of jamun has astringent, carminative, diuretic, digestive and constipating properties


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