Monday, September 21, 2009

Orange - not named for their color

Scientific Synonym - Citrus

Also known as
- Chinese apple, Sinaasappel in Dutch, Apfelsine in German

Native to
- Originated in Southeast Asia

Rich Source of
- 75% vitamin C

Tastes like
- some are sweet, bitter and even tart

- seedling, budding onto appropriate rootstocks

Interesting Facts
  • Oranges were not named for their color. The word orange comes from the Sanskrit naranga which means "fragrant"
  • An orange seed is called a pip. The white thread-like material attached to the inside of the peel is called pith.
  • Top 10 producers - Brazil,United States,Mexico,India,China,Spain,Italy,Iran,Egypt,Pakistan
  • The orange blossom, which is the state flower of Florida, is highly fragrant and traditionally associated with good fortune. It has long been popular in bridal bouquets and head wreaths for weddings.
  • Orange blossom essence is an important component in the making of perfume.
  • The petals of orange blossom can also be made into a delicately citrus-scented version of rosewater; orange blossom water (aka orange flower water) is a common part of both French and Middle Eastern cuisines, most often as an ingredient in desserts and baked goods.
  • Orange peel is used by gardeners as a slug repellent.
  • Orange leaves can be boiled to make tea.
  • Orange wood sticks (also spelt orangewood) are used as cuticle pushers in manicures and pedicures, and as spudgers for manipulating slender electronic wires
  • Orange blossom honey, or actually citrus honey, is produced by putting beehives in the citrus groves during bloom, which also pollinates seeded citrus varieties. Orange blossom honey is highly prized, and tastes much like orange.
  • Once cut or squeezed, the Vitamin C quickly disappears. After only 8 hours at room temperature (or 24 hours in the refrigerator),approximately 25% of the Vitamin C is lost. Thus, canned or bottled orange juice products tend to have lower Vitamin C content unless they are fortified
  • The skin or the pith of the orange has as much vitamin c as the orange so one must try to eat it. You can add some spices to it, if you think it is not edible.
Availability - all year long, with a peak season during the winter months.

Health Benefits
  • Helps maintain a healthy immune system.
  • They are also have high fiber and no fat, which means you will be able to lose those extra holiday pounds easier
  • Oranges also have a fair amount of Folic Acid, Calcium, Potassium and Thiamine! So, not only are oranges good for anyone to eat, but they are particularly healthy for expectant mothers.
  • Vitamin C in oranges protects sperms from genetic damage that may cause birth defects
  • Orange contains Beta carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant guarding the health of our cells.
  • Orange contains Calcium, which a school going knows how important is in healthy bones and teeth's.
  • Our brain needs folic acid for proper development which is found in Oranges.
  • Blood pressure can be kept in balance with magnesium found in Oranges.
  • To maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and to maintain electrolyte balance of cells, one can eat oranges for potassium it provides.
  • The food we take is converted into energy by thiamin found in orange.
  • Arteriosclerosis: Regularly consuming vitamin C retards the development of hardening of the arteries.
  • Cancer prevention: A compound in oranges called liminoid, has been found to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. The high vitamin C content also acts as a good anti-oxidant that protects cells from damages by free radicals.
  • Cholesterol: The alkaloid synephrine found under the orange peel can reduce the liver's production of cholesterol. Whereas the anti-oxidant fights oxidative stress that is the main culprit in oxidizing the LDLs in our blood.
  • Constipation: Even though the orange "tastes acidic", it actually has an alkaline effect in the digestive system and helps stimulate the digestive juices, relieving constipation.
  • Damaged sperms, repair: An orange a day is sufficient for a man to keep his sperms healthy. Vitamin C, an anti-oxidant, protects sperms from genetic damage that may cause a birth defect.
  • Heart disease: A high intake of flavonoids and vitamin C has been known to halve the risk of heart diseases.
  • High blood pressure: Studies have shown that a flavonoid called hesperidin in oranges can lower high blood pressure.
  • Immune system: The strong content of vitamin C stimulates white cells to fight infection, naturally building a good immune system.
  • Kidney stones, prevent: Drinking orange juice daily can significantly drop the risk of formation of calcium oxalate stones in the kidney.
  • Skin: The anti-oxidant in orange help protect the skin from free radical damage known to cause signs of aging.
  • Stomach ulcer: Consuming vitamin C rich foods helps to lower the incidence of peptic ulcers and in turn, reduce the risk of stomach cancer.
  • Viral infections, protection against: The abundance of polyphenols have been shown to provide protection against viral infections.

Grapes - the queen of fruits

Scientific Synonym - Namily Vitaceae

Native to
- Egyptian, Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans also grew grapes both for eating and wine production. Later, the growing of grapes spread to Europe, North Africa, and eventually to the United States.

Rich Source of
- Grapes are rich sources of vitamins A, C, B6 and folate in addition to essential minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. Grapes contain flavonoids that are very powerful antioxidants.

Tastes like
- Sweet sometime sour

- The grape is propagated easily from seeds, layers, cuttings of the new wood, and by grafting

Interesting Facts -
  • Top 10 Grapes producers - Italy, France,China,United States,Spain ,Turkey,Iran,Argentina ,Chile,India
  • Grapes have vitamins, minerals, fiber and even proteins and could play an important role in ensuring a healthy and robust life
  • Used for wine, or eating as a table grape, fresh or dried (raisin, currant, sultana)
  • Half a grape fruit provides more than half of the adult daily requirement for vitamin C. They contain 1/20th the vitamin C of kiwi fruit
  • There is a popular myth that eating grape fruit helps you to slim because it has the ability to burn fat. Grapes are lower in calories and fat, but no fruit has the ability to burn fat.
Sought by Birds - Many small birds and Honey bees

- June till September

Health Benefits
  • Good blood and body builder, it is also a quick source of energy.
  • Helps reduce platelet clumping and harmful blood clots
  • Eat both juicy flesh and pulpy membrane. Both has usefule amount of pectin which helps to lower levels of blood cholesterol.
  • Asthma: Due to its eminent therapeutic value, grapes can be used for cure of asthma. In addition to it, the assimilatory power of grapes is also higher. It increases the moisture present in lungs.Due to which grapes is called the "nectar of the gods"
  • Heart diseases: Grapes increase the nitric oxide levels in the blood, which prevents blood clots thereby reducing the chances of heart attacks. In addition the antioxidant present in grapes prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which blocks the blood vessels.
  • Migraine: Ripe grape juice is an important home remedy for curing migraine. It should be taken early in the morning, without mixing additional water.
  • Constipation: Grapes are very effective in overcoming constipation. They are considered as a laxative food, as they contain organic acid, sugar and cellulose. They also relive chronic constipation by toning up intestine and stomach.
  • Indigestion: Grapes play an important role in dyspepsia. They relive heat and cure indigestion and irritation of the stomach. They are also preferred as they constitute a light food.
  • Fatigue: Light and white grape juice replenishes the iron content present in the body and prevents fatigue. Though, the dark grape juice might not give an iron boost and on the other hand, decrease the iron levels. Drinking grape juice also provides you with instant energy. The anti-oxidants present in grapes also provide the needed boost to your immune system.
  • Kidney disorders: Grapes can substantially reduce the acidity of the uric acid and helps in the elimination of the acid from the system, thereby reducing the work pressure of kidneys.
  • Breast cancer: Through a latest study, it has been discovered that purple colored Concord grape juice helps in preventing breast cancer. Significant reduction in mammary tumor mass of laboratory rats was seen after they were fed the grape juice on the experimental basis.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Resveratrol, a beneficial polyphenol present in grapes reduces the levels of amyloidal-beta peptides in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Studies suggest that grapes can enhance brain health and stall the onset of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Muscular degeneration: Grapes can prevent the age related loss of vision or macular degeneration. Three servings of grapes a day can reduce the risks of macular degeneration by over 36 %.
  • Prevents cataract: Flavonoids present in grapes have antioxidants, which can reduce and fight the damage caused by free radicals such as cataract apart from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and age related problems.
  • Blood cholesterol: Grapes contain a compound called pterostilbene, which has the capacity to bring down cholesterol level. Saponins present in grape skin can also prevent the absorption of cholesterol by binding with it.
  • Antibacterial activity: Red grapes have strong antibacterial and antiviral properties and can protect you from infections. They have a strong antiviral property against poliovirus and herpes simplex virus.
  • Anticancer properties: Grapes are found to have strong anti cancer properties due to the anti-inflammatory effect of resveratrol present in grapes. It is particularly effective in colorectal cancer and breast cancer. Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins present in grapes have properties of an anti-proliferate and can inhibit the growth of cancer causing agents. Grape juice not just prevents the risk of cancer but also suppresses the growth and propagation of cancer cells. The pigments contained in grapes enhance the overall immunity of the body.
Warnings -
  • Neither grapes, nor grapes juice are recommended for persons suffering from stomach ulcers, diabetes and obesity;
  • Eating grapes or drinking grapes juice can cause dental problems. If you have a cavity in a tooth, it is not recommended to consume grapes, as they will intensify the destruction process of the tooth;
  • Grapes cannot be consumed along with a relatively large number of food products, like: milk, fish, beer, mineral water, melons, etc. The combination of these kinds of food products with grapes can cause serious stomach problems.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wood Apple - vilampazham

Scientific Synonym
- Limonia acidissima

Also known as
- elephant apple, monkey fruit, vilampazham, Belada Hannu, Bael fruit, Kath bel

Native to
- Wood apple is indigenous to South India. It is also cultivated in. tropical Asia.

Rich Source of
- Wood apple consists of moisture 64.2 per cent, protein 7.1 per cent, fat 3.7 per cent, minerals 1.9 per cent, fibre 5.0 per cent and carbohydrates 18.1 per cent per 100 grams. Its mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin. Its calorific value is 134. Wood apple is rich in oxalic, malic citric acid and a concentrated tannic acid.

Tastes like
- The pulp is brown, mealy, odorous, resinous, astringent, acid or sweetish, with numerous small, white seeds scattered through it.

- The wood-apple is generally grown from seeds though seedlings will not bear fruit until at least 15 years old. Multiplication may also be by root cuttings, air-layers, or by budding onto self-seedlings to induce dwarfing and precociousness

Interesting Facts -
  • Wood apple, as one of its aliases (elephant apple) suggest, is the favourite of elephants.
  • Naturally, the Hindu Elephant-headed God, Lord Vinayaka, is propitiated with an offering of this fruit
  • The rind must be cracked with a hammer. The scooped-out pulp, though sticky, is eaten raw with or without sugar, or is blended with coconut milk and palm-sugar sirup and drunk as a beverage, or frozen as an ice cream. It is also used in chutneys and for making jelly and jam. The jelly is purple and much like that made from black currants
  • he pulp of an unripe fruit is sour to taste and is made into chutney by mixing it with a paste of green chillies, salt and suitable spices.
  • Wood apple juice is effective thirst quencher in summer
  • The devotees of Lord Shiva commonly offer bael leaves to the deity, especially on Shivaratri; this probably explains why bael trees are so common near temples. Hindus also believe that goddess Lakshmi resides in bael leaves
  • Bael fruit pulp has a soap-like action that made it a household cleaner for hundreds of years.
  • The sticky layer around the unripe seeds is household glue that also finds use in jewellery-making.
  • The glue, mixed with lime, waterproofs wells and cements walls.
  • The glue also protects oil paintings when added as a coat on the canvas.
  • The fruit rind yields oil that is popular as a fragrance for hair; it also produces a dye used to colour silks and calico
Availability - early October through March

Health Benefits
  • It is an antidote for poisons and also helps in curing sore throat.
  • After the rains, the trunk and branches give off a gum called ‘Feronia gum’, which counteracts diarrhoea, dysentery and diabetes.
  • The pulp of the raw fruit is useful in arresting secretion or bleeding.
  • The ripe fruit is refreshing, aromatic, digestive and a tonic. It is useful in preventing and curing scurvy and in relieving flatulence.
  • Its leaves are not only aromatic but also possess some astringent and carminative properties.
  • The gum that the stem exudes has a soothing effect on the skin and mucous membranes.
  • Mashed seedless pulp of the raw fruit is beneficial in the treatment of dysentery, diarrhoea and piles.
  • The pulp of the ripe fruit, mixed with cardamom, honey and cumin seeds, is effective for; indigestion, diarrhoea and piles.
  • The transparent gummy substance oozing from the stem when cut or broken can be beneficially used in bowel affections.
  • It also relieves tenesmus, that is, powerful straining to relieve the bowels.
  • A mixture of the ripe pulp of the fruit, cardamom, honey and cumin seeds, taken regularly in the morning tones up sagging breasts.
  • It is also useful in preventing cancer of the breast and uterus and helps cure sterility due to a deficiency of the harmone progesterone.
  • About 90 grams of the sap of the fresh bark, 2 corns of pepper, a few drops of pure cow's ghee and a dessertspoon of honey, prevents any post-partum complications.
  • It is taken twice daily immediately after childbirth.
  • The bark of the tree is good for biliousness. It can be taken either in the powdered or decoction form. The juice of the leaves can also be applied to the skin eruptions caused by biliousness.
  • Cure for urticaria - 30 ml of fresh leaf juice, mixed with cumin is taken twice daily
  • Wood apple in the form of chutney or sherbet isuseful in treating hiccups. It is made with salt and tamarind.
  • Aphrodisiac: Powder of the leaves, dried in shade, with an equal quantity of sugar candy is useful in spermatorrhoea, or involuntary ejaculation, premature ejaculation and functional impotency.
  • Energy Booster: Hundred grams of Bel fruit pulp provides 140 calories and is therefore, a good energy booster.
  • Effective for ear-aches: The root of the bel tree is used to check different kinds of ear problem


Content in this website are consolidated from various internet sources & books for the benefit of the readers.