17-08-2017 04:00 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
Apart from its use in cooking, kokum has therapeutic use
The fruit of the kokam tree bursts with health benefits. The tree which grows upto 18 mtr high bears spherical purple fruit having sour and acidic pulp.
The scientific name of the fruit is Garcinia Indica and it is found particularly in the tropical rain forest of Western Ghats of Ratnagiri, Konkan, Coorg and Wynadu region. They can also be found in the evergreen forests of Assam, Khasi, Jantia hills, West Bengal and Gujarat.
Kokum is one of the star foods used in the Konkan region and also in Maharashtra, Gujarat, parts of Kerala and the Kannada region. The fruit has remarkable therapeutic values as it has high levels of Vitamin C and contains B complex vitamins such as niacin, thiamin and folic acid. It also abounds in magenesium, potassium and manganese.
According to Ayurveda, our meal should have all the tastes like sweet, sour, salty, pungent and bitter. The sour taste that is present in kokum fruit is important as it helps in digestion as well as the absorption of minerals.
There is a unique content found in kokum which doesn’t exist in any other food – HCA which is hydroxyl citric acid. The rind of the kokum fruit, small and green when unripe and a deep purple when mature is rich in HCA which imparts tartness to the fruit and which is deemed to induce weight loss.
The HCA in kokum restricts the conversion of carbohydrates into fats thus helping to lose weight. It is also known to control bad cholesterol (LDL). Apart from HCA, there is another active ingredient in kokum called Garcinol which is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacteria and anti-carcinogenic agent. It helps in enhancing brain health and has a positive effect in regulating Alzheimer’s disease. As Garcinol obstructs the formation of histamine, it is very useful to counter allergies.
A compound in kokum has also been found to be effective to treat H. pylori infection. It can be used as an alternative to treat this disease as it is developing drug resistance against the current antibiotics.
Research has shown that Garcinol found in kokum is helpful in cases of intestinal, colorectal and pancreatic cancers.
The famed kokum juice is renowned for its cooling and pitta balancing qualities. One can add salt to the beverage to combat hyperacidity. A decoction of kokum rind is prescribed for treating rheumatism and gastro-intestinal disorders. Being anti-fungal, kokum is used to treat intestinal parasites and ear infections.
The butter obtained from the kokum fruit is used to give relief from cracked heels. From treating gum infections to glaucoma, this wonder fruit has more than 28 health benefits. This local fruit can be incorporated in our diet so as to benefit from its natural goodness.