Kokum is Indian name for fruit with scientific name – Garcinia Indica. It is also known by other names like Aamsul, Bindin, Bhiranda, katambi, lookiya, panarpuli, ratamba, thekera. Outer cover of dried Kokum fruit is often used as spice. It offers food typical sour and acidic taste and red colour to recipe. It is often used to substitute tamarind in food. It is used as marinate for fish recipes from Kerala. It is also used as preservative in pickles. Chilled Kokum sherbet is one of the refreshing drinks you must taste when you go to India; it brings back energy in hot tropical climate of India. Other parts of the tree like seeds, bark and roots are also used in traditional Indian medicines.
What nutrients Kokum offers?
While Kokum contains carbohydrates in sufficient amounts, its key nutrients include citric acid, acetic acid, malic acid, ascorbic acid, hydro citric acid and garcinol – that are responsible for its unique flavor and taste. Garcinol which is active in Kokum has various properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Kokum seed contains 23-30% oil and used in preparation of confectionery, medicines and cosmetics. Recently, industries have started extracting hydroxycitric acid (HCA) from the rind of the fruit. These rich nutrients are responsible for health benefits of kokum. Fresh Kokum fruits are rich in Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin C and other minerals like potassium, manganese and magnesium. All these nutrients play a vital role in body and are responsible for various health benefits.
Kokum health benefits
Use of kokum as medicine has been known for ages. Today kokum extracts have been commercially used. Parts of the tree like root, bark, fruit and seed oil are used for treating various disorders.
Kokum improves digestion
Kokum is a traditional home remedy in case of flatulence and indigestion. Dried Kokum along with pinch of salt and dried ginger is eaten as home remedy for indigestion. It helps relieve digestive disorders like acidity and constipation as well. Consumption of Kokum juice helps regulate gastric juices and prevents hyperacidity or GERD. Juice extracted from this fruit is sweet and sour and thus liked by many. A glass of cold kokam syrup is refreshing and it also improves the digestive system.
Kokum prevents and treats allergy
Kokum has been traditionally used in treating body rashes and sores. Kokum juice is effective over treating rashes as result of hyperacidity. It effectively treats insect bites and bee bites as well. Adding kokum to food reduces changes of food allergy. In summer, sweaty body is more prone to allergies. As antiallergic and anti-inflammatory, Kokum juice protects body from infections and allergies. Kokum butter is used a remedy for burns and prickly heat.
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Kokum for losing weight, really?
Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) one of the constituents of Kokum, is known as fat killer. It suppresses fatty acid synthesis in body and induces weight loss. Research suggests that HCA has potential as appetite suppressant. Thus consumption of Kokum may help you lose extra flab. Refreshing kokum juice after a good workout can energize you and complement your workout.
Kokum in treatment of cancer
Garcinol, another constituent present in Kokum has shown anti-carcinogenic properties for such types of cancer like Colon, Tongue, Breast, Skin, pancreas and Liver. Studies show that Garcinol has property to inhibit growth of cancer cells.
Kokum juice benefits for skin
Kokum is used as an infusion, or by direct application, in skin ailments such as rashes caused by allergies. Due to the soothing and healing properties Kokum is also applied directly to wounds and infected areas on the skin. Kokum butter is helpful in the treatment of burns. Kokum butter is used in several skin formulations today.
Kokum butter is suitable for use as confectionery butter. It is also suitable for making candle and soap. Kokum butter is considered nutritive, demulcent, astringent and emollient. It is suitable for ointments, suppositories and other pharmaceutical proposes. It is used for local application to ulcerations and fissures of lips, hands, etc. It is now used in cosmetics and medicines known as Vrikshamla in Ayurveda. Kokum butter is found useful in treatment of cracked heels.
Kokum as body coolant
Cool Kokum juice is quite refreshing in hot summer. It is helpful in prevention of heat strokes and sun exposure related symptoms. It is because of this property it works very well over acidity. It is rehydrating and prevents loss of minerals during hot summer. In Goa, Kokum fruit is used to make syrup – Amrut Kokum (remedy for all). In Ayurveda, Kokum is used to heal sores and stomach ulcers.
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Kokum as antioxidant
Kokum is rich source of Vitamin C and other polyphenol which have good antioxidant properties. They exhibit properties to remove free radicals from body which have harmful effect on body organs. Kokum is considered to be helpful for heart and liver for its antioxidant properties. Kokum juice is good for treating hangover and detoxifying body from alcohol.
Other Kokum health benefits
- Kokum butter is used as specific remedy for diarrhea and dysentery. Ayurvedic medicine also uses Kokum infusions to treat piles, dysentery and infections.
- The cake left after extraction of oil is used as manure.
It is all because of these health benefits of Kokum, it is such a wonderful fruit. Kokum juice is often made from dried kokum or fresh kokum. Enjoy some healthy recipes using Kokum –
Healthy Sol Kadhi recipe
Sol kadhi is preparation using kokum and coconut milk as key ingredient and is very popular in Konkan and Goa regions in India. It goes well with rice and fish preparations. Ingredient – peels of Kokum or aamsul – kokum concentrate, 2 cups of coconut milk, some garlic cloves and chillies. Soak some kokum peels in hot water for about an hour. Squeeze thick kokum concentrated juice from it. Aamsul can be directly used if available. Blend cut coconut with water to obtain coconut milk. Make garlic and chilly paste, as per taste and spiciness required. Blend all mixtures. You will obtain light pink colour taste and healthy sol kadhi. Can be served chilled as beverage or consumed as curry along with steamed rice.Image Credits: Wikimedia - Subray Hegde