If you belong to either the southern part of India, or Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat or even Assam, it is most likely that you are aware of and have eaten dishes containing kokum fruit.
Scientifically known as Garcinia indica, Kokum offers culinary, pharmaceutical & industrial benefits. It has approximately 200 species found across Asia & Africa. In India, it is prevalent in the Western Ghats, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and also the north-east in the evergreen forests, riversides or wastelands.
Regionally, Kokum is known as Kokum in Gujarat, Kokambi or Bheranda in Maharashtra/Goa, Kaatampi or Kudam puli in Kerala, Murgina or punarpuli in Karnataka and Tintali in Orissa.
Kokum is an amazing fruit, providing numerous health benefits. It can be consumed as raw, in juice or sharbat form or in sun-dried or powdered form. It is loaded with extraordinary health and medicinal advantages. In this article, let us explore the 11 major health benefits of Kokum.
1. A Wonderful Antioxidant
Kokum is rich in antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory substances. The presence of garcinol in Kokum enhances the immunity system of the body and protects it from any sort of cell damage. This minimizes the possibility of many diseases such as heart ailments, or cancer that is thwarted due to the anti-carcinogenic property of garcinol. This is because Kokum helps the body fight the free radicals which are responsible for these diseases.
2. Provides Various Nutrients
There are various nutrients included in Kokum, that are required to enhance the overall health of a person. It has Carbohydrates, Acetic Acid, Vitamin B Complexes, Potassium, Manganese, Citric Acid, Hydro Citric Acid, etc.
3. Relieves Constipation
Since Kokum has good amount of dietary fiber, it is an effective remedy for constipation.
4. Improves Digestion
Taken along with salt and black pepper, Kokum is helpful in curing indigestion.
5. Anti-Ageing Benefits
Kokum helps delay ageing, due to its cell-repair and cell-regeneration properties. It enhances the overall texture of the skin.
6. For Healthy Hair
Kokum butter is great nourishment for the hair, as it improves the hair-growth and makes the hair soft, shiny and easy to manage. In combination with hair oil, Kokum butter can be used as a hair mask, and also a hair conditioner after shampooing.
7. Cooling And Refreshing Drink:
The juice or syrup prepared with Kokum provides a cooling effect to an individual exposed to the summer sun. It protects from suntan, sunburns, dehydration, etc.
8. Helps in weight-loss
The presence of HCA or hypocholesterolaemic agent helps in weight loss by controlling the conversion of calories into fat. This promotes weight loss, as well as helps stabilize the cholesterol-levels.
9. Ayurvedic usage
Kokum in butter form treats cracked heels. It is also useful for rheumatoid aches, irregular menstruation, ear-infections, inflammation related issues, etc.
10. Effective in stimulating brain
Regular intake of Kokum can stimulate the growth of nerve cells in the brain, thereby boosting the brain-function.
11. Improves menstrual cycle
Packed with anti-inflammatory qualities, this fruit improves digestion and improves menstrual cycle, curbing period pain and cramps.
12. For allergies
The topical application of the cold blend of kokum is an extremely good remedy for skin allergies such as rashes.
Side-effects of kokum:
Owing to its numerous benefits, Kokum is indeed a brilliant gift of nature to the mankind. It can, however, result in certain side-effects if consumed in the wrong manner.
Follow these tips to avoid the side-effects of kokum:
- Someone with severe skin allergy should avoid using kokum, since it is beneficial mainly for mild skin related issues.
- Kokum and milk products should not be consumed simultaneously. Since Kokum is sour, if taken with milk or milk products, it can negatively affect the gut. The ideal gap between consumption of Kokum and milk should be minimum one hour.
- People suffering from high BP should avoid taking Kokum in huge amounts, as it is capable of causing high levels of acidity in the body.
Kokum tree usually grows upto around 45-50 feet and bears a fruit which is bright red in colour, and has seeds inside it. Before the fruit is picked from the tree, it needs to be ripened fully into a dark purple and then to black colour. It has curled edges and is a sticky substance. It is usually halved and then dried before consumption. The freshness of the Kokum can be determined by how dark the fruit looks.
Because of its sour taste, Kokum is extensively used in place of tamarind in recipes to enhance the overall flavor vegetable curries, different kinds of fish curries, rasam, etc. it is also widely used in pickles or chutneys to increase the sour taste. A little quantity of Kokum is sufficient to increase the tanginess in any recipe.
Kokum can be stored in an air-tight jar at room temperature to avoid moisture. And, it will stay fresh for almost a year-long duration. It may be refrigerated too, but would need to be consumed within a week. Freezing it is not recommended at all, since it can adversely affect its taste and texture.