Kokum is an ornamental fruit tree. It is native to India. The fruit is considered to be the storehouse of medicinal benefits. Kokum is used as a major spice in India. It is included in the regional cuisines of not only the Southern states where it is found avidly, but is also used in Gujarati cuisines. Kokum is an Indian spice specialty.
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Kokum Scientific Name
The Scientific name of Kokum is Garcinia Indica.
Kokum Common Names
Kokum has a host of other names. Let us take a look at them.
- Sour apple.
The kokum fruit is a sticky, round shaped fruit. Let us read its descriptions elaborately.
Size : Kokum fruit is circular with a diameter of 4cm. It contains 5-8 seeds.
Taste : It is sour in taste. It is partially astringent and has a refreshing taste.
Color : Kokum fruit is purple in color. At times the color also resembles to black. It is said the darker the color, the better the fruit is. Ripened Kokum looks brownish red, dark blackish red and also red with light yellow marks. The color usually depends on the nature of the tree.
Smell : This tiny fruit has a slightly sweet aroma.
Kokum tree : It is a tropical evergreen tree related to mangosteens. It grows at a height of 50 feet and has thin bark. The leaves are elongated. The fruits ripen in April-May. Kokum tree bears hundreds of fruits during summer.
Kokum usually grows in tropical evergreen forests. Kokum is a native fruit of India. It is abundantly grown in the Malabar, Kannada and Konkani areas. It is mainly grown in parts of Western India.
Kokum is produced on large scale by seeds. The tree grows very slowly and takes about 7-8 years for first flowering. Kokum needs adequate rainfall, abundant sunshine and fertile soil. For raising seedlings the fruits are collected from early maturing. The heavy yielding plants have bold size fruits. After extraction, the seeds are washed thoroughly in water and are sown in polythene bags.
Kokum Nutritional Facts
Kokum is a wholesome fruit and very nutritious.
- Citric Acid.
- Acetic Acid.
- Malic Acid.
- Ascorbic acid.
- Hydro citric acid.
- Vitamin B complexes.
- Dietary fiber.
- Hydroxycitric acid.
Kokum Health Benefits
Kokum has been widely used treat health ailments since time immemorial. Let us take a glance at them.
- Kokum treats sores
- This fruit prevents infection
- It improves digestion
- It treats constipation
- The application of direct kokum on skin removes all kinds of rashes due to allergies
- Kokum contains anti oxidant and anti fungal properties
- This species of fruit has anti ageing properties as well
- Kokum acts as an appetite stimulant
- It has cooling properties and reduces body heat
- Kokum butter is applied to lips, skin and hair
- It is low in calories and contains no saturated fats
- Kokum butter is used for good skin and healthy hair.
Kokum has several medicinal properties apart from its basic culinary uses. Kokum is widely used in cuisines and also consumed in the form of juices. The medicinal and other uses are discussed here.
Kokum Edible Uses
- Kokum juice is highly refreshing and energizes instantly as it has cooling properties and shields the body against sunstroke and dehydration
- It is used as spice in various parts of India to enhance the flavor of several dishes
- It is used as a substitute for tamarind in various dishes
- Bottled or canned Kokum Syrup is also consumed
- Kokum is also used in chutneys and pickles
- Kokum Butter is very popular in the southern states
- The acid present in the fruit helps fight cholesterol and curbs production of excess fat which helps in weight loss
- Kokum fruit is also essential in treating piles, dysentery and infections
- It helps in providing relief from gastric problems
- It is a vital ingredient to fight against various cancer issues
- The juice of this medicinal fruit is used to treat insect bites and bee bites
- Kokum treats the cracks on the heels of the feet
- The anti inflammatory properties in this species of fruit, helps reduce the onset of heart diseases
- Kokum promotes cell regeneration and repair
- It has anti- paralysis properties
Kokum Other Uses
- The seed contains 23%-26% oil which remains solid at room temperature, so it is used in the preparation of confectionary, medicines and cosmetics.
- Kokum butter is used to make soaps, skin lotions, lipsticks and balms. Kokum butter, due to its excellent skin healing properties, is gaining more popularity than cocoa butter.
- Kokum is also used in the making of candles.
- The cake which is left after extracting oil is also used as manure
Kokum Side Effects
People who have serious skin problems should avoid applying Kokum butter as it can aggravate the skin irritation further.
Kokum is an essential ingredient in Konkani cooking. Let us have a look at some of the recipes made from this delicious fruit.
- Kokum Kadi.
- Kokum and Cranberry sherbat.
- Dal dhokli (gujarati recipe).
- Bhatia Kadhi (gujarati recipe)
- Kokum rasam.
- Fish curries using Kokum.
Kokum Butter is widely used in pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. It is also known as “goa butter”. It is obtained from kokum seeds. Kokum butter, apart from being used as a cosmetic product, is also known for its use as edible oil. It is rich in Vitamin E which makes it apt for skin and hair care.
Kokum skins are usually available as dried fruit and infused in hot water. It can be kept in an airtight jar for about a year. Fresh Kokum should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a week. The fruit is sun dried after applying salt to it so that its shelf life increases.
Kokum During Pregnancy
Kokum Water contains Vitamin C so it is highly beneficial for both the mother and her baby.
Here are some of the pictures of this highly nutritious and tiny fruit.
- by Shourini Banerjee
- March 24th 2012