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Kokum Butter

Updated on September 15, 2012

Kokum butter, also known as Goa butter, Kokum oil and Mangosteen oil is plant fat obtained from the seeds of Garcinia indica Chois, of family Guttiferae. After extraction it is melted and neutralized using Sodium Carbonate(Na2CO3) solution and then washed with hot water. To further improve it’s appearance and reduce impurities, it is further treated with adsorbents like fuller’s earth.

Geographical Source of Kokum butter

Kokum plant is indigenous to the western costal region of the country. In India it is found in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Andaman and Nicobar islands, Kerla and North eastern states. Some species of kokum plant are indigenous to Thailand, Cambodia and China. In India 1200 hectors of land are under cultivation producing around 10,500 grams of kokum butter per annum.

Cultivation and collection:

Cultivation is still done using traditional methods, the seeds are first grown to seedlings and then planted in pits in the field. The harvesting season for Kokum fruit is April to May. Each fruit contains around 6 to 8 seeds; seeds are around 20 percent of the ripe fruit weight. The oil content in each seed is around 25% of seed weight.

Description of kokum butter:

  • Color: Light grey, yellowish to white.
  • Odour: Faint Characteristic Odour.
  • Taste: Characteristic slightly bitter taste.
  • Shape: Available in oval shape, dry and cracked lumps.

A Kokum Tree
A Kokum Tree
kokum butter
kokum butter


  • Weight per ml: 0.895gm to 0.899 gm
  • Melting Point: 38 to 42oC or 100 to 104oF
  • Acid Value: Should not be more than 3.
  • Saponification value: 185 to 190
  • Iodine Value : 35 to 37
  • Unsaponifiable matter: less than 0.8%

Preparation of Kokum butter

The hard seeds of the kokum plant are dried and decorticated using wooden mallets to obtain kernel. The kernel is boiled with hot water to melt the present fat. Water is allowed to cool and water insoluble kokum butter is then skimmed. To remove natural impurities kokum butter is washed again with hot water and treated with animal charcoal or fuller’s earth. To get higher yields solvent extraction is employed on industrial scale.

Chemical Constituents

Kokum butter contains glycerides of

  • Stearic Acid: upto 55%
  • Oleic acid: upto 40%
  • Hydroxy Capric acid: upto 10%
  • Palmitic acid: upto 2.5%, and
  • Linoleic acid: upto 1.5%.

Uses of Kokum butter:

Kokum butter has astringent and demulcent properties. It is also nutritive and emollient, used in conjunction with other emollients. Used in cosmoceutical formulations like cream balms, and ointments. It is also used for making suppository bases in conjunction with other butters of plant origin. Cake left after extraction of oil is used as manure and cattle feed. It is common adulterant in ghee.


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