Black Plum (Jamun): Medicinal and Nutritional Benefits
Black berry (Syzgium cumini Linn.) belongs to Myrtaceae family and known by synonyms jambolan or black plum (Eugenia jambolan Linn. ). In English, fruit is known as Java plum or Indian blackberry. It is called Jamun in Hindi, Jambufalam in Sanskrit, Naavar Pazham in Tamil and Neredu in Telugu. Jamun, a large tree with heavy trunk, belongs to Indian sub-continent and found in many Asian countries.
The oblong, purple succulent fruit is appreciated for color, flavor and great taste. When sucked, it changes the color of the tongue to purple due to its coloring properties. Fruits are eaten raw and may be used to make tarts, sauces and jam. Palatibility of astringent fruits may be improved either by soaking in salt water, or pricking/rubbing with a little salt and leaving as such for an hour.
Pharmacological properties: Extensive work on its pharmacological properties is being carried out in India and elsewhere.Although whole plant is used for medicinal purpose, stem bark and leaves are extensively used plant parts.
Presence of various flavonoides, essential oils and molecules such as gallic acid, oxalic acid, malic acid, betulic acid and tannins contribute to its medicinal properties and pharmacological activities such as antimalarial, anti-infective, antibacterial and gastroprotective. Black plum is strongly advocated in Ayurveda for treating various heart, lung, stomach and bowel related conditions.
- The extracts of the bark, seeds and leaves are used for the treatment of diabetes. Oral administration of dried alcoholic extracts of the seeds to diabetic patients was found to reduce the level of blood sugar and glycosuria in trials conducted at CDRI, Lucknow.
- The leaves have antibacterial properties and used for strengthening teethes and gums.
- The bark of black berry tree is astringent, digestive, diuretic, anthelmintic and is considered useful for throat problems.
- Almond Nutrition & Health Benefits
Almond nuts have very high nutritional standards and kernels of the almond are highly delicious. High levels of monounsaturated fat along with polyunsaturated fat and omega-6 fatty acids are present in the almonds.
- A decoction of the bark and powdered seeds is believed to be very usefil in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery and dyspepsia. The antibiotic activity of black berry extract has been widely studied and found useful against a number of microbial agents.
- The fruit is also considered to be stomachic, carminative, anti scorbutic and diuretic. Vinegar made from black berry fruit is administered in cases of enlargement of spleen, chronic diarrhea and urine retention. For ringworm treatment, water diluted juice is used as lotion.
- A decoction of bark is used in cases of asthma and bronchitis and are gargled or used as mouthwash for the astringent effect on mouth ulcerations, spongy gums, and stomatitis.
It is a fairly good source of mineral salts (calcium = 15 mg; potassium = 55 mg; magnesium = 35 mg; phosphorus = 15 mg; sodium = 26.2 mg/100 g fruit) and excellent source of vitamin C (18 mg/100 g of fruit), carbohydrates, protein, iron and few phytochemicals. It provides 62 Kcal energy per 100 g of edible fruit. It contains fairly good amount of carotene (48 ug/100 g), folic acid (3 mg/100 g).
Uses in culinary applications
Black Plum fruit can either be eaten raw or consumed when used in various culinary applications such as salads, squash and jam. Different plant parts of Jamun are being integrated into health supplements. Colored jelly is prepared adding a commercial jelling agent with the fruit flash. Squash is also prepared extracting juice after cooking the crushed fruits and combining it with sugar, water, citric acid and sodium benzoate (preservative).
© 2009 C V Singh