Duhat: Anti-Diabetes Black Plum
Scientists call it by a strange name (Syzgium Cumini) and others on the Net call it by a stranger name—Jambul. But I’ve always known it as Duhat from my childhood days. Its smooth deep violet (others say its dark purple) color is rich in antioxidants, and I guess especially anthocyanin, because that is what scientists say—that natural crops with deep blue, violet, or purple color is rich in anthocyanin.
Anthocyanin is what gives bright colors for fruits or vegetables, colors like red, orange, yellow, blue, violet, or purple. And they say of all the antioxidants around, Anthocyanin is the most powerful. I hope one day someone would check the anthocyanin content of Duhat.
Philippine Summer “Grapes”
I remember when I was in grade school, about middle of May, Duhat would flood the wet markets and corner talipapa (mini wet markets by the roadsides) and it would be sold for a bargain—about P5 per liter-can. The blackplum often came from Laguna, Lucena, or Batangas. We’d wash handfuls of them in a bowl and then put in a spoon or two of salt, cover it and shake. That made it our summer sweet-sour-salty “grapes” that rendered our lips, tongues, and teeth violet. Sometimes even our shirts. The riper the fruit, the better its subtle sweetness. Go for the ripest and softest. Duhat always left your teeth feeling thick and sticky, though, due to the resin residue. But they say, the more the fruit tastes thus, the more health benefit you get.
Some told us that Duhat was the Philippine blueberry, but later some other experts averred that it wasn’t a berry. Today, the internet says it’s a plum, black plum.
But since childhood, I’ve always heard stories of how eating lots of Duhat helped cure liver and kidney diseases. So, when I ate them I always imagined how my liver and kidneys turned into super organs immune to any disease, or how their “biceps” and “arms” developed powerful muscles—pretty much like how cartoonists would put arms, legs, and a smiling face on human hearts.
But today it’s official—everywhere on the internet, they’re saying it’s anti-Diabetes. Not only that, it is also an effective diuretic (for cleansing and detox) but can help you fight against diarrhea. Duhat can also be an astringent. And accordingly, the fruit, bark, and seed are responsible for these. No wonder—we seldom got sick in summer when we were kids, and our facial skin was always pinkish and smooth, as if often treated with astringent.
Some Healing Benefits
The concoction from the tree bark is cure for gingivitis, indigestion, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, dysentery, ulcer, and leucorrhea, to name some. It’s also improves appetite. The ripe fruit can be fermented and turned into an herbal wine. The seed extract reportedly protects from radiation, anti-allergy, and anti cervical cancer. The phyto nutrients present in the fruit are amino acids, phytosterols, triterpenoids, alkaloids,and tannins, to name some. Being rich in plant nutrients, no wonder Duhat has lots of healing properties.
Sought Out Fruit
My grandma always sought out Duhat in summer time when I was a kid because of her high blood sugar count. I remember when at one time it became rare and folks, mostly the elderly, sought out the fruit. And so much healing wonders were being talked of due to Duhat, so that even kids like me were made to eat them almost each afternoon.
Today, Duhat in Manila are still seasonal. You only see them once in a while. I hope they find a way to make it a year-round fruit.