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Bheemal (Grewia optiva) tree: Benefits & Procedures to use

Updated on June 9, 2015

Bheemal (Grewia optiva) tree: Benefits & Procedures to use

Bheemal or Bheeku (Botanical name- Grewia optiva) in family Tiliaceae is a multipurpose plant in villages mostly on hills of Indian states. Generally this plant grows on hills of Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and Himanchal Pradesh of India. In Uttarakhand it is connected with the life of people in their day to day matters. It is one of the most preferred fodders for animals particularly for cows. Farmers want it abundantly so as to increase the quantity of milk of their cows and buffalos. It is commonly seen on the brinks of terrace farms in Uttarakhand and some parts of Nepal too.

Fresh and ripened fruits of Bheemal happen very tasty. Raw fruits are generally used as animal fodder along with leaves. Bheemal tree branches are used to make traditional handcrafted items. Comparatively thin raw branches of the tree are used to make baskets of different sizes which are very popular handmade items in Uttarakhand’s hilly areas. This basket happens very strong and the large size one may carry weight up to 25 to 30 kg manually on hills. The raw thin branches are used in traditional decorations too. The raw branches are ripped apart vertically from mid to divide into two parts to make the articles. In the marriage season these raw branches are used to decorate upper part of the sedan chair for groom and Palanquin for bride. A receiving gate for guests in marriage contains the most upper part made of these branches under which it holds the board or banner reading ‘Welcome’.

By using the very thin fresh and raw branches people make paste to wash their hairs. By cutting, crushing and pulverizing these branches so as to make the fine paste with mixing in water. It gets turned in to a viscous liquid which is used to wash hairs and clothes as well. This viscous solution is considered the best homemade and natural remedy to get rid of dandruff so as to smoothen and strengthen hairs naturally.

When branches become ripe and hard to get in use, after removing leaves they are kept under water for around two months. By this process it becomes easier to remove its outer membrane in form of a brown thread from the stick and both are kept for drying under sunshine for few days. When the thread gets completely dried it gets transformed in to strong rope by weaving. Thread gets weaved to make yarn to make cots and beds. Ropes are used in many purposes. While inner part of the branch becomes lighter after getting dried, it transforms into highly suitable wood piece to put up fire in fireplaces. These wood pieces are used in hearth for preparing meal in absence of the gas stove. More matured old and thick branches that not suitable for putting under water are used to make fences to keep the animals away from farms. Three times the Bheemal leaves are cut and used for fodder round the year.

Bheemal has many medicinal qualities. The fruit of Bheemal is used to cure indigestion. Bark juice is given to the pregnant lady to ease delivery of child. Wounds and sores are also healed by applying the bark juice. Amazingly for such useful plants like Bheemal people don’t get bothered for its plantation on large scale. However it grows automatically from the ripend fruits that fall on land from tree naturally. Whenever people see it growing around then only they take care of it to save from animals so as to let it morph into a big tree.

Widespread awareness towards plantation must be created for such versatile plants like Bheemal that can benefit entire mankind and animals as well.

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