JAMUN: A USEFUL FRUIT
DR. S. M. ALAM
Sep 19 - 25, 2011
Native to Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia, Afghanistan and Myanmar, jamun is also known as jambu, jambula, jamboola, java plum, jaam/kalojaam, jamblang, jambolan, black plum, damson plum, duhat plum, or portuguese plum. Malabar plum may also refers to other species of Syzygium.
It is a tropical evergreen tree, growing to an average height of 95 feet with a robust trunk and spreading branches that break easily. Picking of the ripe fruit from the tree is very difficult due to height of the tree and weak branches. The fruit is oblong or ovoid in shape and becomes shiny black when ripe. It is propagated by seed.
The tree was introduced to Florida, USA in 1911 by the USDA, and is also now commonly grown in Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. In Brazil, where it was introduced from India during Portuguese colonization, it has dispersed spontaneously in the wild in some places, as its fruits are eagerly sought by various native birds such as thrushes, tanagers and the Great Kiskadee.
This species is considered an invasive in Hawaii, USA. A fairly fast growing species, it can reach heights of up to 30 m and can live more than 100 years. Its dense foliage provides shade and is grown just for its ornamental value. The wood is strong and is water resistant. Because of this, it is used in railway sleepers. It is sometimes used to make cheap furniture and village dwellings though it is relatively hard to work on.
Jamun trees start flowering from March to April. The flowers of jamun are fragrant and small, about five mm in diameter. The fruits develop by May or June and resemble large berries.
The fruit is oblong, ovoid, starts green and turns pink to shining crimson black as it matures. A variant of the tree produces white colored fruit. The fruit has a combination of sweet, mildly sour, and astringent flavor and tends to color the tongue purple.
The seed is also used in various alternative healing systems like Ayurveda (to control diabetes, for example, Unani and Chinese medicine for digestive ailments).
The leaves and bark are used for controlling blood pressure and gingivitis. Wine and vinegar are also made from the fruit. It has a high source in vitamin A and vitamin C.
Jamun not only gives energy but also prevents diseases. It also has the capability to cure some kinds of diseases. Along with the fruits the leaves and trunk also useful for health. Jamun mainly consists of oxalic, palmitic acid, vitamins and chromium.
Those who are suffering with sticky stools should drink 2-3 spoons of jamun juice to cure it. Jamun gives energy to patient and controls the movements of intestines. Researches proved that jamun can stabilize the functionality of liver and cleans the liver.
The antioxidants in it work as medicines for heart and brain. Jamun juice when consumed along with coriander juice can lower the body heat. To reduce the burning sensation in urine jamun juice and lemon juice should be taken along with water. Diabetic patients can also eat 7- 8 fruits daily.
USES OF JAMUN LEAVES
The decoction made of jamun leaves prevents bacterial infections, and viral infections. The powder of dehydrated jamun leaves when boiled in water can be used for mouth pulling which cures the shaky teeth, inflation of gums, and ulcers in mouth.
Chewing jamun leaves cures bad smell of mouth. The paste made by mixing turmeric powder in the juice of jamun leaves, can be used to cure itches, pimples and insect bites.
USES OF JAMUN TRUNK
30 ml of decoction made of jamun trunk if taken along with honey and sugar can cure blood motions and sticky stool. To cure menstrual problems, 30ml of jamun trunk juice should be taken twice a day for 25 days. The problems of gums and mouth itching can be reduced by pulling jamun trunk juice.
CAUTIONS: Jamun takes longer time to digest, hence should be taken occasionally along with salt to taste. If these are taken one hour after meals, the digestion process will become active. But, this results in tight stool on taking excess amounts. The mouth also tastes sour on eating more jamun.
NUTRIENTS IN JAMBOLAN (IN 100 GRAMS):
Jamun is a healthy fruit without any bad effects. It is a good source of vitamin A and C. The fruit seed contains alkaloid, jambosine and glucocide. It is a good source for reducing blood sugar. It is also used in making jams, jellies, and other eatable items. The seed contains various healthy constituents in adequate quantities. It is rich is protein and carbohydrates. It also contains many mineral nutrients, which are good for health.
HEALTH WONDERS: The jamun has a unique taste, color and flavor. The anthocyanin a plant pigment present in the fruit renders purple color to the tongue.
The fruit has loads of minerals, with glucose and fructose being the major sugars found in the ripe fruit. It offers lesser calories, in comparison to other fruits. The seed of the fruit is rich in protein carbohydrates and calcium. The fruit is also a fair source of iron, folate and vitamin-B, carotene, potassium, magnesium, antioxidants and fibre.
* Jamun is particularly used in treatment of diabetes. Extracts of the bark, leaves, and seeds have been found to cause a marked prolonged decrease in blood sugar and glycosuria. Studies have shown that jamun has hypoglycemic effects, wherein a 30 percent reduction in blood sugar is reported. It has therefore been rightly named diabetic fighter, as recommended by studies - Indian Journal of Pharmacology, Bhaba Atomic Research Centre and Central Drug Research Institute. An effective remedy to control diabetes is to mix jamun seeds, bitter gourd (karela), basil (tulsi) and gurmar. This, when taken regularly, controls diabetes in a better way.
* Unani and Ayurvedic system use it for treatment of digestive disorders, including diarrhea.
* Studies have proven that jamun could be protective in liver disease, thereby playing a vital role in preventing liver damage.
* The jamun fruit extract, due to the presence of bioactive phytochemicals including polyphenols has shown to have an anti-cancer potential. The fruit consumption is also believed to have benefits during chemotherapy and radiation.
* The polyphenolic compounds in the fruit have great health benefits including prevention of several chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, ageing, diabetes, and arthritis.
* The anti-bacterial property in the leaves of the jamun tree makes it an ideal medicine for strengthening of teeth and gums.
* The bark of the jamun tree is used for urinary disorders, de-worming, and to formulate herbal medicines by traditional healers.
* Extracts from the bark of the tree also has moderate level of antibiotic activity, and high astringent properties.
* The bark and leaves of the tree are used in controlling high blood pressure.
* The powder of jamun is applied externally to stop bleeding.