Most North and east Indians haven’t even heard of kokum, let alone use it. But according to ayurveda, this is a very useful plant. It grows primarily in the Western Ghats and is used a great deal in the cuisine of the western coast, especially Maharashtra’s Konkan region.
Known also as Garcinia Indica and vrikshamla, the health benefits of kokum have been known since the Vedic period. While India takes kokum for granted, its international varieties often sell for a premium.
The fruit looks a bit like a cherry tomato and it is dried and used in traditional cooking as a souring agent, primarily by soaking it in water and making a paste. This paste can also be used in several other ways, as you will see when you read on.
Here are five health benefits offered by kokum:
1. Weight management: The rind of the garcinia contains hydroxy citric acid, which decreases the appetite. After using it for a few weeks, your appetite goes down naturally. It also reduces the conversion of carbohydrates to fats, making it a great weight loss ingredient.
2. Immunity improvement and allergy reduction:Intestinal allergies go down when garcinia is consumed as a drink made with diluted and sweetened kokum paste. The unsweetened paste can be used as a pack on the skin. Kokum also improves immunity, leading to a fall in nasal allergies.
3. Intestinal health: The beverage made from kokum is a health drink that can manage intestinal problems like acidity, indigestion and flatulence. This is because it has an astringent and cooling impact on the body.
4. Cracked heels: Kokum is an ancient remedy for cracked heels. Mix it with nut butter or a plant-based oil, then apply it on the heels. Leave on overnight for best results.
5. Internal and skin regeneration: Vrikshamla (ayurveda’s name for kokum) is an excellent antioxidant, making it useful in anti-ageing treatments. It reduces skin and tissue damage by providing the ingredients for repair and healing. This wonderful quality also makes it useful for internal regeneration of the arteries and blood vessels, including vessels damaged by plaque.
From HT Brunch, December 18, 2016
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