Different types of medicinal plants have been traditionally used in the treatment of various diseases since ancient times. Plants rich in these medicinal properties are also used exclusively in Ayurvedic medicine. Elephant apple is one such medicinal plant bearing large fruits. This article will discuss the benefits of Elephant apple and other related information.
What are Elephant Apple/ Dillenia Indica?
Elephant apple is a large-sized evergreen plant. The plant belongs to the family ‘Dilleniaceae’. The plant is called ‘Chulta’ in Hindi. The scientific name of Otanga is –‘Dillenia Indica. This plant is native to Southeastern parts of Asia; it is also found in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka from east to southwest China and Vietnam and in southern Indonesia, Thailand, and Nepal. The name of this fruit came from the belief that it is one of the favorite foods of wild elephants. The Dillenia indica fruit can be eaten in both ripe and raw form and is commonly used to make sauces as well as pickles. The evergreen bushy plant- Elephant apple provides many excellent benefits for health such as – preventing kidney disease, makes you look younger, lowering blood pressure, etc.
Elephant apple is an evergreen shrub or medium sized tree that grows up to 15m in height. The plant is found to grow in evergreen forests or tropical rainforests, preferring reverie and generally well-drained sandy loamy soils. This plant can grow even in soil containing low amounts of acid. The bark of this plant is exfoliating and reddish brown in color. Tender branches are brown, have pubescent, glabrous and leaf spots. Its branches are used to make good wood. The leaves are clustered together and the leaves are rectangular, lanceolate and acuminate.
The leaves are 20-30 cm long and 10 cm wide. Flowers are 12-20 cm in diameter, buds are more than 5 cm in diameter. The number of chapels is 5, almost circular, orbicular and concave, 4-6 cm in diameter. Hard and fleshy 7-9 cm in size and white in color. Stamens are found in 2 separate groups. The number of carpels is 16-20. Numerous ovaries are found in each carpel. Flowering usually occurs from May to June. The fruits are large, greenish, greenish-yellow and sub-globose up to 12 cm in diameter, composed of 15-20 carpels. Each carpel contains 1-8 small, hairy, axillary, endospermic, compressed, reniform seeds that form a large fleshy covering. The flowers are tangy in taste.
Chemical substances of Elephant Apple /Dillenia Indica
- Amino acid
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B complex
Different regional names of Elephant Apple /Dillenia Indica
- English: Elephant Apple
- Hindi: Gimar, Chulta, Chalta
- Kannada: Betta kangalu
- Marathi: Karmel
- Tamil: Kurukati
- Telugu: Uva
- Malayalam: Punna Vazhunna pinay, Karmal
- Bengali: Chalta
- Assamese: Ou Tenga
Scientific Classification of Elephant Apple/ Dillenia Indica
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Clade: Tracheophytes
- Clade: Angiosperms
- Clade: Eudicots
- Order: Dilleniaceae
- Family: Dilleniaceae
- Genus: Dillenia
- Species: D.indica
- Scientific name: Dillenia indica
Benefits of Elephant Apple / Dillenia Indica
1. Controls low blood pressure:
If you are in need to keep your blood pressure at a normal level; consider the potassium rich Elephant apple the best option. It may be easier to keep high blood pressure in control by using this fruit.
2. Good for eye health:
Elephant apple is a good source of Vitamin A; which is a known nutritional food to keep the eyes healthy. Ophthalmologists say that there are a number of eye problems that can actually lead to loss of vision and most of them can be cured by a diet rich in vitamin A. The regular consumption of this fruit is considered to be beneficial for taking good care of our eyes.
3. Fights infection:
Elephant apple is a good source of vitamin C; which is an essential element to maintain a good immune system. If you are prone to flu, cold and infections, you should consider eating this fruit regularly. It can prevent the mentioned health problems.
4. Slows Ageing:
Vitamin C can be an amazing element for people who want to look younger than their age. This is because vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis. It is a type of protein that helps in strengthening the skin. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that combats free radicals which prolongs the life of the skin. Therefore, regular use of vitamin C-rich elephant apples can show effective results in this matter.
5. Constant energy level:
Elephant apple is also a good source of Vitamin B. If you constantly feel weak; then consuming this fruit can provide energy in the body and make you feel good. Similarly, vitamin B is an also important substance for keeping your brain and nerve cells in good condition as well as it makes the body energetic
6. Improves RCB count:
Elephant apples contain a considerable amount of Iron. Thus, people suffering from anemia due to lack of saliva are advised to eat this fruit regularly. Regular consumption of it can help remove impurities and toxins from the bloodstream.
7. Protects kidney:
Significantly; exclusively in the stimulus and secure framework. This bio- material can effectively help to protect the kidneys. Ancient Indian researchers had used elephant apples as the best common medicine to cure various kidney problems. It is equally beneficial for the liver and heart.
8. Cures stomach-related problems:
It is known that products or foods containing ‘tannin’ are quite beneficial for loose bowel and stomach aches. The bark of the elephant apple plant plays an important role in stomach problems. The extract of this natural ingredient acts as an antidote for cholera and many other diseases.
Traditional Uses and Benefits
- Elephant apple is widely used for its medicinal value. Its bark and leaves are used as a laxative.
- Juice of this fruit is used as a cold drink to tone the nervous system.
- In Ayurveda, Dillenia indica is considered an anti-rheumatic, biliary supplement.
- Elephant apple juice mixed with sugar and water is used to treat cough and fever.
- The leaves, fruits, and bark of Dillenia indica are used for medicinal purposes.
- Elephant apple helps in relieving stomach toxins and regulates body temperature.
- In Assam, the fruit is also kept under the bed to prevent smallpox and cholera.
- During paddy cultivation, Assamese people use elephant apple fruit as a natural pesticide.
- In the Manipuri community of North east India; the fruit is used for shiny silky hair and to remove dandruff.
- A decoction of this fruit is popularly used as an effective antidote for body pain.
- The juice extracted from elephant apples is considered to be a good resistor to many heart problems.
Uses of Elephant Apple / Dillenia Indica
The leaves, fruit and bark of the elephant apple tree have special medicinal value and are therefore used for the mentioned purposes. Dillenia indica juice, decoction, leaf juice, paste, bark juice, paste and secondary products are made and used differently for different types of diseases or health problems. In addition, this fruit is used in Indian cuisine to make different vegetable dishes, jams and jellies. It is used to make chutneys by mixing it with coconut and spices. In Assamese cuisine, elephant apple fruit is popularly used in authentic lentil soups and fish dishes.
Side Effects of Elephant Apple
In addition to the benefits of elephant apple; some of its harmful side effects can be considered, such as indigestion, diarrhea, etc. Excessive use can lead to indigestion. Poor digestion causes diarrhea.
Excessive use of any product can harm our health. Therefore, to gain the benefits of elephant apple it should be used in the right amount and proper way. It is suggested to seek doctor’s help while using the fruit or any part of the plant for medicinal purposes (especially if you are suffering from any serious or lethal health condition.)
This article provides an overview and lets you know about the medicinal properties of elephant apple, leading you to the benefits, uses, chemical substances, different regional names, and disadvantages of this particular fruit. We hope that the information contained in this article will help you in various ways. Thank You!