Chalta (Dillenia)

Botanical Name:Dillenia indica L. (Dilleniaceae)
Family : Dilleniaceae
Syn : Dillenia speciosa Thunb.
English name: Dillenia, Elephant Apple
Common name: Chulta, hondapara tree, elephant apple,Outenga
Sanskrit names: Bhavya, Bharija.
Vernacular names: Asm : Chalita, Qutenga; Ben: Chalta; Guj : Karambel; Hin : Chalta; Kan :Betta kanijala; Mar: Mota karmal; Mal: Chalita, Punna; Man: Heigri; Ori : Qu, Uvu; San: Korbhatta; Tam and Tel: Uva.
Trade name: Chalta.

Habitat :Sub-Himalayan tract from Garhwal to Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Central and South India; Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka.

Description:
Evergreen, round-headed tree, 9-42.5 m high; branchlets tomentose, bark cinnamomum-like; leaf alternate, simple, fascicled at the apices of branches, petiole 3.7 cm long, lamina 20-25 cm by 5-10 cm, oblong-Ianceolate, closely set parallel veins from midrib, upper surface glabrous, hairs present on the lower surface, especially on veins; flower terminal or leaf-opposed, solitary, white, 15 cm in diameter, sepals thick; fruit globose with accrescent calyx, 12.5-15 cm in diameter, green when young, yellowish and sweet-scented when ripe; seeds many, compressed, embedded in hairy cells.

It is a spreading tree and has beautiful white fragrant flowers, toothed leaves and globose fruits with small brown seeds. The greenish-yellow fruit, which has a thick protective covering, is edible. Unripe fruits are cooked to make pickle and chutney. The juicy pulp is aromatic but very acidic.

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The fruit is a 5-12 cm diameter aggregate of 15 carpels, each carpel containing five seeds embedded in an edible pulp.

According to the reference literatures, botanically, Dillenia indica (Syn. D. elliptica) is an evergreen tree; Leaves oblong, acute or acuminate, margins dentate; Flowers solitary, pendent; Fruits yellowish-green with enclosed sepals; Seeds reniform, black, margin spiny.

Flowering: May-June; Fruiting: July-August. – ripens in November­December.

Uses:
The natives of many parts of Chhattisgarh prepare Shurbut from Chalta fruits. The Shurbut is consumed for its specific delicious taste. The traditional healers of many region are aware of its health benefits. They recommend this Shurbut to the patients having troubles related to respiratory system. It is also considered as promising heart tonic. As its use is limited to few natives, I personally feel that there is a need to popularise this health drink among the common natives. To prepare the Shurbut, the fruit juice is extracted. Separately, sugar is boiled in water to prepare the Chashni (Syrup). The juice is added in Chashni to prepare the Shurbut. Once prepared in bulk, it is used round the year by diluting with water.The fruit pulp is used in Indian Cuisine in curries, jam, and jellies.

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The natives consume its fruit with taste and use it in preparation of different dishes. The natives of Ambikapur and Jashpur region confirmed that the Elephants are fond of its fruits. These regions have wild population of Elephants. Although Chalta is a common tree in different parts but it is a matter of surprise that the traditional healers are not much aware of its traditional medicinal uses and properties. Besides fruits, they use its leaves and bark in treatment of common diseases. According to the traditional healers of Bastar region, the bark in combination with other herbs can be used in treatment of all types of internal bleeding. The traditional healers of Narharpur region suggest the patients having the problem of Leucorrhoea to wash the vagina with the decoction of bark. The decoction is diluted with water according to the condition of the patients. The herb collectors use its leaves as styptic but as other promising alternatives are available, the leaves are used less commonly. The healers of Chhattisgarh Plains use the leaves in popular combinations used externally in form of aqueous paste, in treatment of Headache particularly Adhasisi (Migraine). In many parts of Chhattisgarh, the cattle owners use the decoction of leaves to wash the cattle in rainy days and to dress the open wounds. In reference literatures it is mentioned that the syrup of the juice of unripe fruits allays cough, assists expectoration and cures angina and stomatitis. The healers of Chhattisgarh are aware of these reported uses.

Chemical contents: Stem-bark: betulin, betulinaldehyde, betulic acid, flavonoids, dillentin, dihydroisorhamnetin, lupeol, myricetin, glucosides, B-sitosterol; Wood: betulinic acid, lupeol, β-sitosterol; Leaf: betulinic acid, cycloartenone, flavonoids, n-hentriacontanol, B­sitosterol; Fruit: an arabinogalactan, betulinic acid, β-sitosterol.

Medicinal Uses:
Traditional use: MANIPURI : Fruit decoction: for curing dandruff and checking falling of hairs; MIKIR (Assam) : Fruit: eat to combat weakness; TRIBES OFTEJPUR (Assam) : Plant: in fever; TRIBES OF TlRAP (Arunachal Pradesh) : Leaf: in dysentery; SANTAL : (i) Root: as prophylactic at the cholera season, an ingredient of a medicine for burning sensation in the chest; (ii) Stem-bark: component of medicine for sores caused by mercury poisoning, chronic progredient sores and carbuncle, and as a prophylactic at the cholera season; (iii) Mucilage: on wounds of burns; TRIBES OF ABUJH MARH RESERVE AREA (Madhya Pradesh) : Fruit: as tonic; TRIBES OF EAST GODAVARI (Andhra Pradesh) : Fleshy calyx: in stomach disorders.

YAJURVEDA : an important plant; UPAVARHANA SAMHITA : the plant is aphrodisiac and prpmotes virility; CHARAKA SAMHITA : the fruit is sweet, acidic, astringent, removes bile, phlegm, fetid and flatulence; SUSHRUTA SAMHITA : fruit cardiotonic, tasteful, astringent, acidic, removes bile, phlegm, fetid and flatulence; RAJANIGHANTU: green fruit is acidic, pungent, hot, removes wind, phlegm, but the ripe fruit is sweet, sour, appetising and beneficial in colic associated with mucous; MATSYA PURANA : decoction of this plant can be used as universal antidote for poison; AGNI PURANA : spraying water, containing stem extract, on and around the wound caused by spider bite helps in removing the poison.

AYURVEDA: (i) Root (bark extrac_: in food poisoning; (ii) Root-bark(paste): along with leaf­paste applied externally in sprains; (iii) Young bark and Leaf: astringent; (iv) Fruit-juice : mixed with sugar and water serves as a cooling beverage in fever, fit, and as a cough syrup; (v) Ripe fruit-juice: removes flatulence, increases quantity of semen, galactogogue, combats weakness, external application helps supuration of boil, and checks loss of hair.

.Modern use: Leaf (50% EtOH extract) : shows antiamphetamine activity; Seed-extract: antimicrobial; Seed-oil: antifungal, and its unsaponifiable matter antibacterial.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://botanical.com/cgi-bin/search2/search.pl
http://www.bsienvis.org/medi.htm#Dillenia%20indica
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dillenia_indica
http://www.tropilab.com/elephantapple.html

http://gbpihed.gov.in/envis/HTML/vol13_1/nrai.htm

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